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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - November 05, 2005

From: Columbia, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Pineapple plant care
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a new pineapple plant that is still very small 1-2 inches around the fruit at most. The fruit has recently turned a deep yellow as if it were ripe. I am wondering if it can be ripe at such a small size or if there is something wrong with it and if so what I can do to help the plant. It is in a window getting pleny of sun and is at a steady temperature. I would also like to know what to do as far as replanting the fruit to get another plant and how to help the pineapple get larger. Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

The pineapple is native to South America and probably originated in Brazil. It sounds as if your pineapple is ripening despite its small size. Pineapples ripen in response to ethylene gas which is common in the home environment, particularly during the winter. Apples are a good source of ethylene gas. Pineapples can be encouraged to flower and the fruits to ripen by enclosing the plants in a plastic bag with sliced apples. You can read more about the care and propagation of your pineapple.
 

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