- Pineapple: The Edible Bromeliad
- The History of Pineapples
- Grow Your Own Pineapple
- Growing Variegated Pineapples: How To Care For Variegated Pineapple Plant
- Pineapple Bromeliad Varieties
- Variegated Pineapple Plant
- Care for Variegated Pineapple
- Bromeliads- Pineapple plants
- Red SpanishEdit
- Smooth CayenneEdit
- Sources and Further ReadingEdit
- About Pineapple
Pineapple: The Edible Bromeliad
Author: Melanie Dearringer
Care and Culture, Classification
The pineapple, or Ananas comosus, is the most economically important bromeliad. It is the only bromeliad that produces a fruit that can be eaten and is therefore grown commercially in a variety of tropical locations. Its unique growth cycle and fruit development make the pineapple a fun bromeliad to add to your collection. The foliage of the pineapple can range from simple green to green and white striped. The leaves are waxy with spines on the margins. The plant typically produces up to two hundred flowers, the fruits of which join together to make the pineapple.
The History of Pineapples
The pineapple was first introduced in Spain by Christopher Columbus who had found the fruit in the Caribbean Islands. It was named piña (the Spanish word for pine cone) because of its resemblance to the pine cone. In the English language it was referred to as the pineapple as were pine cones, which were assigned their new name later. While Columbus found the fruit in the Caribbean, the fruit traces its origins back to southern Brazil and Paraguay. Since its introduction to Europe, the pineapple has been popularized all over the world. Part of its spread around the globe may be attributed to its use on ships to prevent scurvy. James Dole started one of the first United States companies to begin growing pineapples in Hawaii. His first pineapple plantation was established in 1900. Dole opened a cannery a year later in 1901. Del Monte followed shortly after in 1917. In 2009, however, it was the Philippines that topped the world’s pineapple production, producing 2,198 thousand metric tons of fruit. While pineapple can be delicious fresh from the grocery store, it can also be fun to grow in your home or greenhouse.
Grow Your Own Pineapple
There are several ways to start a pineapple plant. The easiest way to get started is to purchase a pineapple from the grocery store. Grasp the leaves (the crown) of the pineapple near where they meet the fruit. Gently twist while pulling away from the fruit. The leaves will pull off leaving only a small nubbin where they once met the fruit. If there is any extra flesh attached remove it as it could cause root rot later. Next gently pull away the bottom few layers of leaves. As you do this you will expose new roots. Pull the leaves away about an inch up the stalk or until you no longer see the root starts. Allow the crown to dry 5-7 days before planting.
Choosing a Container
Once you are ready to pot your pineapple, you will want to choose an 8 inch container. Eventually the plant will need to be transplanted to a larger pot. Many store bought pineapples can grow as tall as four feet and have a four foot diameter. There are other varieties that can be purchased from growers that do not grow as large. To prepare your container, place a pottery shard over the drainage hole and fill the rest of the pot minus a few inches with potting mix. Pineapples are not particular about soil so any commercial potting mix that allows drainage will work. Then place the crown in the pot and add soil around it. Pat the soil so that the crown stands up, but do not pack it tightly. Be careful not to disturb the crown for a few weeks until the roots take hold. If needed, stake the plant until it can support its own weight.
Water the soil thoroughly but do not let it become soggy. Pineapples do not do well in constantly wet conditions. Continue to keep the soil moist but not wet. Pineapples are drought tolerant and will grow more slowly when they do not receive enough water, but under-watering is more tolerated that over-watering.
Pineapples perform well in tropical climates. Persistent freezing temperatures will kill these plants. If you live in an area with a winter season your plant will need to remain indoors. Choose a sunny window that will not get too cold at night. When you are planning the space in which your pineapple will grow, keep in mind the mature size and make sure there is enough room. Pineapples prefer a lot of light. If you do not have a window with enough light or your days become very short in the winter you may want supplement with artificial grow lights. If you are planning to move your pineapple outdoors for the summer, start it out in a shady space for a week until it acclimates. Then place the plant in direct sun.
While the pineapple plant provides beautiful foliage all the time, the fruit requires patience. It can take as long as three years between planting the crown and harvesting the fruit. When the plant produces fruit has largely to do with the size and maturity of the plant. In ideal conditions, the plant will produce a bud in the center of the leaves between 12 and 14 months. Two months later a bright red cone appears. The cone will then be covered with a blue flower lasting only a day. Flower development typically happens during days of shorter duration. After flowering, the pineapple may take another four months or longer to ripen. The fruit is ripe when it has turned from green to a golden color. It will also have the recognizably sweet smell of a pineapple.
After the pineapple produces fruit, it will begin to produce suckers. The suckers grow fast while attached to the original plant so wait as long as possible, at least until they are twelve inches, before removing them. These suckers are likely to produce fruit a bit faster than growing the plant from the crown of the pineapple. Once the sucker or slip is removed from the plant you can start it growing the same way the crown was started for the original plant.
The most common pests for the home grown pineapple are scale and mealy bugs. For a small infestation they can be washed off with mild soap and water and then rinsed. For a larger infestation pesticides can be used. However, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and seek the advice of a professional before application.
The pineapple fruit has a variety of uses.
- It is sweet and delicious eaten fresh. However, if it is unripe it can be poisonous and cause severe stomach irritation.
- Fresh pineapple cannot be added to jams or gelatin because it contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain breaks down protein therefore hindering jams and gelatins from setting. This same enzyme also makes fresh pineapple juice an excellent tenderizer for meet and is found in many different marinades. Bromelain is broken down when pineapple is cooked so canned pineapple does not contain the enzyme. It can be used without concern for the effects of Bromelain.
Downsides of Commercial Production
Commercially produced pineapple does have some draw backs. A substantial amount of organophosphates, a dangerous pesticide, is used in pineapple plantations. In Costa Rica, Europe’s largest pineapple supplier, 20 kilograms of various pesticides are used per hectare per growing cycle. Not only does this harm biodiversity, soil quality, and drinking water, but it can also pose a threat to laborers’ health. By purchasing organic pineapples or growing your own you can avoid contributing to this problem.
Dating back to colonial times the pineapple has been a symbol of hospitality. Throughout the United States it can still be found as wood carvings in gardens hanging on front doors placed in centerpieces on tables and anywhere else a guest may be welcomed. Enjoy this majestic bromeliad on decorations as well as a plant in your home. It is a beautiful and easily propagated bromeliad. Under the right conditions it can even provide a delicious treat. With patience and care you can enjoy growing your own fresh pineapple.
Growing Variegated Pineapples: How To Care For Variegated Pineapple Plant
The variegated pineapple plant is grown for its foliage, not for its fruit. The gorgeous bright red, green and cream striped leaves are held rigidly off a low stem. Their bright fruit is attractive but rather bitter. The plants make lovely and interesting houseplants, or warm season potted outdoor plants.
The pineapple flowering houseplant is a bromeliad and requires similar care. Care for the variegated pineapple is the same as an edible pineapple, but don’t expect fruiting overnight. Both types can take up to five years to produce fruit.
Pineapple Bromeliad Varieties
Bromeliads are a family of sometimes stemless, sometimes epiphytic plants. They may also be grown in an almost soil-free environment made up of other materials such as sand, peat and bark. Bromeliads are common in warm areas with high humidity.
There are hundreds of varieties of pineapple. Not all of them produce a yellow fleshed fruit armored in green. There are also red and blue varieties. The best pineapple bromeliad varieties for home growers are the miniature types. These
plants are easier to keep to container size, so you can move them in and protect them in case of freezing weather.
Variegated Pineapple Plant
Pineapples are only hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11. These warm season plants can be grown inside as striking houseplants. The variegated form is colorful and lively, well suited for a partially sunny room. Growing variegated pineapples in full sun is not recommended as the best color comes in lower light areas.
The plant is a novelty plant and not as easy to find as the regular pineapple bromeliad varieties. Mature plants can produce a flower within a year of planting. To start your own pineapple flowering houseplant, harvest a fruit and cut the top off. Let the top dry on the counter for a day or two.
Plant the base in a mixture of orchid bark and sand that is lightly moist. Keep somewhat moist until the top roots, taking care not to overwater, which will make the fruit top rot. You can also remove any offsets and plant them. Let these root and you will soon be growing variegated pineapples to share with friends and family.
Care for Variegated Pineapple
Pineapples require medium light, soil low in organic amendments and moderate moisture. The plant can tolerate short periods of drought with no ill effects.
They can be prone to several pests, including aphids, whitefly and scale. Rinse off soft bodied pests and use a horticultural soap to combat the others.
Fertilize every two weeks in spring until dormancy in fall. Use a diluted liquid plant fertilizer.
Water thoroughly each time, but allow the surface of the soil to dry out before applying more water.
Variegated pineapple plant must be kept where temperatures are between 65 and 82 F. (50 and 28 C.) with high humidity for best growth. Mimic the growing conditions of a Hawaiian island and you are guaranteed success with your pineapple flowering houseplant!
Bromeliads- Pineapple plants
< Previous1 of 10 Puya brentoniana bromelia Bromelia balansae “Heart of Flame”, “Heart of Fire” is a terrestrial bromeliad Guzman Bromelia Ananas comosus, edible pineapple –is a bromeliad
If you ask most people what a bromeliad is, most people probably wouldn’t be able to answer. If you ask the same people what a pineapple is, you will get a correct answer.
So what is the relationship between the two? The fact is, a pineapple is a bromeliad. Bromeliads are members of a plant family known as Bromeliaceae.
The pineapple is one of the best-known plants of this family. Bromeliads are among the most spectacular house and landscape plants, but they are also one of the most overlooked. Bromeliads commonly grow in the tropics and subtropics and majority of the species are found in tropical rain forest. In the wild habitat they can be found clinging to trees and cracks in cliffs in some regions. Many are tough and long-lived, and they will combine comfortably with other plants in your home.
There are about 3,000 species of bromeliad (and more are being discovered almost every week it seems). They vary in size, color, distribution and ease of growth. Some are small enough to sit on the coffee table indoors, while others grow as long or tall as 30 feet.
This is one of the most colorful of all the plant families in terms of both foliage and flower varieties. Bromeliads come in an unbelievable variety of colors, some are nearly fluorescent, and many are unique among the plant kingdom. Most bromeliads are epiphytic in nature and live in humid conditions. Epiphytes are plants with gripping roots that hold the plant onto its chosen surface. This surface may be tree bark, rock or even cement. In indigenous terrain you can see epiphytic bromeliads literally swinging from trees.
Bromeliads grow in a rosette with a cup-like depression at the center. This depression is responsible for collecting nutrients and water. Unlike most plants, the roots of a bromeliad are mostly for adherence purposes and do not uptake the plant’s needs. Rainwater and dew fall into the cup and other plant litter; small insects, snails, frogs and organic materials end up in the depression, serving as a source of minerals. Also creating a fascinating and dynamic microenvironment. The rosettes grow by adding new leaves in the center, which becomes impossible after the flower has bloomed.
Although most bromeliad are epiphytic and live in humid conditions, there are some very desert-oriented that tolerate full sun, hot sun and very little water at all. Some of the epiphytic species grow in rocks and crevices and aren’t true epiphytes, though they act like they are, taking no nourishment from any soil.
Some have ‘ordinary’ root systems and can be planted in the garden as one would most other plants. But true epiphytes are often the most fascinating, seeming to live off air and nothing else (a.k.a. air plants, sky plants). These plants still have roots, but their roots are mostly to hold them onto something. Few bromeliads can tolerate cold frosty climate because they grow in warm temperature or tropical zones. But the bromeliads that are best suited to full sun just also happen to be the ones that can tolerate a little cold as well. Not all bromeliads grow well indoors, but many do. Since many of these plants originally grew in trees, good air circulation and excellent drainage are very important.
When growing, bromeliads you do worse with too much water or heat rather than with too little of either. With few exceptions, bromeliads are monocarpic. Bromeliads are perennial monocotyledons plants that have one seed leaf like lilies or corn, rather than two seed leaves like roses or beans. Some species are not monocarpic; Dyckias and Tillandsias are notable exceptions. Many bromeliads have spectacular flowers, but the flowering signifies the end of the plants life. Bromeliads do not re- bloom, they only bloom once in their life. But they will produce a small ‘pup’ plants on the outer perimeter of their base. A bromeliad is a slow growing plant. The pups will take about six months to grow approximately one-third the size of the mother plant. When the pups reach that size, separate them from the mother plant. Allow the young plants to grow at least 6months, after which time they could mature enough to bloom. The mother may sometimes survive a generation or two before finally dying off. There are dozens of genera, and varieties in cultivation and all are worth collecting and using in the landscape. It would be impossible to cover all bromeliads, what’s growing out there in the world. The following are a brief overview of some of the most popular genera.
These plants are some of the best-known and most widely grown bromeliads.
This is a very large genus of plants with generally large, spectacular flowers. These make excellent indoor plants as their flower tend to last for a long time. Most are tropical and epiphytic; a few very terrestrial forms are popular, including some that adjust well to arid soils and full sun exposure. In general Aechmeas have relatively wide, round tipped leaves that are heavily armed with sharp (though many are not armed) forming horizontally oriented wide, spreading rosettes. In general these tend to be fairly easy plants to keep but are prone to rot if their soils are kept too wet. Probably the most recognizable Aechmeas is Aechmea fasciata. Aechmea fasciata ‘Lauren’, is a variegated variety of this species. Aechmea recurvate an arid climate species. Aechmea recurvate var.benrathii is a gorgeous species that does well both in pots and in desert like landscape.
Anybody who has eaten a pineapple the ananas comosus is at least familiar with this genus. The pineapple is the most well-known ananas plants. Most of these are terrestrial plants, which have ‘pineapple-like’ flowers. These plants have long strap like, sharply armed leaves and sucker profusely. The variegated pineapple plant is grown for its foliage, not for its fruits. The gorgeous bright red, green and cream striped leaves are held rigidly off a low stem. Their bright fruit is attractive but rather bitter. The plants make lovely and interesting ornamental houseplants or potted outdoors. The pineapple flowering houseplant is a bromeliad and requires similar care. Care for the variegated pineapple is the same as an edible pineapple, but don’t expect fruiting overnight.
Both types can take up to five years to produce fruit. Pineapple Bromeliad varieties Bromeliads are a family of sometimes stemless, sometimes epiphytic plants. They may also be grown in an almost soil-free environment made up of other materials such as sand, peat and bark. There are hundreds of varieties of pineapple. Not all of them produce a yellow-fleshed fruit armored in green. There are also red and blue varieties. The best pineapple bromeliad for the home grower is the miniature types. These plants are easier to keep to container size.
They can be grown as striking houseplants. The variegated form is colorful and lively, well suited for a partially sunny room. Growing variegated pineapples in full sun is not recommended as the best color comes in lower light areas. The plant is a novelty plant and not so easy to find as regular pineapple bromeliad varieties. Mature plants can produce a flower within a year of planting.
Though a fairly large genus (about 50 species), only a few are encountered in cultivation. Most are terrestrial and relative hardy plants for drought and cold hardiness. Their flowers are not spectacular, but the foliage can be remarkably brilliant in some species, notably Bromelia balansae.
These plants named after the 18th century Spanish naturalist Anastasio Guzman, are one of the most beautiful and recognizable types of bromeliads, especially when the plant are grown in large chumps. These are unarmed, lily-like plants (flat, green leaves) with the spectacular red, yellow, pink, purple, white and grow two or more feet wide, with flowers that seem to last forever, which is why they are so popular. This is a large genus of over 150 species, although only a few are common in cultivation. Most almost all cultivated are hybrids.
This small genus of six species from Brazil named after Dr Marius Porte, a French plant collector. T his type of bromeliad plant grows quite large and need plenty of room.
Otherwise known as air plants, this is the largest genus (about 500 species) in the bromeliad family. Almost all these are air plants, though few can be grown in soil, or are epiphytic. Their leaves tend to be whitish and scaly, though some smooth green varieties exist. Many have twisted; bizarre leaf patterns and some come in spectacular shades of red and pink. Their flowers tend to be quite colorful with some being incredible, while others are subtle and small. These are not monocarpic plants so with proper care; you can keep these plants around for lots of years. For most part, Tillandsia seem to tolerate more direct sun than most other epiphytic bromeliads, though many still cannot tolerate blistering hot sun. And most being air plants over watering is less of an issue. Tillandsia sky plant (Tillandsia ionatha) is a superior specimen, which doesn’t require traditional pot and soil combinations. This member of the Bromeliad family will grow epiphytically on a variety of organic surfaces. ‘Sky plants’ Bromeliads are found in most part of the world, but are mostly tropical to subtropical plants.
They grow without root support in soil and can even be found in habitat hanging from trees and even rock surface. Sky (or air) bromeliads are easy to grow and make interesting presentation on bark or logs. Once you get your air plant mounted, Tillandsia sky plant is one of the easiest plants to maintain. You can attach the plant at its base to a cork bark form, branch or even shell. You can also place it freely into a terrarium or wedged among some rocks. The key to growing sky plant is humidity. Mist the plant daily or place sky plant bromeliad in the kitchen or bathroom, where humidity is naturally high. These plants perform best in indirect but bright light. Propagation of Tillandsia is simple, growing from offshoots or ‘pups’ is best way to create new plants.
There are about 37 varieties of pineapples. These are called cultivars. There are four main classes of cultivars for trade which are called: red spanish, queen, abacaxi, and smooth cayenne.
This class of pineapples is grown in the Caribbean and Mexico. Red Spanish pineapples weigh around 3 to 6 pounds.
Red Spanish pineapples
Red Spanish pineapples are large and are red all over. They are very prickly and are covered in leaf-like structures. Their flesh is very fibrous, especially when compared to the smooth cayenne variety of pineapples. They are also smaller than smooth cayenne pineapples.
This is grown in Australia and South Africa, most of the time. Other places where it can be grown are Mauritius and the Reunion Islands. The Queen pineapple is also known as the Victoria pineapple, and this name suits well because of it’s large top of sharp leaves.
A Queen or Victoria Pineapple
The color of the pineapple is orange-golden. Queen pineapples are of a small size. There is a large tuft of leaves at the top, which accounts for about half of the pineapple’s body.
Abacaxi pineapples are typically grown in Brazil. In Brazil, there are many ways to eat and drink this pineapple. Some popular ways to drink this pineapple is in a tea, or in a juice with mint. Tea uses the
parts that are not eaten, like the skin, and these parts are boiled in the drink.
An Abacaxi pineapple looks like a normal pineapple, since it is golden with prickly skin and a tuft of green leaves. The only difference is that an abacaxi pineapple looks more thin and tall.
An Abacaxi Pineapple
This is a type of pineapple that is grown in Hawaii. This is a very widely grown pineapple. There is a lot of acid and sugar in these types of pineapples, so one can find them sour and still sweet.
A Smooth Cayenne Pineapple has golden, prickly skin and a tuft of green leaves. They are at a fairly medium size. This is basically an Abacaxi pineapple without being stretched out.
Sources and Further ReadingEdit
poo The Queen Pineapple picture came from gourmetpedia.net. I do not own this picture.
The Abacaxi pineapple picture came from robpacker.wordpress.com. I do not own this picture either.
The Red Spanish pineapple picture came from infoboxdaily.com. I do not own this picture.
Pineapple, Ananas comosus, is a tropical, herbaceous perennial and is the leading edible member of the Bromeliaceae family of plants which include many types of bromeliads. Unlike most other bromeliads, which are epiphytes and many are strikingly ornamental pineapples love sunlight.
The pineapple plant has a tight rosette of long green stiff leaves with spiky tips for protection.
During the seasonal bloom at 12-18 months of age, fruits start to grow from a central leader which puts forth an inflorescence of many small purple or red flowers. This composite of flowers each form into what are referred to as fruitlets, which grow together to form a cone shaped, compound, juicy fruit. As the stem continues to grow it produces at its apex a tuft of stiff, short leaves. This will fully develop into the crown or top of the pineapple. Hummingbirds are the principle pollinators of pineapple, which is why the importing of hummingbirds to Hawaii is forbidden. Pineapple that is not pollinated has no seeds and is obviously more desirable.
Propagation of pineapple is by new vegetative growth consisting of slips that arise from the peduncle just below the fruit, suckers that originate at the base of the plant and the crown of top of the fruit.
The tough waxy rind of Kauaʻi Sugarloaf is softer than most varieties and the fleshy fruit is less fiberous as well. Kauaʻi Sugarloaf has a creamy white flesh. Most pineapple has yellow flesh and somewhat fibrous. The core of Kauaʻi Sugarloaf is completely edible, and is not woody or stringy as is the case in other varieties of pineapple.
How to know if a pineapple is ripe (general information)
Using color as a guide for determining ripeness for your standard yellow or gold pineapple would be considerably different than determining ripeness for Kauaʻi Sugarloaf White Pineapple. A golden yellow color on a yellow fleshed pineapple is usually a good thing but a golden yellow color on a Kauaʻi Sugarloaf White Pineapple would be clear indication of an overripe Sugarloaf Pineapple that is already past its prime and possibly even beginning to ferment.
A pineapple will not ripen any more post harvest. Some fruits ripen off of the tree as the sugars begin to concentrate but pineapple is not one of these fruits. The flavor of the pineapple can change post harvest, but it will not ripen more.
A fully ripe pineapple picked at its peak is too fragile to be shipped, hence buy from local farmers. Know your farmer. Ask questions. Two indicators of a good pineapple are ripeness and deterioration.
How to know if a Sugarloaf Pineapple is ripe
The perfectly ripe Kauaʻi Sugarloaf Pineapple will be mostly a rich green color with yellow dots in the center of the eyes. The eyes should be fully developed and look swollen, not flat, with a yellow center. At the very least, the yellow dots in the center of the eyes should be evident around the base of the fruit.
At a glance, the flesh of Kauaʻi Sugarloaf is rich green and the outside flesh will feel much harder than other pineapple, even though the inside of Sugarloaf is softer, it has been described as creamy with no strings and with an edible core.
A pineapple that is heavy for its size in comparison to other pineapples the same size will be sweeter. Sugar weighs more than water, hence a really sweet fully ripened pineapple is heavier than a unripe pineapple of the same size.
Kauaʻi Sugarloaf is much sweeter and hence it will feel heavy for its size.
Sugarloaf Pineapple is the lowest acid, sweetest, most delicious and fullest flavored pineapple.
MYTH: The ability to pull a leaf from the crown, the top of the pineapple, as an indication of ripeness is complete myth, despite the enduring popularity of this falsehood.
Pineapple needs full sun and well drained soil. Twist the leafy top off the pineapple and let it “harden off” by letting it sit around in the garage or anywhere out of the elements for a couple of weeks or even a month is fine. Remove two to three inches of the lower leaves – you will see bumps underneath that are where roots will form. Plant in barely damp soil packing tightly around the base.
Do not over water. Pineapples are bromeliads and so feed through their leaves. Although ground fertilizer is necessary for good root development it will not feed the plant. Every 3-4 weeks feed by foliar application with fertilizer for acid loving plants, such as for azalea, coffee, etc.
Most failures growing pineapple are a result of over watering, under fertilizing, lack of sun, and impatience with the 18-24 months it takes to grow. Be forewarned that the pineapple may appear to be doing nothing or even look worse when in fact it is developing and will be fine and start growing months later. Keep soil free of nematodes, ants, mealy bugs, rodents.
. . . . .
- Social History of the Pineapple
- University of Hawaii Department of Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences on Pineapple
- L A Times: Hawaii’s agricultural side: Kauai
- Nutritional information about Pineapple
- Pineapple Fruit Facts
- Pineapple Gardening Information
- Pineapple information from Purdue University
Other great links:
- Kauai Grown