Pineapples can be homegrown with the right care and fertilizer. Fertilizing a pineapple plant is a scheduled, regular activity. Unlike many plants that need fertilizer once or twice a year, the bromeliad-related pineapple (Ananas comosus) needs regular applications of a balanced fertilizer, less frequent applications of micronutrients, and depending upon the growing area’s pH, iron treatments. Pineapples like slightly acid, well-drained soil, and full sun. The pineapple does not like freezing temperatures.
Nitrogen is one of the most vital building blocks for young pineapple plants. A dry fertilizer that contains 6 to 10 percent nitrogen, 6 to 10 percent potash, 6 to 10 percent phosphoric acid, and 4 to 6 percent magnesium works well. Young pineapple plants should be fertilized every two months or so during the growing season. If the soil has a high pH level, indicating that it is alkaline, then an occasional soil drench of chelated iron near the base of each plant can lower the soil’s pH level and benefit the plants.
Best Fertilizer For Pineapples
#1. Foliar spray
Pineapple plants also can absorb fertilizer through a foliar spray, which is sprayed directly on their leaves. Following foliar spray fertilizer instructions carefully is essential because over-spraying can cause the leaves to burn. Choose a fertilizer foliar spray that contains 6 to 10 percent nitrogen, 6 to 10 percent potash, 6 to 10 percent phosphoric acid, and 4 to 6 percent magnesium, as well as iron if possible. A foliar spray may be applied every two to two and a half months.
Pineapple plants suffer when grown in limey soil. Lime should be added to only very acidic soil that needs to be neutralized. Yellow leaves are a sign of chlorosis, indicating a lack of iron in the soil. If that condition occurs, using a foliar spray with iron can be helpful.
Pineapple plants should not be grown near lawns because most lawn fertilizers are not suitable for the plants. Lawnmowers and grass trimmers also pose a risk to pineapple plants. Lawn sprinklers can over water pineapples, causing the plant roots to rot.
#2. Dry Fertilizer
Pineapple plants should receive balanced fertilizer applications every two months for the first year, for a total of six fertilizer applications. According to extensive instructions in “Pineapple Growing in the Florida Home Landscape” from the University of Florida Horticultural Sciences Department, a mixture of dry or foliar 6 to 10 percent nitrogen (N), 6 to 10 percent available phosphoric acid (P), 6 to 10 percent potash (K) and 4 to 6 percent magnesium (Mg) will provide basic fertilizer for the pineapple. For fertilizer application amounts, use 1 to 2 ounces the first two feedings (four months), 1 to 3 ounces at the third and fourth feeds, and 2 to 6 ounces for the fifth and six feeds during the first year. If you are using a higher 10-10-10 ratio, go with the lower end amount (use one ounce, not two). If you are going with a 6-6-6 combination, apply the higher amount.
Micronutrient sprays that contain zinc and manganese can be applied to pineapple plants. These sprays should be given to pineapple plants only two or three times per year–May, July and September. Zinc and manganese are usually in these foliar sprays. Iron is also sometimes present. Label directions should be followed for proper mixing and application. The goal is to get the micronutrients to the pineapple and not burn the leaves. When spraying, ensure to spray away from yourself, and try to spray on the plant and not the surrounding deck or furniture.
#4. Iron Drench
Pineapples in high pH (more than 7.5) soils will need six applications of iron each year. Pineapples like slightly acidic soil, so adding iron is very important if the growing medium is slightly alkaline. This can be applied at the same time as the NPK fertilizer is added. For a soil drench, use chelated iron. For a foliar spray, iron (ferrous) sulfate is recommended for use.
Guide On Applying Fertilizer To Pineapple Plants
Pineapple fertilizer applications for year two of plant growth follow the six-times-a-year schedule of year one. If needed, iron drenching also follows the six applications every other month. In year two, fertilizer amounts increase to 3 to 6 ounces of NPK for months 12 to 16, then 5 to 8 ounces with months 17 to 24. The micronutrient spray regimen should also continue in year two, with three applications during the warm season, usually May, July and September
General Care for planting pineapple
For pineapple planted in a container, make sure drainage is adequate. Since pineapples are very sensitive to cold, place pots outside only after all danger of frost has passed. For the first few days, acclimate the pineapple by keeping it in partial shade. This will help prevent the leaves from burning.