Growing Pineapple from the Top Crown: is it Possible?
Pineapples are an exotic and delicious fruit. Therefore, it is no wonder that many people love this fruit. In addition, this fruit is also beneficial for our body. Many people eat pineapple so that they can lose their excess weight. If you want to get more benefits from this particular fruit, you must try to plant it in your garden. Planting this fruit is easy if you know how to grow a pineapple plant.
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All about Pineapple You Need to Know
Before we discuss about how to grow a pineapple plant, it is important for you to get to know more about this plant.
Understanding more about it will give you more chance of success in growing it. These are what you must know about pineapple.
1. Origin and History of Pineapples
Pineapples or Ananans comosus are originally from South America, particularly Paraguay and Brazil. Later on, this fruit was spread to Central America and Caribbean. At that time, this fruit was cultivated by the Native Americans.
In 1550, the Portuguese introduced this fruit to India. However, Columbus encountered this fruit for the first time in Guadeloupe long before that.
Later on, when he came back to Spain, he brought this fruit along with him. Europeans were fascinated by this fruit. But, they failed in cultivating it.
Pieter de la Court was the first man in Europe who knew how to grow a pineapple plant. He made greenhouse horticulture to plant pineapples in 1658, near Leyden.
Thanks to him, this plant was distributed to England and French in 1700s. The expensive maintenance needed to grow this fruit made pineapples expensive and could only be afforded by the rich.
Because of its expensive price, pineapples became the symbol of wealth in Europe at that time. This fruit was presented in parties. But, it was not served to the guests. The rich only used it as a display.
In the 17th century, Spanish introduced a certain cultivar of pineapples to Philippines. Moreover, in the 1800s, pineapples were spread to Hawaii, Australia, and Africa from UK.
These pineapples were of different cultivar from the ones spread by the Spanish to Philippines. From then on, this juicy fruit was spread throughout the world and commercially cultivated.
2. General Characteristic of Pineapple Plant
Pineapple plant is a small shrub in the family of Bromeliaceae. It can grow up to 1.5 meters tall. This fruit plant grows well in an area with temperature between 23o C and 32o C. A pineapple can live in an area with colder climate for a short time. But, it will not be able to withstand the frost.
This particular plant love fertile, well drained, and a bit sandy soil to grow. In addition, the pH level of this soil must be between 4.5 and 6.5. A pineapple plant will not only thrive on the ground. But, it will also thrive in a pot. Therefore, you can make it into a houseplant.
Having it indoor, will make the air inside the room cleaner. It is because this plant absorbs CO2 in your home at nights. If you want to get this benefit, of course, you must know the methods of how to grow a pineapple plant indoor.
The CO2 that is absorbed will be stored inside the plant until daylight comes. Once this plant is exposed to sunlight, it will use the CO2 in its photosynthesis process.
A pineapple plant doing this mechanism because it needs to conserve water in daylight. Therefore, it opens its stoma to get CO2 at nights when the temperature is cooler.
A pineapple plant needs full sun to thrive. However, it can grow pretty well in a partially shaded area. In addition, this plant doesn’t need a lot of water. This is one of the reasons why it is easy to plant it if you know how to grow a pineapple plant.
3. Propagation of Pineapples
In most cases, this fruit plant is not propagated from seeds. Farmers usually propagate this plant using its suckers or slips. Suckers are crowns that grow from leaf axils. Meanwhile, slips are crowns that arise on the stalk under the fruit. However, not all pineapple varieties grow slips.
In addition, pineapples can also be propagated from the top of the fruit. Growing a pineapple plant from its top crown is perfect for you who don’t have access to suckers or slips.
It is also perfect for you who want to cut your budget in growing this plant. However, this particular method of how to grow a pineapple plant requires patience since the plant takes more time to fruiting.
4. Pollination of Pineapple Flowers
Pineapple flowers are small. They are light purple and attached to a central axis. There are about 200 flowers that are produced by this plant. Since they are attached together, they form a flower stalk which size is about 4 inches in length.
These flowers are self-fertile. However, they need the aid of hummingbirds to pollinate its flowers. In addition, flowers of certain varieties are pollinated by the aid of bats. However, pineapple farmers sometimes pollinate these flowers by hand.
A pineapple plant only bears one fruit. However, after the first fruit is harvested, this plant will die. But, the suckers will grow near its mother plant and then start flowering and produce fruits.
These fruits usually are smaller in size. Therefore, it is important to cut and plant the suckers on other areas.
This plant usually will produce a fruit after a year or two. If it is planted from a slip, it will produce fruit in a year. If it is planted from a sucker, it will bear fruit in 18 months. But, if it is planted from a fruit top, it will bear fruit in two years.
The pineapple flowers take six months to develop into a fruit. Each of ovaries of the unpollinated flowers will develop into a berry. Later on, the central axis will become fleshy and the berries will fuse and form a large pineapple.
A ripe pineapple weighs between 1 and 2 pounds and has yellow or orange rind. Most commercially cultivated pineapples are seedless. But, some of them may have small amount of seeds.
These small black seeds are located in the rind. They can be used to grow this fruit plant. However the process of how to grow a pineapple plant from seeds takes a lot of time.
6. Nutritional Value of Pineapples
Taking 100 g of pineapple will help you meet about half of your vitamin C needs. This fruit is very rich in vitamin C and manganese. Moreover, it is high in dietary fiber and water.
This particular fruit also contain other nutrients, such as vitamin B6, B1, B5, and folic acid. However, it is low in sugar and fat.
In addition, the pineapple juice also contains bromelain. This particular enzyme can be used to relieve inflammation. However, bromelain can cause itchy or discomfort to the tongue and mouth.
In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant women to eat too much pineapple, especially the core. It is because bromelain found in pineapples may induce early labor.
Pineapple fruits usually are eaten fresh and used for making various foods and beverages. There are many foods which use pineapples as one of the ingredients.
Some of them are pizza, fruit salads, and Hawaiian haystack. Moreover, pineapple juice is a favorite. It is also used for making piña colada and other cocktails.
In addition, pineapple juice is also used for marinating meats. This juice can make meat dishes taste more delicious.
Moreover, the bromelain found in this fruit can function as meat tenderizer. Therefore, your meat will be tender if you marinate it with pineapple juice properly.
The leaves of a pineapple plants were used for making fabrics in Philippines and Thailand in the 18th and 19th century. This luxurious fabric was beautiful.
However, it was complicated to make. In addition, only Red Spanish pineapple leaves that could be used to make the fabrics. Unfortunately, this textile industry was damaged during World War II.
There are many varieties or cultivars of pineapple that are cultivated commercially. Different varieties usually have slightly different characteristics.
Therefore, you need to pay attention to them before starting the process of how to grow a pineapple plant. These are some cultivars of pineapple.
Smooth Cayenne pineapples are one of the most popular pineapple varieties. Its fruits are big and have yellow rind and fruit flesh.
In addition, its leaves are smooth and without spine. Therefore, this pineapple variety is perfect for houseplants.
This pineapple variety has smaller fruits than Smooth Cayenne. The flesh of this fruit is pale yellow, almost white. In addition, it has spiny leaves. This cultivar is mostly cultivated in Philippines and Latin America.
This particular pineapple plant has fruit that is sweeter than other varieties. The size of this fruit is pretty big.
Moreover, this plant has long spiny leaves. Abacaxi pineapples are resistance to diseases. But, its fruits are too delicate for shipping.
This pineapple variety has delicious fruits with pleasant fragrance. But, it is not good for canning. In addition, this plant is more tolerant to cold temperature.
It is strong and doesn’t suffer from diseases easily. This pineapple are mostly cultivated in Australia and South Africa.
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How to Grow a Pineapple Plant
Growing a pineapple plant is not difficult for beginners. If you cannot have access for pineapple suckers or slips, you can buy a pineapple in the market.
Once you have it, you can follow these steps of how to grow a pineapple plant.
1. Planting a pineapple top crown
In this first step, you need to consider the right area to plant your pineapple. If you are going to plant it in the ground, you must choose an area with full sun.
If you choose to plant them on a pot, choose a big pot so that you can minimize the transplanting process. In addition, you also need to place the pot in a sunny area.
After that, you must perform this process.
- Cut a pineapple top crown carefully. Clean it from any fruit flesh and remove the bottom leaves.
- Dry this top crown for a day or two. In drying it, you only need to place it on a table or something, without exposing it to the sun.
- Meanwhile, prepare the soil in which you are going to use as the medium of this plant. You need to make sure that is well drained, fertile, and has the right acidity level.
- Create a hole in this soil and place the top crown.
- Make sure that the top crown sits straight by pushing and firming the soil around it.
- Water the soil until it is moist enough.
If you are going to plant several pineapple tops, you need to give them enough spacing. These bushes will spread wide and pretty tall. Therefore, you must have two or three feet space between them.
A pineapple plant is pretty easy to care. However, it doesn’t mean that you can leave it grow on its own. There are several things you must do to care for it.
This particular plant doesn’t need a lot of water. You can water the soil until it is moist enough when the soil is dry. Therefore you don’t need to water it every day,
At an early stage, your pineapple plants need a lot of food. It gets the food from the leaves. But, to make sure that it gets enough, you can use diluted seaweed extract to water the plant and the soil. In addition, you must remember to add compost in the soil before you plant the top crown.
Moreover, if you find the leaves of this plant discolor, you must give it enough fertilizer. The best fertilizer for this plant is organic fertilizer.
Fighting Pests and Diseases
There are some pests and diseases that can affect your pineapple plant. They are sometimes cannot be avoided. As a result, you need to discard a plant that is affected by them.
Farmers usually dip the cut of suckers in a fungicide before planting them to avoid certain diseases. Moreover, they also choose pineapple variety which is resistance to diseases.
A pineapple can be harvested when it is fully ripe. It can also be harvested when it is mature but not fully ripe yet. At this stage, you need to store it for a week or two before it can be enjoyed.
Once your pineapple plant is mature and fruiting, you will be able to have suckers or slips. As a result, you don’t need a pineapple top crown to grow this plant the next time.
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