The Q&A Archives: care for a pineapple plant

Question: I bought a pineapple plant from Home depot and it did not have any info with it. It came in a 6in pot. Could you help me.

Answer: To grow your new houseplant, give it a brightly lighted location which receives at least six hours of bright light each day. Water sparingly, as the soil drys. Don't over water, but don't let it go completely dry either. Fertilize once or twice a month with a houseplant fertilizer. If possible, let it spend the summer outside in a brightly lighted location. You can find such a site in the shade of a tree where grass grows successfully. Too much shade will not be good. Before frost, bring the pineapple plant back indoors for the winter. When the plant gets as large as you can manage, lay the plant and pot on its side between waterings. This interferes with hormones in the plant, causing the production of another hormone, ethylene, which induces flowering. An alternative method of inducing flowering is to place the plant in a bag with a ripening apple. The ripening apple produces ethylene gas which will induce flowering in the pineapple. You will have to continue these treatments for a couple of months and will probably need to replace the apple several times.

Now that you know how to grow it, here is some interesting trivia about your pineapple. The pineapple is a member of the bromeliad family. As such it is related to Spanish moss and some interesting ornamental plants sold in many nurseries. These ornamentals are interesting in that they absorb water and nutrients from a water-tight reservoir formed where the leaves come together, or by interesting absorptive hairs which cover the Spanish moss and similar bromeliads, allowing them to draw water and nutrients from the fog and dust in the air. The pineapple, however, uses its roots like houseplants with which you are familiar and should be easy to grow if you treat it like a normal houseplant which needs bright light.

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