Man, the flavor of a pineapple is one hundred times more powerful than the flavor of meat – Jose Andres
If you surprised your friends and family with a top-five fruits pop quiz, the chances of the pineapple making an appearance in their list of answers are slim to none.
But even though it isn’t the first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth most popular choice on anyone’s go-to list of fruits, the pineapple has become a staple part of our everyday lives.
More than just a pizza topping and a particularly delicious alternative to orange juice on a hot summer day, pineapple is an incredibly versatile fruit that has become the star of the show in a nearly endless variety of culinary delights and sweet treats.
While there are a lot of crazy rumors and half-truths that have been attributed to this South American native, one of the craziest things about pineapples is that it’s only called a pineapple by the English-speaking population of the world.
In almost every other language and most countries, it’s called an ananas, which is taken directly from the Tupinamba word (a tribe of people who originally occupied the area of Brazil that later became Rio de Janeiro) nanas which meant “excellent fruit”.
And it was mostly thanks to the rest of the world adopting the name nanas for the pineapple, that led to it being given the scientific title Ananas Comosus, which roughly translates to “tufted excellent fruit”.
So why do we call the ananas a pineapple?
That’s thanks to Christopher Columbus’ trip to Guadalupe in fourteen ninety-three that originally cataloged the fruit as the “pina des Indies” (pine of the Indians) and later mistranslations which led to the name being adopted and becoming part of the mainstream lexicon, somewhere around the end of the seventeenth century.
The name stuck and the pineapple has been a vital if often neglected and mostly forgotten, part of our diet and lives ever since.
That said, the humble pineapple, or if you prefer ananas has been the subject of an unexpected resurgence during the last decade, and while it’s still languishing somewhere near the bottom of the fashionable fruit charts, it’s been seized upon by and has endeared itself to, legions of amateur and professional home-based horticulturalists.
Finding a place in the hearts due to its natural beauty, resilience, adaptability, and the fact that it’s relatively easy to grow and care for, the pineapple has finally found its true calling and fanbase.
And to help you discover just how wonderful this fruit is, we’re going to guide you through a step-by-step list of everything that you’ll need to know about bringing it into your home and making the ananas a part of your family.
Are you ready to add a little Brazilian flair and South American color to your house, brighten up your life and make your home even more welcoming? You are? Then it’s time to embrace the pineapple and let it begin to work a little of its magic…
Choosing The Right Pineapple
Whether you’ve seen them in a movie, on a television show, online, or in a magazine, you’re almost certainly familiar with pineapple trees and probably have a good idea of how big they can, and do grow to be.
Knowing that, you’re also probably trying to figure out you’re going to find the room for a pineapple tree in your apartment or house without it eventually poking through your ceilings and, quite literally, raising the roof of your home.
There’s no need to worry or panic though, as the Ananas Comosus family includes a number of smaller varieties that make ideal house plants.
Miniature, or dwarf pineapple plants (which are also known by the scientific name Ananas Nanas) could have been purposely created by Mother Nature to be houseplants.
As beautiful to gaze at as their much larger relatives, their deep green and vibrant red spiked leaves make them the standout feature, and focus of, any room that they take up residence in.
The only things that differentiate them from their more well-known cousins are their size and the rather unfortunate fact that their fruit, although gorgeous, is inedible.
But as you’ve chosen to welcome your pineapple plant into your family, you’re hardly about to start eating it, are you?
And given that you can make a flying visit to the supermarket and pick up a pineapple or two in a fraction of the time that it’ll take your dwarf ananas to flower, you won’t feel the need to try and eat the smaller fruit.
A Little Knowledge Goes A Long Way
The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to take care of your pineapple plant, so, before we go any further we thought that we shared a little of the pineapple’s biological history with you.
All of the Ananas family are bromeliads, a genus of plants that is typically native to the tropical America’s and was among the last of known species of plants to have evolved and developed and is widely thought to have first appeared in South-Eastern Brazil roughly five and a half million years ago.
Known for their adaptability, Bromeliaceae (to give them their proper plural name) have been able to flourish in a number of different environments and conditions, which means that the most famous and well-known member of their extended family, the pineapple will take to living in your home, providing you look after with the due care and attention that it needs, like a duck to water.
And, there is some sad news that we feel it’s important to share before you read any further. When your pineapple plant flowers and its fruit is fully grown, it will wither and die. It’s the eternal cycle of nature and there’s nothing that you can do to prevent it.
Don’t try to prevent it, just roll with the punches and look after your pineapple plant to the best of your ability. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as there is some good news too – the fruit, flower, or whatever you want to call it?
That’s like a great big seed and if you plant it, it’ll grow into another dwarf pineapple plant and begin the cycle all over again. It’s a combination of heartbreak and joy wrapped up in a small fruit package.
Who knew that pineapples could be so emotionally complicated?
Helping Your Pineapple Plant To Thrive
It’s time to focus on all the things that you can do to help your dwarf (you might also hear people talking about pygmy pineapple plants in your local gardening center, don’t worry they’re the same thing) pineapple to reach its potential and grow into a healthy and happy plant.
The first thing that you need to know is that pineapple plants love light – they thrive on it in the same way that cacti do, and adore the sun.
Ideally, the perfect place for your pineapple plant is on a window ledge or somewhere where it can just bask in the sun all day and every day. As far as your pineapple plant is concerned, there’s no such thing as too much sunshine or too much light.
That said, it will grow toward the source of light, so if you don’t want your pineapple plant to end up resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’ll need to rotate and change the aspect of the pot that it’s housed in as often as possible.
Then there’s water, which the ananas loves almost as much as light. It’s a plant that evolved in the tropical climate of South America, so it adores moisture, which means that it’s important to ensure that it always has enough water.
However, while it’s crucial to make sure that the soil that it’s planted in is moist at all times, it’s equally important not to over-saturate it. An easy way to test if the soil is wet enough for your dwarf pineapple is by simply touching it.
If it feels cool and damp to the touch, then the level of moisture is just right, but if it feels wet, then you’ve probably added too much water.
Again, don’t worry if the soil does feel too wet, just don’t add any more water and keep testing the soil every day, as the ananas will ensure that the excess water doesn’t go to waste.
Just keep testing the soil on a daily basis and as soon as it feels damp again, go back to your usual watering schedule.
It won’t hurt to add a little houseplant growth food to your watering can when Summer and Spring are approaching as your pineapple plant will need all the energy that it can get to help it grow.
Pineapples are used to the heat and humidity of the tropics, and even though it’s traveled a long way from its ancestral home, your dwarf pineapple still needs a suitable level of humidity in order to thrive.
The perfect humidity level for a pineapple plant is about forty percent, so you’ll need to find the location in your home where the humidity levels are approaching, or are just a little beyond that benchmark.
You can easily measure the levels with an indoor hygrometer and if you do need to boost the humidity figures around your pineapple plant you can either situate it in close proximity to some of your other plants (trust us, it works) or use a small indoor humidifier to increase the level of moisture in the air.
Remember what we said about the level of moisture that pineapple plants need to bloom?
The soil that they’re planted in needs to be moist, but not too wet and should contain just enough water for them to be comfortable at all times, and while it’s incredibly difficult to get the balance exactly right, you can easily manage it if you use the right kind of soil.
Okay, so you’re probably thinking that soil is soil, but that isn’t the case. Pineapple plants enjoy the same kind of environment as succulents and cacti do, which means that with a little bit of help from the right soil mix your pineapple plant will prosper.
Propagation – The Next Generation of Pineapple Plant
We’ve already talked about the fruit of the dwarf pineapple plant and how it can be used to grow the next generation of its ancestors, so you’re already aware of how to make sure that your pineapple plant’s lineage will continue.
And, we’re willing to bet, as there are few, if any, hummingbirds present to help pollinate your pineapple plant as they would in the wild, we’re almost certain that you’ll use the fruit to grow another plant.
There is, however, another way to successfully grow a pineapple plant, or if you do have the room, a tree in your backyard.
Remember when we mentioned that there were a lot of crazy rumors, myths, and stories about pineapples and that very few of them had any basis in fact? Well, this is one of those crazy stories that aren’t so crazy after all and is actually true.
And it all revolves around a way that you, or anyone else, can grow a pineapple tree from the fruit that you buy from the supermarket.
Are you ready for another crazy pineapple fact? Well, you’d better be, because we’re about to tell you how you can grow your pineapple tree from store-bought fruit and it’s almost certainly far easier than you ever imagined it would be.
All you need to grow a full pineapple tree is the crown from its fruit.
What is the crown? We’re glad you asked. The crown of a pineapple is the bit at the top of the fruit that the leaves are attached to.
If you’re serious about growing a pineapple from its crown, you’ll need to find the healthiest fruit that you can in order to do so. Our top tip for finding the right fruit?
Look for one that’s a little underripe that has the greenest, freshest-looking leaves growing out of it.
Once you’ve found the right fruit, and you’ve got it home, you’re going to need to remove the crown from the rest of the pineapple. It’s easy, all you have to do is firmly grip the pineapple at the top and twist, and the crown should come straight off.
You might need to trim and remove some of the lower leaves on the crown so that you can fully expose the stalk, and it’s at this point that you can choose one of two different ways to grow your new pineapple plant or tree – which of the two that it will turn out to depend entirely on whether you’ve removed, and are using, the crown from a store-bought fruit or the crown from a dwarf plant.
If it’s the former, it’s going to be big, so make sure that you have the room to let it grow.
The Water Way
In reality, water propagation is an intermediary step that you don’t really need to use unless you’re not confident enough in your ability to gauge when you should plant your pineapple crown.
It’s simple and straightforward and is designed to encourage the roots of your pineapple crown’s stem to start growing.
Fill a jar with water, and place the crown on the top of the jar ensuring that its stem is touching the surface of the water.
Place the jar on a window sill, or somewhere where it is going to receive enough sunlight for the roots of your would-be pineapple tree to start developing and growing.
When the roots have started to emerge and you can actually see them in the water, it’s time to remove your pineapple crown and budding tree from the water and plant it.
Don’t remove it from the jar, or begin to plant it until you’re completely confident that the roots are ready and that everything that you’re going to need to plant it is on hand and prepared.
Planting Your Pineapple Tree
That’s right, we called it a tree, because in all likelihood if you’ve used the crown method and you’ve removed that crown from a store-bought fruit. And that means that your yard is about to welcome a very large resident to its neighborhood.
Prepare a plant pot by filling it with the cacti soil that we mentioned earlier and digging a little hole that’s just big enough for the roots from the pineapples stem to rest in and be covered by the soil.
Plant your crown and soon-to-be pineapple tree in the soil and cover its roots and stem completely.
Ensure that the soil is moist enough for the pineapple plant, and place it in an area of your home in which it can bask in as much sunlight as possible – it’s not ready to be planted in your yard yet, so be patient.
And while we’re on the subject of patience, it’s going to take your pineapple plant a while (usually between two and twelve months) to successfully establish itself, so you’re going to need to wait until you can help it to take the next step on its journey.
Every once in a while, as well as making sure that the soil is always moist, give the top of the grown a little pull and if it doesn’t move, or you feel some resistance, it’s established its root system, and it’s ready to be moved into your yard.
Now you can dig the hole in your yard and get ready to move your pineapple youngling to its new home.
As soon as you’ve dug the hole and added a little cacti soil mix to it, carefully remove your pineapple from its pot and transfer it to the hole in your yard.
Water it, and let nature take its course, and within a year, you’ll start to see your very own pineapple tree beginning to grow.
Or You Can Always Use Seeds
Pineapples can be fickle, and for any number of different reasons, the crown method doesn’t always work.
And if it doesn’t, and your heart is still set on growing your own pineapple plant, the next best method and usually, nine times out of ten iron-clad way of growing a pineapple plant is from seeds.
Almost all of the pineapples that are sold in supermarkets have been cultivated so that they can’t germinate and won’t paradise seeds, but that doesn’t stop nature from intervening, and sometimes despite the best effort of man, some pineapples do produce seeds.
You’ll be able to spot them easily enough in any fruit, they’re the small, hard brown particles in your pineapple.
All you have to do is remove them, and plant them in the same way that you would any other seed while bearing in mind the growing conditions that pineapples tend to favor.
It will take some time, but within twelve months you’ll know whether or not you were successful and if you’re going to be the proud parent of a brand new, big, and beautiful pineapple tree.
Read about how to propagate these other plants:
How to Grow Pilea Babies
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