The Pineapple is a sweet and beautiful fruit that, to many people’s surprise, make a brilliant indoor plant. The disease-resistant and drought-resistant tropical plant variety thrive in a wide range of environments.
Summary of indoor pineapple plant care: A pineapple plant needs a warm environment as it’s a tropical plant and can’t tolerate cold temperatures. They need minimal water so ensure that the soil never gets soggy, just moist to the touch. Moderate humidity is fine, so it will do well in the average home.
So, do you want to grow pineapple indoors? Well, it’s possible for this plant to thrive in your house as long as you take care of it. Below is an overview of how to successfully grow an indoor pineapple plant, including important FAQs.
Overview of the Pineapple Plant (Ananas comosus)
|Scientific Name||Ananas Comosus|
|Common Name||Pineapple Plant|
|Origin||Paraguay / Brazil|
|Light Requirements||Direct sunlight, 12 to 14 hours|
|Watering||Doesn’t need much water. Water only if the soil is dry.|
|Soil||Good Draining Soil|
|Temperature||Between 20C and 30C|
|Fertilizer||Dry and Nitrogen rich|
|Humidity||Room level of humidity, apart from winter when it can use more|
|Pruning||As soon as you notice deteriorating leaves|
|Pests and Diseases||Nematodes, mealybugs|
|Maximum Growth||3 to 6 feet|
Choosing The Right Soil
Pineapples that are grown indoors need a mix of sandy loam soil. You can create this potting mix by using 2 parts soil, 1 part sand, and 2 parts humus. This combination is great because pineapples usually need well-drained soil. Waterlogged soil will easily result in rotting. Sandy loam allows rapid water movement from the top part to the lower section of the pot.
This means that the type of container you will use is also important. For optimal growth, use clay containers that have drainage holes.
Other soil requirements include PH. These plants need soils with a neutral or mild level of acidic PH. This should range between 4.5 and 6.5. Avoid soils that are highly alkaline and if you are going to use that, then make sure that you use sulfur to treat it. Nitrogen in the soil is also important as it facilitates the healthy growth of fruits.
Which Fertilizer Should You Use?
An indoor pineapple plant usually needs nitrogen. This mineral is usually considered to be the core component that facilitates the development of young pineapples. So, the fertilizer should be dry and have between 6% and 10% nitrogen.
Besides that, it should have between 6% and 10% phosphoric acid and the same amount of potash. So, when you are making a purchase, the fertilizer label should be NPK and have between 4% to 6% magnesium mineral.
The application process of dry fertilizers is usually 8 weeks during the first 3 months. During this period, you should only apply between 1 to 2 ounces. From there, you need to apply 1 to 3 ounces after every 8 weeks, ranging from the 4th to the 6th month. Apply 2 to 6 ounces from six months until the plant reaches 12 months and then increase the amount by an ounce until the plant is 16 months old. Lastly, use 17 to 24 ounces of fertilizers from 16 months after every 8 weeks, until the plant matures.
Apart from fertilizers, you can also feed the pineapple plant micronutrients 2 to three times per year. It’s normally advisable to use a foliage spray that contains manganese and zinc. Compost and mulch are also great additions that help plants to thrive. So, you can mix a small amount of compost in the soil, just before you put the crown in the soil. The best thing about using compost is that it not only nourishes the plant but also helps the soil to hold water.
Apart from dry fertilizers, you can also use liquid fertilizers that can be sprayed on the leaves. Liquid fertilizer is great for foliage feeding and you can apply it after every 8 weeks. But just like dry fertilizers, they should also be labeled NPK.
The Required Light
Naturally, pineapples are tropical plants so they need sunlight to thrive. An indoor pineapple plant needs around 12 to 14 hours of sunlight. In case you can’t provide your plant with 12 straight hours of sunlight, then you can use an indoor LED-grow lamp with a timer. The good thing is that LED grow lamps are affordable and can sustain your plant for many months.
This can affect the plant’s foliage color. It may end up looking yellow instead of having deep green leaves. Besides that, the leaves may end up stunted. This may affect flowering and eventually maturity.
So, how often should you water your indoor pineapple plant? Well, this is a tropical plant that doesn’t need so much water. As a matter of fact, it can tolerate drought. Use a little amount of water to water the stalk and just enough amount that will moisten the soil.
For effectiveness, use a spray bottle. Give your plant around one inch of water weekly. This helps to ensure that the soil is moist but on the other hand it’s not soggy.
Optimal Temperature and Humidity Range
Understand that the tropical and sub-tropical regions are usually very hot. So, these plants need temperatures that range between 68 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit or between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. In case the temperatures drop past 60F, then the pineapple plant will still grow but at a much slower pace. An even lower temperature range means that your plant may freeze and in some instances, it may die.
Maintaining A Good Temperature Range
- You water your plant every two to three days. This is regardless of the indoor weather. Moisture content helps to preserve moisture that in turn helps to preserve heat.
- Use mulch under the plant’s base to help retain hear. Note that organic mulch made from products such as wood chips are great in retaining heat and moisture. For better and long-lasting preservation of heat, use gravel and rock mulches. This is a good alternative during winter when temperatures are extremely low.
- You can create a blanketed area on top of the plant and add lighting. This is beneficial during cold weather. You can use wooden stakes to create tiny pillars on the pot. Thereafter, lay over a blanket or sheet to create a plant cover. Holiday lights such as a 100W bulb can be great in enhancing the level of temperatures. Of course, don’t forget to adjust the temperature requirements as seasons continue to change and the plant continues to grow.
In terms of humidity, ensure that it ranges between 40 and 60 %. You can use a pebble tray or a small humidifier. It’s advisable to use a pebble tray because it provides excellent humid levels. You simply need to fill the tray with small and clean pebbles. Add a significant amount of water on the tray and place it near the plant. This technique normally provides a natural mode of humidity around plants.
Indoor Lighting Systems
Make sure that you consult an electrician if you are not familiar with electrical connections. A poorly fixed indoor lighting fixture can easily result in a serious fire hazard. Additionally, the lights shouldn’t touch the plant as this can easily result in overheating and destruction of the plant.
When and How to Prune
The only way a plant can produce excellent yields is by you removing its dead or weak parts. Pruning your indoor pineapple plant isn’t all about appearance but also a way of encouraging it to produce more fruits and thrive. You can prune your plant at any time since you are growing it indoors. This is because it won’t get affected by the outdoor environment.
Common Pests and Diseases
This is one of the fruits in the world that is highly resistant to diseases. It’s not very common for a pineapple to succumb to pests or disease. It’s a strong plant with prominent characteristics and that’s why it’s one of the fruits that can grow well in the home. Its ability to resist infections and stand strong even in the midst of infection makes it highly likeable.
Although it’s a tough plant, there’s still a chance you could encounter some problems. There are several pests and diseases that may attack your plant.
- Nematodes: these are earthworms that are usually attracted to the soil. It’s not easy to get rid of them as they tend to settle around the soil underneath the plant. Although it doesn’t cause significant problems for potted plants, you need to ensure that you get rid of them. So, sterilize the soil to keep them at a bay.
- Mealybugs: these pets usually harm the plant heavily. They attach themselves to the host plant and then feed on the sap. As a result, the affected plant usually ends up with blackened leaves. Another possible downside of mealybugs is that the plant ends up with stunted growth as it’s deprived of all nutrients required for healthy growth. The end result is low yields and sometimes nothing at all.
Although mealybugs are usually vulnerable insects, they tend to get security from ants. That’s why you find that plants that are affected by mealybugs sometimes are surrounded by ants. Why is this, you ask? Well, mealybugs usually produce mealy, a sweet substance. Ants love mealy and that’s why they coexist together. So, you can actually spot signs of a mealybug attack if you can see ants around your indoor pineapple plant.
Now, let’s take a look at some common diseases:
- Top rot and root rot: these two types of rots are the most common types of fungal diseases that normally attack the pineapple plant. Root rot manifests in the form of drooping leaves. You will begin to see that your plant looks dehydrated with drooping leaves, even though there is enough moisture content in the soil as well as leaves. On the other hand, top rot usually makes the leaves appear dead, especially at the center of the plant. Understand that these fungal diseases are usually caused by poor drainage systems. Besides that, they may also occur as a result of overwatering your plant. So, to protect your plant, make sure that you water it sparingly with a moderate amount of water. The drainage system also needs to be good.
- Crookneck: Mineral deficiency can also lead to serious downsides. Crookneck usually affects mature pineapple plants, especially those that have reached 12 to 15 months. The condition normally occurs as a result of insufficient zinc content in the soil. As a result, the plant ends up with brittle leaves that may also appear twisted. Moreover, these leaves may also change color and turn into yellow. Crookneck can be so severe that it may make the leaves bend over and lead to the formation of blisters. This condition can be solved by applying a solution of zinc sulfate to the soil.
To help prevent any of these from occuring, you can spray your pineapple plant with soap water regularly. This can help to protect it from pests such as nematodes, beetles, and mites. However, if the infestation is rampant, then you need to use an insecticide.
Fruiting and Flowering
Pineapple plants produce flowers with redbuds. When these buds open, the plant will end up producing velvet-colored flowers with a beautiful tufted crown. The flowers mostly last for a day or two before each flower bract ends up forming a fruit segment.
Naturally, your plant will come into fruition once it has matured. This usually depends on the variety you planted and how you did it. Sometimes you can even go ahead and “encourage” the plant to produce fruit when it has reached maturity.
How do you help a pineapple plant come to fruition? Well, you need to place a large and clear plastic bag on your plant. Note that the bag should contain a half-chopped apple fruit. The effect of putting apple into the bag is to ensure that it produces ethylene gas that will somehow go ahead and signal the pineapple plant that it’s now time for it to start to produce fruit. Leave it for 3 to 4 days and then put the plant in a well-lit region in your house. After a couple of weeks, you will be able to see a small fruit.
Harvesting Your Pineapples
There is nothing hard about harvesting a pineapple. Four months after the onset of the flowering process, you will definitely see a lot of changes. For instance, the color of the plant’s shell will begin to change. It will no longer be green but it will turn into a gold like color.
If you are observant, you will notice that the shell will start changing its color from the bottom and then gradually moving upwards.
Remember that this change usually makes the fruit sweeter. So, the color of its flesh will also be turning from white to yellow. At this point, you can easily you can check if the plant is fully ripe and then eat it.
General Growing Tips for Pineapple Plants
- The soil should have good drainage and the container should have a good drainage system
- Pineapples are tropical plants hence they don’t need high amounts of water. Give the leaves of your plant a sprinkle after a day or two because the tough leaves don’t lose so much water
- It’s good to water the leaves (apart from the soil) because this plant normally gets a lot of its water content as well as nutrition via its leaves.
- Pineapples need at least 12 hours of sunlight every day. So, a good lighting system for indoor use is required.
- Make sure that you maintain the internal temperatures as well as humidity for optimal growth.
- Feed your plant with micronutrients and fertilizers as required.
- Do not use harsh chemicals to treat and protect your plant.
- Growing your plant indoors is good as you can secure the growing area and steadily regulate different environmental factors.
- The growing environment should have a good ventilation system. Yes, all plants need fresh air. In case there is no free air circulation, then your plant will experience stagnant growth. You can buy a small fan to facilitate this.
Pineapples don’t like:
- Waterlogged and soggy soils.
- Significantly low temperatures
- Too much fertilizer
FAQs about the Indoor Pineapple Plant
Here are some frequently asked questions I’ve often been asked about growing pineapple plants indoors.
1. How Long Does It Take For A Pineapple To Grow?
If you want to plant a pineapple indoor, then know that it’s going to take more than a year, depending on the variety. These plants usually grow very slowly. For instance, slips usually take around one year to fully mature and produce flowers. If you are planting a pineapple sucker, then it will take 1.5 years and if you are using cuttings, then it will take around 2.5 years to produce flowers. It should be noted that once the flower forms, these plants will take another 6 months or so to produce fruits.
2. Are Pineapple Plants Poisonous To Pets?
Pineapple is a plant that has a good safety profile. The leaves, as well as the skin, are not considered toxic to pets such as dogs and cats. Overall, the whole fruit isn’t toxic. However, thorns, leaves, and unripe flesh can possibly result in toxic side effects. What causes this is the bromelain enzyme that sometimes causes toxicity, but mildly.
3. Do Pineapple Plants Help With Snoring?
There are several research studies that indicate pineapples can help to prevent snoring. This means that having an indoor pineapple plant in your bedroom can help you sleep better. It is said that the plant normally helps to improve the quality of air and enhancing the production of oxygen. Studies by NASA indicate that it aids in better as well as quieter sleep.
4. Will My Pineapple Plant Grow Another Pineapple/Reproduce?
So, what happens after your indoor pineapple plant has matured? Will, it reproduce? Well, a pineapple is a perennial plant. This means that once it reproduces, it will die. Coming to fruition means that it will now start to die slowly. However, if there are any large ratoons or suckers, the pineapple will still continue to grow and thereafter produce new fruit.