Pineapples are bromeliads. Knowing this fact makes growing pineapple plants as easy as ABC. It can be grown from suckles, slips, ratoons or crowns, never from seeds. For the first 3 methods, you need to ask from someone who is already growing this plant.
My method is to grow from the leftover crown of a store bought pineapple. A great way to recycle, from the garbage to the garden. Just cut off the top portion (crown) from the pineapple fruit and plant it in on the ground, a tub container or flower pot. You can even use those crowns cut off to be thrown away by the fruit sellers. Just ask nicely and he'll most likely give it to you. To improve the chances of success, here's what you need to do:
1. Select a pineapple that is neither too ripe nor too green
2. Remove excess flesh around the crown
3. Let it stand for a day or so to allow the cut end to heal and to prevent rot
4. Dip the crown in some rooting powder and plant it in the soil.
5. There is no need to let the crown stand for a few days in a container of water. Believe me, it won't work.
It is a challenge to get it to root and initially it takes a long time for the leaves to grow. You won't see much changes in the first year. Your pineapple plant will most likely look like the one in the picture below.
Meanwhile, it helps to water the plant only when the soil is dry, apply a liquid fertilizer and move it to a location under the full sun. Use well drain soil. Pineapple plants hate soggy soil and water-logged conditions.
At first, the leaves takes ages to grow, the roots are so fragile, short and tiny. A gentle pull and it seems that the whole young plant can be uprooted! But don't worry, it won't die so easily.
Pineapple plants get water and nutrition through their leaves. The leaves are very tough and not much water is lost through evaporation. Therefore they do not need a lot of water.
Pineapples are terrestrial bromeliads, so let some water collect on the leaves while watering.
When the pineapple plant is blooming, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex. First, there will be a bright red inflorescence in the centre of the leaves. Soon a cone appears followed by small pretty purple flowers, each accompanied by a single red bract. There are as many as 200 flowers in a single inflorescence.
An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged in a stem.
The stem will continue to grow and soon you'll see a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the "crown" or "top". Pretty, isnt't it?
Scientific name: Ananas comosus
Common names: Pineapple, Nenas
Native plant of: Southern Brazil, Paraguay
How to induce your pineapple to bloom
The fruit takes about 6 months to mature and ripen. Normally it takes about 2 years for the plant from a crown to bear flowers. For suckers, it is 18 months and for slips it is within a year. If your plant is still not showing any signs of flowering way after the "expected" date, try putting some ripe apple peels around the base of the leaves. The ethylene gas released can trigger the blooming process. I tried this method on my pineapple plant after 18 months and it worked.
A mature pineapple is ready to be plucked when the fruit start to turn yellow. A pineapple plant flowers only once and produces one pineapple fruit. Before it dies, it reproduces in the form of suckers and slips.
1. This post has been updated with my latest images as of March 2010.
2. Rosie from Leaves 'N Bloom blog has a post about using plastic bags to force bromeliads to bloom again, her link is titled "Bromeliads, Inflorescens and Plastic Bags", please click on the link provided to read more.