Pineapple - Pineapple

Pineapple - Pineapple


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Generality

The plant from which the large fruit we all know is obtained is a bromeliad, originally from South America, and now widespread in many tropical areas as a plant cultivated for human consumption; it is one of the most common exotic fruits, together with the banana, so much so that it is now commonly known and consumed by populations of countries far from the places of origin.

Few species of plants belong to the genus pineapple (including the one that produces edible fruits, ananas comosus) which are very decorative and used as house plants. Like the other bromeliads, pineapple also produces a dense rosette of leaves, very compact and rigid; the leaves are long, sometimes up to 120-150 cm, and pointed, rigid, thorny, with a decidedly leathery consistency.

Generally they are glaucous green in color, because they are covered with a thin pruinose layer; there is also a variety with variegated leaves, just as there are particularly small varieties, with foliage that does not exceed 25-35 cm in length. Over the course of the year, at the center of the rosette of leaves, a thin, stocky and fleshy stem rises, bearing the inflorescence, which bears a tuft of short leaves on the top.

In the places of origin during the summer the inflorescence swells and becomes fleshy, until it gives rise to a large juicy berry, the fruit that we all know. Generally, the pineapple specimens grown in the apartment do not find the ideal climatic conditions to be able to bloom, nor to bear fruit; occasionally, however, it happens that a hot and humid climate favors the production of flowers and fruit, even if it is often a much smaller replica than the large tropical pineapples that we can find at the greengrocer.

ANANAS IN BRIEF

Family, genus, species: Bromeliaceae, ananas sativus

Plant type: Shrub

Foliage: Persistent; green, also variegated or streaked in pink and cream

Growth: From slow to fast

Maintenance: Average

Minimum temperature: 16th c

Ideal temperature: 23 to 30 ° C

Exposure: Full sun; even partial shade

Irrigation: Frequent, but light. It fears stagnation

Ambient humidity: High

Ground: Light, leafy or sandy

soil pH: Acid

Use: Houseplant or hot greenhouse plant

Dimension: vase 20-35 cm

Propagation: Division, leaf cutting


How it is grown

It is a very common houseplant, which does not require particular care: it loves very bright positions, good environmental humidity and an always warm climate, with winter lows above 15-18 ° C.

Generally in the apartment it lives without problems, even if it is good to avoid placing the pot near direct heat sources, and also the proximity to doors or windows, with their cold drafts, often causes damage to the foliage.

Most of the bromeliads sink their roots in a substratum similar to that for orchids, pineapples, on the other hand, are terrestrial plants, which in any case do not need large containers or rich soil; they prefer a soft and fairly drained soil of leaves. We can prepare a good substrate by mixing soil for orchids with soil for citrus or Mediterranean plants. Watering will not be particularly frequent, we always wait for the soil to dry between one watering and the other, throughout the year, but let's take action to always keep the ambient humidity high, often steaming the leaves, or even placing near the plant a basin with clay and water. Every 12-15 days, from March to September, we dissolve the fertilizer for flowering plants in the watering water.

If desired, in summer we can place our pineapple outdoors, where it can also enjoy a few hours of direct sun; however, if we have kept the plant in a dimly lit place, let's gradually bring it to the sun, exposing it only a little at a time. Every 2-3 years, in autumn, we repot the plant, increasing the diameter of the container by a few centimeters, and changing the whole substrate.


The propagazioe of pineapples

Often the rosettes of pineapple leaves spontaneously produce lateral tufts, which in autumn can be detached from the mother plant and repotted individually. We can get one pineapple plant also from the fruit: just remove the upper tuft of leaves from a fruit that is still fresh and turgid.

We wait 2-3 days, leaving the head in a cool and dry place, then remove the lower leaves and place the head in a pot, with a mixture of soil for green plants and soil for citrus fruits. We water only when the soil dries up; within a few weeks the head should root and start producing new leaves.

In general, the varieties of pineapple comosus grown to produce fruit are not particularly decorative, so our plant may not be the most beautiful ever seen; however, we will have the satisfaction of obtaining a plant from a tuft of leaves that otherwise we would have thrown into the composter.


The virtues of pineapple

For decades anans has also been used in herbal medicine and pharmacology, as it contains a particular proteolytic enzyme, useful for fighting cellulite, but also problems due to pain, swelling, bleeding. The consumption of the fresh fruit accelerates the metabolism, and has a strong diuretic action; There are also pineapple pulp tablets on the market, which offer the same benefits as fresh fruit.

Remember that to take advantage of the advantages deriving from the consumption of pineapple we will have to eat the fresh fruit, or the dry extract: the fruit preserved in syrup does not have the same advantages, first of all because the syrup, rich in sugar, is excessively caloric; moreover, the processing of the fruit with the syrup takes place hot, ruining most of the active ingredients contained in the pineapple.


Climate and humidity

The cultivation of ornamental pineapples is not difficult. The important thing is to keep the pot in the most inhabited rooms of our home: they are generally the best lit and with medium-high and constant temperatures both day and night. To avoid damage it is important that the thermometer never drops below 16 ° C and try to have an environment as humid as possible.


Soil and repotting

It prefers draining, light, porous soils with an acid pH. A good mixture can be obtained by mixing leaf earth (or non-calcareous soil) and light peat in equal measure. It is very important to take care of the drainage: we create a layer on the bottom with lapillus or expanded clay. A handful of pebbles or pozzolana can also be mixed with the substrate, in order to keep it well ventilated.

Growth is faster in young plants: they may need repotting, even annual, to be done at the end of winter. We always choose containers with a slightly larger diameter than the previous one: we will stimulate development and avoid dangerous water stagnation.


Watering and humidity

From spring to autumn, pineapples require large quantities of water, but the onset of root rot and in the collar area must be avoided. We irrigate frequently, but only when the substrate is dry in depth. An important help comes from the increase in environmental humidity (in keeping with the temperatures).

We can spray the leaves several times a day or (in extreme cases) make use of special electrical appliances.

In winter, the administration of water must be commensurate with the environmental conditions: the colder the room, the more we will have to be careful.


Exposure

To grow quickly, it must be placed in a very bright position, near large windows facing south. However, it is also satisfied with more shady locations. When summer arrives, it is recommended to take the pot outside, gradually exposing it to direct sun (we will avoid dangerous burns).

Let's remember that variegated cultivars need brighter positions to maintain their colors and have good vigor.


Fertilization

The pineapple is a vigorous plant: its "hunger" cannot be satisfied by the substrate, which is very poor in nutrients. It is therefore advisable to distribute a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants every week (from April to October) and every 15 days (from October to March).


Collection and conservation

Plants grown indoors rarely succeed in fruiting (except for the dwarf variety). The production takes place in plants of about 5 years of age. Furthermore, a warm and humid climate is necessary, which we can only reproduce in special greenhouses. The best pineapples on the market are transported by air: they are picked when ripe and not refrigerated (which spoils the flavor). At home we can keep them at room temperature for about 5 days.


Pineapple - Pineapple: Species and varieties of pineapple

The Ananas genus includes up to 8 different species. Some are grown exclusively for production purposes, but there are also numerous varieties and cultivars developed for ornamental purposes.

Ananas bracteatus cultivated both for the production of fruit and for ornamental purposes (especially the 'Striatus' cultivar). The latter is characterized by leaves from 20 to 30 cm long and up to 5 cm wide. Each bears streaks in light green, cream and pink. It reaches maturity in about 5 years when it can exceed one meter in height by 60 cm in diameter. As an ornamental, it is appreciated for its foliage, but if you have a warm greenhouse you can also see its flowers with beautiful reddish hues.

Leaves and flowers are widely used by florists for their compositions: they combine liveliness and good durability.

Dwarf pineapple

Ideal for growing in pots as a houseplant. It grows up to 50cm and has narrow, curved, dark green leaves. The fruits, produced easily, are also dark green and give off an intense aroma. It emits many secondary tufts and can be reproduced very easily.

Pineapple sativus

It is the most cultivated for fruit production. Widespread in Africa, the Far East and Latin America.

It is native to the forests of Brazil and Colombia. It takes about 6 years to reach maturity and flower. The leaves are up to 50 cm long, pointed, green-gray in color.

The flower is a beautiful bright pink, carried on a long and resistant stem. From this the fruit later develops, also initially pink. With the tuft it can measure up to 50 cm in total length, gradually taking on a green color and when ripe, an intense yellow. The scent is sweet and unmistakable.

Here it is rarely cultivated as an ornamental, although beautiful varieties are widespread in tropical countries: Porteanus', with a white band in the center of the leaf; 'Variegatus' with cream-colored margins.




Video: iPhone X by Pineapple. Rudy Mancuso