How Long does it Take to Grow a Pineapple?

Have you ever helped your parents cater and harvest Pineapples besides ingurgitating the fruits on the plate? 

Pineapples can live for seven years and yield fruits 1-3 times during their lifespan. But how many years do Pineapples take to grow and bear fruits?

Generally, Pineapples take 10 to 24 months to grow outdoors and 2 to 3 years indoors, respectively. They are available to harvest fruits from March to August when the hue of the outer peel turns yellow to greenish-yellow.

pineapple-with-fruit
Pineapple plant sets a single fruit once every 2 to 3 years.

Pineapples grow in tropical climates, so we have a year-round supply of fruits here in Florida. And we are always eager to have it on our plate on a sunny afternoon.

So, if you too want to learn the ins and outs of growing Pineapples and leverage the harvesting of composite fruit, stick to the article!

What is the Pineapple Growing Stages?

Pineapple or Ananas comosus is a biennial or perennial plant that perverse a lifespan of two years or more.

However, the lifespan of a Pineapple depends on the type of variety you grow.

Pineapples are neither pines nor apples, but it’s fascinating that it has conjunctively received the name as they closely resemble pine cones.

These plants belong to a different family of flowering plants called Bromeliaceae.

These flowers (called flowerets) combine to form a single fruit of Pineapple.

You are fortunate if you live in zones 10 to 12, as the climate in these regions is suitable to grow Pineapples outdoors!

Moreover, each scale on the peel of Pineapple fruit is once a flower.

But, before you can harvest the fruit, a Pineapple plant must undergo three growth phases.

1. Vegetative Phase

This phase starts from planting to the flowering or setting of inflorescence on the plant.

Generally, it takes about 6 to 8 months for a Pineapple plant to complete its vegetative phase and enter the fruiting stage.

And there are three ways that you can make this happen; seeds, crown top, or from suckers.

Each may take different times to develop into an adult Pineapple plant, but seeds may take the longest.

pineapple-plant-before-flowering
Starting Pineapples in pots and transplanting them to the garden is a common practice.

This is because they are usually non-viable, and many fruits do not set them. You can find them embedded in the fruit’s flesh if you are lucky enough!

But, regardless of the method you use for propagation, the plant soon matures to develop flower clusters.

The flowers in the clusters combine to form a single fruit, and the fruiting phase begins.

2. Fruiting Phase

This stage runs from flowering to harvesting fruits, which can take around five months.

As the plant grows, a tall stalk elongates from the center of the plant. Later, the stalk’s tip slowly transforms and enlarges into a bulb.

This bulb is a cluster of flowers which is called a head.

Image represents developing fruit of Pineapple
Pineapple plants grow fruit at the top of a tall stalk.

The head is surrounded by whorls of short and stiff leaves known as Crown or top.

Normally, the plant may produce two or three heads, but there are some cases of having a single Pineapple produced up to 12 heads. This head slowly enlarges into fleshy fruit covered in scales.

3. Harvesting Phase

This phase, also called the sucker-growth phase, starts with harvesting the fruits and ends with the plant’s demolition. 

The harvesting is available between late April to August.

Once the Pineapple matures, you can identify the ripe fruits considering the table below!

Indicator Identity
Skin color Green-gray to yellow-orange or golden-yellow
Weight 5 to 10 pounds
Tapping soundSolid sound indicates ripe fruit.

Hollow sound signifies unripe fruit.
Smell Sweet and tangy aroma
Size6 inches tall

Since a Pineapple plant produces a single fruit, the mother plant will die after the harvest.

ripe-pineapple-fruit
Pineapple plant wears out after producing a fruit.

Fortunately, you still have a chance to grow more Pineapple plants.

This is because the mother plant produces small baby plants called suckers or offsets after harvesting the fruits.

These are present between the leaf axils that you can detach and later plant in the soil to grow more Pineapples.  

How Long Does it Take to Grow Pineapples?

Growing a Pineapple demands dedication and commitment from your side. Some varieties of Pineapple plants enter the fruiting stage only after 2 to 3 years.

Why so late, though? It is because about 100 to 200 flowers combine to form a single fruit.

But this also depends on how happy you keep the plant, like the amount of light you give it or whether you keep it at the right temperature.

Furthermore, the choice of method for growing Pineapple also impacts its growth.

So, let’s see some of the propagation methods and compare the time required to grow Pineapples.

1. Growing a Pineapple from the Crown

The Crown is the leafy top of the fruit, so you will need a healthy fruit to grow a new plant through this method.

But wear gloves to protect yourself from the serrated leaves before you begin.

  • Select a healthy fruit that has a yellow or greenish-yellow peel.
  • After that, twist the Crown from the top with your hands.
  • Remove the lower leaves from the Crown using pruners to expose a few inches of stem, and root buds become visible.
  • Let it dry for a week so that the exposed end of the Crown hardens and later becomes suitable for planting.
  • Place the exposed portion of the Crown in a jar filled with distilled water.
  • You can also add hormones to the water to increase the chances of rooting.
  • Place the set-up in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight for three weeks.
  • Change the water every three days to discourage rotting or mold growth.
  • Following this, take the Crown and plant it in the soil when the roots are 2 to 3 inches long.
  • Ensure to plant the Crown about 3 to 4 inches deep in the well-draining soil with an acidic pH.
Image represents crown propagation method to grow a Pineapple plant
Crown propagation is a method to grow a new Pineapple plant.

Use a mixture of potting soil with 30% organic matter, sand, or perlite to create potting mixes for Pineapple. You can also use worm casting or coconut fiber mixed with peat.

If all goes well, it would normally take anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 years to grow a Pineapple plant and harvest the fruits from the crown.   

2. Growing a Pineapple from Seeds

If you like to take risks, try growing Pineapples using seeds. Many seeds are non-viable, and they are difficult to germinate even if they are viable.

In most cases, fruits may not set seeds.

If they do, seeds are tiny, dark brown to black, and a few millimeters long, embedded in the fleshy fruit.

Image represents germinating Pineapple seeds
Pineapple seeds germinate to form small seedlings.

Immature seeds are white in color and lack embryos, so they don’t germinate.

So, if you want to enjoy the successful growth of the Pineapple plant from seeds, take help from the steps below.

  • First, collect the seeds by removing the fruit’s peel using a knife and cutting the flesh into ½ to 1-inch thick slices.
  • Press the slices between both hands’ thumb and index finger and bend them back to reveal the seed clusters.
  • Collect the seeds using tweezers and place them in a paper towel at room temperature (21°C) with low humidity for several weeks to dry them.
  • Now, soak the viable seeds in warm water for 8 hours. Ensure to maintain the temperature of the water is around 25°C.
  • Soaked seeds may have an outer jelly-like white coating which is perfectly normal.
  • Spread the seeds on a wet paper towel, fold them, and place them inside a zip-lock bag.
  • Give gentle sprays of water to keep the seeds moist occasionally.
  • Keep the bag over a heating mat maintained at a temperature from 21°C to 25°C.
  • Seeds may take anywhere between one month and six months to germinate.

After germination, plant Pineapple seedlings in a potting mix with the same recipe as the one mentioned above.

Growing Pineapple from seeds may take 2 to 3 years and bear its first fruit.

If you start seeds directly in the soil instead of the paper towel, wait until the seedlings outgrow their current container to repot them.

Additionally, ensure you provide drainage holes if you decide to sow the seeds in a pot.

You can also check this informational video on the detailed process of germinating Pineapple seeds!

3. Growing a Pineapple from Suckers

Usually, suckers or offsets are baby Pineapple plants that arise from the leaf axils.

These suckers, also called “ratoons,” are formed around the mother plant after the plant reaches the end of its lifecycle.

They are visible when the plant enters the flowering and fruiting stage.

Image represents suckers of Pineapple plant
Suckers, growing in the leaf axils, can be used to develop a new Pineapple plant.

However, you need to plant the suckers in early spring if you want speedy growth.

If you are wondering how it is done, follow these steps to learn about the process of planting suckers.

  • First, put on gardening gloves to protect yourself from the spiky leaves.
  • Gently twist out the suckers once they are 4 to 6 inches long from the mother plant.
  • Remove the lower leaves from the suckers to expose the developing roots.
  • Dry the suckers for a week to harden them. This discourages the growth of mold later while planting.
  • Following this, you can plant the suckers about 2 inches deep in a well-draining potting mix like the one mentioned above.

Planting via suckers is the same as propagating using crowns, but don’t root suckers in the water as they are too small to do so.

Although it is the fastest propagation method, you must wait 1.5 to 2 years to see the first Pineapple fruit.

Fact!!! Pineapple’s growth catches pace if the climate is tropical-warm and you can even harvest 2 to 3 fruits from a single plant.

Tips to Care for a Pineapple to Grow Faster

The Pineapple plant produces sweet fruit in the aftermath of all the labor that you have dedicated.

If you desire swift growth of Pineapple, follow these steps to give it sound care.

  • Offer the plants at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight to bear fruits and avoid growing them under grow lights.
  • If you grow plants indoors, keep them close to a south-facing window to receive enough light.
Image represents Pineapple growing under the full sun
Bright and direct sunlight is necessary to grow Pineapple fruit.
  • Provide the plants with a well-draining, sandy to loamy, non-compacted soil rich in organic matter. Ensure to maintain acidic pH levels adjusted between 4.5 and 6.5.
  • Confer an inch of water per cubic meter once a week when the top 3 inches of the potting soil feel dry to the touch.
  • Sustain the humidity levels between 60% and 70% to promote constant growth.
  • Maintain a warm surrounding temperature between 20°C and 30°C for rapid fruiting.
  • Use dilute organic liquid fertilizer containing fish emulsion once in spring and summer. Don’t overfertilize your Pineapples, as it may cause the plant to get leaf burns.
  • You can also use slow-releasing chicken pellets near the plant’s base.
  • Prune once in spring by removing the dead leaves to keep the plant in the best shape. Avoid pruning the stems that are about to bear fruits.
  • Repot in a 10 to 12-inch wide container when the newly planted Pineapples develop a set of leaves from the center. After a year, plant it in a 5-gallon pot.
  • Use insecticidal sprays to remove the pests when the infestation of mites, mealybugs, thrips, or fruitflies dominates the plant.
  • There are other common diseases, such as butt rot, black rot, and white leaf spot, so you must apply a fungicide

Maintain a distance of 5 feet if you grow Pineapples in the garden and a distance of 3 to 5 feet when growing in containers to ensure rapid and larger fruit harvest.  

Conclusion

Growing a Pineapple requires strong patience due to its prolonged maturation.

Although most varieties are difficult to grow, you must choose the right propagating method.

Pineapples can take anywhere between 1 and 3 years, depending on where you grow them. 

Summer is the best time to enjoy juicy fruits like cantaloupes and honeydews. Learn about the methods of harvesting and growing them to relish their taste.

Happy Gardening!

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