How to grow a pineapple at home
Want a fun and easy project to do alone or with the kids? Growing pineapples is a great way to get a taste of the tropics, and it can be done right here on Long Island - if you have patience. -- By Jessica Damiano
1. Cut the leafy crown off the top of an ordinary, store-bought pineapple. Keep the knife blade as close to the crown as possible.
2. Gradually slice off any remaining flesh until you see small dots circling the underside of the crown. Those are the root buds.
3. Wait a week. Allow it to dry at room temperature - fleshy end up - for 7 days. The cut end will harden.
4. Place the crown on top of a container filled with a mixture of 70 percent light soil or potting mix and 30 percent compost Twist it in the soil a bit to cover the crown slightly, but don't get any soil in the leaves. The top of the crown and the leaves should stick out of the mix so it appears you've buried an entire pineapple and left the top inch or so exposed, with the leaves attached. Place in a sunny indoor spot. Water every week and fertilize every four months with ordinary houseplant food.
5. Wait, wait, wait . At around 18 months, the plant should sprout a red cone at the top. It will be followed by rows of blue flowers - the predecessors of fruit. The pineapple should appear around months 18 to 22. Allow the fruit to remain on the plant for a minimum of 6 months. When it's a rich golden color, it'll be time to cut it off and dig in. Your plant will be shot, but you'll have another crown to plant. TIP: If a red cone doesn't sprout by month 20, experts at Dole Plantation in Wahiawa, Oahu, recommend coaxing it by placing the entire pot in a sealed plastic bag with a ripe apple and setting it in a dark spot for three days. The apple emits ethylene gas, which induces flower production. Remove the plant from the bag and place it back near the window. Look for the cone within two months. Email this photo gallery to your family, friends and favorite blogs. Gardening 101 : Step-by-step how-tos for a great garden, from Jessica Damiano, Newsday's Garden Detective.