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How to Grow a Pineapple

ritau
06-16
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with an edible fruit and the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is indigenous to South America, where it has been cultivated for many centuries. The introduction of the pineapple cultivation to Europe in the 17th century made it a significant cultural icon of luxury. Since the 1820s, pineapple has been commercially grown in greenhouses and many tropical plantations. Further, it is the third most important tropical fruit in world production. In the 20th century, Hawaii was a dominant producer of pineapples, especially for the US; however, by 2016, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the Philippines accounted for nearly one-third of the world's production of pineapples.

Pineapples grow as a small shrub; the individual flowers of the unpollinated plant fuse to form a multiple fruit. The plant is normally propagated from the offset produced at the top of the fruit, or from side shoot, and typically mature within a year.

Raw pineapple pulp is 86% water, 13% carbohydrates, 0.5% protein, and contains negligible fat (table). In a 100-gram reference amount, raw pineapple supplies 50 calories, and is a rich source of manganese (44% Daily Value, DV) and vitamin C (58% DV), but otherwise contains no micronutrients in significant amounts.



*How to grow

1. Pick out a fresh pineapple. Look for one with firm, green leaves that have not turned yellow or brown. The skin on the fruit should be golden brown and firm to the touch. Smell the pineapple to see if it's ripe: it should emit sweet, heady smell indicating that you've chosen it at just the right time to start a new pineapple plant.
-Make sure the pineapple isn't underripe. It needs to be ripe in order to produce another pineapple.
-Check to make sure the pineapple isn't too ripe by tugging a little at the leaves. If they come right off, the pineapple is too ripe to plant. Be gentle.
-Make sure the pineapple doesn't have scale insects around the base of the leaves. They look like small grayish black spots.

2. Twist the leaves off the top of the pineapple. Grasp the body of the pineapple with one hand and use the other to grab the leaves at the base and twist them off. This method ensures that the base of the leaves will stay intact. It will be attached to a minimum amount of fruit, which you don't need in order for the plant to grow.
-If you're having trouble twisting off the top, you can slice off the top of the pineapple. Slice off the excess fruit around the root.
-Make sure the base, the very tip of the area where the leaves join together, stays intact. New roots will be sprouting from this, and without it the plant won't grow.

3. Strip off some of the lower leaves to expose the stem. This helps the stem sprout roots once it is planted. Strip until a few inches of the stem are exposed. Cut away any remaining fruit without damaging the stem.

4. Turn it upside down and let it dry for a week. The scars where you made a cut and removed the leaves will harden, which is necessary before you take the next step.
-At this point, you can plant the crown into the soil, if you would like. While some people prefer to soak the pineapple crown first, it is not necessary.

5. Fill a large glass with water. The mouth of the glass should be large enough to fit the pineapple crown inside, but small enough so that you can prop it up to keep it from getting completely submerged.

6. Stick a few toothpicks into the pineapple crown. Place them across from each other near the top of the stem. Push them in just far enough so that they'll stay in place. These toothpicks are used to suspend the pineapple crown in the glass of water.

7. Put the crown in the water. The toothpicks should rest on the rim of the glass. The stem should be submerged in the water, and the leaves should stick out the top.

8. Place the glass in a sunny window and wait for the roots to sprout. It should take several days or up to a few weeks for white roots to poke out and begin to grow.
-Keep the plant away from extreme temperatures. Don't let it get too hot or too cold.
-Change out the water every few days to prevent the growth of mold.

9. Prepare a pot of soil for the crown. Fill a 6-inch pot with light garden soil that has a 30% blend of organic matter. This has the right blend of nutrients for the pineapple plant.

10. Plant the pineapple crown in the pot. Plant the crown when the roots are a few inches long. Wait until they've gotten long enough to take root in soil. If you plant the crown too early it won't do well. As you plant it, make sure that the base of any remaining leaves are just above soil level. Press the soil firmly around the base of the crown without getting any soil on the leaves.

11. Keep the plant moist and warm. It needs a sunny, warm and humid environment where the night temperatures won't drop below 65ºF (18ºC). If conditions are dry, mist the plant regularly.
-You can keep the pot outside if you live in a warm climate. If you have cool winters take it indoors during the winter season and keep it in a sunny window. It's important for the plant to get a lot of sun all year round.
-To help the rooting process, you can slip a plastic bag over the top of the pot. This will create a mini-greenhouse effect.

12. Give the plant food and water. Water the soil lightly once a week. Fertilize the plant with half-strength fertilizer twice a month during the summer.

13. Look for flowers. It can take several years, but eventually a red cone should appear from the center of the leaves, followed by blue flowers and eventually a fruit. It takes about six months for the fruit to fully develop. The pineapple will grow from the flower, above ground, in the center of the plant.

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