One of my favorite subtropical fruits is the pineapple. You really can’t beat the flavor – and the satisfaction of knowing you grew the fruit yourself only adds to the experience. If you are looking to experiment with a windowsill pineapple plant but you don’t want to spend a lot of money getting started, you don’t have to go to a greenhouse: you can start with a grocery-store fruit!

A quick an inexpensive way to grow your own windowsill pineapple plant is to replant the top of a harvested fruit. Because all pineapples are grown on short plants rather than tall trees, even a grocery store pineapple has a fighting chance of growing into a windowsill-friendly plant for your sill (although typically nursery stock has bonus qualities that you won’t find in grocery fruit).


To start a pineapple plant from an existing fruit, you need to separate the leafy top from the actual fruit. There’s debate over whether you should slice off the top or twist it off, but in either case, you must separate the ENTIRE top from the fruit. No ripping it off in two pieces. Your goal should be separating the top in one clean piece, with up to an inch of fruit “shoulders” hanging on at the top’s base.
Once you have the top off in one piece, you can trim off any remaining fruit from around the core area. Don’t trim all the way back to the leaves, but do try to remove as much of the soft pulp as possible; it attracts mold and rots, rather than supporting healthy root development. You’re trying to grow the plant, not compost it!

The next step is to remove some of the bottom leaves to open up a space for root development. The very bottom rows of leaves can be gently torn off; pulling straight out can leave jagged remnants on the stem, but a sideways motion tends to easily peel those leaves away. Remove the leaves one by one from roughly the bottom three to four rows of leaves, leaving a stemmy gap just above the base of the plant. This is where your roots will grow from!


At this point, you can try rooting the plant in either water or actual growing medium such as potting soil. Personally, I would recommend first attempting to root the top in water, using a clear glass container that will allow you to keep an eye on the plant’s progress. Because pineapple is such a pulpy fruit, it is easy for the base of the top to start to rot, and I find it easier to monitor and correct if I can see what is going on with the new plant. However, there are pros and cons to both sides; starting in water does make the transition a little harder on the baby plant once it’s time to move it into the soil, so you should determine option is the best fit for you.
If rooting in water, take a clear glass vase or other propagating container, fill with water, and insert the pineapple top just until the leafless section of the base is covered. You will need to observe the plant on a daily basis; if the base starts to rot away or go mushy in the water, you will need to remove, gently scrape away any spongy rot, and re-insert. To assist in counteracting rot, plan on changing the water every day or two; this gives the plant a regular fresh start. Once the top has grown an extensive root system, you can move it into soil, but do keep the soil well-watered while the new plant makes the transition.

If rooting in a container, set up a pot of soilless growing medium if at all possible. This will assist in keeping molds and rot at bay while the top struggles to root itself. Take your pineapple top and twist it into the moistened dirt just until its bare patch of leafless stem is covered. At that point, you can water the plant by pouring in water straight on top of the leaves; they will fill up like a cup of water and slowly drain over time into the soil.


For both water- and soil-rooting methods, you will need to keep the container in a well-lit, warm environment. Cold temperatures just encourage rot, and without light, the plant is not stimulated to try to grow. It will probably be at least two years before you can expect the plant to make any attempts at fruiting, so don’t panic if it is slow to mature!

Growing windowsill pineapple plants is a fantastic hobby, and there are few feelings as satisfying as serving a pineapple fruit you’ve grown yourself. The bragging rights are pretty awesome – and since it’s a relatively easy-to-grow plant that you can start with just a grocery store fruit, there are few barriers to stop gardeners from experimenting with this windowsill subtropical fruit. What are you waiting for?

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

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