Fruit of the Day: Pineapple


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Everyone probably knows what a pineapple tastes like. What you may not know is that, like bananas, there are actually many varieties of pineapple—even though only one clone is sold in stores. Here’s a site that breaks down the main different varieties.

You can buy seeds or seedlings of the other varieties online, or you can plant your own clone: Chop off the top of a store-bought pineapple and set in a cup of water. In a few days, it will have roots and can be planted in the ground.

Pineapples take a lot of dedication to grow: You have to wait about three years to get one pineapple off the plant, and then you need to start over with a new plant. So plant a lot. Also, you can’t use conventional fertilizer. Pineapples are bromeliads and don’t have true roots–they basically just hold the plant down but don’t pull up any nutrients or much water. So you’ll need to use a liquid fertilizer on a regular basis. When you water, don’t worry about getting the surrounding soil wet. The pineapple just needs water to collect in gaps between the leaves and stalk, just like other bromeliads.

Some pineapple facts: Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t native to Hawaii. They actually originated in Central and South America (they were imported to Hawaii and big plantations were started there, though). In industrial England, having one was a sign of wealth since they were expensive to import. People looking to show off would actually rent pineapples to have as a centerpiece in their party tables (after the party, the pineapple would go to someone with more money who actually wanted to eat it)! Also, pineapple is called annas in literally every other language but English. English people at that time just called every fruit that grew on a tree some type of apple, so the fruit of pine trees (pine cones) were called pine apples. This edible fruit looks like a pine apple, so that’s what they called it.

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Pineapple flowers look neat. Every spine on a pineapple had a flower coming out of it when it was growing (and would have a seed under it if we didn’t breed seedless varieties).

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These can actually be grown indoors pretty easily, since they don’t need any space for roots. Just don’t try growing one of the giant varieties indoors! They’ll need plenty of light wherever they’re planted. If they don’t get enough fertilizer, the pineapple will end up tiny. Follow UF’s care guide for fertilizer application.