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Article: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!: growing pineapples

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Forum: Article: Garbage Gardening: Grow a Pineapple Fruit Tree Plant!Replies: 11, Views: 168
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Pittsford, NY

September 12, 2007
7:22 PM

Post #3967287

i'm growing a pineapple for the first time and live in Rochester New York is there any way to winter a pineapple in a none humid non bright indoor environment

Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

September 12, 2007
7:32 PM

Post #3967322

In that situation, I would recommend letting the pineapple go mostly dry -- perhaps only watering about every 10 days or 2 weeks, but then watering sufficiently to completely soak the soil and letting it dry out again. It would suffer more from being too wet in a low light condition than from being too dry. Also, if you can supplement the available light with full spectrum grow lights (now available in most hardware stores), that would probably help get the pineapple through the winter.

Someone in the DG bromeliad forum may have a more precise answer for you. You may want to try posting your question there.

Thanks for your interest!

Colorado Springs, CO
(Zone 5b)

October 8, 2007
4:07 PM

Post #4061237

I have grown several pineapple tops over the last 10 years or so - but have never gotten one to flower :( I tend to have lots of problems with rot (probably I am watering too much?). Usually I start off the pineapple in a jar of water, and wait several months until it has developed a generous root system, then pot it. I was able to grow a few plants past a year old, and even summered them outside (in zone 5). However, while outside, they became infested with bugs and I had to start all over. One day (sooner rather than later, hopefully), perhaps I will get one to bloom and fruit!
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

October 8, 2007
4:46 PM

Post #4061402


I have three healthy outdoor (year-round) specimens going -- one is about four years old, the others about 2 years old. I just plopped the tops in pots of dirt after enjoying the fruit. You might have more success with that method.

Good luck to you!

Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

October 8, 2007
5:38 PM

Post #4061566

I agree. I don't think the pineapple tops really need to form roots in water (this is one of the recommended efforts in the meticulous directions that I would never do). If you pull off a few of the smallest bottom leaves at the base of the bromeliad top, you will probably find the "primordia," tiny root stems that are sufficient to get the pineapple started -- the less water the better, in my opinion. In your Zone 5b garden, Maece, you might try giving the pineapples as much sun as possible and reduce the watering. I think that will help with the problems with rot.

Hope you get one to fruit! It does provide a great sense of culmination for little effort.

Eau Claire, WI
(Zone 4a)

October 9, 2007
2:11 AM

Post #4063414

Both times I took a pineapple top and smushed it into a pot with potting soil, it took root. No special preparation. Those were both at various point during summer of '06. Set them on the patio this summer and the first one really took off. It was difficult to carry it back inside. Now they are spending the winter under the grow lights.
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

October 12, 2007
3:34 AM

Post #4074285

I took the top of a pinapple and just stuck it in the ground. The ground was poor, clay soil. We had a very dry summer and the area is in a severe drought. But, my pinapple grew with hardly any care. I was surprised. I guess I will just let it die a I am afraid I would be unable to dig it up and re-pot it for indoors.
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

October 12, 2007
6:57 PM

Post #4075988

I suggested in reply to another question from a pineapple grower in a cold climate that you may be able to cap an old aquarium over your pineapple, and maybe even pile a load of hay or straw over the aquarium? That may actually be enough of a "cold frame" mini-greenhouse to keep your pineapple alive during the winter. You can basically withhold water until Spring without much problem as the pineapple plant will probably go mostly dormant during the cold weather.

It would be an interesting experiment. If you can't find an old aquarium, you may just try putting some layers of newspaper or cloth over the pineapple plant, piling on some hay or straw about a foot thick, and see if it comes through the chill.

I look for old leaky aquariums whenever people toss them out so I can use them to cap over some of my tropical plants during our freezing nights here. The 40 - 50 gal hexagonal type are my favorites for mini-greenhouses.

Crestview, FL

October 28, 2007
4:51 AM

Post #4131116

I have some questions
-- I live in northwestern, FL I have a banana tree in a pot, can I leave it outside for the winter?
--also a pinneapple tree grown from the pinneapple top, in a pot can I leave it outside for the winter?
--lemon and orange tree in pots, can they be left outside for winter?
Thank you

This message was edited Oct 27, 2007 10:58 PM
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

October 28, 2007
2:27 PM

Post #4131796

Plants in pots tend to experience freeze more severely than those in the ground -- the freezing cold can penetrate from all sides and all the way to the roots in the bottom of a pot versus the freeze penetrating only the top few inches of soil if the plant is in the ground. Some of the variables would be: the size of the pot you are using and how long the plant is been in the pot (if the plant is root bound in the pot, the roots would be closer to the outside of the pot and therefore experience more of the freezing temperatures).

I have seen citrus trees in large clay pots (about 2 ft high by 2 ft diameter) survive winters in my area (Zone 8b/9a with winter temperatures down to about 28 F for a few hours on a few nights in an average winter). Stringing some "twinkle" lights in the branches can keep the temperature up just above freezing in the immediate area of the citrus tree and help protect from the cold. On the nights with the severest cold temperatures, you could also drape a sheet or blanket loosely over the top of the tree. I would also recommend placing a several inch thick covering of pine needles, oak leaves, hay/straw or other mulch around the base of the tree to help protect the root crown from the cold. If we happen to have a freaskish winter as we do about every decade and the temperatures drop into the teens, many citrus trees, especially those in pots, would probably not survive.

For your pineapple bromeliad top in a pot, I would recommend experimenting with covering it completely with several inches of pine straw or other mulch just before the first sustained freeze and leaving it covered until the temperatures consistently stay above freezing (probably late December to early February). The bromeliad can remain mostly dormant during this time, so withhold water until your uncover it. You might also try the twinkle lights and blanket method for the nights when the temperatures are sustained below freezing and not have to use the mulch.

The most important part of the banana tree to protect from cold is that area where the stalk emerges from the ground (the root crown). The banana leaves can be frozen off without much damage to the plant -- they will regrow when warm temperatures return. I've had bananas in the ground freeze basically back to the soil level and still return. A banana plant is in the grass family, so if you think of it as one tall stalk of grass and protect the center growing tip, that may help. Some people wrap their entire banana plant in newspaper, bubble wrap, or cloth during the winter. I've seen photos of the Japanese technique of wrapping the banana tree in bamboo with a bamboo pointed roof over the whole thing (but I can't find any photo of that technique in a Google search, which in itself is astounding!). Winter survival of the banana will also depend on how cold hardy your particular banana variety happens to be. The Japanese Fiber Banana (Musa basjoo is the banana plant most frequently available in most nurseries. It can survive temperatures as low as -5 F. There are several cultivars and varieties of Musa basjoo that should be equally cold hardy. If your banana is one of the more tropical varieties, then it will require more protection than the Musa basjoo and may not be able to survive temperatures below freezing without good winter protection.

So, my general recommendation for the easiest method for all three plants would be to group their pots closely together (if possible) for the winter months, spread a few strands of twinkle lights over the entire ensemble, toss a blanket over them on the coldest nights, and enjoy the tented glow with a warm cup of cocoa from the warmth of your indoors, content with the knowledge that you have done what you could to protect your plants.

These are just my recommendations from my own experience with trying to "push the zone" with plants in my area that are more tropical than our winter temperatures will allow. You can find lots of information and resources on DG and elsewhere with a Google search of something like "banana winter protection." Also, I would recommend contacting your local county Extension Office (listed in the government section of most phone books under "Agriculture"). They may have information more pertinent to your particular area.

Thanks for your interest!

Mesa, AZ

December 30, 2010
6:16 PM

Post #8284155

Did the Japanese technique look anything like this?
Jacksonville, FL
(Zone 8b)

December 31, 2010
7:46 AM

Post #8284830

Hi, oceans. No, it was a technique where the bamboo was in a tight circle around the banana stalk, then a little conical "hat" on top. I think I recall that the banana was first wrapped in burlap before the bamboo canes were fastened around the stalk. So odd that I can't find a reference or photo of that method anywhere!

BTW - the people at our local Zen meditation Sangha found that a tepee shape (as shown in your photo link) is the most wind-resistant shape for frost-freeze protection. We have a Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa) that is not hardy in our Zone, but has been kept alive during winters with 20s F temperatures by tenting it in plastic over pvc pipes. The bamboo tepee would certainly be more attractive!


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