You may not think about it much, most people don’t, but growing pineapples at home are easier than you may think. It also provides a great aroma to your home and really is quite refreshing.
So, how long does it take for a pineapple to grow? As a general rule, it will take anywhere from 16 to 24 months to begin seeing fruits. If you live outside a tropical area or plan on growing your pineapple indoors, it can take longer. The long duration in which for them to grow is because it takes 200 flowers to develop into one fruit. That means every segment you see on the skin of a pineapple was once a flower. It then formed into a berry which then coalesced with other berries from the flowers on the same stalk to form the pineapple you see.
If you’re more of a visual learner though, check out our YouTube video!
A General Understanding of Time
The length of time a pineapple grows depends on whether it’s indoors or outdoors along with the method used to root the plant and the planting zone.
Under what a pineapple considers normal conditions, in a tropical area outside, you may see fruit as soon as 16 months. This is often the case in places like Hawaii.
But if you’re growing it indoors in a place like Florida, it can take as long as 24 months. If you’re attempting to grow it in a place like southern Illinois, expect a much longer flowering and fruiting period than 24 months.
The method in which you derive the plant will also affect how it grows and determines when a pineapple will produce fruits.
Different Methods of Planting Pineapples
There are several ways to grow a pineapple plant. There’s always the option of starting it from seed, but this is the longest method. Other ways include using the top, slips, hapas, suckers or ratoons. Aside from the top, the others listed are what the mother plant leaves behind when it flowers, fruits and dies.
Planting Pineapple Crowns
Crowns are the top of a pineapple, like what you can find attached to the fruit at a grocery store. This is the most popular and easiest method to start a pineapple plant. Grab the leaves at the top with a gentle grip and also around the fruit and twist the leaves remove it with care.
There is an important thing to note here: if there is a hole drilled into the top of the fruit, you won’t be able to plant it. Some fruit producers will put a hole in the Crown. This is intentional to prevent you from being able to plant it.
If you plan on using a crown, know this is going to take the longest time to grow and fruit; as much as 28 months or even longer. But the upside to using these is that they develop a stronger root system, though they aren’t as drought-resistant as other methods.
Some growers suggest allowing the crown to dry for up to two weeks before you plant it. Others say to allow it to root in a glass of water and yet some decry rooting it in water and just planting the crown right away. You will have to tinker with your own preferences and what you find to be most effective.
Planting Pineapple Slips
Slips are tiny plants growing from the base of the plant, coming up from the sides of the stalk (also known as the peduncle) and have a curved shape. They sort of look like an undeveloped, smaller version of the plant.
These begin to form when the mother plant is about half grown. You can break off the slips by handoff in about 10 to 13 months for planting. Breaking off slips on a regular basis helps the mother plant yield more ratoons.
It’s better to plant these as soon as possible once harvested from the peduncle and you shouldn’t have to dry them. You can begin to see fruits as early as 24 months after planting into the soil.
Planting Pineapple Suckers
Suckers are also plantlets growing off of the peduncle and are larger and older. They grow from a bud which means you will have to use a knife to remove them.
Because these tend to flower, it may have a negative effect on yield and harvesting. So, you can grow a plant from this stage, but understand you may run into some problems.
Many gardeners attest to this type being the fastest growing because fruits appear as soon as 16 months. A “ratoon crop” forms if the suckers go unattended on the peduncle.
Planting Pineapple Hapas
Hapas are intermediate in size, sitting between small slips and larger suckers. They are easy to break off by hand. These are much straighter than slips and come off of the base of the peduncle.
Planting Pineapple Ratoons
Ratoons are the secondary fruits growing from the mother plant even after its cycle of flowering, fruiting and dying. Ratoons are little plants found between the mother’s plant leaves and can appear as soon as a year. Remove these from the base of the mother with a gentle, twisting motion.
Forcing Pineapple Growth
If you are new to planting pineapple, be sure to do a little research on how each of these methods work so you get the most out of your plant.
But if you’re anxious to get fruit as soon as possible, there are some things you can do. It’s about understanding and forcing the flowering period, not the fruiting stage. It takes about five to seven months for the fruit to appear once flowering has occurred.
Perfect Location For A Pineapple Plant
Although they can grow anywhere, plant your pineapple an area that is warm and sunny all year round with good draining soil. So, you’re going to have an easier time trying to grow pineapple in California than you will in Maine, for example.
But these sweet, juicy and delectable fruits are great in a pot, which is what makes them perfect to grow indoors. Like most plants, though, they do best in the wide-open earth.
If you are lucky enough to live in the 11-12 growing zone, then you can leave the outgrowth of the plant which will produce more plants.
Working with this plant indoors is going to take more care and attention. You will have to remove all plantlets and outgrowth to ensure it not only grows faster but so it also doesn’t become congested.
Ideal Temperature For Pineapple Plants
Maintaining a temperature range of 68ºF to 85ºF is the ideal happy temp for pineapples to produce the best and tastiest fruits. But here’s where you can play with temperature to quicken the flowering stage, which will ultimately make fruiting occur faster.
You can make it colder with shorter lengths of sunlight, which causes a reaction via flowering. You can also neglect and overexpose it to heat, putting it through near-drought-like conditions.
But if you go with the heat option, know that the fruit will be smaller. If you use cold to achieve earlier flowering, take care when doing this before they’ve reached a larger size because this will also yield smaller fruit.
If you plan to use chemicals to help growth along, it is better to do this in cooler seasons than in warmer ones. Also note that these suggested chemicals are very corrosive, so there are going to be some warnings in using them as well.
- Ethephon – This is a plant growth regulator discovered in 1965 and registered as a pesticide in 1973. It’s a popular choice for farmers and bigger agriculture but also effective for personal use as well. It’s known to help induce flower production in pineapples by spraying it on or putting it into the soil.
- There are some health cautions to note about using this though as it can cause eye, skin and other soft-tissue irritations.
- Calcium Carbide – This is a chemical compound that, when applied with water, turns into acetylene gas. This gas helps to induce flower growth in pineapple plants but also has its warnings.
- This is a very flammable gas and also has the capacity to cause irritation to eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.
Fertilizing Pineapple Plants
Almost all plants need a good fertilizer to produce beautiful results. Pineapple is no different.
The best blend of dry fertilizer for pineapples should contain nutrients like potash, phosphoric acid, nitrogen and magnesium. They should be at about 6-10% each with a bit less magnesium. Liquid fertilizers should have these as well and be a mild blend of nutrients.
When the plant is young, fertilize it around every eight to 10 weeks. When the pineapple begins to mature, increase the frequency. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Growing pineapple can be a time-consuming and yet rewarding experience. But if you’re looking to make them grow faster, there are a few steps you’ll have to take with consistent care and observation. Taking the time to research and understanding what goes into growing one will give you the best results possible.