Pineapples are fairly easy to grow in South Florida. If a pineapple has not been refrigerated, you can plant the top to grow a new pineapple plant. (Refrigeration kills the plant.)
For the sweetest fruit, let the pineapple turn completely golden yellow before harvesting.
Waiting for the pineapple to completely ripen carries some risk. Some gardeners are frustrated to find the ripe pineapples attract raccoons, possums or other varmints who take a bite out of the ripe pineapple before they have a chance to pick it.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) offers this tip. When the pineapple starts turning yellow, cover it at night with a paper bag. You can usually get these for free at the grocery store if you ask. (“Paper, not plastic please!”)
Remember to remove the bags first thing the next morning so the pineapple gets plenty of sunshine to continue ripening!
Other tips for growing pineapples:
• Pineapples absorb most of their water through their leaves. When watering a pineapple plant, pour the water directly on the leaves.
• After a pineapple has fruited, the plant will put out new shoots. Leave the largest shoot on the plant. Twist off the others to start new plants. If you leave multiple shoots on a plant, it will make several small pineapples instead of one large one.
• If you must harvest a pineapple before it is completely ripe, you can place it in a shallow bowl with a little water and put it in the windowsill to complete ripening. Be sure to water the leaves every day.
• You can tell if a pineapple is ripe by the color. The "pull on the leaves" to determine if a pineapple is ripe is a myth. If you pull on a pineapple's leaves and they come out, that means the pineapple has been refrigerated and will not ripen further. The top will not grow a new plant if the pineapple has been refrigerated.