How long does it take to grow a pineapple? The average is 2-3 years. To be on the more realistic side, you should be prepared to wait for about 3 years until your Ananas comosus produces its first and single fruit.
The fruit is actually produced from about 200 hundred flowers, each segment on the fruit was once a flower. Only that process alone lasts about 6 months. You can see a video of how that happens here.
Besides answering the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple in more detail, I’ll also be covering the entire life cycle of a pineapple plant. The botanical name is Ananas comosus and it belongs to the Bromeliaceae family.
We should also talk about the fact that this plant only flowers once and produces a single pineapple. Plus, some quick tips on how to grow a pineapple plant if you want to have a concrete, very specific answer to the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple.
What you’re going to notice is that this plant that bears such a delicious fruit requires quite a lot of patience.
On the other hand, due to its smaller size, the plant grows 2-4 inches tall, it can be easily grown indoors in big pots. Even if you live in a colder climate, you can experience the delight of seeing the Ananas comosus plant grow.
How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple? Two to Three Years
In two to three years your pineapple fruit will grow but the entire life cycle of this plant can be between 32 to 46 months. We’ll talk about the different growth stages in a moment.
I just wanted to let you know that the plant is a perennial but it only produces one pineapple fruit. There won’t be a bunch of fruits to harvest, there’s only one.
The plant produces a single fruit from the center of the crown.
Moreover, since it only flowers once, then it begins to die. I’m sure that there are a few of you that didn’t expect that. But not all it’s lost, there’s still a chance for a new plant, without starting again from propagation.
The good news is that the mother plant also produces suckers (ratoons) while it’s flowering and fruiting.
Any of these large suckers (pineapple pups) can continue to grow and then produce new fruit when they reach the fruiting stage.
Now you can see why I say that it requires plenty of patience. And maybe you’ll think that the harvest of a single fruit doesn’t justify going through all that effort.
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How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple? Entire Life Cycle
In order to give a complete answer to the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple, we should cover the entire life cycle of a pineapple plant. Once you’ve read about the entire life cycle, you’ll know what to expect from your plant.
The very good news is that, even though this is a tropical plant, it can be grown in colder climates indoors. The plant doesn’t grow very big so it can be perfectly grown in containers indoors and outdoors.
If you’re growing from the crown of the fruit, it will take 6 to 8 weeks for the crown to start growing roots and the foliage to start forming.
After that, the vegetative stage happens – the time between planting and flowering).
Once it reaches full maturity, which is also called the fruiting phase, the plant will start flowering and fruiting. Offsets are also produced during this phase.
Since the period it takes to reach maturity is not a precise number, the answer to the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple is not exactly fixed either. That’s why we say it takes 2-3 years until the fruit is produced from flowers.
In this paper on Ananas comosus by Carolina Rosas Gil from Colegio Bolivar Agricultural Science, it is demonstrated that the answer to the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple really varies.
We are told that location and propagation are two factors that determine the time it takes the plant to fruit.
In Hawaii, if the plant is grown from crowns it will take up to 28 months, 24 months from slip, and 16 months if suckers have been used for propagation.
That’s the period of time it takes the plant to flower. Flowering lasts about 2 weeks.
From flowering to final fruit, it takes about 6 months.
And that’s how we end up with 2-3 years for the Ananas comosus to produce its single fruit.
Sucker growth phase
Then comes the harvest, which is also called the sucker growth phase.
The fruit is ready for harvest once the scales start turning from green to yellow.
The time it takes to reach the flowering stage is a good indication for how long it takes for pineapple to grow. Once it flowers, the fruit will grow in about 6 months.
This long life cycle is not unusual actually. Many plants that bear fruits require a longer time until they reach the fruiting stage.
We’re definitely not talking about growing vegetables in a single season (2-3 months on average). And we’re definitely not talking about strawberries, which are some of the smallest plants that bear fruits.
However, maybe some of you weren’t aware of the fact that the plant bears only one fruit. When we think of fruits we have images of bountiful harvests that are more than we can handle. That’s not the case here.
How to Propagate a Pineapple Plant
The structure of the pineapple plant is: short stem covered with leaves, arranged in whorls and supported by the roots. It’s quite a beautiful plant to grow indoors, you’ll love it around even without any fruit.
Then, we have the fruit and the crown, a leafy part topping the fruit.
Although the definition of a fruit is that it’s a body that contains the seed(s) by which the plant is reproduced, there are also exceptions. For example, strawberries are propagated through runners. The pineapple plant is another exception.
We’ve answered the question how long does it take to grow a pineapple and we’ve also seen its entire life cycle. Now, let’s talk about propagation for just a bit.
Ananas comosus doesn’t propagate through seeds but through either the crown of the fruit or offsets (suckers, slips, hapas). If you have any experience with reproduction of aloe vera plants, you know what I mean about offsets.
I also told you above about how the mother plant will begin dying once the fruit is harvested but it also produces suckers (pineapple pups) for growing new plants.
There are plenty of YouTube videos that show how you need to cut the crown of the fruit to grow a new pineapple plant.
Basically, the crown and the lower foliage are cut off so that roots can grow and lead to a new plant.
The alternative: buy the plant
Obviously, if you want to skip on propagating the plant, you can simply buy a pineapple plant from a nursery. Nowadays, you can even order one online.
It’s a nice buy for people who love the tropical vibe that it gives and who want a plant that’s low maintenance.
Moreover, the answer to how long does it take to grow a pineapple can be much shorter than the 2-3 years that I’ve mentioned because there are plants that are sold when they have the fruit growing out of the top of the central stem.
Don’t repot the plant immediately after buying. Wait for 6 to 12 months and repot it in the spring in a pot that’s 2 inches wider than the one you bought it in. Once it’s repotted, you need to keep the soil moist so the roots establish.
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Pineapple plant (Ananas comosus) Care Guide
If you’re growing it indoors, place it in a space that receive bright indirect light for at least 6 hours per day.
Outdoors, grow it in partial to full sun (4-8 hours sunlight per day) where night temperatures go above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water thoroughly only when the soil surface gets dry, be careful not to wet the leaves. It actually requires a limited amount of water.
High levels of humidity are a plus.
Has a good temperature range, even though it’s a tropical fruit that grows in warm climates: it thrives in temperatures between 68 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
A well draining potting mix with perlite will be great for growing indoors in containers.
In the garden, the soil needs to be sandy with great amount of compost, good drainage is crucial.
Any dead or damaged leaves from the bottom half should be cut off with a sharp knife.
Fertilizer can be used monthly for a healthy growing plant.
And that’s about all you need to know about how long it takes to grow a pineapple and whether it’s something you’re interested in doing after learning all this information about propagation and care.