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How Do Pineapple Plants Reproduce?

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Native to South American regions in Brazil and Paraguay, the tropical pineapple (Ananas comosus), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 11 and 12, is a member of the bromeliad family. Like other members of this family, the pineapple reproduces not only by seed but also by several other parts of the plant.

Seeds

Although many plants are easily started from seed, the pineapple is not one of them. The seeds of a pineapple are viable but notoriously slow to germinate and often will not sprout at all. Because of this, only select growers grow pineapples from seed. The seeds themselves are found in pollinated plants and appear within the soft flesh near the tough outer skin of the fruit. Plant pineapple seeds in well-drained soil that is kept moist by frequent watering and misting.

Slips

The pineapple produces several plantlets near the base of the fruit called slips. These slips appear as red or green outgrowths along the stalk. Pinch them away from the main plant and plant them in the ground at a depth of between 3 and 6 inches. Use loamy but well-draining, moist soil and provide the new planting with an average of 8 hours of sunlight per day.

Suckers

Suckers are the outcropping leaves of a pineapple. Produce a new pineapple from a sucker by cutting it carefully from the base stalk and planting it 3 to 6 inches into moist, loamy soil that drains well. As with the slip, provide full sunlight and plenty of water until the plant takes root and becomes established.

Crowns

Perhaps the easiest way for a homeowner to grow a pineapple is by using the crown. The crown is the top portion of the pineapple fruit. Like other parts of this bromeliad, the crown features all the genetic material necessary to replicate the parent plant. Cut the top quarter of the pineapple from the rest of the fruit. Next, soak the bottom of the crown in water for 1 to 2 days to absorb the maximum amount of moisture before planting. After soaking, place the crown on top of loamy soil in a gallon container and cover the base of the crown with compost to retain moisture. Provide full sunlight and plenty of water.

  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Pineapple
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Ananas Comosus
  • Purdue University: Pineapple
  • Australian Government Department of Health and Aging: Office of the Gene Technology Regulator: The Biology of Ananas Comosus Var. Comosus (Pineapple)
  • Sunset: Grow Your Own Pineapples in Pots
  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production: Pineapple

Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including “Spin” and “Art Nouveau.” When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.

How Do Pineapple Plants Reproduce?. Native to South American regions in Brazil and Paraguay, the tropical pineapple (Ananas comosus), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 11 and 12, is a member of the bromeliad family. Like other members of this family, the pineapple reproduces not only by …

How Do Pineapples Grow?

The plant consists of stocky leaves whorled around a central stem. In a healthy pineapple plant, the tapered, swordlike leaves can grow up to about 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.

The pineapple fruit grows out of the top of the central stem. The fruit is actually the result of dozens of individual fruit-producing flowers that have fused into a single fruit, which is capped with a “crown” sporting numerous short leaves.

Unlike most fruits, pineapples are not grown from seeds. Common commercial varieties of pineapples are “self-incompatible,” meaning that the plants’ pollen cannot fertilize members of the same variety. So unless different varieties are grown next to one another and flower simultaneously, the plant will produce a seedless fruit that develops without fertilization.

When removed, the crown of the pineapple fruit contains small roots. If it’s planted into the ground (or a pot), a new fruit-producing plant will grow.

Additionally, the plant’s “suckers” (side shoots that grow in between the leaves of the main stem) and slips (tiny plantlets that grow out from the base of the pineapple fruit) can produce new plants when replanted.

Contrary to what some people think, pineapples don’t grow on trees — they grow out of the ground, from a leafy plant. ]]>