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Dwarf pineapples.

Get started with pineapples

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Growing a pineapple can be as simple as twisting the top off an existing fruit and planting it. 

Pineapple plants only produce one fruit, which takes between 14 to 24 months to fully develop, depending on the cultivar and the climate. Once a fruit is forming, it will still be another 3+ months before it is ripe. But they don’t mind tough conditions, so you can plant them in odd spots, or create a dazzling effect with a mass or row planting.

In your home garden, pineapples can be grown in the ground, a raised bed or pot. You can buy tube stock, which is ready to be planted in the ground. Stock is available online, but propagating your own pineapples is the most popular way to grow them at home. Here are three methods: 

  •  Planting the tops: when you buy a pineapple or pick one of your own, twist the top off (the spikey leaves and some of the skin) which becomes your next planting material. Leave the top in your kitchen to dry for few weeks, then strip off the bottom leaves. Your pineapple top is ready to plant in a prepared hole to the depth of 5–10cm.
  •  Slips are new plants growing underneath the pineapple fruit on an existing plant (see picture below). Pull the slips off and plant directly in the ground to a depth of 10cm.
  •  Suckers are shoots growing from the main stem. Cut off and insert to a depth of 10–15cm.

Pineapple with slips Alamy

Cool climate tips

You will need determination, but gardeners in cooler parts of Australia can grow pineapples with some key strategies. The most important is to protect plants from frost and extreme heat. Place your pineapple plant in a sheltered, warm position with reflective heat (for example, a brick wall). Ensure that the plant gets winter sun and is sheltered from cold winds, and in summer, protected from the hot afternoon sun.  In Europe, the truly dedicated grow them in a heated glasshouse. Fruit will be slower to produce and smaller size, the colder the climate. 

Want to learn some of the different varieties of pineapples you can grow and expert tips on keeping them happy? Get Leonie Shanahan’s full article in Issue 129