Ananas comosus (syn. A. sativus)

The Pineapple is best known for its fruit, and few peo- pie know that it is a decorative plant suitable for growing indoors and in the greenhouse. It is native to Brazil, but is grown on plantations throughout the tropics. The wild form is unknown. Plants with leaves striped yellowish-white to pink (’Var-iegatus’, fig. ) are particularly attractive. When grown indoors, the Pineapple rarely bears flowers and never bears fruits. Even so, the sterile Pineapple is very decorative, with its large rosettes of rigid, spiny-margined leaves, 80-120 cm (31-47 in) long. The small flowers are clustered in dense, globose or ovoid inflorescences.

The fruit is a multiple fruit consisting of yellow berries grown together with the fleshy stem and bracts into one mass. The stem growing through the centre is surmounted by a crown of stiff leaves. This crown can be used to propagate the plant. Cut it off carefully and leave it to dry. After a few days, insert it in sand or in sandy compost. The Pineapple can also be increased by offsets in the same way. To induce flowering in a mature plant, wrap translucent plastic foil round it, including the pot.

Put some apples inside; these produce gaseous ethylene which causes bromeliads to put out flowers. Maintain a temperature of 27° C (80° F).

The plants should be grown in diffused light. Water freely in summer and mist with tepid water regularly. It does not matter if water collects in the leaf rosette. Feed occasionally with mineral fertilizer.

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