How Do Pineapples Grow?

If you enjoy eating pineapples, you may be wondering how do pineapples grow and when they are ready to eat. These are common questions that people have, as pineapples are a bit of a mystery.

Many people assume that pineapples grow on a tree much like many other forms of fruit, such as apples, peaches, or cherries. Pineapples are also considered to be tropical fruits, which only adds to their overall mystery.

This is a type of fruit that you rarely see growing, which is why many people do not know how pineapples actually grow. You mostly only ever see them in grocery stores once they have been picked and are ready to buy.

If you enjoy knowing where your food comes from and how it is produced, you may want to know how do pineapples grow. Keep reading to find out more about pineapples and the process they have to go through before they are ready to eat.

How Pineapples Grow?

One type of fruit that is often misunderstood is the classic pineapple, as many people do not know how pineapples grow. Pineapples do not grow on trees like you might suspect, as they grow on tall leafy plants and only produce one fruit.

Because of this, pineapple harvesters have to plant hundreds of these pineapple plants in order to get a harvest. As only one pineapple is produced by each plant so you will need many plants to create a harvest.

pineapple tree

This plant consists of thick and long leaves that spread out from the center, with a pineapple growing directly in the center. This is very unique and unlike the majority of other types of fruit that you may see in the grocery store.

But unpollinated fruits fused together to create the large pineapple that you end up buying in the grocery store. This is why it has that unique pattern on the outside from the scaly skin.

Pineapples also require a warm and humid environment that is subtropical as they are considered to be tropical fruits. Because of this, not every part of the US is going to be a good place to grow pineapples.

One of the main producers of pineapples in the US is Florida, as the climate is subtropical, perfect for pineapples to grow and flourish. Though there are some other places where pineapples can grow, if the weather is warm and moist.

Pineapples Take Two to Three Years to Grow

Pineapples are a kind of fruit that take 2 to 3 years to fully grow and mature to the point where they can produce fruit. Like any kind of fruit-bearing tree or plant, pineapple plants have to be fully mature before they can produce fruit.

For the most part, 2 to 3 years is not extremely long when it comes to fruit-bearing plants. As it is quite common for fruit trees to take many more years before they ever produce the first harvest of fruit.

One of the interesting things about pineapples is that the plant can only produce so many pineapples before it is worn out. On average, a pineapple plant only produces 2 to 3 years before it no longer creates good fruit.

This is quite unique when compared to other types of fruit plants, as this gives it a very short lifespan. Because of this, pineapple harvesters have to have a plentiful pineapple crop in order to get the amount of fruit that they need.

They will also need to actively plant more pineapple plants in order to ensure that they always have a harvest each year. This can be difficult to manage, which is part of why very few orchards actually grow pineapples.

Especially in the US, pineapple orchards are quite rare and are not going to be as common as other types of orchards. That, as well as the fact that pineapples require a subtropical climate in order to grow properly.

Pineapples Don’t Grow on Trees

What are the most common misunderstandings about pineapples is that they grow on trees, which is not true. Pineapples do not grow on trees but rather grow on a tall plant that can reach about 5 feet tall on average.

pineapple slice

These plants are often referred to as shrubs but have a similar look to a palm tree, as they have long fronds that stick out. Each plant is only capable of producing one pineapple, making it difficult to have enough plants for a full crop.

One unique thing about pineapple plants is that the pineapple grows upright in the center of the plant. So it doesn’t even look real, as it looks like someone just sat a pineapple in the middle of the plant.

These are just a few of the things that make pineapple so unique from other types of fruit.

Pineapples Need to Ripen on the Stalk

Something that is not commonly known is that pineapples need to ripen on the stock before they are picked. While most types of fruit ripen after they have been packed, pineapples only ripen in a very small amount after they are removed from the plant.

This can be quite a large problem since pineapples are sold and distributed all over the world and are often picked before they are ripened. So if you see a green pineapple in the stores, it is very likely that that pineapple is never going to actually ripen enough to be eaten.

This is why you may have difficulties getting a good pineapple from your local grocery store. You might find that they are all too hard and too sour, not sweet and soft like they should be if they were right.

And unfortunately, The least ripe pineapples that you see in the grocery store are never going to really be good to eat. They will only ripen a little bit, and if they are fully unripe, they are never going to be good.

That is why you want to make sure you know what to look for in a pineapple so that you pick one that is going to ripen. This way, you can avoid spending your money on pineapples that don’t have a chance of actually becoming tasty.

Slightly Soft

A fully ripe pineapple should be slightly soft to the touch and not entirely firm. An unripe pineapple is going to be very hard and is not going to give at all if you squeeze it very hard.

A pineapple should not be squishy, but it should have a little give if you squeeze it, which is an easy way to tell if it is ripe. Preferably, pineapples should not be picked until they have a very slight give to them.

This way, they do not become overripe during transportation, but they will ripen just enough so that they are perfectly good to eat. Unfortunately, this is not usually done, as pineapples are often picked while they are still hard.

So, you should squeeze pineapples in the grocery store before picking one out, as you want one that is slightly soft.

Light Yellow Color

Pineapples should have a light to medium yellow color over the entire fruit. They should not be dark brown or green, as this could indicate that they are either over-ripe or severely underripe.

Pineapple plantation

Do you want to look for a pineapple that has an almost banana-yellow color all over, as this indicates that it is ripe or close to being right. Even pineapples that get slightly darker as they get to the bottom indicate that the fruit is ripe and good to eat.

Mini harvesters pick pineapples from the plants while they are still green, dooming the fruit to never actually ripen. Because of this, you should only look at pineapples that are yellow in grocery stores.


Something that you may have heard of is that pineapples will actually become heavier when they are ripe. This is usually because so much sugar has been produced inside of the fruit, creating a heavier pineapple.

You have to be careful when testing this out in grocery stores, however, as it can be easy to still pick an unripe pineapple. You will want to test out pineapples of the same size to see which one is heavier.

Some pineapples may be heavier simply because they are larger, so try to test pineapples of the same size. The heaviest pineapple that has that banana-yellow color will most likely be a ripe pineapple that is good to eat.

Sweet Smell

Something that you may do when you are picking out fruit is smell them to see what the scent is like. This is a common trick that you can use for a wide variety of fruits, as they will usually take on a sweet and fruity scent if they are ripe.

The same rule applies to pineapples as they will naturally start to have a strong fruity and sugary scent if they are ripe. This is usually due to sugary syrup leaking out of the pineapple itself, creating that sweet smell.

If a pineapple does not smell like anything, this could indicate that it is very underripe and does not have enough sugar created. This will create a hard and sour pineapple that is not going to be good to eat.

Loose Fronds

When testing out pineapples in the store, loose fronds are a good indication that the pineapple is ripe. The fronds at the top will become slightly loose and can be pulled out if the fruit itself is ripe and ready to eat.

If the fronds are bright green and very stiff, this could indicate that the pineapple is still unripe. As the fruit will hold onto these fronds more tightly if it is still hard and underdeveloped.