Pineapple Growth Stages

Understanding the pineapple plant's growth stages will help you understand plants better. What is the typical life cycle?

The pineapple, or Ananas comosus, is a fruiting plant native to the tropics. It belongs to the bromeliad family of blooming plants, which also includes Spanish moss and desert succulents.

Understanding the phases of a plant’s life cycle will help you better care for it. Let’s explore what occurs at each stage of the pineapple’s development, from seed to fruit.

Seed Germination

It takes about 6 months for pineapple seeds to germinate. The cotyledon will begin to grow, then the radicle cells become active, and the plumule develops from the cotyledonary membrane.

The first sign of germination is the splitting of the testa at the seed’s pointed end. At this time, the embryo’s radicle end begins to arise. A little bump might be seen on the upper surface of the growing embryo.

The radicle will now develop rapidly and turn downwards while the plumular growth point pushes through the cotyledonary membrane, and little plumular leaves emerge, quickly turning green. The vascular tissue grows and extends through the majority of the cotyledon.

Germination takes about 3 weeks when exposed to temperatures ranging from 75° to 85°F. Temperatures below 75°F significantly inhibit germination, resulting in rot. 

Foliage and Root Growth

The primary root appears about seven weeks after sowing. When the sprout has two or three leaves at about 2 months old, adventitious roots grow from the base and the primary root fails to function and withers away.

The size and number of leaves and roots increase during this stage, but the stem will remain short. Although the seedling does not change much on the outside, a lot of significant development is happening inside.

At three months, the young independent plant usually develops six plumular leaves and a short stem. The growth of plumule leaves and adventitious roots will continue throughout this phase.

pineapple plant planted in the backyard garden


During flowering, the stalk elongates and enlarges at the ends, producing a head of tiny purple or scarlet flowers, each with a red, yellowish, or green rosette.

The stalk continues to grow and, at its tip, forms a dense bunch of stiff, short leaves known as the crown, or top. The plant may produce two or three heads. In rare cases, a plant may develop as many as 12 heads.

The main flower is a cluster of 100 to 200 flowers, each with three fleshy sepals and petals, six stamens, and a three-part ovary. The individual flowers combine to form a cone-shaped, complex, luscious, meaty fruit that measures 12 inches in length on average. 

The fibrous yet succulent core is produced from the stem. The fruit matures 4 to 5 months after initiation.

Shoots emerge from the leaf axils, while offshoots form from the stem around the fruit’s base. Suckers are shoots that grow from the base at ground level. Basal suckers emerge later from the stolons beneath the soil.

Young pineapple fruit in the garden


Pineapples are self-sterile, which means they will not produce seeds even if pollinated. In most cases, there will be only traces of developing seeds. There are some wild variants, however, that do produce seeds.

The formation of fruits that lack seeds is known as parthenocarpy.

Pineapples require cross-pollination to generate seeds. The pollen transfer from one plant to another in a commercial field is still termed self-pollination because all of the variations would be genetically similar.

Because their pollen is sticky, pineapples do not pollinate by wind. Hummingbirds, honey bees, and pineapple beetles usually aid the pollination process. 

Due to the slow rate of germination, sexual reproduction is also extremely uncommon.

blooming pineapple flowers preparing for pollination

Vegetative Propagation

The easiest way to propagate pineapples is vegetative, meaning a new plant is grown from a section of an existing one. Crowns, slips, suckers, and shoots are the four parts that can be used for propagation.

This means you can actually grow your own pineapples from scraps. While it does not involve too much work, it does involve a lot of patience. 

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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