People who first saw a pineapple plant, hardly believe that this is not a tropical shrub, accustomed to living in conditions of lack of moisture, but grass. Depending on the variety and variety, individual specimens can grow up to two meters in height, and the diameter of the rosette of rigid leaves ranges from 1 to 2.5 meters. And, nevertheless, pineapple is a herbaceous perennial plant, used by man for centuries.
Even before the discovery of the American continent, local tribes grew pineapples to produce sour-sweet fruits and strong fiber, which were used to make clothing, mats, fishing nets and baskets.
And today culture is recognized as one of the most significant for agriculture in the countries of the tropical belt. Pineapples are growing on extensive plantations not only in South and Central America, but also in the Asian region, in Australia and several African countries. In temperate climates, it is possible to grow pineapples in greenhouses. And on home window sills and in gardens, this culture is used as a spectacular ornamental plant.
How does pineapple grow?
Since pineapple is a perennial plant, it spends the first months after planting a leaf rosette. At this time, the trunk grows in length and thickens from 20 to 80 cm, from which narrow, pointed leaves pass tightly planted in a spiral.
Despite its rigidity and the presence of many varieties of sharp spines along the edge, the leaves on the section are very juicy.
This is explained by the fact that in their native habitats, plants sometimes experience a serious lack of moisture. The concave shape of the leaf plates is intended for collecting water, along which raindrops and dew roll down to the stalk and down it, where in the ground near the pineapple there is a surface fibrous root system.
Water also accumulates in the succulent pulp of the leaves, so that later, if necessary, support the whole plant and the formation of the fruit. How much does a pineapple grow until the moment when the fruit appears on it? Pineapple is ready to bloom in 12-18 months after planting. The term can vary depending on the variety and variety of the plant, but the process of formation of the inflorescence and the fruit is similar in all species.
On an elongated, leafless extension of the stem, small flowers are combined into a dense spiciform inflorescence. The number of corolla, not exceeding 1.5–2 cm in length and having a lilac or pink-violet color, can reach up to two hundred in inflorescence. First, bisexual flowers open in the lower tiers, then flowering extends to the upper buds.
The ovaries represent berries, which almost after formation begin to merge with each other, forming a juicy pineapple familiar to everyone under a single solid skin.
It takes from 3 to 6 months to ripen seed crops, after which it is cut. And how does pineapple grow further?
As the fruit ripens, the plant begins the rapid formation of daughter lateral shoots located both in the axils of the leaves and at the base of the outlet, as well as under the stem. When a juicy fruit is cut, the plant loses its main point of growth, and further development can continue at the expense of new shoots.
This is what happens if pineapple grows in nature. And not human-cut fruits, inside of which in wild-growing pineapples there are small, up to 3 mm in length, seeds, and lateral processes are ways of continuing the life and reproduction of the culture.
Seeds from fruits and animals eaten by birds, when they fall into the ground, give new shoots, and the sprouts easily root.
But in pineapples sold in stores, even if you look closely, you can hardly find at least a couple of seeds. How do pineapples grow on plantations and in greenhouses? And where do the seeds disappear?
How does pineapple grow on plantations?
As pineapple became extremely popular all over the world, agrarians not only in South and Central America, where the plant was first discovered and grown from time immemorial, but also in other regions that are suitable for climatic conditions, are engaged in its cultivation. The largest pineapple plantations exist in Asia, South Africa, Australia and the south of the United States.
Here, the crop is cultivated by intensive technology using large-fruited early-ripening varieties. Pineapples fall into the ground in the form of rooted cuttings with a length of at least 20 centimeters. Plants are planted in a two-row way, leaving a distance of about 1.5–2 meters between individual pineapples and making wider aisles.
The best varieties are able to bloom within 12 months after planting in the ground. When the crop is harvested, the plants are harvested, and in their place are planted new ones, obtained from the shoots in the leaf axils.
In the tropics, using mechanized means of irrigation, modern pest and disease control products, as well as top dressing and fertilizer, in open ground, it is possible to obtain up to three harvests per year.
But not everything is so simple in growing pineapples on plantations. It turns out that to get a massive planned harvest the plants are forced to bloom. If earlier for this they used the usual smoke of fires, today they resort to the treatment of plantings with acetylene. Only under the influence of gas pineapples on the plantations begin to lay flower buds.
Inflorescence appearing on a long flower stalk does not reduce the concerns of farmers. It turns out that it is possible to achieve ripening of fruits in which there are no seeds or only their buds, by preventing the cross-pollination of plants.
For this purpose, insect protection measures are used, and even protective caps are put on each inflorescence. Indeed, in Hawaii, for example, plants of this species like to pollinate not bees or butterflies, but hummingbirds.
Pineapples in the greenhouse: an unusual harvest from the dacha area
From the 16th century in Europe, pineapples, as welcome guests from the South American tropics, were grown in greenhouses. Today it is also possible, especially since modern technologies greatly facilitate the care of pineapples in the greenhouse and reduce the cost of their maintenance. Due to the surface type of the root system, the need of a pineapple in the ground is limited to a layer of about 20 cm. With a well-designed watering schedule and additional feedings, as well as organizing additional lighting for 6–8 hours, pineapples grow as in the photo, no worse thantropical plantation.
The optimum temperature for growing this crop is 23–30 ° C.Lower or higher temperature background significantly affects the rate of plant development, which weaken and can be subjected to all sorts of diseases and attacks of pests.
Land for pineapples is prepared specially by mixing garden soil, humus, perlite, peat and adding crushed charcoal. Plants are good for a slightly increased acidity, the level of which in the soil can reach 4.0–5.0 units. To maintain it, pineapples in the greenhouse can be watered with acidified warm water. Moisture for irrigation and irrigation of leaves should not be colder than air. It is necessary to moisturize the soil carefully so as not to cause stagnation of water and rotting of the root system and stem.
Like pineapples on a plantation, to get a crop, plants in a greenhouse are also treated with acetylene or fumigated several times with smoke. How many pineapples grow in greenhouse conditions, when you can wait for the first harvest? When using high-quality planting material, proper care and fertilization of plantings during their active growth, the time to obtain ripe pineapples in the greenhouse is no more than in open ground.
Pineapple in a pot
As a pot crop, pineapple is widely used in the USA, in the south of Europe and other countries with a warm climate. Spectacular large plant perfectly decorates the garden and the house. In this case, non-plants of the species Ananas comosus var.comosus, familiar to everyone from the stalls of fruit shops, and his close relatives are decorative small-fruited varieties.
Especially interesting are the subspecies of Erectifolius, Ananassoides and Bracteatus with edible small fruits and sometimes colorful bright foliage. Fruits on the tops of the shoots of such plants, of course, are inferior in taste, greenhouse pineapples or plantations somewhere in Puerto Rico.
If at home you want to get a really sweet pineapple, you will have to try to grow it from the top of the fruit you bought at the store.
To understand all the details of the process, you can see photos and videos about how pineapples grow and what kind of care is needed for this culture. The difficulty of caring for pineapple in a pot is to provide the necessary plant temperature, compliance with the rules of watering and fertilizing. But by watching the pineapple grow, you can learn how to respond to green pet requests. And 1–1.5 years after planting, the time will come to make the plant blossom and bear fruit.