Monday, April 1, 2013

What to Do With a Pineapple Top? Plant it, of Course!




Sorry... I get a little excited when I talk about those delicious fruits.  I don't eat them very often, since they're not particularly green.  At least, not when you live in the continental U.S.  There are all those food miles to think about.

I bought one the other day, however, because my daughter is going through an I-want-pineapple-and-all-other-foods-can-shrivel-up-and-die phase.  Well, that... and pineapples were on sale for $1.88 each.

Unfortunately, after twisting off the top, cutting it up, and storing it in glass containers, I was left with a long stem covered with a bunch of leaves.

Cut pineapple pieces inside glass bowls on left, one long stem with leaves on right.

That looked like way too much waste, to me.

I thought about grabbing a fallen branch from one of the black walnut trees outside, and spearing the central leaf stem with it, thereby creating a spiked club,

Female stick figure wielding a pineapple top that's been speared with a branch, yelling "Rawr!"

...but that idea didn't seem very useful.

Suddenly, I thought about all those pineapple plants I'd seen while in Hawaii.  I began to wonder if the stem could be replanted.

So, naturally... I googled it.

Sure enough, a new pineapple can grow from the stem of an old one.


One problem, though:  Every site that I looked at seemed to have their own tried and true method.  Some sites demanded that you remove all excess fruit

Bottom of a pineapple leaf stem showing threads of fruit.

from the bottom of the stem, or you'll risk causing the plant to rot before it's even begun to re-grow.  Others insist that you can leave the whole top of the fruit on the leaf stem.

So which one is right, you ask?

Heck, I don't know.  This is my first attempt.  What I do know, however, is that there are a few things that all sites I looked at could agree on:

  • Roots grow from the stem.
  • Direct light during the rooting process is a bad idea.
  • temperatures should be somewhere between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit... so no frosts and no heat waves allowed.
  • Only a small amount of water should be used, and it should be changed every three days.
  • It'll take 2-3 years to produce a new pineapple.
I elected to use a Howcast video that I found, and follow their directions... mainly because the looks on the face of the woman that planted the pineapple were absolutely priceless.

First, I sliced all of the remaining fruit off of the leaf stem.  The result was a clean and healthy cut.

Cleanly sliced bottom of a pineapple leaf stem.

Next, I removed all but the  innermost leaves.

Pineapple leaf stem, mostly de-leaved.  Only the innermost leaves remaining.

I poured a small amount of water (about one half inch in height) into a small cup, and placed the groomed pineapple leaf stem inside, then set it on the window sill - in light, but not direct light.

Nearly bare leaf stem sitting inside a pink cup with a very tiny bit of water.

That's it!  All you do now is wait while it goes through the rooting process... which will take around 3 weeks.  Once roots grow to be around an inch long, you can plant it inside a pot and wait for it to grow... again.

Is it just me, or is there a lot of waiting involved with the really good stuff?

All that was left was to figure out what in the world to do with all of that leaf waste.

A huge pile of plucked leaves.

So I took the prettiest of the leaves and used them to turn my fall window decor into spring decor,

Leaves arranged in a circular pattern within a painted mason jar.  A pink flower candle sits at the center.

And then placed the rest of them in a safe place to dry.

Why dry them?  Because evidently, you can do things like create thread or make paper using pineapple leaves!  Pineapple is the fruit that keeps on giving, I think.

No wonder pineapple was once called the fruit of kings!

***Update, 8:16 PM:  Ok... This has been up long enough that I can admit it:  The Howcast video, for those of you that may have clicked on the link, was placed here as an April Fools prank.  Pineapples do not, I repeat, not form in-ground.  They grow out from the top.

You can, however, follow the directions I gave you.  As a plus, you don't have to peal off quite so many leaves.  Just remove them until you see the itty-bitty root buds.  ;-)

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