Ananas comosus or pineapple is an edible fruit that belongs to the Bromeliaceae family. The main part is the fruit, which is often eaten raw, but can also be a main ingredient for juices and preserves. In countries like the Philippines, meanwhile, the leaves are main components of an indigenous textile fabric. The plant is an herbaceous perennial with an average height of 1 to 1.5 meters. Each plant can produce as much as 200 flowers. These flowers produce their own fruit and they join together to form the pineapple. One of the most noticeable characteristics of the fruit is the crown on the top, which provides it with a royal air. Each pineapple will have 30 or more narrows and long leaves.
With hundreds of pineapple varieties, you need to choose those that are miniature, which will make them perfect as houseplants. Also, while most varieties will have a green skin and yellow flesh, there are also some varieties that are blue or red. Meanwhile, there are some people who grow dwarf pineapples, not for the purpose of harvesting an edible fruit, but because they make an exotic choice for an indoor ornamental plant.
Planting and Growing Conditions
To grow pineapple, you do not need to start from seeds. You can begin with the fruit itself. Make sure to pick one that is fresh, which is an indication that the fruit is healthy, and hence, will increase the likelihood that you will succeed in planting it in a container. Hold the body of the fruit and twist the crown or the leaves from the top. You can also slice it using a sharp and clean knife.
After taking off the crown, you can now prepare it for planting and enjoy the fruit. Take off some of the leaves from the base to reveal the stem from the crown. Wait until you see brown nubs from the bottom, which is also the area where the root will sprout. Position the crown sideways and allow it to dry for about five days.
Look for a glass jar and fill it with water. See to it that the size of the opening is right to accommodate the crown and to keep it in a stable position without completely immersing in water. Stick a couple of toothpicks to hold the crown and place it on the mouth of the jar, making sure that the bottom of the crown touches the water. Position it in a sunny spot indoors and wait for a couple of weeks until the root starts to appear.
When roots appear, transfer the crown in a pot. Using a pot that has a height of at least six inches, fill with a potting soil, which needs to have at least 30% organic matter. The latter will improve the nutrients present in the soil. Plant the crown in the pot, making sure to cover the roots with light soil. Look for a position that is humid, warm, and sunny, such as the windowsill. At night, see to it that the temperature does not go below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also cover it with a plastic bag, which will mimic a greenhouse. This will help in speeding up the rooting. After about a year, flowers will start to appear, which is an indication of your success in planting a pineapple.
Pineapples are not only delicious and juicy, but they also have a long list of health benefits, which include the following:
- Strengthens the Bone: As we age, one of the consequences that we face is having brittle bones. With this, eating pineapple can help as it contains more than 75% of the daily requirement of manganese for the human body. This helps to improve the bones and the connective tissues.
- Boosts Eye Health: With Vitamin C and beta carotene, pineapple is also effective in improving vision, especially amongst people who are aging. It can be effective in the prevention of macular degeneration.
- Improves Immunity: The regular consumption of pineapple will also be instrumental in improving the defense of the body against sickness. It has Vitamin C and other nutrients that will improve immune system support.
- Stimulates Digestion: One of the main reasons for this is perhaps the fact that the fruit is high in fiber. It is going to be vital in the health of intestines. It will also prevent digestive problems, such as constipation and irregular bowel movement.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: For those who are suffering from hypertension, it will be good to include pineapple in their daily diet. It has potassium and low sodium content, which will be vital in maintaining healthy blood pressure. It also helps to relax the blood vessels.
- Improves Oral Health: There are antioxidants in pineapples that will help in the prevention of oral cancer. To add, there are also properties that help in improving gum health, lessening the likelihood that your teeth will loosen.
Pests and Diseases
Amongst the diseases that affect pineapples, heart rot is one of the most common. Other diseases in pineapples include marbling, white leaf spot, black rot, and phytophthora root rot. When it comes to pests, meanwhile, some of the most common causes of infestation include mealybugs, white grubs, and pineapple red mite.
Care and Maintenance
Here are some of the most important things that you have to do to ensure healthy growth of your indoor pineapple plant:
- Just like humans, pineapples need to be fed to survive. With this, it is important to provide the plant with the sufficient amount of water that it needs, especially during hot and dry months. Nonetheless, water it only as needed, or when the soil is dry. Otherwise, it will only encourage the presence of pests and diseases that can kill the plants.
- Similar to watering, fertilizing is necessary. Overfertilizing, on the other hand, is one of the sure-fire ways to kill the pineapple. Use only low or regular strength fertilizer.
- From rooting to fruiting, you might wait up to three years. With this, there will come a time that the plant will outgrow the size of the pit. When this happens, repotting is essential to provide the pineapple with the space that it needs.
- When the fruit appears, it is also important to know the right time to harvest, which is when the skin starts to turn yellow. After picking the fruit, it will no longer ripen, so be sure that it is already ripe.
Patience – this is what you need when planting pineapples. It can take several years before the fruit will be apparent, but the long wait is sure to be worth it. With the right growing conditions and external environment, it is possible to grow pineapple as an indoor houseplant, even if you are a novice gardener.