Pineapple Flowers

Have you ever seen pineapple flowers before? To satisfy your horticultural curiosity:

Closeup of a young pineapple about 2 inches (5cm) across, with little purple tube flowers (.4 inches, 1 cm long) budding from each nodule

Most people know that pineapples grow in Hawaii, it used to be a big industry on Kauai with fields and large canneries in both Kapaa and Lawai. I have read that pineapple flowers are the reason that there are no hummingbirds in Hawaii. The colorful hummingbirds would probably thrive here but the pinapple industry doesn’t want them imported because they can pollinate the flowers, which produces unattractive little brown seeds in the fruit. Pineapples are still a major crop for the Dole and Del Monte companies on the islands of Lanai and Oahu, although Del Monte has announced they are quitting because they can grow them cheaper elsewhere.

Most people have also heard you can cut the top off a pineapple and it will grow into a new plant, so I decided to try. The first thing I didn’t know is that it takes 18-24 months to grow another pineapple. We planted some tops at the other house we rented and later moved them to our new house. They survived the move, and I’ve been planting new tops whenever we get a sweet pineapple from the farmer’s market. So we now have have a prickly pineapple patch which I keep well watered. What really surprised me is that pineapple plants produce flowers and that the flowers, in my case, are purple. I always thought the flowers were internal, that the little red leaves were the flowers.

Pineapples are the only edible plant in the showy bromeliad family, and are still very decorative. In case you want to try outside the tropics, you should be able to root a pineapple top and maybe grow it indoors behind a sunny window during the winter. When you eat a pineapple, cut off the green top at the point where it meets the fruit. Peel off the little leaves at the base to expose a 1/4 inch (.5 cm) of the stalk. It may already have some root buds. Sit the top in a small glass with enough water to submerge the exposed stalk, and place on a window sill—the one in our kitchen below isn’t even very sunny. When it has as many roots as the one on the right, plant it in good soil with plenty of compost, water it twice a week and expose it to as much sunlight and warmth as possible—for two years.

Two pineapple tops rooting in glasses of water on our kitchen window sill

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© 2017.

6 Comments   »

  1. Mom says:

    Beautiful picture of a blooming pineapple. Good info.

  2. Debbie C says:

    thanks that is just the information that I was looking for

  3. David says:

    Thanks for the photo. I was just carving a pineapple and realized those little holes must correspond to part of the flower and the seeds grow within then, only I’d never seen a blooming pineapple. Except this 2nd $1 pineapple had no seeds – guess it wasn’t pollinated.
    Thanks for the insight.
    What state did you grow them outdoors?

  4. Andy says:

    Hi David, sometimes the farmer’s market pineapples in Hawaii have a few seeds, they’re small like a sesame seed and dark brown. But without hummingbirds, I’m not sure how they were pollinated. The commercial pineapples aren’t pollinated, so no seeds. I’ve only grown pineapples outdoors in Hawaii, and I’ve never tried anywhere else. I was thinking that they might grow in colder places if you had an indoor (heated) sun room to keep them from getting cold, but that’s only a guess.

  5. Paula says:

    I stuck 2 pineapple tops in a 20″ pot of dirt on the south side of my house in south Florida last year. I’ve been enjoying the foliage, especially since it sent up a third plant on its own. Not being a gardener, I was happy with a plant that lived! Now however I have a purple flowering little pineapple with 2 more developing. So thrilled that I just planted 2 more. I didn’t root them first; just peeled off the lowers leaves til I saw root buds and stuck them in dirt as instructed by a gardener friend who has lotsnof them.

  6. Andy says:

    I’ve heard you don’t need to root them in water first, so it’s great to have confirmation that it works. Just remember to make sure they are watered after you plant them. Like most bromeliads, the leaves are cup shaped and hold a bit of water, so once a week is usually enough.

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