How long does it take to grow a pineapple from a store-bought pineapple?

It typically takes around 18-24 months for a pineapple plant grown from a store-bought pineapple top to produce its first fruit. However, the overall timeline can vary depending on factors like the variety, growing conditions, and starting size of the plant.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about growing pineapples from store-bought tops:

  • It takes 1-3 months for the pineapple top to root and form a sturdy plant.
  • The plant will then need 12-18 months more to mature and fruit.
  • Fruiting size is reached when the plant is 24-36 inches tall and wide.
  • Ideal growing conditions include warm weather (65-85°F), high humidity, and bright sunlight.
  • Plants grown indoors will take longer to reach fruiting size.
  • Using a larger top and keeping the leaves intact helps speed up growth.
  • Fertilizing regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer also promotes faster growth.
  • Pineapples are not frost tolerant, so need warm conditions year round.

Rooting the Top

The first step in growing a pineapple plant is rooting the top. Here’s an overview of this stage:

  • Choose a fresh, firm pineapple top that is at least 1 inch thick.
  • Trim off any excess fruit while leaving the leaves intact.
  • Strip a couple bottom layers to expose the stem.
  • Let the cut end dry out for 2-3 days.
  • Root in water or moist potting mix. Change water frequently.
  • Roots should emerge from the stem in 1-3 months.
  • Plant in soil after a robust root system develops.

Rooting the top properly gives the new plant the best start. Allowing the cut end to cure for a few days prevents rotting. Large, undamaged tops root quickest. Indoors, pots, jars, or glasses filled with water work well for rooting. Outdoors, a propagation bed with bottom heat speeds up the process. Keep the top warm and moist until plenty of white roots emerge.

Growing Conditions

Once rooted and planted, the young pineapple plant needs proper growing conditions to flourish. Pineapples thrive in:

  • Warm temperatures between 65-85°F.
  • High humidity – at least 50-70% humidity.
  • Bright sunlight – a minimum of 6 hours per day.
  • Well-draining, slightly acidic soil.
  • Consistent moisture – but not constantly wet.
  • Protection from wind and frost.

Ideally, pineapples should be grown in humid, tropical zones with temperatures staying above 50°F year round. They can be grown in containers indoors or in greenhouses to recreate these conditions.

Let’s look at each factor:


Pineapples need warm temperatures to grow. Cool weather below 55°F slows growth dramatically. Temperatures below 50°F can damage plants or cause them to stop growing entirely. At the other extreme, temperatures above 90°F stress plants and cause poorer fruit quality.

The easiest way to ensure appropriate temperatures is growing pineapples in tropical or subtropical climates. In cooler areas, planting in containers makes it possible to move plants indoors or into greenhouses during winter.


High humidity is essential for healthy pineapple growth. The leaves can desiccate if the humidity drops much below 50 percent. Mist plants frequently or use a humidifier to keep humidity above 50%.

Outdoors, choose shaded locations protected from drying winds. Growing in a greenhouse or indoor growing chambers allows for easier humidity control.


Although they prefer partially shaded conditions, pineapple plants need at least 6 hours of direct sun daily. Sunlight fuels growth and fruit production.

Make sure to rotate indoor plants regularly so all sides receive adequate light. In hot climates, choose a location with afternoon shade to protect from excessive sun.


Pineapples need well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH between 4.5-6.5. Sandy loams or light clay soils amended with compost work well. Container plants should be planted in a quality potting mix made for tropical plants.

Whether in beds or containers, make sure the soil drains readily after watering and is not constantly soggy.


Consistent moisture is needed for pineapple plants to thrive. Both over and under-watering can cause issues.

Water plants when the top inch or two of soil becomes dry. Avoid moisture extremes by watering frequently in small amounts, especially in hot weather. The soil should not be constantly soggy or dry.

Indoors, it’s best to maintain about 40-50% relative humidity. Misting leaves in addition to watering the soil prevents desiccation.

Outdoors, water needs depend on rainfall but expect to water planted beds weekly. Container plants may need water every day or two in warm, dry weather.


Pineapples have little tolerance for frost or freezing temperatures. Temperatures below 30°F will damage or kill plants.

In zones with cold winters, pineapples must be grown in protected areas such as greenhouses. Heating is needed to keep temperatures above 50°F.

Outdoors, choose spots protected from drying winds. Harsh winds dehydrate leaves quickly.

Growth Timeline

The time it takes for a rooted pineapple top to produce fruit depends on the growing conditions and initial size of the plant. Here is an approximate timeline:

  • Months 1-3: Rooting stage – Top forms roots and is planted.
  • Months 4-8: Establishment stage – Plant grows roots, leaves, and increases in size.
  • Months 9-18: Maturing stage – Plant reaches flowering/fruiting size of 24-36 inches tall and wide.
  • Months 18-24: Flowering & Fruiting – Flowers appear and fruit develops.

The rooting stage lasts about 1-3 months. Keep the top warm and moist until plenty of healthy white roots emerge. Planting can occur once the root system is well established.

During the establishment stage, the plant focuses on forming roots, leaves, and increasing in size. Expect growth of several new leaves each month. Monitor soil moisture and fertilize every few weeks to spur growth.

In the maturing stage, the plant works on reaching its flowering/fruiting size of about 24-36 inches tall and wide. Growth slows in winter or if temperatures are too low. Keep the plant healthy to maximize growth rate.

Once maturity is reached in month 18 or so, the plant enters the flowering and fruiting stage. A stalk will emerge first from the center, followed by flowers maturing into fruit. Total time from flowering to ripe fruit is about 6 months.

Time to harvest can extend past 24 months if growing conditions are poor. But in ideal warm, humid conditions with proper care, fruits are often ready in 18-21 months from initial rooting.


Feeding with a balanced fertilizer speeds up growth and promotes larger, healthier fruits. Use one made for tropical fruiting plants. Options include:

  • Liquid fertilizers like fish emulsion or seaweed extract – Feed every 2-4 weeks from spring through fall.
  • Slow release pellet fertilizers – Apply as per label instructions.
  • Compost and compost teas – Provide nutrients and beneficial microbes.
  • Manure or worm castings – Boost soil fertility.

For potted plants, liquid fertilizers are the easiest to use consistently. Slow release pellets work well for in-ground beds. Mix in composted manure or quality compost before planting.

Reduce fertilizer frequency in winter when plants grow little. Fertilize conservatively just 1-2 times during this period.

Common Problems

With proper care, pineapple plants are not difficult to grow. But there are a few potential issues to be aware of:

  • Rotting tops – Caused by excess moisture during rooting. Allow cut tops to cure before rooting.
  • Slow growth – Results from low temperatures, lack of sun, or poor nutrition.
  • Tip dieback – Due to under or over-watering. Keep soil moist but not soggy.
  • Sunscald – Leaf burn from too much direct sun. Provide some shade in hot climates.
  • Fruit rots – Caused by fungi and bacteria in humid conditions. Improve air circulation and reduce moisture.

Catch issues early and adjust care accordingly. Sterilize tools between plants to prevent disease spread.

Maximizing Fruit Size and Quality

With proper growing conditions and care, it’s possible to maximize the size and quality of homegrown pineapple fruits. Here are some key tips:

  • Select large, healthy tops for rooting – bigger crowns lead to bigger fruits.
  • Keep plants warm year round – aim for 70-85°F temperatures daily.
  • Provide bright, direct sunlight at least 6 hours per day.
  • Maintain high humidity around plants.
  • Water thoroughly when soil is partly dry.
  • Fertilize regularly with a complete liquid fertilizer.
  • Allow fruits to fully ripen on the plant – harvest pineapples when they develop a sweet aroma.

Prizing-winning pineapples at fairs weigh over 10 pounds. While homegrown fruits are unlikely to reach this size, excellent care can still produce 3-5 pound fruits.

Growing Indoors vs Outdoors

Pineapples can be grown successfully both indoors and outdoors depending on the climate:


  • Needed for gardeners in temperate climates with cold winters.
  • Allows for more control over temperature, light, humidity.
  • Typically slower growth and time to fruiting.
  • Best for container gardening on patios, in sunrooms, etc.


  • Works best in tropical or subtropical regions with no frost.
  • Can be grown in pots moved between indoors and outdoors as needed.
  • Usually faster growth and fruiting compared to indoor plants.
  • Important to provide wind protection and shade in hot climates.

Greenhouse culture offers a nice compromise – faster growth than indoors, but with more environmental control than growing entirely outdoors.


Growing juicy, sweet pineapple fruits from the tops of store-bought pineapples is a rewarding endeavor for home gardeners. With proper care, a new plant can be rooted and established within a few months. Given ideal warm, humid, sunny conditions and 12-18 months to mature, harvested fruits up to 5 pounds are achievable.

While an extended time of around 18-24 months is needed, the ability to enjoy homegrown tropical pineapple fruits makes the wait worthwhile!

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