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I bought a house last year with 3 pineapple plants in the back...much to my surprise I got two of the most delicious pineapples I've ever tasted this winter. It took about 8 months from flower to pick. Now I have 5 plants, since I planted the tops of the two we picked. The first plant we picked now has 3 shoots growing off of it. Will these fruit or do I need to cut them?
Also one of the smaller plants now has a golf ball sized flower on it, but the leaves are pinkish and yellow...any ideas? Not enough water?
Hi, Carolyn. Welcome to the distinquished few that have tasted their own homegrown pineapple fruit! The taste is truly amazing. I think the sugars in the fruit don't have a chance to turn acid (as might happen if the fruit is picked somewhat green and shipped).
You can let the pineapple runners (which I think are technically called "ratoons") continue to grow in place, or you might cut them and replant them if you want them in a different location. You are probably located far enough south that you might be able to incorporate some of the techniques that I found and scanned through in this University of Hawaii Extension Office publication: "Pineapple Cultivation in Hawaii." http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1242941/ It contains more specific information on when to fertilize, withholding fertilizer to "force" the bloom, etc., and other pineapple cultivation factoids.
I tend to take a very lax approach to my pineapple plantation -- which now consists of about 4 young pineapple crowns after most of my pineapple plants were wiped out by exceptionably cold winters in 2009/2010. I still buy fresh pineapple fruit from grocery stores with mainly the intent in mind to harvest and plant the bromeliad crown. I have one red-leaved pineapple plant (botanical I.D. unknown), that seems far more hardy and came through the sustained 20s F temperatures of the previous winters in an open, unprotection location with barely any damage. It has not yet flowered/made fruit. This past winter was so generally warm that it was barely winter at all! (Two nights that dipped down into the high 20s F). So, I am hoping all my pineapple plants will have a chance to grow and flower this season.
I have come up with my version of a cloche/French bell jar for winter protection that I can use in the future for frost and freeze protection for my pineapple plants. I cut the bottom out of any 5 gallon water jugs that I can get my hands on, and cap the jugs over frost sensitive plants. The top hole can be plugged with a cloth to prevent cold air from entering, and the cloth can be removed on warm days to keep excessive condensate from building up inside the jug. The 5 gallon jugs are somewhat difficult to obtain since they are usually returned for refund and refilling, but my neighbors threw out about 6 of the jugs several years ago during a garage cleaning, and I quickly nabbed the jugs from the curb. I've also found a few more of the jugs in curbside trash since then. The attached photo shows one of the jugs in use to protect a Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' (Spiral Reed) in my fish pond this past winter.