Ask a Question forum: Is fertilizer necessary to grow a pineapple plant?

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Name: Justin Yoon
Seattle, WA (Zone 8b)
Sep 16, 2017 1:00 AM CST
An ex-coworker of mine is moving and he gave me a pineapple plant that he couldn't take with him. I would like to state at this point that I have absolutely zero gardening experience.

I've done my research on how to care for it in general but the one thing that has me confused is what to use for fertilizer. Every recommendation seems to conflict with some bit of information I've found about what makes good fertilizer for pineapples. It's gotten to the point where I've just given up on trying to do any more searching.

This lead me to the question in the subject line. Is fertilizer even necessary? I understand that the plant will grow healthier and the fruit will be tastier, but is it necessary for the plant to survive? If so, could anyone give any recommendations for what's good to use? My only real requirement is that it doesn't smell (I live in an apartment so I have to grow it inside).
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America Deer Region: New York Birds Cat Lover
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Sep 16, 2017 8:51 AM CST
I used Miracle Grow on my pineapple plant and it did very well, other members will have more advice for you Welcome! to the forum, there's a lot of useful info here Green Grin!
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Sep 16, 2017 9:49 AM CST
Justin - Your point is well taken. There is an incredible amount of nonsense posted about fertilizing and with hundreds of different variations. Even professional growers develop their own formulas for the specific crops that they are growing. For the layperson, fertilizer manufacturers and marketers play on people's concerns and make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims as to the reason theirs is the best.

In fact, potted plants use nutrients in very minute quantities so that fertilizer rarely makes much difference except with older plants that have been in the same pot for several years. There is a much greater risk of using too much than too little fertilizer.

Fertilizer is not medicine and should never be used for ailing plants. It is intended for healthy plants that are growing vigorously because they are in optimal light. In less than ideal conditions, either skip it altogether or dilute it to half the recommended label strength.

Unless you are growing a large crop of Pineapple, you can use whatever fertilizer is available to you. Use either a liquid or powder that can be diluted with water. Skip the fertilizer sticks as they tend to concentrate the nutrients in spots. Timed released fertilizers are easy to use, but harder to control because once applied, it cannot be reduced.

If you are eager to learn more technical information about the various nutrient components, contact me directly via email and I will send you a paper I have written on the subject.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Sep 16, 2017 1:08 PM CST
No, fertilizer is not necessary if the soil is decent and relatively fresh. If you do fertilize, use less than the recommended amount (esp. for an indoor plant). The amount I use for my bromeliads (not pineapples, but cousins) on a regular basis works out to be equivalent to 1/20 (5%) of the dose recommended on the MG granular product. Most fertilizer recommendations on the package are designed to sell product, not grow indoor plants. Smiling

Some brands take a different approach, and now that I just looked again, I'm actually using the recommended amount of the brand I like (Dyna-Gro Grow 7-9-5) which works out to half a teaspoon per gallon, or about 50 ppm N. Easy calculator here to arrive at equivalents.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 16, 2017 1:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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Sep 16, 2017 5:46 PM CST
May I also add that pineapples are a type of bromeliad and they feed through their leaves quite a bit. So if you use a soluble fertilizer (something you dissolve in water and pour on the plant) be sure to wet the leaves with the fert solution.

I grow pineapples outdoors here, and I spray them every few weeks with my soluble orchid fertilizer (orchids feed through their leaves too). They will need less fertilizer growing in Seattle, because of the lower light and cooler temperatures there (even in your house) but give it the sunniest window you can find for the best chance of growing a fruit. Put it outside to grow in the summertime as soon as the night temperatures are dependably above 50deg.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Justin Yoon
Seattle, WA (Zone 8b)
Sep 16, 2017 7:19 PM CST
Thanks everyone for answering my question! This has been really helpful and I learned a lot. Looking forward to it now that I feel more knowledgeable :)

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