How to grow pineapple at home?
Indoor plants, the fruits of which are well known to us from the fruit counters, have always been especially popular. No exception - and indoor pineapple. This is not the most common of fruit plants, but definitely one of the most famous. The exotic appearance of pineapples is valued as well as their ability to bear fruit. And even the difficult nature of this plant does not deter it from growing it on window sills.
- How is indoor pineapple different from cultural?
- Conditions for growing indoor pineapples
- Pineapple Care at Home
- Diseases, pests and growing problems
- Propagation of indoor pineapples
How is indoor pineapple different from cultural?
Indoor pineapples are rightly called decorative. From the same cultivated pineapples that are grown in the tropical and subtropical zones of our planet, plants adapted to pot culture still differ significantly. Indoor pineapples can not boast of species, and varietal diversity. These are easily recognizable plants that justify their fairly high price with their exotic appearance.
Pineapples in nature are most widely represented in Latin America. In the tropical forests of Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, you can find 8 different species of these plants. As a cultivated plant, pineapples have spread far beyond their native Brazilian campos.
Decorative pineapples are the result of lengthy selection and selection. The appearance of this fruit exotics in room culture, we owe a fashion to exotic for greenhouses and conservatories. Pineapples, at the beginning of their European history, attracting attention in luxurious estates with amazing collections, today are increasingly found in ordinary living rooms.
Pineapples are represented by the Bromeliaceae family, at a young age, and even before flowering, they are easily confused with their counterparts. True, the form of growth, unlike most bromeliad epiphytes, in pineapples is terrestrial. We have pineapples known only under their botanical name.
Features of indoor pineapple
Large-crested pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the only species that can be found in potted form. It can be safely ranked among fast-growing plants. This is not a very large plant, which during the selection has acquired some compactness compared to the base species.
It has a shortened, reduced stem and hard, thick leaves creating a funnel-shaped rosette. Obviously linear, with a pointed tip, grooved, with very sharp spikes, the leaves of adult pineapples are able to extend up to 1 m, but in rooms they are usually limited to half a meter.
A grayish shade of light green is visible from afar. But the scales on the leaves can be noted only at close range. Pineapples cannot boast a wide variety of colors, but, besides the usual green leafy pineapples, more fashionable varieties with a longitudinal border or stripes on whitish-colored leaves can be found on sale, they gradually turn pink in the right light.
Varietal pineapples, like the pink-white-green “Tricolor”, do not differ in character from two decorative forms - variegated white-green forms (variegatus) and cream-bordered forms (aureovariegatus). Pineapples gradually stretch out, but since the maternal outlet is replaced after fruiting, pineapples remain compact in the rooms.
The formation of children begins after the full formation of fertility. Pineapples look exotic strictly. The clean lines of their leaves create a "prickly" silhouette, they look neat, bright and immediately attract attention.
Flowering and fruiting only adorn pineapples. Flowering starts under normal conditions in May, the plant does not lose its decorativeness until the beginning of the dormancy period in October-December, first showing off with an inflorescence, and then with luxurious fertility with a bunch of rosettes of leaves on a shortened shoot at the top.
Far from simple flowers are sitting on powerful peduncles in simple spikelets of pineapple inflorescences. Light lilac, with bluish tones, the flowers are covered with cup-lanceolate, broad and very beautiful bracts, spiraling into a spikelet. The overall shape of the prickly star perfectly echoes the rosette of leaves. After flowering for four or five months, those same legendary fruit trees ripen.
Golden yellow, formed by numerous ovaries intergrown with bracts, outwardly looking like a cone, fertility gradually builds up mass and changes. Pineapple flower stalk changes with fruits: at the top of the inflorescence axis, an apical shoot develops, shortened, similar to a mini-rosette, but still adding even more exotic to the appearance of the plant.
Such shoots in pineapples are called sultans. At least 4.5 months usually pass from the moment of flowering to the beginning of the growth of the fruit, which makes it possible to call pineapples one of the most stable decorative and long-bearing indoor plants. Despite the status of decorative, indoor pineapple gives edible fruits.
Conditions for growing indoor pineapples
Pineapples bloom and bear fruit only if they are provided with comfortable conditions all year round. These are heat-loving plants that do not tolerate hypothermia, which require very intense lighting. In living rooms, pineapples usually get everything they need, but they can fit into the collection of a tropical winter garden.
Lighting and placement in the interior
One of the main problems growing pineapple at room conditions is its photophilousness. This plant can only be placed on the windowsill, without the slightest shading. The pineapple is not afraid of direct sunlight, but in summer it is better to protect leaves from them. South or southwest windows for indoor pineapples are ideal, but if there is no way to place the plant in this place, then choose the brightest place in the house.
Pineapples respond well to artificial illumination. With signs of impaired growth or insufficient level of natural light, the duration of daylight hours is increased by fitolamps working for 10-12 hours. Plants develop poorly on completely artificial illumination, but they do not suffer on combined or partially artificial illumination.
You can change the lighting intensity for pineapple, adjust the brightness by moving on the windowsill or between the windows, focusing on the color of the leaves. Attractive, intense, vibrant color pineapples retain only in good light. With shading, the leaves turn pale and the plant, although it retains viability, begins to gradually lose its compactness and decorativeness.
Despite the fact that pineapples are not the largest, in room culture they are limited to 50-60 cm in height, in girth they are almost always twice as large. Pineapple requires considerable space and freedom, its "scatter" of leaves does not require placement in dense groups, but at some distance from other plants or individually.
In order for the leaf rosette to develop evenly, it is advisable to turn the pineapple in relation to the light source.
Temperature and ventilation
Recently, in recommendations for new pineapple varieties it has been argued that it is impossible to achieve the greatest flowering and fruiting from a pineapple without a cool dormant period. But, in general, pineapples not only do not require, but are also afraid of lowering the temperature.
The minimum acceptable indicators for them are + 16 ° C at night in winter. The plant responds well to normal room temperatures, even on hot summer days it feels quite comfortable. The optimal content is considered at an air temperature of +22 to + 25 ° C. An increase in temperature above 25 degrees Celsius, subject to the recommendations for spraying, does not affect the beauty of its hard leaves.
The winter maintenance regimen for pineapple does not require moving to places with lower air temperatures, but some changes in conditions (lowering by a few degrees) will help the plant better withstand the period of reduced daylight hours. Only the lowest indicators need to be strictly controlled, preventing them from dropping below + 16- ... + 17 ° C.
Pineapple is not afraid of airing, but do not expose the plant to strong drafts. For the summer, indoor pineapples can be taken out into the fresh air - on the balcony or in the garden, but you must protect them from drafts. Pineapples do not tolerate hypothermia of the root system.
Pineapple Care at Home
Pineapple is not a difficult plant to care for. Typical funnel watering, standard top dressing, the lack of need for formation, and a love of spraying make it possible for experienced gardeners and beginners to include it in collections. But taking care of pineapple, do not forget about important details, carefully observing the development of this plant.
Watering and humidity
The moisture content for pineapples directly depends on their stage of development. During dormancy, the plant is watered gently, allowing the soil to dry completely, but during the period of abundant growth, flowering and fruiting, watering should be very plentiful.
It is impossible to allow stagnation of water, constant dampness, but the soil should be stably slightly moist. The transition from a period of frequent and generous watering to winter maintenance should be smooth. Watering is reduced gradually, starting in September. For pineapple, watering is most often carried out directly to the leaf outlet, changing to the usual methods of watering this usual Bromeliad method only at rest.
The main feature of pineapple is the requirement to irrigate with warm water. It should be not only soft, but also 5-10 degrees higher than the ambient temperature.
Pineapple, like any other tropical exotic, loves high humidity. Install humidifiers and their home counterparts for it is not necessary. For a plant, you can limit yourself to spraying, which is carried out most often on hot days. At rest, spraying is not carried out (with the exception of cases of cultivation in very dry air). Pineapples perfectly tolerate the soul.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
Pineapples are fed only in spring and summer. This culture is preferred standard feeding with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks, regardless of the type of fertilizer used.
For pineapples, you can use both complex and separately organic and mineral fertilizers, alternating them during feeding. Pineapples react very well to organics. Fertilizers of long action for pineapple are not used, like any analogues that change the reaction of the soil to alkaline.
Pineapple pruning and shaping
In pineapples, pruning actually comes down to removing dry or damaged leaves. Sections are carried out, partially cutting and healthy tissue adjacent to the affected. For pruning leaves, it is better to use sharp tools and disinfect the blades after each cut.
Transplant, containers and substrate
To change the capacity for indoor pineapples is only when it is really necessary. If the plants have a place to let the kids out, they have not formed in such a quantity that the sockets cannot develop normally, the transplant should be postponed. The plant is transplanted before the start of active growth, in late February or March.
Indoor pineapples are grown in wide and shallow containers corresponding to their surface, medium-sized root system.
It is very important for the pineapple to choose the right soil. It should be not only loose or light, but also sufficiently rough, permeable, giving the roots free breathing. The best option for growing is considered to be a special soil for bromeliads or any substrate for epiphytic plants, in which turf soil was added for easy compaction.
The composition of the soil is best clarified upon purchase. Indeed, pineapples are often sold in ordinary soil mixtures - for example, consisting of equal parts of peat, sod and humus soil with sand. The optimal pH for pineapple is from 4.0 to 5.0.
When working with a plant, especially during separation, it is worth protecting your hands, since the thorns on the leaves are quite sharp. At the bottom of the containers must lay a high layer of drainage. If separation is not carried out, then it is better to limit yourself to transshipment. Typically, when planting a pineapple, the level of deepening is increased by 1.5-2 cm.
Diseases, pests and growing problems
On decorative pineapples, pests are not frequent guests. Only in a neglected state can false shields, spider mites and thrips appear on the plant. It is better to deal with pests right away, starting with insecticides by taking appropriate measures to correct the conditions of detention or care.
Common problems in growing pineapple:
- drying of the tips of the leaves in dry air;
- decay, lethargy due to waterlogging;
- stunting in cold weather or when watering with non-warm water.
Propagation of indoor pineapples
Despite the status of an elite exot, pineapples are not at all difficult to propagate on their own. This plant is easy to grow even from seeds collected from mature, overripe fruits. But vegetative methods are much more popular - separation of daughter sockets and rooting of the apical cuttings.
For cuttings in pineapples, use the apical shoot developing over the fruit. The sultan is carefully cut off with part of the pulp or broken out, twisting from the fruit, peeled from the lower leaves, exposing 2-3 cm of the stem and allowing the slice to dry for several days.
Root apical pineapple shoots in wet sand, maintaining a stable temperature from +20 to + 22 ° С. Greenhouse conditions, sheltering with a cap or foil are mandatory.
Pineapple kids are just separated during a plant transplant. Separate daughter sockets only when they grow to a height of 15 cm or higher. For rooting, you can use a peat-sand earth mixture and also cover the kids with a cap or film.
If you already have indoor pineapple growing at home, share the experience of growing it in the comments. It will be interesting to many readers of "Botany".