Anita Morton - Growing Gardens
Pineapples a real prickly treat
Pineapples are one of the few fruits that can be grown if you have only a little space available.You could have a clump of papaws underplanted with pineapples in an area of only a couple of square metres and still get worthwhile crops of fruit.
Pineapples are bromeliads.This is obvious when you grow your own and see the vivid purple flowers emerging from the sides of the fruit before it swells and ripens.Bromeliads have modified scales on their leaves which enable the plants to absorb water and nutrients through their foliage. This is the reason so many of them are happy to grow up in the trees or in relatively poor, dry soils.
That said, pineapples still need fertilising if they are going to produce lots of fruit.You can fertilise the plants by throwing a few handfuls of pelletised chicken poo over the clump.It doesnt have to be mixed into the soil, as the plant will absorb the nutrients the next time it rains, or when you water.
Pineapples will grow most quickly if planted in full sun, but will also survive and fruit in shade. If your garden tends to get a lot of frost, you should give them the shelter of overhanging shrubs.Frost will burn the leaves and can kill young plants.Another thing to avoid is liming the soil. Pineapples like an acid pH of 5 to 6.
Prune off old rosettes that have fruited, and also remove all but the strongest young sucker. The smaller suckers can be planted to increase your stock, as can the pineapple fruit tops. Peel off the lower scales, allow the top to dry out for a day or two and then plant. It will take two or three years to fruit.