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7 October 2008

Growing pineapples in the backyard

Here's a closeup of what's happening in the old kale patch.

It's well into its second year and sure enough, a pineapple is growing in the backyard. I started this one off by planting the top of a store bought pineapple, it hasn't required any special treatment but it did take up a fair bit of space for just one plant.

Pineapples are surprisingly easy to grow here - in fact I live in the middle of the Golden Circle pineapple farm region, so that's no great surprise. It did surprise me, however, that the growing of this pineapple was as easy as it turned out to be. No pests attacked it, it withstood periods of pelting rain and then no rain at all for weeks. As long as we kept the water up to it, it thrived.

Stuck out in the middle of nowhere, our solo pineapple is slowly giving birth.

You grow pineapples from the tops of old pineapples. But make sure you grow a decent one. Be sure to only plant the top of a pineapple that was sweet and juicy because whatever traits your old pineapple had, so will the new one. You don't want to plant a pineapple that wasn't sweet, or tough, because that's what you grow in the new one.

Make sure you treat every pineapple like one that you will plant. Carefully twist or cut off the top green section off the fruit. Test taste, and if it's good enough to plant, remove all the flesh from the base of the green leaves, pick the lower leaves off so you have a bit of a stem to plant, then leave the pineapple top in the shade of your verandah to dry out for a week.

I'll plant this pineapple top during the week. Make sure you remove all the lower leaves.

During that week, prepare your garden bed. Pineapples like very good free draining soil. They won't produce fruit if the roots are standing in water. Add compost to the soil, dig it in and mound up the soil.

OR ... you can plant in a terracotta pot. Get yourself the largest pot you have, fill it with a mixture of ½ potting mix, ¼ compost and ¼ sharp sand and mix it well. Water the mix and let it sit for a week. Pineapples need a long hot summer but if you live in a frosty area, I'd still give them a go. If you plant in a pot, you'll be able to bring the plant inside during winter and keep it near a sunny window.

Plant the pineapple top in the soil just covering the base plate where the roots will come from. Don't bury the green stem as it might rot. Firm down the soil around the roots to make sure it doesn't fall over. Keep checking the plant for the first few weeks to make sure it's still upright and, hopefully, growing strongly.

Pineapples like an acidic soil in which to grow. Our soil here where the pineapple is growing is 6.5. If your pH is higher than that, add sulphur, according to the instructions on the packet and water your pineapple every so often with the leftover tea in your pot. That will help keep the soil slightly acidic.

Give the plant a good watering at least once a week and fertilise with weak compost or comfrey tea once a month. A pinch of sulphate of potash around the base of the plant at the beginning of the second summer will help with flowering.

Above all else though, you'll need patience because you won't notice any growth for about a year. In the second year the plant will grow and probably at the end of the second year, or in the second summer, you notice a fruit growing deep down in the middle of the plant. That's the point we're at here now.



  1. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I love pineapple. My Bro. did this a few yrs. back in a pot , he had a sm. pineapple ,but it was a pineapple worth eating:o)We were really shocked it produced,here.
    Last night I reread some of your older post,and enjoyed them as much as when I first read them. I enjoy my visits so very much.THanks for taking time to post. Hope you have a wonderful wk.

  2. Ho Rhonda wasn't expecting a post from what a lovely surprise!! I haven't grown pineapples for years but I am inspired and will plant some up this weekend we are having a big bbq which willinvolved loads of bbq pineapple chunks in a rum butter sauce for dessert. (Must remember to taste test before the rum)


  3. Good Morning Rhonda
    I suspect I would be pushing it to even try growing a pineapple in my back garden but will forward your information to daughter 1 who is moving in to her own house, on the central coast, any day now.

    Thanks for the post, much appreciated.

    Pippa xx

  4. Hi, Rhonda Jean
    Wow! I've never tried to grow a pineapple...and I dearly love to eat the sunny fruit! I'm going to have to try growing one now! There's always some good information in your blog that I can use...thanks a bunch!
    Hugs, Aunt Bea

  5. Dear Rhonda I to love to grow pineapples in fact I think you must live in the Sunshine Coast region like me.(We are so lucky aren't we)As always you were spot on saying you must plant from good fruit. Such a lovely surprise to have you blog today I think it's even nicer now as there is the element of surprise.

  6. I was wondering about growing pineapples because I noticed that our local Ikea has a bunch of pineapple plants for sale. I thought it was gimicky and they wouldn't be able to thrive here but maybe...

  7. I used to grow pineapples when I lived in Florida - it was fun to watch the fruit grow!

  8. Do pineapples need full sun to grow? I would like to try growing one. I'm in North Carolina

  9. What a treat that you wrote about growing pineapples from storebought :) Every time we eat a good one, we put the top into the ground, and after a year have 14 now (I never realized we ate so many) We read an article at some point about a man who practiced tropical/subtropical permaculture and would keep about 100 growing. Since they take a while to mature and fruit, he usually had some fresh pineapple on hand while others were still in all the in-between stages. We weren't aware we aren't supposed to plant the fruity cut-off part when we plant our tops. thank you for the pictures and details about how to do it right :)

  10. Hi Rhonda,
    Ah, your posts are always timely :-) We have one drying out on the back verandah and I didn't realise I need to strip the lower leaves off, so thank you, because it probably would have rotted :-)

    Cheers, Julie

  11. I would have never thought to doing that. Now I'm sitting here trying to figure out where in my yard I can give that a go.

  12. Let's face it Rhonda, this is just NOT going to happen here in Wales, right?!

  13. Oh I had no idea that you could grow your own pineapples...
    My daughter loves them so I am going to try this Rhonda Jean!
    I just love coming here~I learn so much from you!
    Thanks for being an inspiration! Ü

  14. Wow, that pineapple is really growing! I remember you wrote about planting it a while ago. How cool is that. I'm so curious to see how big it will get and what it'll taste like! :-)


  15. Hello Rhonda Jean,

    I found your blog while stumbling.

    I already feel the tranquility here.

    Wish I had a backyard to grow up a simple/beautiful life :)

    Maybe in a few years time...

    Cheers from Istanbul,

  16. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Nothing like a fresh pineapple, but not possible here in my Canadian garden. Off subject,
    I just have to share this blog,
    The needlework and photography of it, is a joy to behold.
    Take a break from your work and give yourself a treat.
    DianeH, Caledon ON Canada

  17. Oh how I wish we lived in a climate that was suitable to grow pineapples! I don't think they would withstand the frigid 30 below 0 weather we get here in Nebraska!


  18. Hello everyone. Pippa, where is your daughter living now? I thought she was going to Perth.

    Caroline, yes, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast which is great for pineapples.

    N, pineapples are just another of the bromeiad family, they are commonly grown as ornamental plants. Good luck with your pineapples.

    Welcome Bal!

    DianaH, thanks so much for sharing that blog. What a talented lady! I'll mention it in the next port I do.

  19. Great advice, we just potted on a couple of rooted pineapple tops today, don't know whether the pots will be big enough.

    Put them in pots because it's too cool here, lost one outside to frosts last year.

    Bought a couple of pineapples yesterday, one was a really pretty yellow one but only had a tiny top, bought it for the colour not the top. But it tasted really funky - not the nicest pineapple I've had. Didn't feel guilty about not growing the tip.

  20. I'll never forget a trip to Jamaica to a pineapple plantation. We sampled seven varieties of pineapple. They were the sweetest ever!

  21. How fun! I don't care for pineapple, but my BF sure does! It's a cool looking plant! I think we'll try and grow one too :D Thanks for the (as always) awesome info!

  22. That's great. I am going to try that here in Arkansas. We have a pretty mild winter with a few nights of freezing temps. I wonder if that will be okay?

  23. I read your post about pineapples with great interest, thinking I would try it 'some day'. Today, quite out of the blue somebody I'd never met before gave me a lovely healthy pineapple plant they'd been growing in a pot !!! Must have been the law of attraction, I was so excited at this gift & thankful for your clear growing instructions; blessings to you Rhonda!!

  24. We are on south coast of WA and planted a pineapple top just over 18 mths ago. No pineapple yet, but plenty of leafy growth. Any ideas on how long it may take?

    1. The south coast of WA is pretty cold, I hope you're protecting it. A pineapple should produce fruit in its second year.


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