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How to Plant and Grow Pineapple Top in 4 Easy Steps (With Photos)

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Mazlan acquired his love of gardening at a young age, and it has been his passion for over 55 years.

Infographic on how to grow a pineapple top the easy way

Infographic on how to grow a pineapple top the easy way

Grow a Pineapple at Home

Pineapples (Ananas comosus) are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. You can eat them fresh, juiced, cooked, or preserved. If you want them in your garden, this versatile tropical fruit is easy to grow.

Can You Grow a Pineapple by Planting the Top?

Yes, you can. You chop off the top, plant it, and leave it on its own. A few years later, you can harvest this tangy and sweet spiky fruit.

Is it that easy? Yup. And if you want to know how to grow a pineapple top or crown, here's the guide. I have included photos as well for better illustration. Have fun!

Which Pineapple Variety Do You Want to Plant?

There are several varieties available in the market, so you must decide which variety you want to plant. Do you want a fruit plant or an ornamental plant? Ornamental pineapple plants are showy. They have small, red or pink fruits that are attractive but not flavorful.

This article is for the sweet and juicy fruit variety, but the planting methods apply to the ornamental variety as well.

How to Tell If a Pineapple Is Ripe

To enjoy the health benefits of pineapple, eat only the ripe fruits.

It is ripe when the color is yellow, which forms from the base up. Some varieties are ripe even if it is green in color on the outside, however.

In this case, you should go to the next test: smell it. If it smells sweet, then it is ripe. It should also be firm but give in slightly to a soft pressing.

Other things to watch out for:

  • There should be no soft spots or bruises (signs of damaged fruit).
  • There should be no darkened “eyes” (this means it's "old" and has soggy flesh).

An over-ripe pineapple is also not recommended. You can tell this by whether or not you can easily pull off the leaves.

How to Grow a Pineapple From a Top in Four Easy Steps

Now that that is out of the way, simply follow these four easy steps to plant a pineapple plant in your garden or in an indoor container.

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Step 1: Get a Fresh Pineapple and Cut the Top Off

Once you bring the pineapple home, cut off the leafy top part (about an inch below the leaves). This top is now ready for peeling, drying, and planting.

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Some people prefer to twist the top off. To do this, wrap the leafy top with a piece of cloth. Hold it firmly and with a hard twist pull off the top (like unscrewing a lid from a jar). This method gives you less excess flesh to remove.

I prefer the "cut the top" method, as it is a lot easier, even if the fruit is not that ripe.

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Step 2: Remove Excess Fruit Flesh and Strip the Lower Leaves

Remove the excess fruit flesh and slice the bottom part of the crown. This will expose the root buds, which look like small dots.

Next, remove some of the lowest leaves. Not too many, though, as you do not want to expose too much of the root buds.

In some of the other articles, they ask you to peel off about an inch from the base. If you do this, the additional exposed area has a better chance for the root buds to sprout through. I don't agree, however, as I had no problem with my method of removing only the lowest leaves without having to expose an inch from the base.

Note: Make sure all fruit flesh is removed from the base. This will prevent the plant from rotting.

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Step 3: Let the Top Dry Out for a Few Days

After removing the leaves from the stalk, let it dry for two to three days. This will allow the wound or the cut end to dry and heal. This is another step to prevent rot.

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Step 4: Plant the Top

After the top or stalk has dried, you can proceed to the planting step.

Some people will root sprout the stalk in water before planting. But this might lead to a moldy or rotting plant.

I prefer to plant it directly into the ground. I get good results for all the pineapples planted this way. See my photo below of my one-year-old plants. Their roots do not need much room, so you can plant them in flower pots as well.

If you plant them in pots, get a 10” flower pot or bigger. Repotting may damage the roots, so I prefer to plant directly into the bigger pot. Use sandy soil mixed with organic matter.

If you prefer to re-pot, then use the 6" flower pot instead. Wait for about three months before re-potting.

Grow a pineapple from the top, is quite easy

Grow a pineapple from the top, is quite easy

How to Care for a Pineapple Plant

  • Watering: How often to water a pineapple plant? Every 3 to 4 days if it is outdoor and once a week if it is indoor., but watch the soil. Do not overwater the plants as they prefer well-drained soil. Keep the soil slightly moist and not waterlogged. Wait until the soil has dried out before your next watering. Water the root area and the center part of the plant, i.e. at the rosette whorl of leaves. If you put too much water, the leaves will turn yellow and the root might rot.
  • Sunshine: How much sun does a pineapple plant need? About 6 hours as pineapple is a tropical plant and needs lots of sunshine. So choose a spot in your garden that receives the most hours of sunshine, ideally for at least six hours.
  • Pineapple Plant Fertilizer: Use water-soluble fertilizer to feed the plant, with a corresponding dosage as per your fertilizer brand instruction. I use Miracle-Gro fertilizer for all my plants, and I am pleased with the results.
These pineapple plants that I planted near my house are doing great. It received full direct sunlight and I didn't space it out but need to apply enough fertilizers for each plant.

These pineapple plants that I planted near my house are doing great. It received full direct sunlight and I didn't space it out but need to apply enough fertilizers for each plant.

How to Care for an Indoor Potted Pineapple Plant

If you are growing it indoors in a pot, find a location that has full sun for most of the day. It is also advisable to do daily misting to raise the room's humidity.

Watering is also important just like the outdoor plant, it should not be waterlogged. Use a spray bottle and spray the stalk lightly, just enough to moisten the soil. When the soil is dry again, that's the sign for the next watering.

Should You Cut Dead Leaves Off the Pineapple Plant

Yes, you should cut it off. Wear gloves when you do as the leaves have sharp edges and can bruise your hand. Use a sharp knife to cut the dead leaf but be careful not to damage the stalk.

How Big Does the Pineapple Plant Grow?

Pineapple plants usually only grow up to 3 feet, but they can occasionally grow as tall as 5 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Pineapple as Meat Tenderizer

Bromelain is a natural meat tenderizer, and ananas is loaded with this enzyme. But don’t leave the meat too long in the juice as bromelain will make it mushy. Use it just before cooking.

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple?

Ananas is a slow-growing plant and a late-bloomer. It will only bloom after two to three years. It will take another three months or more before you can harvest the fruit. Harvesting time is when you get a whiff of the distinctive pineapple smell when you are close to it. Another way is to give the fruit and gentle squeeze and if it gives in, then it is ready to harvest.

Despite all these, I usually end up the loser as the squirrels, oh yes, they love pineapples, beat me to them.

What Can I Do If It Is Not Blooming?

You can induce pineapple plants to bloom by exposing them to ethylene gas using over-ripe apples. Wrap the plant in plastic together with a few over-ripe apples close to the rosette whorl of leaves. The decomposing apples will release the ethylene gas, which will then induce flowering.

Or you can induce blooming chemically by using two small pellets of calcium carbide mixed in a cup of iced water. Pour this mixture into the center part of the leaves.

Will the Plant Die After Fruiting?

Not really. It will continue to grow but will not bear any more fruits. Most of the time, new suckers come out at the base of the plant, which will eventually produce fruit. You can let it grow as is but is recommended to transplant it to a new pot.

How to Propagate More Pineapples

Besides planting from a top, you can use suckers that come out in the axil of the leaves for growing new plants. Likewise for suckers that come out below the fruit.

For large-scale plantation productions, they use in-vitro micropropagation techniques.

Do you know that you can trick your brain into thinking that your not-so-sweet pineapple is sweet by sprinkling a bit of salt?

More FAQs on Growing Pineapple

Here are more FAQs on growing and eating pineapples, but if you have questions not covered in this section, please leave them in the comment below.

How Do I Save a Dying Pineapple Plant?

There are several reasons why your pineapple plant is dying. It can be from over-watering, not much sunlight, over-fertilized, or from pests.

What I will do is:

  • Trim all the leaves taking care not to damage the stalk.
  • Then wet the soil thoroughly.
  • Next, gently remove the plant from the pot.
  • Trim off the dead and rotted roots.
  • Finally, re-pot it in new soil.

How Do I Stake a Pineapple Plant?

You can use any wooden stake to prevent the fruiting stalk from leaning or topping to the side.

Are Pineapple Plants Invasive?

No, they are not.

What Soil is Best for Growing Pineapples?

Pineapple likes well-drained soil with neutral to mildly acid pH. So, sandy calcareous soils or sandy loam soils are best for growing pineapples.

Is It Safe to Eat Pineapple Core?

Yes, it is safe and is not poisonous. Although the core is a bit hard to chew and most people throw it away, it is actually healthy and has many benefits. It contains bromelain, an enzyme that fights cancer. It also has more fiber, a higher percentage of Vitamin C, manganese, and copper. So, why waste it?

When I cut and slice the pineapple, I leave the core as part of the sliced pineapple and eat them all raw -flesh and core, as that's the best way to get all of its nutritional values.

Or you can cut the core into smaller pieces and add them to your salad.

Can I Eat Pineapple Skin?

Although the outer layer of the pineapple skin also contains Vitamin C, you don't really eat them. But you can do the following:

  • Leftover Pineapple Skins to Make Infused Tea: Boil a thoroughly cleaned pineapple skin and bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour. If preferred, you can add cinnamon to this boil. Add your favorite tea and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then chill it before serving.
  • Pineapple Skins as Room Freshener: Boil the pineapple skins and the sweet-smelling vapors will soon deodorize and freshen up the room. Actually, the kitchen if it is where you boil it. Alternatively, put all the fresh pineapple skins in a water-tight plastic bag, tie it up and leave it to dry in your desired room or even in a car. After a few weeks, the skin will shrink and dry out and viola, the room will smell great.
  • As Potpourri: Reuse the dried-out pineapple skins that were used as a room fresher and give them a new purpose as potpourri.

Your Gardening Routine

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We Would Love to Hear From You

Do you have any successes, failures, or tips to share about pineapple planting? Did it bear any fruit? Or are you now thinking of trying? Do you still have the problem of not knowing how to tell if a pineapple is ripe?

Whatever the case, we would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below. Cheers!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have a pineapple that is leaning to one side. Do I stake it straight?

Answer: Yes, you can do that. The plant fruit stem may not be strong enough to hold the heavy pineapple fruit so that's why you have the pineapple leaning to one side

Question: Before I read your article, I had twisted the top off my pineapple. It has a small point protruding from the top and I don't know if that is flesh or roots. It's been trying for 2 days now. Do I cut the tip to make it flat or can I plant it as is? The tip is dry & looks like swirls of roots.

Answer: If it is dry you can plant as it is and it should not be a problem. But I usually cut it off.

Question: I planted a pineapple top about eight months ago in an average sized pot. Surprisingly, it has taken off and is outgrowing it. Should I transplant it into a bigger pot or the ground?

Answer: A bigger pot is okay but if you transfer it to the ground, the plant grows better and from my own experience, you get bigger fruits. Of course, the standard fertilizer application applies to both planting in pot or ground.

Question: Are we suppose to cut our pineapple plants back after harvesting the fruit?