Image by Justine Alipate

Grow your own pineapples

You don't have to live in the tropics to grow your own pineapples. As long as the climate is temperate and frost-free and you have a sunny spot — even a balcony with plenty of sun will do — you can be in the pineapple business.

 

I live on the east coast of Australia and have grown them since 2010 (see images below). They do take a while, up to two years from planting, but if you plant them in the right spot, you'll be well-rewarded. There is something inexplicable about eating a naturally-ripened pineapple; there's a sweetness that is worth the wait. And it's quite easy.

 

STEP 1 After you've eaten most of your pineapple, set aside the top plus about 20mm of the flesh left. That bit isn't as tasty as the rest anyway.

 

STEP 2 Prepare a well-draining spot in the garden, preferably north-facing (southern hemisphere) or a large pot (20cm diameter will do) for that sunny balcony or patio or deck. Use a well-aged composted soil or organic potting mix.

 

STEP 3 Place the cut flesh part of the pineapple top in the soil and water in. Water for first few days, then leave to dry out a bit, then water. Emulate the tropics, or if you grow bromeliads, use them as a guide. Once established, that is, new leaves appear, they pretty much look after themselves. (Some growers say you should dry the cut piece for a day before planting; I've not done that and it works: just plant the fleshy part straight into the soil.)

 

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1 Starting out: pineapple at flowering stage  2 Pineapple after about five months growing through the summer into autumn

3 The fully-ripe pineapple  4 Harvested

How to grow pineapples from tops