There is hot debate in the windowsill gardening community about whether or not it is worth it to try to start pineapple plants from seeds. Notably, this debate is ONLY a question for windowsill gardeners; for commercial growers, the clear opinion is that growing from seed is a complete waste of time. If maximum production in the least amount of time is your goal, growing from pups, suckers or slips is the only way to go.

However, for the windowsill gardener, there can be some value to starting from seeds. Don’t get me wrong – starting from a pup is almost always a better option – but if you have time to spare and a willingness to experiment with full knowledge that the plant may not ever sprout or survive, there’s no reason not to test the waters of growing pineapples from seed.


Before you start, however, you should be aware of the drawbacks. To get a viable seed in the first place, the flower on the pineapple plant must have been pollinated by the pollen from a separate plant of a different type. This already puts a hurdle in your way, because most grocery-store pineapples are grown in single-type fields. In this army of clones, cross-pollination of the flowers is simply impossible unless there happens to be a compatible yet different variety somewhere nearby.
Further, the pollinators must be present in large enough numbers to adequately transfer pollen between pineapple flowers. Because commercially-grown pineapples are more valuable when they are seedless, there’s been a significant effort to control pollinator activity (and this is why it’s illegal to import hummingbirds into the traditionally high-producing pineapple state of Hawaii).

Third and perhaps most importantly, the seeds need to be mature before they are capable of germinating. Fortunately for consumers but unfortunately for gardeners, the pineapple is typically picked somewhere along the immature end of the spectrum, while it is still semi-hard and before it achieves optimal ripeness. This ensures that the fruit doesn’t turn straight to mush before it hits grocery store shelves. Unfortunately, this means that most of the seeds in the fruit – if there are any seeds at all – have been cut off from the ripening process that would have finalized their ability to produce a viable sprout.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to find a pineapple with viable seeds for home growing, but just be aware of the barriers. Planting pineapple seeds is fun and a cool experiment that is super exciting when it’s successful – but you just need to know what you’re up against before you expect all seeds to produce a viable plant.


If you are ready to tackle these challenges and take your chances on whether or not the seed ever sprouts, your first step is selecting a pineapple to try to collect seeds from. Choose the ripest pineapple possible; the yellower, the better. This ensures that the seeds inside (if any) will have been given as much time as possible to mature. If you have the option of getting a pineapple from a local gardener who grows more than one variety, that’s definitely worth a try – do talk to that gardener friend first, however, and find out if those plants flowered at the same time. If the blossoms opened months apart, there’s no way that even a cloud of hummingbirds could have transferred pollen between them.

Once you have selected your fruit, you can slice it open and search for seeds. If your fruit does have seeds – and be aware that most commercially-grown pineapples will not – they are typically located on the edges of the fruit, just underneath the rind. The seeds are very tiny, about the size of a fruit fly. An immature seed tends to be white, thin, and very flexible. A more mature seed will have turned dark brown, and is hard (but keep in mind that looking at the outside of the seed can’t tell you with 100% certainty whether the seed is mature enough to sprout).

Gently remove any brown, mature seeds you are able to find within the pineapple. If fruit pulp adheres to the seeds, rinse off (don’t lose the seeds down the sink drain!). If you are storing the seeds to plant at another time, don’t drop them straight into an airtight container; you will need to let them dry in a temperature that is neither blazing hot nor freezing cold. A room-temperature, well-ventilated shelf out of direct sunlight is typically ideal.


Planting the seeds can be done by sowing directly into a seedless potting soil or by sprouting on a damp napkin first. Personally, I prefer to sprout the seeds in a damp paper towel in a Ziploc bag before I move the seeds into their future homes. Pre-sprouting lets me see which seeds are viable (if any!) and I can toss the duds instead of wasting my time, dirt, and windowsill space with dozens of little plant pots that never produce a seedling. Once a seed has successfully pushed out a sprout, you can gently transfer it to potting soil to continue growth.

In all cases, be sure to keep the seedling’s growing environment warm and humid until it is firmly established. Consider a humidity dome while the plant is growing roots; if you have a dry house or climate, it’s easy to dehydrate the fragile leaves if the roots are too shallow to keep up with ambient air conditions. Keep a close eye on the plant at all times, and don’t be discouraged if your first few tries don’t end in success. Growing windowsill pineapples from seed is a challenging process, but once you’ve succeeded, the bragging rights are worth it!

Not ready to experiment with seeds but unsure where to purchase a started pineapple plant? Check out my favorite windowsill fruit tree nurseries!

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