By Amy Grant
I have a devil of a time picking the ripest fruit when I?m at the grocers. How about picking pineapple fruits from homegrown plants? How do you know when to pick a pineapple and how to harvest a pineapple plant? Click here for more info.
By Amy Grant
While commercial pineapple cultivation occurs primarily in tropical regions, you can grow pineapple plants in gardens too! Find out how to grow pineapple plants and useful information regarding pineapple plant care in this article.
Gardeners living in USDA zones 10 and 11 have the option of growing pineapple plants in an outdoor growing area. Because pineapple plants grow exceedingly well with little coaxing or intervention, planting a pineapple crown in a sunny location will often yield a delicious pineapple fruit. Pineapple plants grow and produce fruit slowly, often requiring between one and two years to produce a pineapple for harvest. Once your pineapple begins to mature, make sure you know when a pineapple is ripe and ready to pick from the plant to ensure the sweetest pineapple.
Watch the pineapple as it develops on the plant. Approximately four months after the plant flowers, the growing pineapple will begin maturing for harvest.
Notice the underlying green hue of the pineapple slowly begin to change at the bottom of the pineapple first. Over a period of one to two weeks, the pineapple will turn yellow at the bottom and gradually the yellow color will spread upward through the fruit.
Wait to pick the pineapple until the yellow color covers at least half of the pineapple. The more yellow the pineapple, the sweeter the flesh. Wait longer for the pineapple to turn more yellow in color, if you wish.
Clip the pineapple from the plant, using the pruning shears, when you want to harvest it.
A pineapple plant flowers only once, and produces one pineapple. Then it dies. But before it dies it also produces offspring.
Suckers or pups are little plantlets that grow between the leaves of the mature pineapple.
Some varieties will produce more suckers than others, some will start earlier and others later.
But they all produce at least a few suckers or pups before they die.
If you leave the suckers in place you get what is called a "ratoon crop". That is the least amount of work for the next crop, just do nothing. But it has a few disadvantages.
The plants start to crowd each other out and to compete for food, light and water. As a result the next lot of pineapple fruit is much smaller.
The other disadvantage is that if you leave the suckers in place you only get a few. The original pineapple plant thinks it has fulfilled its purpose in life and reproduced, and it dies.
Keep taking the suckers off and the plant keeps growing more of them.
The timing is not critical. I have accidentally broken off tiny baby plants and they survived. It is best to wait though until they are a reasonable size, say about 20 cm/8 inches long.
Once they look like the one in the picture above it is definitely time to take them.
I just go around my garden every two or three months and take off all the big suckers I see. Grab hold of them as close to the base as possible, and twist and pull at the same time. They usually come off easily. And then plant them like you plant pineapple tops. Just stick them in the ground. They'll grow :-).
Pineapple suckers ready for planting.