Adam grew a giant pineapple and sent me photos:
Looks like a blue ribbon winner to me. I asked him his method and he replied:
“I started the top in a glass of water until the roots grew, then I put it in a HUGE pot (20/26gal) with my own “mel’s mix” + rock dust/worm castings. Then I watered it about twice a week. Then I waited about 20 months.”
Let’s break down what Adam did to grow this pineapple.
Pineapples can be started in water; however, I find it easier just to pop them in the ground wherever I want them to start.
You can start your own pineapple plant from the top of any store-bought pineapple. Commercial growers start pineapples from slips, which are side-shoots from the main pineapple plant.
Like a lot of things, you don’t have to do it the “right” way to have success. No matter how you grow a pineapple, if it works, you did well.
We used to have little ones growing all over the place in North Florida.
Nothing like the beautiful one Adam grew, but we didn’t work at all for them. We just stuck tops in the ground and in pots.
Let’s look at how Adam got his to grow bigger.
“Mel’s Mix,” for those of you not familiar with the term, is the mix of “perfect” growing medium recommended by Mel Bartholomew in his always popular book Square Foot Gardening.
Mel’s Mix is comprised of three things in equal parts:
2. Finished compost
3. Peat Moss
I’ve made this mix before, long ago, when I built some square foot gardens for my wife. It’s hard to get wet, but once you get it soaked, it holds water well and grows some nice vegetables.
Note that Adam also used a big pot. A big pot gives your plant plenty of room to sink its roots deep and get what it needs.
Rock Dust/Worm Castings
Rock dust is an excellent source of a wide range of trace minerals. Though the big three macronutrients plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, when they have abundant trace elements they do better. Your growth is limited by the thing you’re missing.
By adding rock dust, you cover your bases. I use lots of seaweed for the same reason – I want those micronutrients!
As for the second ingredient – worm castings. They’re like “Ever So Much More So” from Homer Price. Even a sprinkling goes a long way.
Worm castings are like magic. They’re loaded with good microbiology as well as micronutrients. Worm castings and “worm tea” are just about the best thing you can add to your garden. They’re expensive, but they work miracles.
Eventually, I would love to set up a worm bin like this one:
I was never very good about harvesting the castings, but the tea is good stuff and takes zero work.
I’m not surprised that Adam grew this big pineapple considering what he added to the soil.
Water and Wait
Pineapples are not needy plants. They’re happy with little water and little care, but when you water them regularly and feed them on good stuff, they reward you with faster growth and bigger fruit.
I’ve had people tell me “I don’t want to bother with pineapples – they take too long! Isn’t it gonna be like, three years before I get a fruit?”
It doesn’t have to take that long, as Adam’s 20-month pineapple demonstrates, but even if it did take three years, so what? Are you going to be dead by then? Sticking pineapple tops in the ground and waiting isn’t a big deal. I’ve jammed tops in the ground all over the place. Eventually, you get pineapples all the time.
My previous landlord did that and we ended up with piles of them from plants we did nothing to maintain.
Just think ahead a little bit and you’ll be rewarded. Adam’s daughter was certainly happy her dad had some patience:
That pineapple is almost as big as she is!
Plant a pineapple top, feed it and water it, then enjoy fresh pineapple. They taste amazing right from the garden and are one of the easiest plants you can grow. Even up north, pineapples will grow in pots and produce. Start saving those tops, kids.
Nice work Adam! That is a ripper 🙂 Great info in your post too David, Isn’t seaweed great for the soil. I use it here too and while it isn’t much of a fertilizer at the rates I apply it, the plants are so much healthier for it.
That is a big one! Every time I eat a pineapple I plant the top in my mini pineapple plantation. I have about thirty in there now, with six of them getting fruit this summer. I have a couple questions for you David.
How close to each other can the plants be? I have mine crunched in together pretty close, I even expanded out my bed already, but I keep eating them and planting the tops. I’ve seen them in Hawaii and they seemed crowded together there.
How much watering and fertilizer is required? I give mine some, but I wonder if they need more for where they are. Sometimes they are a little pale looking.
We had a commercial pineapple grower speak at my fruit club meeting. It’s typically an 18-month process. You plant them in January and the following January’s cold snaps will induce a flower then about 6 months later in around July you will have a pineapple.
The plants do well crowded because they benefit from the support. They have a small root system so this grower said to use foliar sprays to feed them. He also said that they do not require supplemental irrigation and Florida’s rainfall is adequate.
All this is great information but I just do as David does and just stick them in the ground and in summer… I get pineapples.
Great info, thanks!
Yes, definitely foliar feed. Not too strong, though, or you’ll burn the centers.
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I must be doing something wrong. Everyone says it’s so easy, but I follow their directions – pull off the bottom leaves, stick them in the ground and water – but mine just all rot and die. I don’t water too much, just enough to moisten the soil, and they get plenty of sun. Would rooting hormone help? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
Leave a piece of the pineapple on the bottom (maybe a half-inch) and stick it about half-way into the ground. Looser soil is probably better.
Thanks, David! I will try that!
We have an I testing issue with our pineapples. We have huge tops on the fruit, but the fruit itself is small. Are we lacking a specific nutrient that causing this? I feel like somehow energy is going into the top /green part rather than the fruit.
Any info you can give will be greatly appreciated.
That may be an overabundance of nitrogen. Leaf growth at the expense of fruit is common. That said – where did you get your original plants? Do you know that they are genetically a large-fruited variety?
zaddy adam with the pineapple
that pic is my computer home screen luv ya <3