Pineapple plants or by its scientific name Ananas comosus is a perennial plant belonging to the Bromeliaceae family. It has the characteristics of a shrub and generally does not exceed a meter in height. Morphologically it is formed by a rosette of very rigid leaves. In the center of this rosette is where a very striking violet and red inflower is generated, and its fruit will arrive from it. In case you have one of these plants in your house, it will be very useful to read this post, where we will analyze everything about the use of fertilizer for pineapple plant.
If what you want is to have a pineapple plant to bear fruit, you should know that if it is not in an ideal climatic environment, it is very difficult for it to bear fruit. Or if you do produce them, they will be very small, far from those large pineapples that you can buy at the greengrocer.
From what I just said is that I consider it essential to start this post with some little tips on growing pineapple. Since fertilization alone will not be enough to have a healthy pineapple plant, much less expect it to produce good fruit.
1. Growing pineapple plant
Pineapples are not the simplest fruit plants to care for, especially if the climate where you have them is not very warm. But let’s see what you should take into account to take care of this curious plant as best you can.
- Climate: we have repeated it many times, the ideal climate is tropical and warm. A temperature below 5 ° C is quite harmful.
- Location: It is better to find a place outdoors, where you do not have a lot of direct sun exposure. A semi shade would be great.
- Soil: as for the soil, the most important thing is that it has good drainage. Another point to take into account is the pH, which must be between 4.5 and 6.5.
- Watering: In the warmer months you will generally need about three waterings per week. Whereas in the colder months it may be sufficient to water once a week.
- Pests and diseases: in general, it is not usually attacked by pests or diseases. It is usually quite a rustic plant at this point.
- Fertilization: This fruit tree needs to be fertilized quite regularly. In the following sections we will delve into this point.
2. Aspects for plant nutrition of pineapple
As with any plant, proper nutrition is reflected in the general condition of the pineapple plant. A well-fed pineapple has a homogeneous green color, leaves of the right size and proper spacing, among other details. In production plantations with the necessary nutrients, yields of 120 tn / ha and 80 tn / ha are achieved for the first and second harvest respectively.
Although pineapple plants have a high demand for nutrients, an excessive dose of nitrogen fertilizers causes an exuberant development of the plant, very long peduncles, as well as a low percentage in the efficiency of flower induction and an increase in the percentage of bottled fruits. On the other hand, if the excess is about nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, this brings low efficiency when absorbing potassium. Resulting in very small fruits, and a decrease in aroma and flavor. In the case of deficiency in the amount of magnesium it brings problems like in the fruit such as lack of sugar, acidity and flavor.
As with any plant, proper nutrition is reflected in the general condition of the pineapple plant.
For reasons such as those detailed in the previous paragraph lies the importance of knowing the nutritional values of the soil before planting. In this way it will be possible to create a fertilization plan in the short and medium term capable of getting the most out of the plantation.
In the case of garden pineapple plants, where we are not interested in obtaining large production, but rather a rather decorative plant, we can do without very complex soil analysis. Although at least a quick ph analysis would be very convenient to perform. Remember that he likes acid soils.
If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.
2.1 What are NPK values?
If we have to talk about nutrientes and fertilization for a plant, there is a concept that we cannot fail to mention, and this is the NPK values. They are three numbers responsible for indicating the concentration of nutrients in a fertilizer.
The nutrients we are referring to are the following:
- Nitrogen (N): favors the growth of the aerial part of vegetables (leaves, stems). It is, in part, responsible for the green color of plants and confers resistance to pests.
- Phosphorus (P): it is very important in the ripening of flowers, seeds and fruits. It participates in the formation and development of roots and has an important role in resistance to drought.
- Potassium (K): it is decisive in the development of the whole plant, it allows the roots and stems to be strong and the seeds, fruits and leaves, large. It provides resistance to pests and diseases, helps the circulation of other nutrients around the plant, and regulates the functions of the plant.
If you have a fertilizer with NPK values 10-20-5, it means that 10% of the total weight is nitrogen, 20% phosphorus and 5% potassium. In general, the rest of the total weight is completed by other nutrients and additives from the fertilizer itse
3. Best fertilizer for pineapple
During the life of the pineapple there are two different types of fertilizers that can be applied to improve the development of this plant. These are balanced NPK fertilizers and micronutrient fertilizers. Although also in less demanding plantations (or in garden plants) we can make use of organic fertilizers.
Let’s see below exactly what are the fertilizers that we can use to have on hand to grow pineapple. We have separated them between commercial and organic.
3.1 Commercial fertilizer
Among the balanced fertilizers we can recommend the 6-6-6 or 10-10-10 mixtures. Depending on which one we are going to use, the application dose will change (we will see this in the next section). These fertilizers can be applied as foliar fertilizer or granular fertilizer in the soil.
When looking for micronutrient fertilizers, buy those with zinc, manganese, and iron. There are several formats, although for this plant the most common is to look for a foliar spray fertilizer.
3.2 Organic fertilizer
When we look for an organic fertilizer, the one that best meets the requirements that the pineapple plant needs is earthworm humus. This is because it is the most balanced organic fertilizer that we can find.
Other very common fertilizers such as fermented animal guano or compost are rich in nutrients. But are much less balanced and heterogeneous. Similarly, used discretely and carefully, they can be useful.
Another organic fertilizer that has been tested by some gardeners on their pineapple plants and has shown good results is algae-based fertilizers. This fertilizer naturally provides a mixture of macro and micronutrients, in addition to providing amino acids, carbohydrates and growth promoters.
4. When to fertilize pineapple plants
The regularity with which you need to fertilize your pineapple plants is considerably higher than most of your plants. Being necessary to apply balanced fertilizer six times a year (every two months).
The regularity with which you need to fertilize your pineapple plants is considerably higher than most of your plants.
As for micronutrient fertilizers, not so many annual applications are necessary. It will suffice to apply it three times a year, during the warm spring and summer months.
Fertilization programs must start from the first year of planting of this fruit tree, and extend throughout its productive life.
5. How to fertilize pineapple plants
For a balanced application of fertilizer, start by choosing whether to apply a 6-6-6 or 10-10-10 mix. Depending on which one selects the dose in the six annual applications it will vary as follows:
- Fertilizer rate 6-6-6: 2 ounces of fertilizer for the first two applications, 3 ounces for the third and fourth and 6 ounces for the fifth and sixth applications.
- 10-10-10 Fertilizer rate: 1 ounce of fertilizer for the first two applications, 2 ounces for the third and fourth and 3 ounces for the fifth and sixth applications.
As you may have noticed, the doses decrease the higher the concentration of nutrients in the fertilizer. Regardless of whether you have selected a liquid or granulated fertilizer, you must accompany the application with abundant watering.
Do not forget in the hottest months of spring and summer to start with the application of micornutrient fertilizers. Since three requests must be made, these can be in the months of May, July and September. If you use foliar fertilizer, be sure to apply it evenly to the foliage.
Although you should follow the advice that we leave here, never forget to carefully read the instructions for use that come in the fertilizer container.
Although you should follow the advice that we leave here, never forget to carefully read the instructions for use that come in the fertilizer container. Depending on the brand and format of the fertilizer there may be variations in its application and dosage.
5.1 Fertilizer for pineapple guava
If we look at a pineapple plant or a guava pineapple, the truth does not seem to be many similarities between the two plants. But not only are there similarities in their name. The fertilization process is also very similar between the two. That is why we decided to include a small section on the fertilization of pineapple guava in this post.
Like the pineapple plant in pineapple guava, balanced fertilizers and micronutrient fertilizers should be used. The latter preferably for foliar application.
In very young plants the dose of balanced fertilizer is very high, being necessary to apply it every 30 days. The dose of each application is 8 oz, being able to use a 6-6-6 mixture. When the plant is adult, the regularity can be decreased (4 times a year), but the dose is increased to 32 oz.
As in the pineapple plant, the application of micronutrient fertilizers should be done during the warm months. Being enough three applications in that period. Always look for copper and zinc to be among the top micronutrients.
6. Fertilizing pineapple plant – Video
To finish the article we have selected a video from the Grow Your Pineapples channel, in it you will see how to easily fertilize your pineapple plant. You will see that, for an ornamental garden pineapple, we can easily fertilize with a liquid fertilizer commonly used in many garden plants.
With this simple fertilization you will not get good fruits, but I do not think that is your goal. If you want a really good pineapple, you better go to the greengrocer and buy it. 😉
- Growing a Pineapple at Home – https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/Documents/Growing_a_Pineapple_at_Home.pdf
- Pineapple Cultivation in Hawaii – https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/f_n-7.pdf
- Pineapple Growing in the Florida Home – https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/391-482.pdf