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

Updated on June 6, 2019
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Mazlan acquired his love of gardening at a young age, and it has been his passion for over 55 years.

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. 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 from its top, 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

How to Care for Your Pineapple Plant

  • Watering: Pineapple plants prefer well-drained soil, so do not over water the plants. Keep the soil slightly moist and not waterlogged. Water the root area and the center part of the plant, i.e. at the rosette whorl of leaves.
  • Sunshine: 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. If you are growing it indoors, find a location that has full sun for most of the day. It is also advisable to do daily misting to raise the room humidity.
  • Fertilizer: Use water-soluble fertilizer to feed the plant, with 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.
These pineapple plants that I planted near my house are doing great.

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.

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.

Pineapple as Meat Tenderizer

Bromelain is a natural meat tenderizer, and ananas are 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.

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?

Yes, your plant will die after fruiting. But you can re-grow it from the suckers that come out at the base of the plant and below the fruit.

More Photos to Help You Grow Pineapple From a Top

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Slice the bottom to expose some of the root buds.An alternative method to cutting the crown is to twist the top like unscrewing a lid from a jar.Twisting the pineapple top (instead of cutting it) gives you less excess flesh to remove.Don't remove too much of the lower leaves, as you don't want to expose too much of the root buds.Here is an example of a pineapple variety that is ripe despite still looking green.Here is an ornamental pineapple with pink leaves and pinkish red fruit.
Slice the bottom to expose some of the root buds.
Slice the bottom to expose some of the root buds.
An alternative method to cutting the crown is to twist the top like unscrewing a lid from a jar.
An alternative method to cutting the crown is to twist the top like unscrewing a lid from a jar.
Twisting the pineapple top (instead of cutting it) gives you less excess flesh to remove.
Twisting the pineapple top (instead of cutting it) gives you less excess flesh to remove.
Don't remove too much of the lower leaves, as you don't want to expose too much of the root buds.
Don't remove too much of the lower leaves, as you don't want to expose too much of the root buds.
Here is an example of a pineapple variety that is ripe despite still looking green.
Here is an example of a pineapple variety that is ripe despite still looking green.
Here is an ornamental pineapple with pink leaves and pinkish red fruit.
Here is an ornamental pineapple with pink leaves and pinkish red fruit.

How to Propagate More Plants

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 the in-vitro micropropagation techniques.

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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?

    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.

  • If I plant the pineapple now in August what will happen when it gets cold? I'm in the south but our temperatures do get below 65. Should I plant my pineapple in a pot?

    Yes, it is better to plant it in a pot and move it indoors when the temperature drops. I plant some of my pineapple plants in a pot as well. When it is fruiting, I bring them inside for two reasons. First, I have the Asian palm civet that hangs around our place and takes a bite at the fruits the moment they 'smell the ripeness'. Secondly, it looks great as part of an indoor plant decor!

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

    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

  • Should I bring my pineapple plant indoors for the winter?

    Pineapple is a tropical plant and loves the sun and heat. It will not survive in the cold winter. So, yes, you have to bring the plant indoors during winter. Place it at a location that receives the most sunlight.

© 2016 Mazlan


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    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Sussan. It is better to have the pineapple plants in pots and move them around during the hot summer - put in the shaded area. Otherwise, you can them in the sunny area during the not intense hot seasons. Hopes this helps.

    • profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      8 months ago

      I lice in Las Vegas . it can get to be over a hundred degrees. Can i grow a pineapple in that kind of heat? Or can i have a potted one sit in that heat?

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      9 months ago from Malaysia

      Hi Faith.

      Good to know that the article had inspired you to plant the pineapple top. It is quite easy actually.

      I believe it is still summer with warm weathers in NJ right now? If it is, you can have it outdoor and place the planter box away from direct sunlight. Let the pineapple top grow for about a month before moving to area with direct sunlight.

      Good luck and yes, please keep us posted on your progress.

      Thanks for dropping by and have a great day.

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      I love trying new things. After reading your article I am really going to try this. Many years ago my oldest son who enjoys growing things and had planted a pineapple top but left it out and it became VERY cold outside (we live in NJ) so it died. But I'm going to try doing it in a very large planter that I have and keep it indoors where I have a very very sunny side of the house and it's sunny all year around. I will keep you posted as to how it's doing. Thank you.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from Malaysia

      Andrew, Not sure of your climate condition but in our hot tropical country, I still fertilize with potassium (K) for fruit development and ripening. If your soil condition is good and you have applied a good amount of fertilizer during the growth stage, then you can skip it during the fruiting stage ( cost of fertilizer is not cheap any more)

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      Growing two pineapple plants at different stages. I am aware that you can fertilise the plant during the summer periods. The mature one is fruiting, I wanted to know should you fertilise the plant during fruiting.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      22 months ago from Malaysia

      sqhetti girl, I did not notice these insects at the pineapple plant that I grew. But water might collect and stays at the leaves/stalk section and this might attract mosquitoes. So try to keep them dry a few hours alter after watering the pineapple plant.

    • profile image

      sqhetti girl 

      22 months ago

      when an if lol i can grow my pineapple per your way.. id like to put on my porch at certain sun hours.. will the pineapple cause lots of insects to come .. Ants, bee,s. misquitos any other insects i should look for .??

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Malaysia

      Yes you can trim the pineapple leaves, Roberta. Make sure you use a proper shear of sufficient length and also to wear gloves to protect you from possible injury from their sharp spines.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have 7 plants in different stages growing. I harvested one 6 months agO so know it takes quite a while. My qUestion is can you trim of some of the fronds and not damage it

      some of them are very large and prickly when you walk by

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Bob, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the compliment.

      You are actually in the tropics and it will be great if you can also share some of your gardening experience.

      Hope to see them soon!

    • profile image

      Bob Norris 

      2 years ago

      It's great actually having someone who lives in the tropics writing about plants. Most gardening topics are mostly about temperate zones. I live in Cooktown which is 15 degrees south of the equator.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi, Valene. Yes, you have to bring the plant indoors in winter and place it where it will get the most hours of sunshine. It is very easy to plant pineapple and you should give it a try. Then share your story here at HP. :-)

    • Valene profile image


      3 years ago from Missouri

      I got to see a pineapple plantation in Costa Rica and up until then, I thought pineapples grew on a tree, not out of a bush on the ground! I would love to try this. Do you bring the pot in the house in the winter, I assume?

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Good idea! I might just do that.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 years ago

      I have a friend who tired this and the plant is now about three feet tall with tiny pineapples growing on it. I can see how this would be fun to do for families. Thanks for sharing the steps.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi, BlossomSB. Thanks for sharing your childhood experience with planting pineapple top.

      I have read of people in the US who had success by bringing the pineapple plant (in a flower pot) indoors during the cold seasons. Maybe you should give yourself a try and then write a hub on your experience!

      Have a great day.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      When we were children sometimes our mother would give us the pineapple top to grow on some cotton-wool. It was fun and stayed alive for a long time, but never resulted in a plant that would grow more pineapples. I'd like to try this, but I'm not sure it would work in our climate, as it can get quite cold in the winter.


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