Thursday, May 23, 2013


A ripe white pineapple ready for eating
plus 2 slips for planting. 
When I think "Hawaii", one of the many images that comes to mind is pineapples. So of course, I've just gotta grow my own pineapples!

We owned our property for a couple of years before moving here. I had  a friend keep an eye on the place for me. So whenever she had a pineapple top, she brought it along and planted it somewhere around the house. By the time we made our move, there were pineapples ready for eating. What a wonderful surprise.

These pineapples were my introduction to homegrown pineapple. When we harvested them and cut the open they seemed awfully pale in color but had the most incredible aroma and sweet tasty flesh. I was in love! I later found out that these were a white pineapple, far better than the golden ones. I'm hooked. I only grow the white ones now.

Growing pineapples is easy at my farm. They can be planted at anytime. They only require watering during a bad drought. Fertilizer makes them sweeter and really big. They grow well in rocky, rather poor soil. They do better in full sun but will also produce a small fruit in shady spots.

Two struggling plants in a cold, arid area are producing
pineapples! Amazing. These are at a friend's house and
the pineapples are actually sweet and juicy. 
To start them I use tops, suckers, and slips. For commercial farming it makes  a difference which you use, but for home production it really doesn't matter. If the keiki (baby) is good sized, I just stick it right into the ground. If it is small, I usually start it in a pot so that I can keep an eye on it and give it some pampering. But as the years go by, I find that I have an abundance of hefty keikis, so the little ones can be given away for someone else to fuss over. Some people start their keikis in a glass of water, waiting until roots are showing before planting them into soil. I don't bother. They do just fine with direct planting.

I wait to harvest the pineapple until it is yellowish and aromatic. Why pick it green? Mo better ripe! I'll let the plant continue to grow a new sucker, which I remove to replant. You could leave the plant in place and allow it to reproduce over and over again, but it gets sprawly and looks bad. Since I don't need to get maximum production, I like to restart the plants, keeping things nicer looking and easier to care for. 

The only problem I have had growing pineapples is pigs. They love them and can smell a ripe pineapple from quite a distance. Let a pig near the pineapples and they will get ruined in one night. 
variegated pineapple in bloom

There is a variegated pineapple grown here as an ornamental. It is not edible-- very fibrous. The plants is very pretty, but oh so full of sharp serrations on the leaves. It would be great to plant along a property line to keep people out. 2-3 rows deep and nobody is going to try walking through them. I like the variegated pineapple :
1- It grows very well in the shade. It gets nicely colored in the shade and does not need extra watering. Very pretty. (The sun tends to wash out the color.) 
2- Its flower stalk makes a beautiful flower arrangement addition. 
3- It doesn't require any maintenance to look pretty. No-work landscaping. 


  1. I grew some Dole Gold/Maui Gold pines, but never found a white whole fruit until I was already working on our move to Oregon. My experience was to let the top sit a couple of days to "callus", but that was for cut tops - didn't get to try a keiki. I might look into the cold hardiness of the pines, since I lugged tons of those 3-in-a-box airport packs when I "commuted". Never did give anyone one of my stash, ever! If I can someday build a greenhouse that I can keep warm from November to April, I would try growing pines, REAL guavas, mango, and cane. And avocado, citrus, da kine. Would need a bigga greenhouse, though.

  2. Barry, I agree that the Maui Gold is the best of the yellows. Very sweet and juicy. But I still prefer the white, which I think they call Sugar Loaf. I don't think I could ever enjoy a mainland bought pineapple ever again (same goes for avocados and oranges). If for some reason I had to move to the mainland, I'd have to have pineapples shipped over from Maui.

    I bet you could grow pines with the help of a greenhouse. They will produce at the top of Oceanview where it goes down into the 40s on winter nights, 50s on summer nights. But the fruits are smaller in size, but still tasty and sweet.

  3. Great post, Su Ba
    I prefer the white also...
    I have the miniature ornamental pineapple growing - two are in fruit at the moment - but they are not variegated...they do have sharp little teeth though!