Pineapple plants are absolutely gorgeous to watch growing inside your home! As part of the family of Bromeliaceae, they’re herbaceous perennials. As natives of the tropics, they grow well indoors. But – I hear you ask – why is my pineapple plant leaning over?
There are many reasons why a pineapple plant may start to lean over! In this guide, I’ll take you through why your plant may be starting to bend, and what you can do to fix the problem.
Remember – the sooner you begin to treat a sick plant, the quicker the recovery. Let’s get started.
Most common causes of a leaning pineapple plant
Before I get stuck into the following causes of pineapple plant leanings, always remember that your specimen may not always suffer the same way as everyone else’s! Take a look through these potential causes and start to get that pineapple standing up straight again.
1. It’s not getting enough light
This is a pretty common problem with a simple solution. Pineapple plants thrive in strong sunlight! Ideally, when indoors, you should place them in the sunniest spot in your home.
As with all sun worshippers, some get tanned on one side and seem pale on the other! So if your plant is leaning, it may simply require turning – so the leaves all get their fair share of sun rays. Even outdoors in containers, you may find that simply turning them will straighten them up!
2. You’re overwatering it
It’s a common mistake to believe all tropical plants like to be kept in constant humidity with drenched roots and soggy leaves. Many tropical plant parents learn from experience, that some need to dry out.
Pineapple plants need careful watering. Two or three times per month, it’s advisable to note when they’re watered. Approximately a week or so later, check how damp the growth medium is – and do not water again until it’s thoroughly dry.
The larger the plant and hotter the climate, the bigger your plant’s thirst will be. With this in mind, keep reading for advice about off-shoots.
3. Its new growths are stressing out the mother plant
As plant parents, seeing our greens start to create new off-shoots is an amazing sight. As side shoots develop from parent plants, it’s easy to congratulate yourself that your plant is thriving! However, new arrivals can, sadly, cause serious stress to the mother plant – and in the case of pineapple plants, this can cause leaning in one of three typical ways.
You’re overwatering the new shoots
It’s easy to think you should give new shoots water in addition to the main pineapple plant. However, a shared container means the plants with the most and longest roots will benefit or suffer from excess water.
The absolute best thing to do is to stick to your usual watering schedule. Otherwise, your pineapple plant will start to lean, and it may even develop root rot.
New shoots are soaking up the minerals
New shoots on a pineapple plant may cause crookneck – a mineral deficiency problem. I’ll show you how to treat it a little further down.
New growths are taking up all the light
As off-shoots develop, they can weave through the larger leaves of the parent pineapple plant and either disturb those older leaves or even shield them from light!
If off-shoots are overcrowding the parent plant, insufficient sunlight can stress all of them! It may be time to remove the off-shoots or to try turning the container as a temporary solution.
It’s a good time to plan ahead for some division, too. Gather some extra containers, growth medium, and get busy repotting the off-shoots!
4. It’s suffering from root rot
Root rot is a major problem for pineapple plants – it’s commonly caused by overwatering and can cause these beauties to lean dramatically.
To check and remedy root rot, you’ll need to follow a few surgical steps. Here’s the condensed version for you to try at home.
Prepare for surgery
Arrange some fresh growth medium ready – don’t use any of the old growth medium – it may have been contaminated! Don’t place the contaminated growth medium where it may affect any plants, either!
Ease your plant out of its container
Take your pineapple plant out of the container by prising away the growth medium from the side. This is easier to do if the plant has not just been watered.
For large specimens, it’s a good idea to place the container on its side on a plastic sheet. Sometimes, it’s useful to roll the pot slowly to loosen the contents.
Slowly tease the plant out from the container and rinse off all the growth medium. Remember – its roots are tender, and your plant is also stressed. It’s kinder to pour water gently from a jug or watering can than hose them down!
Get to the root of the issue
Take your time to unravel tangled roots. Healthy ones will be firm and white, while rotten ones may be completely brown, dark gray, or black.
Root Rot can have a musty, stale smell. Root balls may look slimy and disintegrate, too – but don’t give up! You may still save a life!
Finish up the surgery
Check the area where roots join the base of the central core. Remove any outer leaves which have begun to rot, too – this may seem drastic, but you’ll need to replant only healthy parts of your plant in fresh, clean compost.
Place clean gravel in the bottom of the new container and add a layer of new compost. Gently place your cleaned plant in the container and load up the surrounding area with more growth medium. Offer a little water but only moisten the compost – don’t soak it!
5. It’s suffering from pests
Pests in general can munch their way through healthy leaves and roots, causing pineapple plants to lean. The stress on plants from unwelcome visitors isn’t always immediately visible!
Every time you water your plant, ensure you check all the leaves. Sometimes pests and eggs can be on the underside of leaves. A mini torch and/or magnifying glass can be a big help detecting them.
Mealy bugs and other pests often leave a powdery deposit in their wake – or, you may discover tiny pits in the structure of normally smooth leaves or stalks.
Why not make a pest deterrent of your own? Simply add five teaspoons of dish soap detergent to a liter of water and apply this to the leaves on both sides and on the stalk/s. Allow the solution to trickle along the leaves.
In tight spots, you can use a cotton bud or a soft bristle paint brush to apply the liquid. If your pineapple plant is large and has a huge infestation, it may be worth placing some newspaper or tissue on the surface of the container to catch excess water. You can then destroy the spent solution and any eggs.
6. It’s got crookneck
Your pineapple plant may suffer from crookneck if it appears deformed into a twist, and/or if leaves are starting to discolor.
Typically, yellowing leaves dry up and die off. At the early signs of decay, it may be best to cut them off with clean scissors. This deformity usually occurs due to a mineral deficiency (such as a lack of zinc).
After tidying up your plant and removing some leaves if you need to, offer your plant some physical support. Your pineapple plant may have leaned to such an extent that trimming off other leaves makes it even harder to balance!
A couple of strategically-placed canes can help support the core until the plant regains strength.
To boost the plant’s regeneration, feed your plant a zinc mixture. Combine one part zinc to three parts dechlorinated water, and mix on the day of use rather than store it.
Spray the plant with this solution every 12 to 15 days (in two applications).Then, apply it monthly during the growing season.
Pineapple plants are absolutely gorgeous growths that you’re really lucky to have thriving in your home. However, like most houseplants, you’re going to need to show them some TLC. That can mean time and effort on your part – but it’s worth it!
If your pineapple plant is starting to lean, don’t worry – these things can take time to heal! To make sure you’re doing everything you can look after your plant check out our full guide on caring for pineapple plants.