Common name: Pineapple plant
Synonyms: Ananas sativus
Distribution and habitat: Ananas comosus are native to Tropical America. The Ananas comosus is a cultigen not know in the wild. It prefers light, permeable soils rich in organic matter with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0, although it will grow in heavier, poorer, more acidic soils. Bad drainage will inhibit the growth.
Description: Ananas comosus is a perennial monocotyledonous rosette plant with long, narrow leaves bearing sawtooth edges, having a terminal inflorescence and a terminal multiple fruit. Adult Ananas comosus plants are up to 1m (3 feet) high and 0.5m (1.5 feet) wide. The inflorescence consists of 50-200 individual hermaphrodite flowers with tubular corolla. Flowers are normally self-sterile and fruit development is parthenocarpic.
Ananas comosus makes a distinctive houseplant. It takes 2 years for the plant to mature enough to bloom and produce fruit. The fruit is produced on top of a sturdy stalk at the center of the plant. Homegrown pineapples are not as large as commercial pineapples.
Houseplant care: Ananas comosus is slow-growing and do not have a regular annual rest period.
Light: Ananas comosus likes really bright light, including direct sunlight. The sunnier the position, the stronger foliage colour will get.
Temperature: Ananas comosus require warm growing conditions. They do best when they have high humidity which can be provided by standing the pot on tray of moist peat or damp pebbles or occasionally spraying of foliage.
Favorable temperatures range from 21 to 28°C (70-82°F); temperatures in excess of 32°C (90°F) will result in leaf damage due to excessive transpiration. It is susceptible to cold, growth stopping at temperature below 20°C (68°F).
Watering: Water moderately, enough to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) of mixture to dry out before watering again.
Fertilising: Apply to Ananas comosus standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks throughout the year.
Potting and repoting: Use the potting mixture recommended for terrestrial bromeliads.
Ananas comosus do not require a big pot for they have relatively little root. While yang plants may need to be moved into pots one size larger every other spring, a 15-20cm (6-8 inch) pot should be the largest size needed. It is best to use clay pots for these plants, since Ananas comosus in a plastic pot may become top-heavy and topple over.
Propagation: Vegetative propagation is the dominant form of reproduction by the use of vegetative shoots including the crown, slips and suckers. Ananas comosus are propagated by cutting the leafy top from a commercial pineapple. Make sure to clean all of the yellow fruit from the leaf top. Peel 4 layers of leaves off and root damp sand-peat mixture (equal parts peat and coarse sand). Place the pot in a warm, slightly shaded position. The roots should appear in about eight weeks. After roots appear, transfer to an 20cm (8 inch) pot for growing. They are also started from offshoots from the main plant. Possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruiting in the following six months.
Ananas comosus variegatus has channeled and spiny leaves 4cm (1.5 inch) wide and up to 90cm (35 inch) long; they are green with ivory-coloured margins, but turn deep pink if given sufficient sunlight. Flowers, followed by a small (usually pink) fruit at the top of 90cm (35 inch) tall stout, may develop when the plant is about six years old grown under ideal conditions.
Uses: Ananas comosus mainly cultivated for its edible fruits, is also cultivated as an ornamental plant, serving as a stately foliage plant or as a curiosity (with the tempting promise of edible produce).
Foliage – green
Features – flowers & fruits
Shape – rossete
Height: 60-90cm (24-36 inch)
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – direct
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 27°C (64-81°F)
Humidity – high