A Complete Guide to Baby Pineapple Care

Baby Pineapple plant
Baby Pineapple Plant (source: Pixabay)

Pineapples are one of the sweetest fruits that exist in the plant kingdom. In my opinion, no fruit can match the juiciness and sweetness that we get from it.

So, one day, out of my likeness for Pineapple, I got a notion that I should grow a pineapple myself.

Now here comes the real challenging part: nurturing a baby pineapple plant. I did not want to mess up the first time I was doing something to satisfy my taste buds.

So, I embarked on this journey of properly nurturing and caring for a baby plant to grow myself a whole pineapple.

Baby pineapples prefer well-draining, sandy loam soil, a tropical temperature ranging from 20°C to 30°C, and direct, bright sunlight. Pineapples thrive when the humidity is 60% and fertilized with a weak liquid fertilizer every two months.

Beautifully Potted Baby Pineapple
Beautifully Potted Baby Pineapple (Source: Amazon)

Continue reading if you are giving thoughts to growing a pineapple from the very scratch, i.e., taking care of a baby plant.

In this article, I have mentioned all the required necessities to take care of a baby pineapple plant, the problems you may face, and how to solve them.

Overview of Baby Pineapple

Pineapples are tropical fruits rich in vitamins and enzymes that help to strengthen the immunity system and help with indigestion. Despite being known for their sweetness, pineapples are low in calories.

Scientific nameEpipremnum Aureum 'Glacier'
Common nameGlacier Pothos
NativeSouthease Asia
FamilyAraceae
NatureTropical
USDAZone 10-11
Plant typeEvergreen
Growth size6 to 8 feet
Spread3 to 4 feet
Leaf sizeSmaller compared to other pothos
Bloom timePeak time ranges from December to May
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets if ingested

The baby pineapple is prone to different deficiencies if not taken good care of. Let us dive deep into how to provide optimum care to them.

A Complete Guide to Baby Pineapple Plant Care

Baby pineapples do not have extreme requisites and can thrive in moderate conditioning like other tropical plants.

One can easily grow a pineapple in their backyard with little care and effort.

Following are the basic requirements needed for the optimal growth of baby pineapple:

RequirementsOptimum Condition
TemperatureMaintain a temperature between 68-86 °F.
Baby Pineapple will not survive the temperature below 28°F.
SunlightBaby pineapples need full sunlight for optimum growth.
Low sunlight can slow the leaves growth.
Soil ConditionWell-draining, sandy loam texture with pH ranging from 4.5-6.5.
HumidityProvide humidity around 60%
WateringAbout 1-inch water per week or when the soil is dry.
FertilizingEvery 2 months during the growing season.
NPK, Micronutrients and Organic fertilizers can be used.
PruningOccasional pruning to prevent draping, get rid of dead leaves.
RepottingOnce the plant is firmly rooted.
Pot Size10-12 inch pot for first repotting, 5 gallon container when mature
PropagationPropagate using crowns and suckers arising near leaves.
Pest/DiseasesMealy bugs, Scale insects, thrips, and Phytophthora heart rot, Phytophthora root rot, Fusariosis

Continue reading below for a detailed description.

1. Direct Bright Sunlight

Being a tropical plant, pineapples love an adequate amount of sunlight. Proper and bright sunlight can ensure the full growth of a baby pineapple plant.

They require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight for optimum growth.

However, harsh direct sunlight can cause sunburn to the plants. 

When I couldn’t find adequate sunlight for my baby pineapple in winter, I used artificial lighting to fulfill its lighting needs. 

If the baby pineapple plants do not get enough light, their growth slows down, and the leaves appear undernourished. 

Problems Due to Low Lighting Conditions

  • Slows foliage growth and affects flowering
  • The tips of leaves start to turn brown or yellowish.
  • It may hinder the development of fruit.
  • Leaves appear stunted
  • Plant leans towards the distant light source
  • The plant becomes thin and leggy

During winter, when sunlight is scarce, wrap holiday lights around the base of the plant to provide light. 

Showing pineapple wearing glasses and base surrounded by holiday lights
Pineapple with holiday lights (source: Pixabay)

Tips to Maintain Adequate Sunlight

  • Plant the baby pineapple near a sunny windowsill that provides ample sunlight.
  • Rotate the plant occasionally to ensure even growth.
  • Do not move the plant to low light zones.
  • Occasionally pruning of the brown tips of the leaves would help.
  • Place the plant on the southern side of your room or building.
  • Make sure the baby pineapple is not under the shade of any object or another plant.
  • During scarcity of light, use full-spectrum grow light that can provide the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun. LED grow lights provide just enough lighting to let the plant adjust indoors.
  • High-intensity lights ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 Lux prove to be perfect for the substantial growth of baby pineapple.

3. Moderate Temperature

Due to their tropical roots, baby pineapples need moderate and tropical temperatures.

Ensure the temperature ranges from 68°F to 86°F (20°C to 30°C) if you want the plant to thrive in your home conditions.

Baby pineapples cannot survive freezing temperatures. So, anything below 28°F may result in the plant drying up completely.

A temperature lower than 60°F and higher than 90°F will not affect the plant in extreme ways but can slow its growth and prevent it from bearing any fruits.

A low freezing temperature may cause the leaf surface to turn red/white, flecked, and the fruit may start rotting. 

During summer, keep the plant outside to enjoy full sunlight and thus the hot temperature.

It is wise to bring the plant inside during autumn and winter conditions. You should focus on maintaining optimum conditions for the plant during winter.

Tips for Maintaining Optimum Temperature

  • Spread 2-inch to 6-inch layer of mulch around the plant. Use a layer of wood chips, tree barks, and similar kinds of materials as mulch. 
  • Wrap large-bulb holiday lights around the plant.
  • Drive wooden stakes around the plant and blanket the stakes.
  • Plastic covers and rock mulches can be used because they reflect excessive heat.

4. Sufficient Watering

Pineapples are one of the many drought-resistant plants. They require as much as 80% less water than other plants.

Despite that, 1-inch watering should be done once the soil starts to look or feel dry, or once every week. 

During summer, water your baby Pineapple every week and water every 10-12 days during winter.

Being a tropical plant, underwatering the plant doesn’t have any adverse effect. If the plants are underwatered, they grow at a slow pace.

However, if the baby pineapple is overwatered, it may cause fungal diseases like root rot top rot and can cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Problems Due to Overwatering

Baby Pineapples do not prefer sitting on too much water.

  • Fungal diseases like root rot and top rot can affect the plant.
  • The leaves start to turn yellowish.
Save an Overwatered Baby Pineapple
  • Brush away the soil from around the roots of the plant.
  • Move the plant to hot and drier conditions.
  • A change of soil can help the plant to a greater extent.
  • Pineapple plants store water in their crown. Dump out the excess water by inclining the pot sideways.
  • Do not water the plant unless it is back to its natural condition.
Root Rot in Pineapple Plant
Root Rot in Pineapple Plant (Source: Sciencedirect)

Problems Due to Underwatering

Although baby pineapples prefer hot conditions, underwatering them may cause problems too.

During hot and dry conditions, the water on the soil evaporates quickly, making the baby pineapple plant susceptible to problems.

  • The leaves of the Pineapple start to turn yellowish or greyish.
  • The growth of the plant is hindered.
  • Overall, pineapple health gradually declines.
Save an Underwatered Baby Pineapple
  • Water the plant immediately to moisturize the soil and wait for the plant to get back to its natural state.
  • Consider placing the plant in a high humidity area.
  • Use a long neck watering can and water on the plant’s crown as they help distribute moisture evenly.

Tips to Water Baby Pineapple Properly

  • Water a 1-inch layer of the soil and dry it between the watering schedules. 
  • Check the dryness of soil by inserting your finger on the soil and water immediately if dry.
  • Give extra attention to the watering schedule during dry, hot days or when the plant is setting fruit.
  • Water the plant with general houseplant fertilizer when your baby pineapple produces fruit.
  • Make sure to water only to keep the soil moist and not mushy.
  • Water directly to the soil.
  • Use long neck funnel watering can if your plant needs extra water during hot and dry conditions.

Searching for cute watering cans? Take a look at our write 10 Cute Mini Watering Cans for Indoor Plants.

5. Moderate Humidity Level

A baby pineapple can thrive in moderate humidity as well.

You can maintain a good humidity level by misting it every other day during dry conditions.

Low humidity does not have any adverse effect on the plant as it is a drought-tolerant plant, but arid conditions can cause the water molecules on the plant to dry up.

However, pineapples love high humid conditions. Anything around 60% proves to be the best for pineapples. 

Tips for Maintaining Ideal Humidity Conditions

  • During high humidity, avoid misting the plants.
  • Use a room humidifier to boost the humidity level around the plant. 
  • To maintain high humidity, mist the plant with a spray bottle.
  • You should not expose the plant directly to fans or heaters.
  • Wet pebble trays can be used to provide humidity for the baby pineapple.
  • A terrarium will help trap moisture for your baby pineapple.
  • A cloche, a bell-shaped glass cover that fits over the top of a plant, can be used for both indoor and outdoor plants.
  • Greenhouses can give your plants more room to thrive and provide optimum humidity.
Small Green house
Small Green House (Source: Amazon)

6. Weak Liquid and Dry Fertilizer

Fertilizing the baby pineapple is necessary to ensure the overall growth of the plant.

We should feed pineapples with a weak liquid fertilizer every two months.

We can avoid pests, infestations, and diseases by regularly fertilizing the plant with balanced fertilizers.

Feeding the plant with fertilizers with the composition of Phosphoric Acid, Nitrogen, Magnesium, and Potassium Carbonate, every two months during the growing season, will work best for baby pineapples.

Fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 6-10 Nitrogen, 6-10 Phosphorus, 6-10 Potassium, and 4-6 Magnesium works well for baby pineapple.

  • NPK Fertilizers focus on strengthening the plant, growing the leaves, and ripening the fruits.
  • Micronutrient fertilizers should be applied to the plant in the hottest weather conditions.
  • Phos-K proves to be the best organic fertilizer for Pineapple.

Here is the list of the best weak liquid and dry fertilizers for Pineapple.

Best Weak Liquid FertilizersBest Dry Fertilizers
BudJuice AdvancedPurely Organic Tree and Shrub Fertilizer
Schultz All PurposeFox Farm Happy Frog
Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant FoodSea Magic Dry Soluble Seaweed Extract

Apply foliar feeding with liquid fertilizers, and spray the fertilizers every 8 to 10 weeks.

Here’s the dose of application for dry fertilizers:

Dry Fertilizer Application6-6-6 Fertilizer10-10-10 Fertilizer
1st and 2nd Application2 ounces1 ounce
3rd and 4th Application3 ounces2 ounces
5th and 6th Application6 ounces3 ounces

Micronutrients fertilizers should be used two or three times a year. Use 1% ferrous sulfate solution every 8-10 weeks if your fertilizer doesn’t contain iron.

7. Well-draining Sandy Loam Soil

Baby pineapple prefers sandy loam soil that has well-draining with good air circulation and must not contain heavy clay or rock within a meter of the surface.

Soil with a pH ranging from 4.5-5.5 is perfect for the plant’s growth. 

The soil needs to be well-draining because excessive water may lead to severe pineapple diseases like root rot.

Pineapples can’t thrive in damp soil; therefore, they need a well-drained growing medium.

Because sand allows for rapid leaching or water movement through the soil, the optimum soil for growing pineapples is a sandy loam.

You can prepare a potting mix at home.

  • One part coarse sand
  • One part peat moss
  • The exact amount of composted leaves
  • One part humus
  • One part all-purpose potting soil

Here is a list of potting mixes for baby pineapple found on Amazon.

Potting mix for pineapples
Hand blended pineapple plant potting soil (source: Amazon)

8. Growth Habits

Being a herbaceous perennial, pineapples’ roots give way to sending a new top growth every year.

Pineapples grow up to about 5 feet with a spread of 3 to 4 feet.

The plant is usually short, with a stout stem, and has strap-like leaves with needle-like pointers at the tips and margins.

Foliage Growth

The leaves are arranged in a rosette around the main stem.

Pineapples have different leaf colors varying from a uniform green to variously striped red, yellow, or ivory down the middle or at the margins.

Beautiful Pineapple Foliage
Beautiful Pineapple Foliage with Fruit (Source: Pixabay)

Evenly moist soil promotes optimal foliage and root growth. The plant requires all-day sunlight and a temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive.

A monthly application of a soluble houseplant fertilizer is all that’s needed to keep your plants healthy.

Fruiting and Flowering

A pineapple can produce a dozen of fruit-producing flowers that fuse into a single fruit. The fruit is capped with a crown that hosts different short leaves. 

The plant fruits on a 2-3 year crop cycle take 32 to 46 months to complete and harvest.

Each pineapple plant can produce only flowers and fruit once, but the primary plant frequently generates offsets after blooms.

Offsets develop from the main plant, eventually mature, and produce their flowers and fruits.

After producing the fruit, the Pineapple tends to die but is alive through its suckers. The fruit is sweet with tough leathery skin and has spiky leaves on the top.

There is a concept called ‘force fruiting’ where you can, as the name suggest, make the Pineapple produce fruit against its natural will.

Forcing Pineapple Fruiting

To encourage all Pineapple plants to flower simultaneously, growers learned to utilize ethylene, acetylene, or the plant hormone auxin, which is called “Forcing.”

Pineapple plants are now sprayed with the growth regulator ethephon, an ethylene-releasing chemical to encourage consistent flowering.

The best forcing agent is ethylene, a natural hormone that controls pineapple flowering.

However, forcing pineapple blossoms causes stress and may harm unhealthy specimens, resulting in little fruit on small plants.

They have a shorter shelf life and cannot be stored as long as other pineapples; in addition, the acid level of forced fruit is higher.

9. Dormancy Period

Pineapples are dormant during the wintertime. They are not well accustomed to winter.

If, during winter, the temperature in your area doesn’t drop below 0°C  or the winds are not strong enough, then your Pineapple has a strong chance of survival without requiring much of your assistance.

However, if the Pineapple deals with frosty conditions, the plant may die.

Tips to Take Care of your Baby Pineapple During Dormancy

  • Mulch 2-4 inches deep and 12-14 inches around your plant to prevent the escape of the heat from the soil and stop the soil from frosting.
  • Use bright, warm sunroom or greenhouse to keep the plant warm.
  • Even if it’s cold, water your plant every 2-3 days because the lack of moisture will quickly make the soil lose heat. 
  • Drive four wooden stakes around the plant and blanket them in such a way that the blanket doesn’t touch the leaves.

10. Occasional Pruning

Pruning is associated with keeping up the appearance of plants rather than some plant health hazards.

Baby pineapples need pruning once we see brown tips and wilting leaves at the base of the plant.

We should do occasional pruning to prevent draping and remove the plant’s dead leaves.

The high time for pruning is one or two months right after the harvesting season, usually the late summer.

Pineapples cannot stand pruning during the dormant season of winter as you may accidentally chop off the new shoots.

Tips to Prune Baby Pineapple Plant Properly

  • Lift the healthy leaves with one hand and look at the base of the plant for any dead leaves.
  • Use a knife to precisely cut the dead leaf when it meets the base.
  • Be careful not to cut anything else than the dead leaf.
  • Keep removing the dead leaves until the plant looks wholly green and healthy again.

Caution: Use hand gloves and wear goggles to prevent any injury from the sharp leaves of the plant.

Pruning occasionally will help the plant retain its presentable and healthy look.

11. Repotting Baby Pineapple

Baby pineapples usually take a long time to grow. So, repotting frequently is not necessary.

After the Pineapple is rooted, it starts growing new leaves. That is the perfect time to repot the plant in a 10-12 inch pot with a well-draining mix.

After the Pineapple starts growing pups, you can move the pups to a 6-inch pot. 

When it grows a little and becomes a ‘baby pineapple,’ a 1-gallon pot will suffice.

After about a year, you can move the plant to a 5-gallon container and let it grow to its extent.

A plastic pot with a well-functioning drainage hole at the bottom best serves baby pineapple as it also helps retain moisture.

Tips for Repotting the Baby Pineapple Plant

  • Well-maintain and prune the plant while looking for dead leaves at the base of the plant before you start the repotting process.
  • Choose a suitable pot, usually a 10-12 inch pot, for the first repotting.
  • Make sure the soil in the new pot is not too mushy or contains a lot of water.
  • Push the base of the plant gently into the soil with your hands.
  • We can carefully remove the offshoots of the plant and repot it without damaging the mother plant.
  • After the mother plant harvests the food, it starts declining, and we can entirely focus on the offshoots.

Also watch,

Baby Pineapple Propagation

Growing Pineapple doesn’t cost you much as you can use the crowns you throw away after eating the fruit to produce a new pineapple.

But by that method, it will take months before you can fully grow a pineapple for yourself.

Another method is using pineapple suckers to propagate the fruit. This is the faster and better way to grow a pineapple. 

Pineapples grow to be bigger, produce fruit, and die. But during the process, the plant also leaves behind one or more offspring that can yield fruit if given proper care.

Quick Check Before Propagating Baby Pineapple

Keep in check all the things below before repotting

Materials RequiredPurpose
Gardening KnifeTo cut stem
Gardening GlovesTo be safe from scales
Painted Lady Philodendron Potting MixPotting Medium
Rooting HormoneFor optimized growth
Ceramic PotBest for Painted Lady Philodendron

Propagate Baby Pineapple via Crown

  • Take a pineapple fruit and gently remove the top part, the crown.
  • Remove excessive leaves from the plant base to avoid leaving them under the soil after planting.
  • Dry the base of the crown in the sun for a week. This will prevent root rot.
  • Dip the base of your plant in water and dip it into a rooting hormone.
  • Prepare a pot with sandy loam well-draining soil.
  • Add some perlite to your potting mix to make the soil well-drained.
  • Push the pineapple crown into the soil with your hand.
  • Water the baby pineapple stalk slightly. Use spray bottles to water your pineapple stalk.
  • Avoid using any fertilizer right after propagating.

Alternatively, you can also soak the base of the crown in water and wait until it grows roots. You can plant it in soil once it grows roots.

It will take about one to three months for your pineapple to root.

Your Pineapple will start sprouting new leaves from the center after it has firmly rooted.

Repot the plant in a 10 to 12 inches container with a rich yet well-draining potting mix at this point.

Propagate Baby Pineapple via Suckers

  • Look for the suckers between the leaves of a mature pineapple. The suckers must be 20cm/8 inches long to propagate.
  • Gently twist it and pull it off to remove it from the base.
  • Remove small or dead leaves from the base of the sucker.
  • Prepare a potting mix for the Pineapple and add perlite to it.
  • Push the sucker into the soil and firm the soil around its base to prevent falling over.
  • Add a little amount of water to the soil if it is dry.
Pineapple shoots
Pineapple shoots (source- Wikimedia)

Pineapple takes 18 months to grow from suckers, comparatively faster than from crown, which takes 24 months.

Toxicity of Baby Pineapples

Do not be swayed by the long scaly leaves of Pineapples. They are non-toxic to humans and pets.

Although unripe Pineapple can be pretty harmful to babies, it may lead to stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Not an adverse effect, but the Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that primarily works as a meat tenderizer that makes your mouth burn, itch, or even bleed.

Bromelain tries to break down the protein content in your mouth, so when you eat a pineapple, it is eating you back.

Cat with Fruit Basket
Cat with Fruit Basket (Source: Pixabay)

Common Problems with Baby Pineapple

Like most other fruits, Pineapple is also not free from any problems in pests, diseases, etc. Let’s look at some common issues and how to solve them.

1. Common Pests in Baby Pineapple

Pineapples are filled with nutrients and bear a sweet fruit that attracts many pests.

The pest infestation intensity is affected by soil, climate, plant stages, and plant management practices.

You can find pests like Mealy Bug, Scale Insects, Thrips, and Fruit Borer.

Following are the problems posed by them and their solutions.

PestsProblems
Mealy bugMealy Bugs are small, soft-bodied sucking insects.
Huge population of these insects can suck the sap from leaves making the plant wilt.
Scale InsectsThese pests have a varied size ranging from 1mm to 5mm.
Scale Insects leave rust colored spots on the plant.
ThripsThese are 1.5mm mm long, brown insects with yellow wings.
Thrips feed on the plant sap leaving silvery-flecked leaf surface.
Fruit BorerThese pests have a butterfly-like wings and are white in color.
Fruit borer affected plants show altercation in fruits.

Solutions

  • The spread of the Mealybug can be minimized by destroying the nearby ant population. You can also apply Chlorpyriphos, Imidacloprid.
  • A light, ideal oil/insecticide mixture can control the scale insects.
  • We can remove weeds, follow crop rotation, and mulch around the plant to reduce thrips infestation.
  • Fruit Borer can be controlled by using Chlorpyriphos at 5001/ha.

Preventive Measures

  • Control the ant colonies around the pineapple plant.
  • We should remove the weeds around the plant occasionally to prevent infestation.
  • The establishment of windbreaks prevents thrips from attacking the plants.

2. Common Diseases in Baby Pineapple

Baby Pineapples are prone to various diseases due to overwatering, bacteria, fungus, etc. 

Here is the list of common diseases found in pineapple plants.

DiseasesCauses and Signs
Top rotTop rot in pineapple is caused by a soft rot bacterium.
Symptoms include development of blister-like leaf lesions.
Root rotThe pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi serves as the root cause of root rot.
Watch out for rotten roots and reddish or purplish coloring of the foliage.
FusariosisThis disease is caused by Fusarium subglutinans f. sp ananas.
It causes stem rosetting and the plant starts curving.
Fruitlet core rotFusarium ananatum is the agent that causes Fruitlet core rot.
Fruits become brown and shrunken as its primary sign.
Symptoms of Bacterial Heart Rot in Pineapple
Symptoms of Bacterial Heart Rot in Pineapple (Source: Researchgate)

Solutions

  • Remove the affected parts or fruits from the plant to halt the spread.
  • Use fungicides like Apron Star and Vitaflo 280 to treat the plants.
  • Application of fungicides and insecticides at flower induction, three weeks after forcing, can reduce diseases.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid overwatering the baby pineapple as it invites various fungal diseases.
  • Do not put the plant in damp and shady places.
  • Check the soil quality and do a regular check for the above signs in the plants.

3. Yellow Spots on Leaves

Baby pineapples may often be troubled by yellow spots on the leaves or sometimes with yellow leaves themselves.

Yellow spots are usually signs of diseases, pests, or improper care of the Pineapple.

Causes

  • If your Pineapple gets less water than it is supposed to get for staying healthy, it might develop yellow spots. The same goes for excessive watering.
  • Mealybugs feed on the juices of the pineapple leaves, which leads to the leaves turning yellowish.
  • Crookneck is a condition that occurs when the plants lack zinc. This condition leads the plants to incur yellow spots near the edges of the leaves.
  • Yellow spot virus, also known as TSWV, can cause yellowing of the leaves.

Solutions

  • You should water the pineapple plant once every week during dry periods in hot weather and every 10-12 days during winter.
  • Controlling ants will significantly control mealybugs because ants protect mealybugs.
  • Foliar application of a 1% zinc sulfate solution can help treat crookneck.

Conclusion

Even with the cute appearance of a baby pineapple plant, it grows to become one of the sweetest fruit in the plant kingdom.

Taking care of a baby pineapple is not a daunting task if you keep checking on the things mentioned above.

Grow your Pineapple and immerse yourself on this fun trip of taking care of baby pineapple by following the above guidelines.

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