On my post featuring Adam’s giant pineapple success, Scott comments:
“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.”
In response, Slightly Salty writes:
“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.”
Learning from commercial growers is an excellent practice. Unlike hobbyists, they are growing crops for money. Their livelihood is tied to the success of the plants they grow.
It’s all well and good to decry modern farming as evil, etc., but many of those who do so are backseat drivers. When I got tired of small citrus trees, I asked a commercial grower how he fertilized his groves. I literally caught this guy in the parking lot of the feed store. I knew he was a grower because his truck had the logo of a citrus grove on the side, so I said something along the line of “Hey! Can I ask you some questions?”
Then I took notes, and posted them.
Guess what? My citrus grew like crazy. Sure, it wasn’t the organic, earth-friendly, sustainable, etc., etc., etc., way to grow my trees, but they swung into production and grew better than ever before. Once you know how to grow something the EVIL WAY – and get harvests – you can always back off and try to figure out the best organic way to do the same. I’m no longer a purist. My primary goal is to get food. I don’t spray pesticides because I don’t want poison in my food, but I will use chemical fertilizer on occasion if the plants seem to need a hit.
Back to pineapples.
Foliar feeding is a good option. Just make sure you don’t hit them with something too strong, as you can burn the centers of the plants and kill them. A bit of compost tea, some fetid swamp water, watered down manure tea, diluted urine, DynaGro, or worm tea from a vermicomposting system – and voila, thou shalt have happy pineapples.
On the plant spacing, my Thai aunt-in-law plants them very tightly. You can see how she does it in this video, starting at 3:24:
They really do have lousy root systems, so it makes sense to me.
I’ll see if I can get some more tops, then plant them really tightly to see what happens.
Thank you Scott and Slightly Salty for the dialogue.
Thanks David! It’s so cool that information can get shared amongst people on your site, I appreciate it for sure. I have to expand my pineapple plot out again, I figure why not plant every top! I have actually thought some had died, I threw them in my compost pile to have them come back to life. I put them back with their friends in the pineapple plot. They are really easy and pretty cool!
How about a article on Muscadines again? I have them growing wild all over my property, so I’m building trellises for some commercial types. I figure they should do good here.
I miss muscadines – haven’t grown them since moving. If I get land, I will import some and see if I can grow them here.
Hi, I know this was from 2018, but hoping for a bit of help…the 2 pineapples that made a pretty pineapple, last year, look terrible, the leaves are awful, brown and ripped up, almost, and of 13 plants, I only have 1 pineapple this year…I realize earlier this year that i was watering them too much, so now only do them some weed water as I do the rest of the garden areas. But is there something that I can do to help the 2 plants? This article is great, thank you, I will be able to plant many more now, with closer spacing. Thank you.
Did the original pineapple plants make pups? Usually, the plant makes a pineapple, then a side shoot/pup makes the next one.
It may be that they are the old centers from last year, which will not produce again.
I have a pineapple plant here in the piedmont region of SC, its flowering, and its starting to get into the mid 40’s sometimes here. Should I move it in, and do you have anytips for keeping it alive and productive while it is indoors? I have a small growlight, but my parents only let me run it like every other day to save electricity. Thank you.
Definitely move it out of the cold – frost will kill it. I recommend finding out the watt consumption of your light, then calling the electric company to find out what it costs to run per month, then giving that $.21 a month to your parents. They like light. On sunny, warmer days you can take the pot outside, just do not forget it on a freezing night! You should have a pineapple in the early summer and it will all be worth it.
I am curious how to know exactly how much water a pineapple plant needs? I always feel the soil before putting water in when it’s dry but the leaves always turn brown it seems no matter what. I am also curious if pineapple plants need full sun or partial shade? I’ve read different things. My pineapple plants are in pots. Thanks!!
They don’t need much.
Generally, they don’t like a ton. With good drainage, water isn’t an issue, but they will rot if it’s too wet.
They can grow in sun or part shade.