Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Your developing pineapple (Ananas Comosus) has been slowly changing its colors over the past few months. Harvest time is now upon us. It can take up to years to get the pineapple fruit from seed to maturity, depending on the part you choose to propagate. When you are familiar with what to look out for, you will be able to harvest your ripe pineapple at its peak sweetness. You’ll soon realize that the wait was worth it.
Propagation Material and Harvest Time of Pineapple
The temperature can affect how long it takes to harvest a ripe pineapple. Although pineapples are considered a bromeliad (tropical plant), they can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 10 to 11. However, they can also produce fruit in containers which allows gardeners in colder areas to grow them.
The time it takes to plant and harvest pineapples depend on what type of propagation material you use. Larger plants take less time to propagate, which reduces the time it takes to fruit and flower. There are four ways to propagate a pineapple. Some take twice the time to produce one fruit while others take nearly twice as long to reach fruiting.
Suckers and Ratoon Suckers
Pineapple plants can produce both types of suckers. Both take about the same amount of time to produce fruit. Regular suckers develop around the base of pineapple fruit in the leaf blades. Ratoon suckers develop around the base of the mother plant. Each type of sucker takes approximately 16 months from plant to flowering, and six months to produce a mature pineapple.
Crown of a Pineapple
Pineapple crowns, which are the leafy tops on the fruit, are the slowest way to propagate the fruit. It takes approximately 28 months from planting to flowering, and six months for the pineapples to mature.
Slips form along a stalk that holds the pineapple. Their leaves curve at their bases and have a distinct curve at the base. The hapa slip forms farther down the stalk, but its bases don’t curve.
Flowers and Fruiting
Pineapples thrive and grow best when it is warm. A pineapple plant that is planted in spring will take less time to flower and produce fruit than one that is planted in fall or winter.
The rosette’s center is where the pineapple flowers grow. There, up to 200 bisexual, individual flowers can form. It can take up to 50 days for the flowers to open. One flower opens in the morning and closes at night. The petals of the flower are white at their base and bright blue-violet at the top. The whole flowering process can take up to 40 days. Once the cycle is complete, the pineapple fruit will begin to develop.
Ripe Pineapple Fruit
Pineapples can be classified as a “seedless syncarp”, which means that they form when all the flowers meld together to make one fruit. As the fruit gets closer to harvest, the fruitlets start to flatten and the outside skin of the pineapple starts to turn from green to yellow. The process of ripening begins at the bottom and gradually moves up to the top.
When the outer skin of the pineapple turns yellowish and has a pineapple scent, the flesh will turn orange-yellow. The fruit should be allowed to fully mature on the plant. Once picked, the flesh will not get sweeter but the outer skin will continue ripening. A fully grown pineapple can weigh at least 5 pounds. However, fruit from crowns tends to be smaller than the ones found at your local supermarket.
Harvesting and Storing a Ripe Pineapple
Use a pruning snip or a knife to remove the pineapple from its stalk. To prevent spreading diseases to the mother plant or the pups, you should wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol before cutting. You can harvest the pineapple before its color changes completely.
The outer skin can then continue ripening indoors at normal room temperature. Fruits that aren’t fully ripe should not be refrigerated as the cold can interfere with the ripening process. Chill damage may also occur. Refrozen pineapples can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week before being used.