How to Harvest a Pineapple

Although the pineapple is a tropical fruit, it is possible to harvest a pineapple by growing it indoors in just about any environment. The pineapple is native to South America, and grown commercially in Central America and Hawaii. It takes 20 to 36 months for a pineapple plant to begin producing fruit, but the smell and taste of a homegrown pineapple can't be beat.

Harvest A Pineapple With Patience

You can harvest a pineapple from your own plant, but it will take time. Here are some tips for starting, growing and harvesting pineapples:

  • Right from your grocer. A pineapple plant can be grown from fruit purchased at your local grocery store. Select a fruit that has healthy green leaves that are free from grayish spots-a sign of scale infestation. The skin of the pineapple should be golden yellow with no green showing.
  • A little off the top. To remove the crown, grasp the entire set of leaves and twist hard, pulling the crown away with a bit of stalk. Remove any fruit that is attached to the crown. Cut thin slices of stalk away until you see small dots appear around the edge-these are root buds. Remove leaves from the bottom of the stalk to uncover about one inch of the crown.
  • Get started. Place the crown in a glass of water, changing the water every few days. In about three weeks, the crown will develop roots and be ready to plant.
  • In the pot. Plant your pineapple crown in a one-gallon pot using fast draining soil (cactus or bromeliad soil). Proper drainage is the key to a healthy pineapple.
  • Now, we wait. It will take 20 to 36 months for your pineapple to produce fruit, so be patient. Check the plant every six months or so, and re-pot to a larger pot if it becomes root bound.
  • Pineapple blooms (or not). Your pineapple will start to form a bud in the central part of the plant. This plant may or may not develop blue flowers as it grows. In Hawaii, pineapples bloom in December and January. Eventually, the bud will enlarge into the fruit, growing up on a thick stalk. The fruit may need to be supported with a stake if it appears unstable.
  • The sniff test. It may take as long as six months for your fruit to grow and mature. You'll be able to tell the fruit is ready to harvest when the skin turns a uniform golden orange and the plant smells strongly of-pineapple.
  • Just a snip off the bottom. When your pineapple is ripe, carefully cut it from the stalk with a sharp knife and enjoy. Remember to save the crown so you can start another plant!
  • But wait, there's more! If your plant has produced extra shoots, you can leave these to mature separately and they'll produce another fruit called a ratoon. It will take about a year for the ratoon to mature and ripen.
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