Pineapple Plant or Tree? Surprising Way Pineapples Grow (& How Long It Takes)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 20, 2024

Man holding a pineapple questions do pineapples grow on trees while thinking about it is a pineapple plant or pineapple tree and how do pineapples grow and how long does it take for pineapples to grow?

The pineapple is a popular fruit, but have you ever asked, ‘do pineapples grow on trees?’

Many people have the mistaken notion that pineapples grow like coconuts or bananas, and maybe form on a tree. However, the pineapple plant isn’t a tree.

Pineapples grow in a surprising way, and believe it or not, each plant can only produce a few of these luscious fruits in their lifetime.

Understanding how pineapples grow, how long it takes to get fruit, and the conditions necessary for this unique plant can answer the question, do pineapples grow on trees.

Hint: They don’t.


(Ananas comosus)

Pineapple fruits in oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Bromeliaceae
  • Genus: Ananas
  • Leaf: Thick, waxy, spiky green leaves
  • Bark: Smooth, green, waxy
  • Seed: Tiny, dark brown, a few millimeters
  • Blossoms: Almost 200 of them, later fusing to form the fruit
  • Fruit: Cactus-like with a tough exterior covered in several segments or "eyes."
  • Native Habitat: South America
  • Height: 3-6 Feet high

What Is the Pineapple Plant? A Brief History of the Pineapple Tree

From the fruit’s name, it’s no wonder people frequently search for “do pineapples grow on pine trees?”1 The pineapple’s physical features resemble the pine and palm tree.

The Canary Island Date, also known as the Pineapple Palm, looks like the Pineapple, hence, its name.

This leads to another common question, “do Pineapples grow on Palm trees?” There is no link between Pineapples and Pines or Palm trees.

The name comes from “pina” in Spanish, given how it resembles the pine cone, and the “apple” comes from its taste.

The Pineapple is native to the southern and central parts of America and the Caribbean, where it grew for centuries. The Europeans planted them in the 17th century as a luxury and wealth symbol.

They decorated the tables of the well-off at the time, but by the 1800s, farmers were growing them in greenhouses and tropical plantations.

How Do Pineapples Grow?

A Pineapple grows from a cutting of its leafy top because it is tasking to grow from seeds; you need one to grow another.2,3

If your region has a warm tropical climate, you can plant the fruit into the ground, which are the same conditions for how to grow a lemon tree.

An image of a pineapple cut in half horizontally showing its bright yellow inner part.

(Image: RobVanDerMeijden19)

Otherwise, if living in the colder parts of the country, you can still plant it in your garden, but it must start from a pot inside. The pineapple then grows roots and bears fruits 2-3 years later.

At maturity, a single flower will appear at the top and eventually transform into a fruit. Unlike other fruits, it is surprising that the pineapple grows from a leafy shrub that reaches 4 feet tall and wide, not a tree.

After harvesting, another fruit grows in the same spot the following season.

Do Pineapples Grow on Trees?

The answer to the question, do pineapples grow on trees is a simple no. The Ananas comosus is a shrub that grows near the ground, unlike other fruits that grow high on trees.4

These sweet fruits develop at the center of a leafy shrub and form from hundreds of fused flowers.2

Its long, spiky leaves and how it emerges from the center give it a unique look.

How Long Does It Take To Grow a Pineapple: How Long It Takes To Grow Pineapples

Generally, a pineapple needs 2-3 years to produce fruit. It takes that long because one fruit is from over 200 flowers, and each section on the skin is a flower that fused with others to create the pineapple.5

However, how long it takes usually depends on where and how you grow it. For instance, it will take longer to grow if the conditions are unfavorable and whether you grew it indoors first.

Image of pineapples randomly stacked on top of a wooden pallete.

(Image: Senjakelabu2920)

It can fruit in only 16 months if you plant it in a tropical place like Hawaii.

Growing a Pineapple From a Cutting

If you know how to grow carrots, planting pineapples from cuttings will be a breeze. You can do it in the simple steps below:

  1. Find a fresh fruit with green, healthy, vibrant foliage at the top, ensuring it is moderately ripe.
  2. Chop the top part and remove the fleshy pulp that would otherwise rot.
  3. Keep slicing until you reach the dotted part and detach the lower leaves, leaving the root primordia.
  4. Let the stalk dry for a few days to avoid rotting.
  5. Lastly, dip the cutting in a growth hormone and plant it in a container with well-draining fertile soil.

Growing Pineapple From a Seed

Although most fruits and vegetables, including pineapples, can start growing from seeds, it is not the best or most successful method.6 You can find them in store-bought fruits; when you cut them, you will see tiny black particles about 3/8 inches deep.

How to grow a pineapple tree from a cutting graphic instruction showing steps for planting pineapple cuttings and pineapples in pots.

Collect, rinse, and place them in a wet paper towel inside a plastic bag for germination. They should grow within six months, after which you can transplant the delicate sprouts into small containers.

Under proper care, they will grow strong enough for planting in a permanent spot in your garden.

Growing a Pineapple From a Seedling

You can grow a pineapple from a seedling, but it is not preferred. You will have to start from the seeds, which sprout to form seedlings, then transplant them to a container, then their final growing spot.

It is a tasking process and more time-consuming, unlike planting from a cutting, like how to grow potatoes.7 While cuttings can take 2-3 years to mature, you must wait longer when growing your pineapple from a seed or seedling.

Pineapple Plant Care

Follow the following steps to grow healthy and sweet pineapples.

  1. When considering planting the pineapple indoors, you can use a pot 12 inches deep and wide and later transplant it to a larger planter.
  2. Place the pot in a sunny spot when growing it indoors; a balcony or near a window will do.
  3. When the crown has started rooting and is secure, it will need frequent watering. You can use a spray bottle and keep watering whenever the soil dries, but avoid overdoing it.
  4. Pineapples grow better in fertile soils. You can use a 20-20-20 fertilizer at least every six weeks, but watch out for indicators of overfertilization.
  5. The plant will fruit in about two years, but by using ethylene gas, you can shorten the timeframe. Cover it in a plastic bag containing ripe apples.
  6. The apples will decompose and emit ethylene gas to stimulate flowering.8

Do Pineapples Grow on Trees: How Does a Full Grown Pineapple Tree Look Like?

If you have always wondered do pineapples grow on trees, note that they grow on a short spiky bush, which is surprising given that most fruits grow high on trees. They stay low on the ground, and each plant produces only one fruit at a time.

Pineapple Plant growth chart showing full grown Pineapple Plant on a line graph with Pineapple Plant age on the x-axis and Pineapple Plant height on the y-axis.

It typically takes the fruit more than two years to grow since hundreds of flowers are from it. This process gives the pineapple’s skin numerous segments, where each section was once a flower.

It is green when young but turns yellow or orange when ripe, with yellow, juicy, and sweet flesh inside.

When To Plant Pineapple for the Best Yield

Like other tropical fruits, the pineapple struggles to survive in the freezing winters. Therefore, the best time to plant it is in spring when there is no danger of frost.

However, if you live in a warmer region, you can grow it at any time of the year. It thrives in a warm tropical climate with sufficient rainfall; thus, it will need extra care when planting at home.

Like how to grow Brussels sprouts, you must keep yours indoors when cold outside, then transplant them to the garden when the air is warmer.

Growing Zones for Pineapple: Where To Grow the Pineapple for Best Yield

The pineapple enjoys growing in warm regions since it is native to the western hemisphere. Its ideal growing zones are between 11 and 12, which offer the best conditions for it to grow comfortably.9,10

You can plant it indoors or in greenhouses if outside these zones. On the downside, poor conditions mean that your plant will likely take longer to start fruiting.

It can still grow outdoors or indoors, but it needs patience, given its remarkable growth.

Companion Plants for Growing Pineapple

The best plants to grow alongside your pineapples include other fruit trees, nitrogen fixers (beans, lentils, pigeon peas), and garlic and ginger (known pest repellents).

Close up photo of a Pigeon Peas.

(Image: Malsawm21)

The pineapple is an excellent understory that helps prevent soil erosion and regulates its temperature and moisture levels. They also form a natural spiky barrier to protect the farm from animals and provide a habitat for wildlife like frogs and pest predators.

Best Growing Conditions for Pineapple

The pineapple loves its natural habitat and warm and sunny tropical climates. Therefore, you will get the best yield if your region is more hospitable, and if not, you will have to grow it indoors to avoid freezing temperatures.

The plant doesn’t need frequent watering; you can wait until the soil dries before irrigation. Avoid overwatering because it can affect the plant, and note that your fruit will be more adversely affected by overwatering, not underwatering.

Graphic of Pineapple Plant Identification Chart showing Pineapple Leaves, Pineapple Plant, Pineapple Fruit, Pineapple Flowers, and Pineapple Bark in circle frames on green background.

Your soil should also be well-draining, nutrient-rich, and slightly acidic (4.5-6.5 pH). To retain moisture, you can add a nitrogen fertilizer and mulch around the plant.

Lastly, ensure that you plant under full sun to promote ripening.

What Are the Watering Needs for Pineapple Plants?

Pineapples can take in water through their leaves; therefore, they don’t need as much watering as other fruit trees. You can water once a week or whenever the soil dries up to avoid waterlogging, adversely affecting the roots and the plant.

If it’s too hot, you can water more frequently; otherwise, one deep watering every week will suffice. You don’t want your plant to start rotting due to excessive watering.

Planting Tips for Pineapple

If you are planting pineapples for the first time and want to know where to start, the following tips will make the process easier and increase your yields.

  1. If you want your plant to thrive, ensure that it is comfortable as it is in its natural habitat. You have a better shot if you live in a warm, sunny region because the pineapples will appear faster and grow healthier and tastier.
  2. If you experience colder weather, you can grow the pineapple indoors until you transplant it outside later when it is warmer outside.11
  3. If you want to watch the process, you can plant the pineapple from the seeds, but this will take longer. You are safer growing it from a cutting, allowing it to root and develop fruits in 2-3 years.12
  4. When picking a pineapple for cutting, always go for a moderately ripe one, not too green and not dark yellow. A green one is not ripe enough, and a dark yellow one is too ripe.
  5. Remove excess fruit flesh from your cutting before planting because the pineapple rote easily, and the bits will affect its growth.
  6. Also, remember to dry the cutting first, or it will rot.
  7. If your pineapple is already growing outdoors, you can shield it from the extreme called during the frost periods by covering them throughout the season.

How Far Apart To Plant Pineapple

The pineapple’s surprising and unique growing method makes it ideal for planting even in a small garden. It stays shrub-like if you are wondering do pineapples grow on trees.

However, plant them about 5 feet from the house and other trees to avoid shading. You can also have them 12- 36 inches apart.

This wide spacing gives each plant ample room to grow, allowing them to get bigger and produce larger fruits. If growing in a container, ensure it is wide and deep enough to accommodate the plant; otherwise, a small pot will restrict growth.

How Much Sunlight Does Pineapple Need Each Day?

These plants are particular about their sunlight needs since they are from tropical climates that are often warm and sunny. If you want your pineapple to grow in the perfect conditions, it helps to plant them under direct sun for at least six hours, whether indoors or outdoors.

If indoors, you can place the pot under a window, and if outdoors, ensure no shading buildings or trees are nearby. While it can still grow under partial sunlight, you are sure of healthier flowering and fruiting when there is full sunlight access. Insufficient sunlight reduces the chances of the pineapple plant fruiting.13

Diseases and Common Pests of the Pineapple

Since the pineapple takes more than two years to bear fruit, it is more likely to develop complications and attract more insects, unlike other fruit plants. These diseases and pests can affect your harvest; luckily, most are easy to manage.

  • Mealybugs

The fruit’s sweet flavor and scent attract these sap-sucking pests, and you can spot them on the leaves’ undersides.

Image of a Mealbug crawling on soil.

(Image: Alme431718)

The bugs appear as waxy, fluffy matter, identical to the scales which usually hide under white cotton-like covers.

  • Nematodes

Many nematodes are drawn to the pineapple plant, making it sickly and eventually interfering with its fruit production.14

Sadly, they are tedious to control, and the best way to go is to prevent them from attacking. You can only fortify your plant by watering it properly and adding fertilizer.

You can try Diatomaceous Earth to reduce them, but its downside is that it won’t be effective when it’s wet.

  • Root Rot

This disease is a common fungal infection from various pathogens caused by excessive watering or panting in poorly-draining soil. The first sign of root rot is when the leaves appear droopy, discolored, or die at the center.

The best remedy is to change your watering routine, and if planting indoors, consider repotting the plant in better-draining soil.

Natural Pest Control for Pineapple

Mealybugs, thrips, and nematodes are the most common pests that attack pineapples, affecting the plant’s growth and damaging the fruit.15 Luckily, there are simple and natural ways to control their population.

First, you can use cuttings from wilt-free places and always choose resistant varieties. Some pineapple species, like the Spanish, are more resistant to pests than the Cayenne varieties.

Farmers also introduce predatory insects like lacewings and ladybird beetles to counter the mealybug population. Weed control is another natural remedy because more weeds mean higher pest infestation.

Lastly, removing the heavily infested plants is crucial to prevent pests from spreading.

How To Stop Pineapple Disease: Root Rot, Black Rot, Other Issues

Root Rot and Black Rot are the most common diseases fatal to the pineapple unless you manage them. It starts with choosing the best spot to plant your pineapple.

Ensure the soil is well-draining or your container has drainage holes to avoid waterlogging. It also helps to avoid watering from the top and keep off insects that drain the plant.

Most importantly, try to improve the soil quality by practicing fruit rotations and applying compost and fertilizer to enhance growth. Lastly, remove the fleshy fruit at the base before planting a cutting and dry it for a few days, or it will rot.

Also, check that you don’t grow when it rains heavily because the soil will stay water-logged.

Do Pineapples Grow on Trees and What Type of Trees Do Pineapples Grow on?

Unlike what most people presume, pineapples do not grow on trees. Instead, they stay on short scrubs, 3-6 feet high, and remain in the ground surrounded by spiky, erect, and curved leaves.

Each shrub produces one fruit at a time and takes 2-3 years to mature.

Do Pineapples Have Seeds?

There are tiny, dark-brown seeds inside a pineapple that you can plant to start from scratch. However, cuttings are ideal since they take a shorter time to mature.

With seeds, you must wait months for germination and another 2-3 years until fruit bearing.

What Is the Pineapple Guava Tree?

The Pineapple Guava is a beautiful, rewarding tree with delicious fruits that taste like guavas.16

Also called the feijoa, the Pineapple Guava is from the same family as the guava but is not related to the pineapple, only with a similar sweet taste.

It is an evergreen tree with silver-green leaves and grows striking flowers with white and pink petals and red stamens. They are fragrant trees that heavily attract pollinators and take 3-4 years to bear fruits.

You can also successfully grow it in containers and provide everything it needs.

What Is the Pineapple Palm Tree?

The pineapple palm tree or Canary Island Date is not a pineapple. It is a majestic tree with massive crowns, stiff leaves, and a thick trunk that makes it look like a giant pineapple, hence the name.

Its size and looks make it perfect for landscaping, giving a Mediterranean luxury look to your home. It is a famous tree thanks to its cold-hardiness and ornamental properties.

Graphic that shows the Pineapple Plant growth stages such as dormant, swollen bud, bud burst, flowers bloom, fruits set, and fruits for harvest.

It thrives best in hardiness zones nine and below and loves growing under the full sun. The pineapple has a surprising growth.

You would expect it to be high on trees like other fruits, but instead, it grows at the center of a short, spiky bush. Therefore, thanks to its unique form, it is a plant, not a tree.

While it loves the sunny and hot temperatures of the tropical native South America, you can also grow it in your state provided there is full sunlight access, favorable temperature, and other suitable conditions.

The best way to grow it is from a cutting which takes 2-3 years to bear fruits. If you were concerned about do pineapples grow on trees, note that the fruit grows on a plant that is 3-6 feet high, not a tree.

Frequently Asked Questions About Do Pineapples Grow on Trees

Where Do Pineapples Grow?

Pineapples naturally grow and thrive in South America and the Caribbean in tropical climates, full sun, and fertile soil. Costa Rica is one of the largest pineapple producers, and you can plant it in your garden if living in tropical regions or indoors for zones outside the recommended range.

How Many Pineapples Grow on a Tree?

A pineapple plant produces only one fruit at a time. Another fruit may grow a few more times after harvesting before the plant stops bearing fruit.

Do Pineapples Take 2 Years To Grow?

Pineapples take 2-3 years after planting to mature and bear fruits. However, you may have to wait longer if you started with a seed and when the prevailing conditions are unfavorable.

Do Bananas Grow on Trees?

If you’re asking do bananas grow on trees, they do not grow on trees. What many call a tree is a succulent plant, making it the largest in the world. It has a soft trunk, with several layers of circled skin or the leaves’ lower ends.


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