An eye-catching spiky plant containing edible fruit, the pineapple originated in tropical South America, before becoming popular in Europe in the seventeenth century. After arriving on European soil, it was quickly adopted as an icon of luxury, thought to symbolise the wealth and nobility of those fortunate enough to enjoy it.
While tucking into a pineapple today doesn’t quite carry the same gravitas, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy this tropical fruit. Often sought after for its health benefits, the luscious yellow flesh not only tastes delicious but is loaded with vitamins and minerals believed to promote healing, boost immunity and aid digestion.
Although the plant is native to a much warmer climate, you can still grow pineapples in the UK. There are a number of factors to consider when doing so, but the reward of a home-grown pineapple will make it worth your while.
Read on to find out how to grow a pineapple plant at home.
When to grow a pineapple
As pineapples originate from the tropics, they require warmer temperatures to grow. Spring and summer provide the best pineapple growing conditions, as warm, sunny days are more likely to help your pineapple plant thrive.
Your pineapple plant will be able to grow outside when the weather is warmer, but it won’t survive a frost, so when the temperature drops, you’ll need to move it indoors to protect it.
How to plant a pineapple
Growing a pineapple from a pineapple top is the easiest way to start a pineapple plant in the UK. Simply follow these steps to get started.
Step one – Buy a pineapple
Visit your local supermarket or market stall and buy a pineapple. Opt for a ripe one so you can enjoy the fruit straight away before you try to grow a pineapple from the top. A ripe pineapple will have a hard shell but will “give” a little when gently squeezed.
Step two – Cut the top off the pineapple
Wash your pineapple thoroughly, then use a large, non-serrated knife to cut the top off, approximately two centimetres from the bottom of the leaves. You’ll only need the top of the pineapple for your plant, so put the fruit aside to eat later.
Step three – Prepare the pineapple top
Take a small knife and trim and remove the small leaves on the lower half of the pineapple core, then cut away any remaining flesh. This should leave you with a clean core surrounded by bigger leaves.
Step four – Prepare the stem
Gently peel away some of the individual leaves until a length of the stem can be seen. The roots of your pineapple will develop from here. Use your small knife to carefully trim the base of the stem and remove all the white stem tissue. This should leave the tiny brown roots of the plant exposed.
Step five – Allow your pineapple core to dry
Leave your pineapple core to air dry for a few days. This will prevent it from rotting after it’s been planted.
Step six – Place your pineapple core in a plant pot
When you’re certain your pineapple core is dry, plant it in a large plant pot with a light soil mix, keeping the soil level just under the base of the leaves. Water the plant well and allow it to drain, before placing it in bright, indirect sunlight.
How long does it take to grow a pineapple?
It will be approximately three years until your pineapple will have finished growing and be ready for harvest. Due to the length of time it takes, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the weather and bring your plant indoors before the first cold snap each year.
Caring for your pineapple plant
Your pineapple plant will need a little TLC during its growing period to help it flourish. Here are some of the things you can do and some common issues you may face:
Common problems you may face
- Only water your plant when needed.
- Ensure your plant receives approximately six hours of bright light each day. You may need to introduce an artificial light source in the cooler months.
- Fruits containing the chemical ethylene may encourage your pineapple to flower. Place the fruit in a plastic bag alongside your pineapple plant.
- Cool weather
- Lack of bright sunlight
- Top rot
- Root rot
- Mealybugs and plant scale
How do you harvest a pineapple?
Start by checking if the pineapple is ready. A good indicator of this is when the entire outer shell of the fruit has turned yellow. You may also be able to smell a hint of pineapple when you’re near the plant.
To harvest your fruit, take a clean knife or a pair of pruning snips and cut the pineapple from the stalk at its base. Ensure you disinfect the blades of the tool you use to reduce the risk of disease spreading among your plants.
How to grow a pineapple at home successfully
Growing a pineapple takes a considerable length of time and not every attempt is successful. However, if you want to streamline the pineapple growing process to improve your plant’s chances of thriving, there are a few extra measures you can take, such as using a polytunnel.
Growing a pineapple using a polytunnel
Pineapple plants thrive in a warm environment to which British weather certainly doesn’t lend itself year-round. To combat this and ensure your pineapple flourishes regardless of the climate, we recommend using a polytunnel. This will allow you to significantly increase the temperature in the area where your pineapple is growing and protect it from the harsh elements of winter, pests and disease, giving it a better chance of survival.
Start growing your pineapple today with Premier Polytunnels
Want to know more about how to grow a pineapple and the benefits of doing it in a polytunnel? Contact our team today on 01282 811250 or email us at email@example.com.
With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Whether it’s about how to grow a pineapple in a polytunnel or just general advice, our friendly team of experts are here to help.