How to Grow Dwarf Pineapples
Dwarf pineapples, members of the Bromeliad family, are slowly gaining popularity as ornamental plants. They are commonly known as "pink pineapples," and are scientifically known as Ananas nanus. Even though the fruit of this plant is edible, it is widely used for decorations and flower arrangements.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Growing medium
- Organic fertilizer
- Water can
- Peat moss or vermiculate
- Pineapple plant
Step 1 - Check the Soil and Temperature
Plant the dwarf pineapples in 3.5-inch pots or in sites where they are intended to be grown. They require a sunny to partially shaded site to grow well. Make sure that the plants get a minimum temperature of 59°F. Use loose and well-drained soil (pH 4.6 to 5.5) for planting along with a small amount of peat moss or vermiculate, which retains the moisture in the soil.
Step 2 - Spacing and Positioning Your Pineapple Plants
If planting the pineapples directly on the ground, space them at least 12 to 15 inches apart. Place them where they receive ample sunlight at least for 3 to 4 hours per day; this is important as they thrive in warm and bright conditions.
Step 3 -Allow Acclimation of Plants
While returning the plants outside, allow them to get acclimated to the change in conditions gradually. Initially, ensure that they are placed in a partially shaded area; after a few days, you can move them to full sunlight. This is important to prevent scalding of the plants. They can be grown either indoors or outdoors in humid, warm areas.
Step 4 - Propagation
Seeds are not used for propagating dwarf pineapples. These plants are usually propagated by the following methods.
- Breaking or twisting off the young side shoots or "pups" from the existing plant
- Slicing off the fruit crown with a little bit of the dwarf pineapple attached
- Dividing the "ratoons" or the root sections of the mother plant.
Allow the selected ratoons, pups, or fruit crowns to dry for a few days so that they develop roots; thereafter, plant them evenly onto the soil.
Step 5 - Adequate Watering
Water once in 7 days; this provides the soil with sufficient moisture. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Protect the plants from frosts.
Step 6 - Timely Application of Fertilizers
Feed the plants every 6 to 8 weeks with a fertilizer containing nitrogen, zinc, and iron. Fertilize them every 2 or 3 months during their growing period and less frequently during cooler months.
Step 7 - Plant Care During Flowering Time
The plants grow clusters of leaves at the center after about 8 weeks and the fruits appear. The blooms swell and ripen into tiny, beautiful fruits, which grow up to 4 to 6 inches in length and are edible after they ripen (2 to 4 months). After a few rounds of harvesting, the quality of the fruits gradually reduces. Therefore, it would be good to grow another batch of these plants.
Step 8 - Timely Pruning
Pruning is not a requirement in dwarf pineapples. Just make sure that you periodically remove the fruits and damaged leaves.
Step 9 - Control of Pests and Diseases
Mealybugs are the worst enemies of the dwarf pineapples. As these pests are spread by ants, curb their attack by controlling ants. In case of severe infestation by root nematodes, destroy the entire plant.