So you buy a pineapple at the grocery store, eat all the goodness up and have tons of rind leftover. You throw the pineapple top in the trash, and you feel a little twinge of guilt as all that weight hits the bottom of the can. You throw it in the compost and you feel much better, but you still feel like you are missing out on an opportunity. Why? Because you are throwing away a pineapple! That pineapple top can usually grow a whole new plant if you give it soil and water and light, and winter is the perfect time to give your pineapple a head start on the growing season. The roots begin to develop before the leaves and fruit, so growing your pineapple indoors while it is getting established and then allowing the pineapple to have more light before it fruits (this summer) works perfectly!
It's really simple...just chop the top of the pineapple off with a decent amount of core still left on it. Experts say you should let it sit out a day or so, but you can just plop it right into the soil.
You can plant it in a pot and move inside, but if you are in zone 9 or 10, or it is summertime for you, feel free to plant your pineapple straight into the ground.
Dig a hole, hold the soil to the side and drop the pineapple in with the spiky hair pointing up! The soil should nestle right in around the bottom of the first set of leaves.
Pat the soil down around the plant to settle it in. (It is a plant now, no longer just a pineapple). Water it in as you would any new transplant. Too much water will flood it, but it needs a little to settle in.
Will you get a pineapple? Eh, maybe not outside of the tropics, but you will end up with a nice little houseplant for free!
Several Weeks After Planting
After a few weeks, the leaves will start to look a little sad, but this is ok! Just look for new growth near the center of the plant and be patient! The bottom of the pineapple is very very busy! Leave these leaves on until they become completely brown, as they are photosynthesizing energy for the root system.
Several Months After Planting
See those bright green leaves? They are brand new leaves that have grown with no help other than a little water once in awhile and a little leftover coffee as "fertilizer" and the pineapple top has taken care of itself! Most of the old leaves have fallen off, but if you look closely, you can see a few left at the the very bottom of the pot. By the time spring and summer roll around, this plant will be more than ready to head outdoors!
NOTE: Many supermarket plants are hybrids and don't grow true from seed. Planting a piece of the original plant however, (like this pineapple top) ensures that the fruit that grows will be just like the parent plant. There are many naysayers on whether pantry and grocery store "chunks" and roots will grow, but we've found a lot of success with them. You have nothing to lose, but the most minimal of time. It is fun for you and great fun for the kids.
How is that for a nifty new houseplant? Better than the common, spiky mother-in-law's tongue, yes?? What do you have to lose? If you want a little green in your window, just pop that pineapple top into a little soil! At the very least, you have a new houseplant for free. At the most, you will have a pineapple plant that grow large enough to produce fruit year after year! Alternatively, you can plant sprouting potatoes from your pantry, beet and turnip tops, leek roots, green onion roots and many more plants from grocery store and pantry "trash".