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Whenever I travel to a new place I always try to visit local botanical garden and to do a blog post about it. So far I’ve been only taking photos and sharing my impressions in written. From now on I’m really excited to do even Virtual Reality, 360° video tours of tropical gardens and greenhouses.
Pineapple is probably the optimal exotic fruit anyone can grow indoors anywhere. Easy to plant, easy to grow and will produce a juicy, sweet pineapple within about 3 years. Unlike all avocado seeds, which get crucified over a glass of water (at least it’s popular to do so here in Sweden) and which will never […]
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Pineapple is probably the optimal exotic fruit anyone can grow indoors anywhere. Easy to plant, easy to grow and will produce a juicy, sweet pineapple within about 3 years. Unlike all avocado seeds, which get crucified over a glass of water (at least it’s popular to do so here in Sweden) and which will never get into anything more than scrawny little tree. Pineapple can be a fun home project to do with the kids or on your own.
There are hundreds of YouTube clips out there showing how to grow pineapples. Yet, I decided to do another one. The reason is in widely spread misconception that you suppose to grow first in water to get the roots and also most of them won’t tell you how to made the pineapple flower and bear fruit the sure way. I do it in my video showing my own home grown pineapple and the whole easy procedure. Those who prefer reading can do it below the video.
Buy a pineapple with healthy inside part of the top
If you are not already growing your own pineapples, you can just get one in any fruit counter. What you should look for is the one with the top which has healthy centre or the rosette. It’s where the new growth comes from and where eventually the flower will emerge.
The maturity of the fruit you buy doesn’t matter.
Twist and tear it off, don’t cut off
You separate the top from the fruit by simply turning it and pulling off. This way you get a much smaller area for the bacteria in soil to attack your newly planted pineapple. This is compared to cutting with a bit of the fruit left attached to the top as some would recommend. People argument that it suppose to give the new plant some initial resources before it grows the roots and start eating self. However, that’s not how it works. So just tear it off.
Pick off the outer layers of small leaves
Tear off the outer layers of the leaves until you get about an inch (2-3cm) of bold stalk. On mature pineapples you can often see small roots already developing there between outer leaves. Put your top aside for at least a couple of hours before planting so it get a protective dry scar surface.
Plant directly in soil
Do not put it in water first, as many would suggest. The roots developed in water are adapted to grow just in water. They are useless when transferred later into soil and the young plant will have to grow another set of roots and that is energy consuming.
Take a small pot about the same diameter as the pineapple top itself. Prepare a well drained soil mix by adding about 1/3 part of the volume of perlite to the regular potting soil. Don’t forget to add a drainage layer of leca in the bottom of the pot. The pot must have drainage holes. Complete with a tray to put it on for the excess of water to come out into.
Plant it with the peeled stalk covered by the soil and put it in a place with at least room temperature. Don’t put it in a bright location yet. It will get roots within a week or two and then you can transfer it into the sun.
Keep it warm and sunny
As the tropical plant it is, pineapple should be kept warm, at least room temperature all year round. Try to place it into your sunniest spot. If you don’t have a south facing window you should consider giving it an artificial light.
Keep the water standing in the rosette
Being a member of the bromeliads family, pineapple, like most other bromeliads are designed to accumulate water in their rosette, the centre part of the leaves. A newly planted top has probably not so dense rosette to hold the water, though in the beginning water it into the soil. When it start growing bigger and tighter you should switch to watering into the rosette instead. Try to keep some water standing there all the time and water the soil only when it gets dry.
Fertilise your pineapple
Like all plants, pineapples need some food as well as water. You can use your regular house plants liquid fertiliser about once a month. If it’s organic fertiliser, it’s better to use it in soil. Otherwise you can water it into rosette as well.
Replant into bigger pot
When your plant get about double the original size, it’s time to upgrade it into a bigger pot. Take about 6-8l (1 1/2 – 2 gal) pot and prepare the same well drained soil mix as above, drainage layer and a tray. Pull you plant out of its old pot and without loosing up the roots just transfer it into the new pot and fill in the empty space with new soil.
Give it a haircut
Pineapple leaves can grow about 1m (over 3′) long with sharp tips and some thorns on the edges here and there. If you have problems with this appearance, you can cut the leaves keeping the plant diameter of about 60cm (2′). Such haircuts don’t seam affect the plant negatively.
Make it flower
Pineapples are unreliable bloomers. Mature plants can take different time to start flowering and the difference can be years. Fortunately there is an easy trick to lure them into bloom. That is how they are doing in commercial plantations to make sure they can harvest a pineapple field at the same time.
Ripening fruits produce acetylene gas, which cause a hormonal reaction in pineapple plant making it to set a flower. One of the methods circulating on the net is to put a ripe apple in the pineapple pot and encapsulate it in a bag. The problems I see here are in relatively small amount of acetylene produced by an apple and in putting a large sticky plant in a bag.
Instead I’m using a small bit of calcium carbide (just about 1/5 of a thumbnail), which I put in the water filled rosette. The instant reaction of calcium carbide with water produces a lot of acetylene gas. Such a quick and easy treatment practically guarantee that in about a month later you will see a flower coming up in the middle of the rosette (see the photo gallery below).
Do it in the end of winter on a mature plant so that the fruit will ripen during the summer time.
You shouldn’t buy large amounts of calcium carbide as its storage require some special safety precautions. Acetylene gas produced in calcium carbide and water reaction is highly flammable.
Let it ripen
It will take 4-5 months from you see the first sign of a flower to a mature fruit. It will get a golden yellow color and the stalk where the fruit is attached will droop. Then it’s harvest time!
You fruit won’t be as large as those in supermarkets. That’s because those commercially produced pineapples are treated with growth hormones. So even if your top is coming from supermarket fruit, your home grown plant will reverse to its true nature. It will be smaller, but also so much sweeter!
Start it over
When your pineapple plant has rewarded you with your own, home grown pineapple, it will slowly die. Most probably it will produce one-two root shoots of new plants. You should wait them grow a bit bigger before separating them from the dying mother. Also you can just start it all over by planting the top of your fruit.
Here you can see a pineapple from starting at the middle of rosette to flowering and ripening:
Jungles is another word for “many tropical plants in one place” so urban jungle is the right description of our apartment. But how many are many in my case? I didn’t know the exact answer until now. I’m not gonna know it in a month or so again, as even urban jungle is a living […]
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Jungles is another word for “many tropical plants in one place” so urban jungle is the right description of our apartment. But how many are many in my case? I didn’t know the exact answer until now. I’m not gonna know it in a month or so again, as even urban jungle is a living thing, but right now I do know, because I counted and classified: 80 plants belonging to 55 different cultivars or forms, 47 different species of 42 genera, 20 plant families and 12 plant orders.
I have 14 plants of 4 species all belonging to Araceae family of the Alismatales order: 4 Aglaonema, 8 Caladium bicolor, one Spathiphyllum and one Zamioculcas zamiifolia. I wrote about growing Caladium indoors before.
There are total 13 palms of 8 different species growing in our small apartment. I know it sounds like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, but it’s true. Two largest are Adonidia merrillii growing from seeds collected on Mauritius probably year 2007. Foxtail (Wodyetia bifurcata) is getting rather large too, a seedling from a trip to Thailand probably 4 years ago. The rest are rather small yet: very compact Areca catechu dwarf, a couple years old seedling of Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) from Vietnam trip. The smallest are seedlings from last year trip to Costa Rica: Vanuatu palm (Licuala grandis) and Areca vestiaria f. orange. Then there are a couple of Chamaedorea elegans and Chamaedorea metallica, but they will never be space craving.
Grouping my plants here by plants’ orders revealed some, unexpected for me, family relations between seemingly completely different plants. Both orchids, Ti plants (Cordyline fruticosa), Dracaena, Scadoxus, Hippeastrum and even Haworthia belongs to the same order.
Cacti are not really aesthetically appealing to me so the only two species I grow belongs to so called tropical cacti. They require the same conditions as the rest of my urban jungle with lot’s of watering and light. I have one Dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus undatus) growing from seed and one Fish-bone cactus (Selenicereus anthonyanus).
I have two of five families of this order: Apocynaceae or dogbane family and Rubiaceae (madder) family. The first one is represented by Hoya carnosa, Mandevila sanderi, Nerium oleander and my beloved Plumeria. The two species I got in Rubiaceae family are two small yet seedlings of Ixora coccinea and Coffea arabica.
A small Araucaria heterophylla or Norfolk Island pine have the honor to serve as our Christmas tree. Not that we have a shortage of real pines in Sweden, but it blends better into tropical vegetation of our home.
Alphabetically the last order on my list, but absolutely not last in my heart. Bananas, Heliconia, Bird of Paradise and my largest plant Ravenala madagascariensis (Travelers tree) are all among the most tropical mood creators in our house.
Whenever you are using organically rich soil for potting or repotting, in most cases just a few days later you will see myriads of small flies crawling in your pots. There is, however, a very easy way to avoid flies there. I often get this question from people watching my videos: why do you have […]
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Whenever you are using organically rich soil for potting or repotting, in most cases just a few days later you will see myriads of small flies crawling in your pots. There is, however, a very easy way to avoid flies there.
I often get this question from people watching my videos: why do you have sand in your pots, do you grow in sand? The answer is NO. I don’t grow in it, but I like adding a 2-3cm (1 in) layer of sand box sand on top of my pots. The main reason – you will not get those flies!
To get to know the subject the flies in your pots are fungus gnats. It can be different species with Latin name Bradysia in Sciaridae family. Many people think they are fruit flies (Drosophilidae family), but they are not the same. Fungus gnats lay their eggs and hatch in soil.
The adult fungus gnats are not much more than an annoyance. Attracted to the CO2 (carbon dioxide), which we breath out, they will fly toward you every time you want to check on your plants. In rare cases the infestation can get as bad as on the photo to the right.
Fungus gnats larvae, however, can do some damage as they are feeding on organic matter in the soil, but also on root hairs of your plants. They can even tunnel into cuttings’ base. So, just sand them over
In some extension the sand layer can even prevent other pests also hatching in soil. The sand layer is even a good indicator for watering. Most plants have to be watered when the upper soil getting slightly dry (like most of my tropical plants). Just by touching the sand you can easily tell when it’s dry and it’s time to water.
In addition, the sand layer gives a good support for cuttings and it simply looks better (if you ask me) in pots comparing to soil. I mean sand, beaches and tropics have some persistent connections in our brains.
Our last day of Costa Rica trip definitely wasn’t a lazy one. We woke up early to meet our new local friend Erick Matamoros – a great freelancing photographer and kindly our guide for a car trip to Irazú volcano, followed by a visit to the Lankester Botanical Garden and then a direct drive to […]
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Our last day of Costa Rica trip definitely wasn’t a lazy one. We woke up early to meet our new local friend Erick Matamoros – a great freelancing photographer and kindly our guide for a car trip to Irazú volcano, followed by a visit to the Lankester Botanical Garden and then a direct drive to the airport for home journey. Irazú and Lankester Garden is a common combo for a day trip as both are situated in Cartago province, a couple of hours driving from the capital city San José.
Like some other our days public botanical gardens in the country, Lankester Garden started as a private coffee plantation and a collection of local plants by one enthusiast – Charles Herbert Lankester. When “Don Carlos” died 1969, the estate and collection was acquired by American Conservation Society and later donated to University of Costa Rica. It has been opened as Lankester Botanical garden to public since 1973.
With its almost 27 acres (more then 100.000 sqm) Lankester Botanical Garden today houses the largest in the world collection of orchids.
You can easily walk through the garden by following a path, which will take you through eight different plant collections (see the map).
The first one you will inevitably start with is of course orchids. A huge green house full of them is the first you are going to see after the entrance.
The end of the rain season is not the best time of the year to see flowering plants. Also, I’m not really an orchid guy and we were a bit in a harry to the airport so I kind of skipped that green house. I took just a few photos here.
Next on the path after the greenhouse is a loop around Japanese Garden. With its pond, a wall of bamboo and a large Japanese style wooden building, this is a popular place for wedding photography.
Back from Japan you will next enter a patch of so called secondary forest. This is the name for the forests which had a chance to regenerate from timber harvest and deforestation. Here in the garden it is an example and a study case of what should be done in a much larger scale throughout the tropics.
Because of the luck of time I had to skip almost the half of the garden, namely the cacti and succulents part as well as ferns.
Instead I prioritized my favorite plant family Zingiberales. Celebrity family members there are bananas, Heliconia, Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) and the largest of them all Traveler’s tree (Ravenala madagascariensis). I actually do have them all growing in our living room.
So here I just had to explore everything and I didn’t stay just on the path. See the photo proof below.
Bromeliads and palms
The more time I spent with my beloved Zingiberales, the less time I had left for the last two parts of the garden, unfortunately. So just a few photos on the run from there.
THANK YOU COSTA RICA! LA PURA VIDA!
And that was our last day on that trip to Costa Rica, but I’m sure it wasn’t our last trip there. A big thank you would be also appropriate to my dear partner Alex for following with me on all my geeky botanical adventures. Also a special thank you for our friend and amazing photographer Erick Matamoros for this lovely day to remember and also for this photo in my right environment:
The post A stroll in home jungles appeared first on Tropics @Home.
Follow me on a short 8min video stroll through our home-grown jungles, our tropics at home on a couple of square meters. This is my entire, well almost, “collection” of tropical plants I grow indoors in our flat in Stockholm, Sweden. With plant names.
I did the footage in the end of March this year (2017), but I had time only now to edit it and upload. That is also my first attempt of using Adobe After Effects for editing (adding plant names, photos of them when in bloom and some inspirational music).
You can read more about some plants featured in the video here: