Grow Your Own Pineapple
I touted this as “the ultimate form of garden recycling,” so I’d better start with my list of materials.
Here’s what you’ll need:
• A fresh pineapple with a good-looking top. Eat the pineapple. Save the top with just a slice of the top of the fruit still in place. Allow that slice 3-4 days to dry.
• A leftover dry cleaner’s plastic bag.
• An apple. Eat the apple. Save the core.
• An old rubber band from the back of the drawer.
• An old clay flowerpot and some used potting soil that still has a good bit of sand and leaf mold in it.
Here’s what you’ll do:
• Fill the pot with the loose, highly organic potting mix.
• In the process, plant the pineapple top into the mix. Use the dried slice of the top almost as if it were a root system, packing the potting mix around it to hold the plant upright.
• Water the potting mix and set the plant into a bright, warm spot where it can grow among your other houseplants.
• You won’t need to water it for a few weeks, but as you begin to see new leaves being produced and when you can feel the resistance of new roots developing when you give the leaves gentle tugs, then you can begin to feed it with a diluted, water-soluble food every couple of weeks.
To bring it into bloom and fruit:
• Once the plant has grown to be 18 to 24 inches tall and wide you can try to induce flowering and fruiting.
• Ethylene gas is known to induce production of flowers in bromeliads, including pineapples.
• Apples give off ethylene as they decay. Place the apple core down into the center of the plant and cover it so it’s completely airtight. That way the ethylene gas will be trapped.
• Secure the plastic with the rubber band around the bottom of the pot. Be careful that the leaves of the pineapple don’t puncture the plastic.
• After a couple of weeks you can open the plastic and insert a fresh apple core before covering it again.
• After 4-6 weeks you should begin to see the formation of the new pineapple in the center of the plant. At that point you can remove the covering and let the fruit develop.
• The second generation pineapples will be much smaller, just about the size of your fist. But they hang around for several months, so they’re great conversation starters.
• And, best news of all: If this doesn’t work, you’re only out the top of a pineapple, a couple of apple cores, a piece of throwaway plastic and an old rubber band.