Pineapple plants are simply stunning! They make a bold statement without being fussy to care for. If you have had a pineapple plant in your collection before, you will know that these plants thrive to produce fruit. They are dramatic, easy to manage and instantly recognisable plants. But, when it comes to pineapple plant care, where do you start?
Why Choose a Pineapple Plant?
If you are shopping to choose a new houseplant with character and charm, this one is likely to catch your eye! Garden centres and florists often give these species pride of place. They have sleek, striking foliage – leaves can be a single colour or come in an array of striped shades. If bearing fruit, they have added interest for obvious reasons!
Pineapple plants can grow up to six to eight feet tall! Keep this in mind when choosing a suitable pot (and spot) in your home.
How to Choose the Best Pineapple Plant
Looking for a cheaper plant with potential? Then go for a younger plant that looks strong and healthy. Pineapple plants take an average two to four years to produce fruit. Be patient if you don’t see any right away.
If you’re buying from a garden centre, be sure to choose a plant that looks sturdy – not limp – and check the leaves for pests.
It’s also worth noting that there are two main types of pineapple plant you’ll find in garden centres in the UK. The smaller types are purely ornamental – mainly because their fruit isn’t exactly tasty! The taller plants, however, will produce fully-fledged pineapples you can pick and eat.
Stalks may have ‘slips’ which are little growths attached to the plant – these can be separated to use for propagation. We’ll cover the propagating side of pineapple plant care a little further down.
If you can, turn the plant around and examine it from tip to root. If the price of the plant has been discounted, ensure it looks healthy and tap the medium it’s growing in. If it is showing few or rotted roots, chances are it has been overwatered.
It may look lively for now, but root rot is usually a killer for the pineapple plant. Conversely, if the leaves have been tip trimmed, they may have been dying off.
What to Expect From Your Pineapple Plant
Pineapple plants make great feature plants, even if you’re not going to eat its fruit. Provided you are meeting its needs in terms of nutrition, light and temperature, your own plant could last a decade or more!
Your sturdy plant will require a little more water when fruiting – and like all other plants, it will give indications if you are letting it down! Too little or too much water may cause problems. As mentioned, the biggest of these plants can grow up to eight feet tall – so plan ahead.
When Should I Water My Indoor Pineapple Plant?
You’re likely going to need to keep watering your pineapple regularly – don’t worry, it can handle the moisture providing you don’t overdo it. You can give your pineapple plant water by pouring directly into leaf blades – meaning it will effectively moisturise itself at a pace it’s happy with.
It’s good to strike a balance when watering these plants. Water it too much, and it will rot. Too little, and it will fade away – fruit will not develop properly, and may begin to wrinkle and/or shrivel. Touch test the base of the plant and the surrounding area should feel moist but not soggy.
Ideally, mist and water your pineapple plant once a week in dry soil – it’ll ask for very little else from you.
What’s the Ideal Temperature for a Pineapple Plant?
As a tropical bromeliad, the pineapple plant is often going to need warm conditions in which it can really thrive. The best temperature range for a pineapple plant that will bear fruit is anywhere between 18 and 25 degrees Centigrade (roughly 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit).
Where Should I Place My Pineapple Plant?
Pineapple plants love light. This means on a hot windowsill, they may become thirsty – even though they love the photosynthesis! Tender young leaves and roots will suffer more from being drowned as you may overcompensate for the drying heat – so, it may be better to move them to a slightly shadier spot, or one with fewer hours in direct sun.
To Feed or Not to Feed – That Is The Question
New pineapple plants may require very little feeding in a nutritious and sufficient medium. Older plants, however, which haven’t been repotted, may have drained the nutrients from the soil and begin to show signs of distress. Fewer or weak leaves can be a sign of malnutrition.
If pineapple fruit fails to develop successfully, check your plant has enough light and moisture but is not drenched. Most mother plants only produce one fruit. They do produce slips, however, which in turn you may wish to remove for propagation.
To grow more slips and therefore more pineapple plants, you’re going to need some specialist feed. You’ll normally find this either online or at your local garden centre. During the warmer months, you should ideally feed your plant every couple of weeks with a suitable fertiliser. Moving into winter, you shouldn’t have to do this more than once every four weeks.
How to Trim a Pineapple Plant
Not for the faint hearted, pruning is often a ‘hold your breath moment’! If you are pruning your pineapple plant, is it because it has grown too big for a container, or is it to remove fruit?
If you are tidying up a straggly plant, it’s a good idea to turn the container a few times or walk around the plant to check its overall shape. Pruning can be a good opportunity to rebalance the shape of the plant.
If you are removing fruit, however, check on the best direction to make the cuts from and towards. Position yourself so that you are within comfortable reach of where you aim to cut.
If removing decorative fruit on a stalk, have a container of water nearby in which to place the stalk once you’ve cut the desired length for display.
Choosing a Container for Your Pineapple Plant
Pineapple plants can grow heavy fruits – therefore, a lightweight pot may not be robust enough to contain your plant safely. Pineapple plants enjoy light, but metal containers will heat up in sunshine and roots can burn!
Choose a pot which will be sturdy and offer protection across all seasons – and it also needs to have good drainage. Remember, these plants are native to tropical regions, so they enjoy light and have a thirst – but drainage is of paramount importance. They enjoy a light shower, but not a bath!
How to Pot a Pineapple Plant
Repotting can be a tough decision but ultimately be vital for the survival of your pineapple plant. Have the replacement container nearby and ensure you have cleaned it thoroughly. Choose a container which is larger than your current one, if your aim is for the plant to grow larger.
Ensure the medium to plant in is to hand and at a comfortable temperature. Check the drainage of the pot and ensure there is a layer of new medium for your plant to grow in at the bottom of the container.
Gently tap the outside of the current pot to loosen the plant and then withdraw slowly. Large plants may require a blade inserted between the container wall and the plant, nearest to the edge of the container.
Loosen the medium and, if necessary, roll the container on its side. Loosen the roots as you lower the plant into its new home. If necessary, place a cane or other support in the container as you position the plant in its new container. Pack the growth medium gently around the plant and add a little water.
How to Propagate a Pineapple Plant
With care and patience, pineapple plants can be propagated, even in the most simplistic containers. This is a good exercise for children to learn and will be a memory they can use in the future too! Simply follow the steps below and you should get some positive results!
Prepare a well-draining vessel for your cuttings. Choose a clean container, and have a label ready to record the date and perhaps note when you water your plant. There are three ways to propagate from a parent pineapple plant:
- You can simply remove a slip or runner.
- You can remove a fruit and then slice off the head. Remove the flesh and submerge the central stalk in water until rooted.
- You can splice a stalk and root it in water, or place directly in good compost.
Pineapple Plants and Safety
Pineapple plants look interesting – but they are sharp to the touch! Young children can acquire nasty scratches from sharp pointed leaves and fruits. Look after your pets, too. They may not be safe for cats as they often have allergic reactions to pineapple plants – and they are toxic for dogs. It is best to display these plants out of reach of young children and four legged family members!
I’m Going on Holiday – How Do I Care for My Pineapple Plant?
If you are going away for more than a few days, it may be worth using an automatic watering system. Alternatively, during summer months, your pineapple plant could temporarily have a holiday of its own in a greenhouse or conservatory!
Simply ensure they are not exposed to too much hot sun where their foliage and roots could suffer. Remember, these plants love light but not getting sunburnt!
Equally, your pineapple plant will not like cold drafts, nor enjoy being left outside in the rain where they may drown! It’s all about balance.
Do Pineapple Plants Really Help to Stop Snoring?
No – at least, there’s no real scientific evidence to suggest that they can! Pineapple plants are rather odd as they are rare houseplants that breathe out oxygen overnight – they are somewhat nocturnal.
The rumours don’t hold any weight – but as it happens, you can still set up a pineapple plant to help improve the air quality in your home.
Is It Easy to Look After a Pineapple Plant?
Yes – surprisingly so! Just make sure to give it the care and attention any other tropical plants demand. These plants can look amazing all year round and they’ll be sure to brighten up your bedroom, living room or conservatory.