Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coming to Fruition - Pineapples

Several years ago a friend of mine mentioned that the top (a slip) removed from a ripe pineapple can be rooted and will produce another pineapple.

So, over quite a few years, we dutifully planted a few pineapple slips here and there, and promptly forgot about them. Sure enough they rooted and thrived, and in their own prickly, spiny, and somewhat primitive bromiliad way they make an interesting addition to the garden. However, none of them ever bore any fruit.

Then prowling around the garden in January........drum roll please....
....we noticed that several of them had flower-type-something-going-on.

Eventually this floret developed purple flowers, which were very pretty, but I forgot to take a photo of.

April; and finally the pineapple reveals itself! According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension's website (link listed below) the pineapple is ripe when the peel (called a shell) turns from its green color to yellow. As this is also right around the time when squirrels and raccoons become interested in eating said ripe pineapple, I cut mine off just below pineapple, before it started to turn yellowish,  and then I refrigerated the whole thing until the shell turned yellow.

I was concerned that it would be dried out, but when I cut it was so juicy and sweet, and check out that vibrant color!

If however, you decide to let it ripen fully in the garden, the Extension's website suggests covering the pineapple with a paper bag to protect it from being chewed on. I'd go ahead and draw a scary face on the bag just for added effect.... :)

Here is how we got ours rooted and a link for more info is below. 
1)   Cut the spiky top off ripe pineapple. I left a little bit of the fruit to feed the slip.

2)   Peel off the bottom leaves, about 2" worth, to reveal a stalk. Don't use rooting powder, you don't need it.

3)   Plant in garden up to the bottom leaves.

4)   Water regularly, feed, and in approximately 18 to 24 months you will be the proud owner of a garden fresh pineapple.

I am growing mine in pots to give them a good start.

When you go to transplant your rooted slips, be aware that the mature pineapple plant might easily get 3 feet across in diameter. Also the leaves are sharp, so don't plant them close to your walkway.

Good Luck!

Click Here for University of Florida IFAS Extension website

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