Houseplants, the fruits of which we know well from the fruit stands, have always been very popular. Pomegranates, bananas, avocados, tangerines and lemons can be grown not only in the tropics, but also on your windowsill. Indoor pineapple is no exception. It is not the most common fruit plant, but it is definitely one of the most famous. The exotic looks of pineapples are valued as much as their ability to bear fruit. And even the difficult nature of this plant does not deter you from growing it on windowsills.
Indoor pineapple. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com 陶 澤 中
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, the plants adapted to the pot culture are still significantly different. Indoor pineapples cannot boast of a specific or varietal variety. These are easily recognizable plants that justify their rather high price with their exotic appearance.
Natural pineapples are most widely represented in Latin America. In the rainforests 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.
Ornamental pineapples are the result of long-term selection and selection. The appearance of this fruity exotic in indoor culture is due to the fashion for exotic for greenhouses and conservatories. Pineapples, which at the beginning of their European history attracted attention in luxurious estates with amazing collections, are now 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 brethren. True, the form of growth, in contrast to most bromeliads-epiphytes, is terrestrial in pineapples. In our country, pineapples are known only by their botanical name.
Features of indoor pineapple
Large-crested pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the only species that can be found in a 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 in comparison with the base species.
It has a shortened, reduced stem and tough, thick leaves that create a funnel-shaped rosette. Obviously linear, with a pointed tip, grooved, with very sharp thorns, the leaves of adult pineapples can stretch up to 1 m, but in rooms they are usually limited to half a meter in size.
A grayish shade of light green color is visible from afar. But the scales on the leaves can be seen only at close range. Pineapples cannot boast of a wide variety of colors, but, in addition to ordinary green-leaved pineapples, more fashionable varieties with a longitudinal border or stripes on whitish leaves can be found on sale, in the right lighting they gradually turn pink.
Varietal pineapples, like the pink-white-green Tricolor, do not differ in character from two decorative forms – variegated white-green form (variegatus) and cream-bordered form (aureovariegatus). Pineapples gradually stretch out, but since the mother socket is replaced after fruiting, pineapples remain compact in the rooms.
The formation of children begins after the infertility is fully formed. Pineapples look exotic and austere. The clean lines of their leaves create a “spiky” silhouette, they look neat, bright and immediately attract attention.
Flowering and fruiting only decorate pineapples. Flowering begins under normal conditions in May, the plant does not lose its decorative effect until the dormant period in October-December, first showing off with an inflorescence, and then with a luxurious seed-fruit with a bunch-rosette of leaves on the shortened shoot at the top.
On powerful peduncles in simple spikelets of pineapple inflorescences, far from simple flowers sit. Light purple, with bluish tints, the flowers are covered with cupped-lanceolate, wide and very beautiful bracts, spirally folding into a spikelet. The general shape of the prickly star echoes perfectly with the rosette of leaves. After flowering for four or five months, those same legendary seedlings ripen.
Golden-yellow, formed by numerous ovaries that have grown together with the bracts, outwardly similar to a lump, the stem gradually increases in mass and changes. The pineapple peduncle changes with the 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 pineapple shoots are called sultans. From the moment of flowering to the beginning of growth of seedlings, it usually takes at least 4,5 months, which makes it possible to call pineapples one of the most stable in decorative and long-term fruiting indoor plants. Despite its decorative status, indoor pineapple produces 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 thermophilic plants that do not tolerate hypothermia and require very intense lighting. In living rooms, pineapples usually get whatever they need, but they can fit into a tropical conservatory collection as well.
Lighting and placement in the interior
One of the main problems of growing pineapple in indoor conditions is its photophilousness. This plant can only be placed on a windowsill, without the slightest shading. Pineapple is not afraid of direct sunlight, but in summer it is better to protect the leaves from them. South or southwestern windows for indoor pineapples are ideal, but if it is not possible to place the plant in such a place, then choose the brightest place in the house.
Pineapples respond well to artificial lighting. If there are signs of impaired growth or insufficient natural light, the duration of daylight hours is increased by phytolamps operating for 10-12 hours. Plants develop poorly on fully artificial supplementary lighting, but they do not suffer on combined or partially artificial lighting.
You can change the light intensity for pineapple, adjust the brightness by moving on the windowsill or between windows, focusing on the color of the leaves. Pineapples retain their attractive, intense, bright color only in good light. When shaded, the leaves turn pale and the plant, although it retains its vitality, 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 a lot of space and freedom, its “spread” of leaves requires placement not in dense groups, but at some distance from other plants or individually.
In order for the rosette of leaves to develop evenly, it is advisable to rotate the pineapple in relation to the light source.
Temperature control and ventilation
Recently, recommendations for new pineapple varieties have argued that it is impossible to achieve flowering and fruiting from a pineapple, the greatest decorative effect without a cool dormant period. But, in general, pineapples not only do not require, but are also afraid of a drop in temperature.
The minimum permissible indicators for them are + 16 ° С 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 to be at an air temperature of +22 to + 25 ° С. 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 regime for pineapple does not require moving to places with a lower air temperature, but a slight change in conditions (lowering by several degrees) will help the plant better withstand the period of reduced daylight hours. Only the lower indicators need to be strictly controlled, preventing them from dropping below + 16-… + 17 ° С.
Pineapple is not afraid of airing, but you should not expose the plant to strong drafts. In the summer, indoor pineapples can be taken out into the fresh air – on the balcony or in the garden, but it is imperative to protect them from drafts. Pineapples do not tolerate hypothermia of the root system.
Pineapple care at home
Pineapple cannot be called a difficult plant to care for. Typical funnel watering, standard fertilizing, no need for shaping and a love of spraying allow it to be included in collections for both experienced growers and beginners. But when taking care of the pineapple, do not forget about the important little things, carefully observing the development of this plant.
Watering and air humidity
The intensity of hydration for pineapples directly depends on their stage of development. During the rest period, the plant is watered carefully, allowing the soil to dry out completely, but during the period of abundant growth, flowering and fruiting, watering should be very abundant.
It is impossible to allow stagnant water, constant dampness, but the soil should be stable 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 into the rosette of leaves, changing this usual bromeliad method to the classical methods of watering only during the dormant period.
The main feature of pineapple is the requirement to water it 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. It is not necessary to install humidifiers and their home counterparts for it. For a plant, you can limit yourself only to spraying, which is carried out as often as possible on hot days. During the dormant period, spraying is not carried out (except when grown in very dry air). Pineapples tolerate soulfulness well.
Top dressing and composition of fertilizers
Pineapples are fed only in spring and summer. This crop prefers standard feeding with a frequency of 1 every 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. Long-term fertilizers for pineapple are not used, like any analogues that change the reaction of the soil to alkaline.
Pruning and shaping pineapple
In pineapples, pruning is essentially a matter of removing dry or damaged leaves. Slices are carried out, partially cutting off healthy tissues adjacent to the affected ones. It is best to use sharp tools to trim the leaves and disinfect the blades after each cut.
Transplant, containers and substrate
It is worth changing the container for indoor pineapples only when it is really necessary. If the plants have where to release the babies, they have not formed in such an amount that the outlets cannot develop normally, the transplant should be postponed. The plant is transplanted before the start of active growth, at the end of February or March.
Indoor pineapples are grown in wide and shallow containers corresponding to their superficial, medium-sized root system.
For pineapple, it is very important to choose the right soil. It should be not only loose or light, but also rather rough, permeable, allowing the roots to breathe freely. The best option for growing is considered to be a special soil for bromeliads or any substrate for epiphytic plants, to which sod soil has been added for easy compaction.
It is better to clarify the composition of the soil when purchasing. Indeed, pineapples are often sold in an ordinary soil mixture – for example, consisting of equal parts of peat, turf and humus soil with sand. The optimum pH value for pineapple is 4,0 to 5,0.
When working with a plant, especially when separating, it is worth protecting your hands, since the thorns on the leaves are quite sharp. A high drainage layer must be laid at the bottom of the tanks. If separation is not carried out, then it is better to limit the transshipment. Usually, when planting a pineapple, the depth level 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, false shields, spider mites and thrips can appear on the plant. It is better to deal with pests immediately, starting with insecticides, taking appropriate measures to correct the conditions of detention or care.
Common Problems in Pineapple Growing:
- drying of the tips of the leaves in dry air;
- decay, lethargy due to waterlogging;
- stopping growth in cold weather or when irrigated with not warm water.
Reproduction of indoor pineapples
Despite the status of an elite exotic, pineapples are not at all difficult to propagate on their own. This plant is easy to grow even from seeds harvested from ripe, overripe fruits. But vegetative methods are much more popular – the separation of daughter rosettes and rooting of the apical cutting.
For cuttings in pineapples, an apical shoot is used that develops above the seed. The sultan is carefully cut off with a part of the pulp or broken out by twisting it out of the fruit, cleaned of the lower leaves, exposing 2-3 cm of the stem and letting the cut dry for several days.
The apical shoots of pineapple are rooted in wet sand, maintaining a stable temperature from +20 to + 22 ° C. Greenhouse conditions, cover with a cap or foil are required.
Pineapple babies are simply separated during plant transplantation. Daughter outlets are separated only when they grow to a height of 15 cm or higher. For rooting, you can use a peat-sandy soil mixture and also cover the kids with a cap or film.
If you already have indoor pineapple growing in your home, share your experience of growing it in the comments. It will be interesting to many readers of “Botanichka”.