I have so many pineapples in pots on my back porch that I finally decided to plant them all in an organic raised bed. I started with 20 plants, and 7 of the plants have baby pineapples. Pineapples are naturally sweet and juicy. High in vitamins A and C and manganese, pineapples require very little care and feeding. They don’t require much water and can grow in the sun or shade, and I’ve never had pineapple plants freeze. Pineapples are perfect for growing in the Central Florida climate. Here’s how to grow pineapples in pots or in an organic raised bed from crowns, slips, and suckers.
Pineapples grow well in pots. The size of the pot can restrict the size of the pineapple, so a bigger pot will produce a bigger pineapple. I usually start my pineapple plants in pots, sometimes packing a large pot with up to four pineapples before I transfer them to the ground. If you decide to use pots only, don’t leave more than one plant in the pot once the pineapples start to grow. The plants will steal nutrients from each other. This will significantly reduce the size of the pineapples and may prevent more than one plant from flowering.
While the plants are growing, you should check them frequently for slips and suckers. A slip is a new plant growing on the base of the pineapple. You can remove the slip and plant it in the pot or the ground. If you leave the slip, it will suck the nutrients from the growing pineapple and stump its growth. Slips are new plants, so make sure you plant them. Suckers grow in between the leaves at the base of the plant. I usually let suckers get a few inches high, then I pull them off and plant them. For this project, I pulled about 6 suckers from the existing plants. Pineapple plants only produce fruit once. After that, the plant dies, so it’s important that you plant slips and suckers.
Building a Raised Bed Garden: For this project, I built a raised garden bed about 4-inches deep and filled it with a mixture of organic soil and ground dirt. Pineapple plants grow from the top, so a deep bed is not necessary. The leaves can get rather large, so I left about one foot of space between each plant so that the plants have room to grow.
Pineapples are not a fast growing fruit. Once you plant a crown, slip, or sucker, it takes about 12 months for the first fruit to flower – a red cone. The cone is red for a short time before beautiful blue flowers appear. Once this happens, the fruit begins to grown. Once the pineapple starts growing, it can take up to six months to ripen.
Sometimes the pineapple is heavy and it tilts over. If this occurs, tie the pineapple to the stem and stake the plant. This is particularly true of pineapple varieties that grow on long stems.
Once the pineapple plant produces fruit, it dies. Remove the crown from the pineapple and start the growing process again. Before a plant dies, you should find at least one slip or sucker. It’s important to plant the slips and suckers in order to keep your pineapple garden growing.
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