Fun fact: Pineapples are actually a member of the bromeliad family, a tropical species long popular with houseplant enthusiasts for their dramatic spiky leaves and neon-colored blooms. And, it turns out, you can even grow a pineapple as a houseplant, too. You don't need to make a special trip to the nursery either—just add a pineapple to your grocery list and you'll have exactly what you need to start growing a brand new pineapple plant.
How to Grow a Pineapple From a Crown
Step 1: Buy a pineapple at the store and slice off the green top. Remove all of the fruit and peel off the small leaves at the bottom so that you're left with only the big leaves and about an inch of exposed stem. Peeling off the lower leaves allows for more space for roots to form along the stem.
Step 2: Select a medium-sized pot with drainage holes and fill it with potting soil. Make a small hole with your fingers and tuck the pineapple stem into the soil. Use your hands to press the soil firmly down around the stem.
Step 3: Water the pineapple and put it in a sunny spot.
Ta-da! You just planted your own pineapple houseplant.
Just How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple?
It can take up to two months just for the plant to root. Until then, try to keep the soil slightly damp (stick the tip of your finger an inch into the soil; if it feels damp, hold off on watering for a few more days).
Around the same time you may notice new leaves forming at the top of the plant. This is a promising sign! Gently tug on the plant. Hopefully it will resist your pull, a sign that the roots have taken hold in the soil. If, after a couple of months, it yanks free with no effort or if the base is rotted, compost the plant and the soil and start again from scratch. If rotting does occur, it's a sign you've been watering a bit too much or that your soil isn't draining well.
Once your pineapple is established, it will be fairly hardy and drought tolerant—it stores water in those thick leaves—so it will forgive you if you don't water as often. Fertilize once a month or so with fish emulsion or another liquid fertilizer designed for houseplants.
If you're lucky, your pineapple might produce a flower or even a small fruit, but don't expect a flower for at least a year, and it can take several years for a fruit. To encourage the production of ethylene gas, which induces flowering, you can try laying the pot on its side. Another popular method is to cover the plant with a plastic bag with an apple inside the bag since apples off-gas ethylene as they ripen.
If you are serious about growing your pineapple plant to bear fruit, repot it into a five-gallon bucket once it is established so that it has enough room to grow and keep it outdoors in the summer. Unless you live somewhere tropical, bring it indoors in winter to protect it from the cold.