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Article: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!: My pineapple project

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aramblinrose
Thonotosassa, FL

December 3, 2009
4:42 AM

Post #7330581

I have grown pineapples in the past, 1 or 2 at a time, they have always been very small, a bite or 2 at the most. But then I didn't really pay attention to them much. However I got 72 crowns from a produce market, they were twisted off, last March and planted them all. I used rooting hormone on the little roots after the dried out for about a week and I only lost 4 of them. The remaining 68 have been outside in the sun all summer long, Tampa bay area, and they are as pretty and green as they could be. I have an enlosed greenhouse type building with good light and I can keep it at 50 degrees all winter. I feel pretty conident that they will continue to grow and produce but I want fruit bigger than a bite or 2. They were all planted in 1 gallon pots and about March I will transplant them into 2 gallon pots. So what can I do to get them to produce bigger fruits? I am very willing to wait the 24-30 months for fruiting.
JaxFlaGardener
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

December 4, 2009
4:56 AM

Post #7333707

Hi, aramblinr. Thanks for replying to the article. I have to admit, you had me stumped with where in Florida could Thonotosassa be! I'd never heard of that area of the state. But I see that you are sort of mid-state between Tampa and Orlando?

Unless your area falls in that strange pocket of Zone 8a cold winter weather around Gainesville and surrounding counties, you will most likely get larger pineapple fruit by planting your pineapple plants in the ground. If they are kept in pots, I don't think the plants can develop sufficient root systems to initiate and support full flowering and fruiting. If you do want to keep them in the pots, then you might get larger fruit by frequent feedings (about every two weeks) with a balanced organic fertilizer. You wouldn't need much phosphorus in the fertilizer if they are in the ground since most Florida soils are naturally rich in phosphorus, but if kept in pots, they would probably benefit by a bloom-booster type high phosphorus fertilizer (the middle number of the three numbers on a fertilizer label, available as high as 54 for phosphorus in some bloom-boosters), or an organic source of phosphorus such as finely pulverized rock phosphate or steamed bone meal (available in most garden centers).

Most sources say that pineapple plants are only hardy down to about 50 F, but from my own experience and that of others that are growing pineapples at home, the plants can actually go down below freezing for a few hours and survive to bounce back in the spring. Last winter brought temperatures in the low 20s F for sustained hours on several nights in my garden. I lost some of my tropical plants that had survived previous winters, yet I still have pineapple plants growing happily. None of them flowered this year, possibly a result of the setback they experienced from the winter freezes, but I lost very few of them to the cold weather and I didn't provide any frost or freeze protection. Our typical winters in my area usually have below freezing temperatures around 28 F for short durations on a few nights. Those winter temperatures seem to cause very little harm to my pineapple plants.

So my advice would be to plant them as a pineapple plantation in your yard. They will require far less attention. When in the ground, they will do well with normal rainfall for irrigation except in those times when we have drought conditions lasting two weeks or more. In the driest times, I hose the pineapple plants down with other nearby plants, but bromeliads are fairly drought resistant. If you can plant them in a soil with lots of organic matter yet still has sufficient sand to provide good drainage, they probably won't need any fertilizer, though you may speed up the flowering, fruiting and the size of the fruit by using a balance organic fertilizer from time to time. If we do happen to get another winter with low 20s F temperatures, you can throw some old blankets over the pineapples to help bring them through the cold weather.

Wow! 72 pineapple crowns! You obviously share my affliction that leads me to believe that there can never be enough plants and that any sprig of green with any likelihood to grow deserves to be cultivated. LOL If 72 pineapple crowns came my way, I would not be able to resist them, but I may have to annex my neighbor's yard to have enough room to plant them. LOL

Best of wishes for larger fruit and Happy Pineappling!

Jeremy
aramblinrose
Thonotosassa, FL

December 6, 2009
4:34 AM

Post #7340525

Thank you so much for your reply, I will certainly tke it into consideration.

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