Growing pineapples in the Old Dominion?

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Did you know you can grow a pineapple right here in Virginia? No, they don't grow on trees, but if you follow this advice, you can bring a taste of the tropics to your house.

Cathy Wyatt gave me a baby pineapple plant last year -- and it's still growing. If you're patient and you follow her advice, you too can grow a pineapple in your backyard!

"About 10 years ago, a friend of ours went to Hawaii and brought me back a pineapple," she said.

Cathy heard you could cut the top off -- and grow a new plant. So she gave it a try, and it worked!

"It was such an interesting process that I've kept up with it most of the time since," she said.

Cathy says get a pineapple from the store. Not a ripe one, if you can pull out the leaves, it's too old. Get one with fresh, green leaves.

"Take your kitchen knife and slice it," she said. "You want it just to be the top, you don't want any flesh on there."

Clean off the golden fruit and let it dry out for a week -- those little brown things are the beginnings of the roots of your new plant.

Then pot it just like any other plant. Stick it in the soil -- about an inch deep.

"That will kind of hold it in place until roots do start to grow," Cathy said.

Your pineapple is used to the tropics, so give it a sunny spot outside and don't over water it. Bring it inside whenever there's a danger of frost.

After a while, your plant will look like a palm growing out of the ground.

It's not a quick process -- in a year and a half, a red fruit will start to appear. And you still have another six months to go.

"I noticed in the middle of this plant there was a little red thing getting ready to come up and it looked like maybe it was a flower," Cathy said.

I couldn't believe it when my pineapple appeared last summer -- Hopefully by the end of summer I'll enjoy a pineapple as fresh as one you can get in Hawaii.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.