How to Regrow Pineapple from Kitchen Scraps

I can’t tell you how much fun it is to create beauty from kitchen waste. I also really love free plants.

With pineapple (Ananas comosus), you can have both.

From the leafy top of a pineapple — the part you would normally discard or compost — you can grow a beautiful plant that may bloom and produce fruit.

Pineapple plants growing in pots.

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Let’s get started!

First, We Eat

Select a healthy pineapple at the grocery store that has attractive, healthy-looking foliage. Slice the top part off about 1/2 inch below the base of the cluster of leaves.

A large pineapple rests on the edge of a dark wooden table. The fruit is standing vertically with its tall, pointed leaves reaching out of the frame. The wall behind is a dark shade of blue.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

Cut up the rest of the pineapple as you normally would, and chow down as you prepare the top for planting.

Trim away the tough outer “skin” of the pineapple top, and remove a few of the lowest leaves. Place the crown in a sunny spot to dry for three to five days. This allows the moist core tissue to dry and discourages rotting, according to Richard Jauron at the University of Iowa Department of Horticulture Extension and Outreach.

A large pineapple with the top chopped off is in two pieces on a cutting board. The crown of the fruit has been cleaved and trimmed in preparation for growing. The bottom portion is left standing, ready to be cleaned and eaten.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

Next, you can then either place the crown into water or soil.

Water Method

To root the crown in water, insert toothpicks around the perimeter of the crown and suspend it in the water as you would an avocado pit. Alternatively, find a glass container the crown will just “sit” in.

The crown of a pineapple has been separated from the rest of the fruit and neatly cleaned up to prepare for planting. The green pointed leaves dominate in size compared to what's left of the produce attached to its end.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

Place the container in a bright spot with indirect light, and change the water once a week.

Roots should form after 2-3 weeks in the water bath. When the roots are 2-3 inches long, you can transfer the crown into a container of light soil mix.

This method is particularly fun for gardening with children in the wintertime, since they can check on the progress of the roots as they grow.

Soil Method

Use a light soil mix made with perlite or vermiculite and sand. Insert the crown in the soil up to the base of the leaves and place in bright, indirect light.

Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Rooting should occur in 6 to 8 weeks.

If you live anywhere other than zones 10 or 11, you’ll want to keep your tropical plant in a container and bring it indoors before the first frost. Super-southerners may be able to plant directly in the landscape.

A freshly planted pineapple is growing in a blue and white ceramic flower pot. The soil is filled up to the bottom of the crown of the fruit. The tall, pointed leaves protrude high away from the soil. It all sits on a tan tile floor.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

I recommend using a soluble houseplant fertilizer to feed the plant once or twice a month during spring and summer, and just once monthly in fall and winter.

I have to make a confession: I didn’t know any of the above when I started my first pineapple plant from a kitchen scrap. I just cut off the top as I usually do, and stuck it in a pot of who-knows-what soil out in the backyard. And it did just fine on my property in Texas, rooting and growing a beautiful leafset.

To Fruit, or Not to Fruit?

Some folks enjoy these plants as houseplants year ‘round. Others, like me, bring them indoors when it’s chilly but return them to the yard come springtime.

Wherever your plant resides, make sure it gets at least six hours of bright light per day. Allow it to dry out between waterings.

A pineapple flower is beginning to bloom with bright pink blossoms. The soon-to-be fruit sits atop a long, narrow, vertical stem. The green leaves of the plant radiate out in all directions from the center.

Pineapples are fairly slow-growing, and you might not see blooms for two or three years, if at all. My oldest plant is about three years old and it has yet to bloom. But honestly, I’m just happy with the foliage. If it blooms, that would be a bonus, but I really just like the long, shiny, sword-like leaves.

Some experts say to put your pineapple plant in a plastic bag with an apple, which releases blossom-inducing ethylene gas. This may encourage flowering in two to three months.

A nearly ripe pineapple is perched at the top of a vertical stalk. The fruit has a slight red tone with longer tendrils than normally seen in these. The plant that bears it has long, rigid and narrow leaves that protrude out in all directions. The plant appears to be growing in a tropical environment.

If you do get a fruit, saw it off when the outside skin starts changing from brown to yellow. But be careful to beat the greedy squirrels to your bounty!

Mother Nature’s Marvel

I am happy every time I walk by my pineapple plants — I love getting something for nothing. And I love when visitors ask about the unusual plant that’s placed prominently on a walkway in the backyard.

A pineapple plant with long, spindly green leaves protruding out in all directions is growing in an orange, ceramic flower pot. The vessel is sitting on the edge of a walkway made of small, tan gravel and lined with lightly colored stones. In the background, countless smaller plants cover the area away from the path.
Photo by Gretchen Heber

I get to tell them it was from a fruit our family ate a few years ago, and they’re amazed. And then I tell them to just cut the top off, clean it up a little bit and stick it in dirt, and they’re even more amazed.

Have you ever grown a pineapple plant from a kitchen scrap? Did it bear fruit? Tell us about it in the comments section below, and if you’d like to try your hand at growing another tropical plant, consider ginger. or check out our article on growing tropical flavor intensives and herbs at home.

Photos by Gretchen Heber, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.  Top uncredited photo by Gretchen Heber. Other uncredited photos via Shutterstock.

Photo of author
A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.
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