Pineapple Farming/Production in USA: How to Start, A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting to Harvesting


Pineapple is the common name for the low-growing, fruiting, tropical plants of Ananas comosus (also known as A. sativus) in the bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae). It is also the name of this plant’s large, edible, numerous fruits. It is native to Central and South America but has been introduced elsewhere, including Hawaii, which is now a significant commercial fruit producer. Florida was the largest producer of Pineapples until a hypothetical disease wiped out the industry, later discovered to be mealybugs, at which time Hawaii became the leading producer. 

Pineapple Farming/Production in USA
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Pineapple farming/production in USA

Pineapple varieties in the USA

There are two main types of Pineapple sold in the United States. Cayenne Pineapple is commonly grown in Hawaii. The color of Pineapple flesh ranges from very light to golden yellow. The common commercial Pineapple variety is the Smooth Cayenne, which produces 5- to 6-pound fruits with a yellow flesh and relatively high sugar content. Hilo is a Smooth Cayenne that grows in Hawaii. 

Smooth Cayenne Pineapple – These are the main type of Pineapple grown in Hawaii and are larger than other varieties, weighing from four to ten pounds. They have distinctive yellow flesh and are very juicy. The fruit’s skin is golden yellow, and the long, pointed leaves grow in a tuft. Red 

Spanish Pineapples – Spanish Pineapples are smaller and thicker than Cayenne Pineapple and have a red, golden brown color. 

Sugarloaf – The third type of Pineapple, called Sugarloaf, is grown in Mexico and is growing in popularity due to its sweet taste. This Pineapple is susceptible to damage in transit, so it is not often shipped to the United States. There are numerous varieties of Pineapple. However, the more common types of fresh fruit sold in the US include the ‘Smooth Cayenne. Other varieties that can be difficult to find for planting include ‘Red Spanish,’ ‘Singapore Spanish,’ ‘Green Spanish,’ and ‘Queen.’ 

The golden-yellow-skinned Cayenne is taller and more cylindrical and has long, sword-like leaves that grow in a single tuft, while the reddish-golden-brown skinned Cayenne Pineapple is scattered in the Spanish form, and its leaves arise from several tufts.

Canned Pineapple – It is almost always Smooth Cayenne. At one time, most fresh Pineapples were also produced on Smooth Cayenne plants. However, the most common fresh Pineapple found in American and European supermarkets today is a low-acid hybrid developed in Hawaii. Pineapple varieties have much better-eating quality than the Smooth Cayenne or Red Spanish. However, those with better food quality do not ship well, so they are unlikely to be encountered in local markets. 

Among the better Pineapples, however, are the Natal Queen, which weighs 2 to 3 pounds. Pernambuco (Eleuthera) variety weighs 2 to 4 pounds, and Abakka, about 3 to 6 pounds. All three have prickly leaves. Having eaten all of these varieties at their peak of maturity, the sweet, melting flesh of Pernambuco is a personal favorite. Sugarloaf is a name used in Mexico for a variety. 

Soil management for Pineapple farming in the USA

  • Florida soils with uniformly excellent results are composed primarily of fine sand and very poor in plant food elements. Artificial fertilizers are used in all areas except the Keys, where the soil is rich in humus. It might be thought that in most places, the soil only serves as a basis for artificial fertilization, but this is not the case, as not all soils will respond. Coarse, sandy soils and clay soils are not suitable. Many plants have been planted on shell land but have been uniformly unsuccessful, and care must therefore be exercised in selecting a suitable soil. 
  • Pineapple plants need soil with good internal drainage. Because they grow and fruit best in mildly acidic soils, Pineapples can be problematic in moderately alkaline soils in the Valley. Given the plant’s small size, its sensitivity to frost, and its preference for well-drained, acidic soil, Pineapples can be grown anywhere in Texas in 4- or 5-gallon planters or containers– Moving plants indoors with full sun. A window in the cold winter months. Any good potting medium should be suitable for Pineapple culture, such as a container with holes in the bottom of the water.
  • Pineapple plants are best adapted to the warm areas of Florida along the southeast and southwest coasts. However, Pineapple plants are grown in protected areas and landscapes throughout Florida. The time from planting to harvest depends on the cultivar, cultural practices, and temperature. It is from 18 to 24 months.

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Pineapple season in the USA

The Pineapple season starts around mid-June, peaks in mid-July, and ends in September. 

Light and moisture preference for Pineapple farming

Pineapple plants are tropical, so they prefer bright light in a south-facing window for at least 8 hours a day to produce fruit. If left outside on a sunny porch in the spring and summer and the tips turn brown color due to lack of water or harsh sun, trim back to greener, healthier areas with sterile pruning clippers. 

Pineapples need plenty of moisture for successful growth, but there are only a few places in Florida where a lack of moisture can be considered a serious handicap. However, higher elevations, such as those found along the Indus River, are too dry for this plant to grow optimally. Undoubtedly, most gardens benefit greatly from excess moisture at times, but the effects of a lack are usually not very noticeable. The average annual rainfall of about 100 inches is typical for a Pineapple country. Rainfall in Florida is usually about 50 or 60 inches. 

Methods of propagating Pineapple in the USA

  • Pineapples do not grow on a tree but from a plant with leaves—Pineapple results from multiple fruit blossoms that combine into a single fruit. Pineapple is propagated mainly by the offset of the parent plant. These offsets are of several types. A few axillary buds near the base of the parent plant give off vigorous shoots, known as suckers. Two or more are formed when they break off and form new plants. The suckers that emerge from the buds below the soil are called “rattoons.” These usually remain attached to the parent and grow into new plants without transplanting. Good suckers usually bear fruit the first year after planting. Produced from buds on the fruit stalk below the fruit, they are smaller than the suckers but more numerous, with five to fifteen per plant being produced. If many plants are desired, they can be obtained by removing the slips immediately after harvesting the fruit.
  • Thus two to five new slips appear from where the first slip broke. No more than two of these leaves should be allowed to grow, and when they have reached a sufficient size, they can be broken off and planted. Generally, however, slips should not be removed from the parent plant immediately after fruiting but should be left until they mature. By browning the stem below the leaves at the base, one can judge when to remove them. Plant as soon as possible after their ripening. 
  • Usually, the fruit ripens 20 months after planting. Although they take longer than suckers, they are said to produce better fruit and, considering the expense involved, are generally preferred by planters. The crowns produced at the top of the fruit can be used to propagate the plant, but they require two to five years to mature. As they are usually sold with the fruit, they are rarely used in spreads. Pineapples occasionally produce slips, but the plants take so long to mature (ten to twelve years) that they are used only when desired to preserve new varieties. 
  • Pineapple is propagated by new vegetative growth. There are four common types: slips that grow from the stalk below the fruit, suckers that grow from the axils or leaves, crowns that grow above the fruit, and ratoons that grow from the underground parts of the stem. 
  • Slips and suckers are preferred, and crowns are important planting material for home gardeners. These are obtained from store-bought fruit, and the crown is removed from the fruit by twisting it until it is free. Although the crown can be quartered to form four slips, it is
  • best not to cut or split the crown under California’s mild conditions. The lower leaves are removed, the crown is left to dry for two days, and the plant is planted or started to water. 
  • Pineapples are planted outdoors during the summer months. A black plastic ground cover works excellent for Pineapples, protecting them from weeds and for the additional warmth, it absorbs. It also helps to conserve moisture. Traditionally, plants are spaced 12 inches apart. Set the crown about 2 inches deep. Suckers and slips spaced about 3 to 4 inches deep.

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Spacing and pruning for Pineapple farming in the USA

  • Pineapple plants are excellent for planting in home landscapes with small open spaces. Pineapple plants should be planted in full sun for best growth and fruit production. Select a portion of the landscape at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) away from other trees, buildings, and structures where there is minimal shading. The distance between individual Pineapple plants ranges from 12 to 36 inches (21–91 cm). In general, wider plant spacing allows for larger plants and fruit production than closer plant spacing. In colder regions, planting near structures will provide some winter protection but slow plant growth. 
  • In general, plant growth, flowering time, and fruit size and quality will be reduced if plants are grown in the shade. Removal of suckers, slips, and hapas during fruit and plant growth will accelerate and increase fruit size. However, allowing a few suckers, slips, or hapas to germinate after harvesting the first fruit will provide new planting material. 

Pineapple cultivation practices in the USA

  • Intercropping -To suppress weed populations and restore soil fertility in Pineapple, intercropping with leguminous crops such as rice beans, cowpea and groundnuts are most suitable in the first year of planting.
  • Mulching – Maintaining soil moisture and weed growth are important issues in Pineapple cultivation. Mulching the field with black polythene followed by spraying grass/sawdust gives better yield and quality and inhibits weed growth. 

Nitrogen is an important building block for young Pineapple plants. A dry fertilizer containing 6 to 10 percent nitrogen, 6 to 10 percent phosphoric acid, 6 to 10 percent potash, and 4 to 6 percent magnesium works well. Young Pineapple plants must be fertilized every 2 months during the planting season. An occasional sprinkling of chelated iron near the base of the plant can lower the soil pH level and benefit the plants. 

Fertilization – Nitrogen is essential to increase fruit size and yield and should be applied every four months. Spraying with urea solution is another method of nitrogen supply. The addition of magnesium also increased fruit weight. Iron is the most important among the minor elements, especially in soils with high pH. Iron can be supplied by foliar spray of ferrous sulfate. 

If you live in warm climate conditions, you can set the pot outside in a partially sunny spot until the roots are established. Additionally, you can cover the entire pot with plastic wrap to create a humid environment and place it in a warm location. Rooting should appear in about a month, at which point you can remove the plastic cover and place the Pineapple outside in the full sun. When the Pineapple is out of the starter container, transplant it into a larger pot.

Those living in warm USDA zones can plant rooted Pineapples in their garden, choosing a large site to accommodate the Pineapple’s mature size. For best performance, plant in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, and although they are drought tolerant, regular watering produces the best growth. During the growing season, fertilize with a water-soluble houseplant mix every month during the winter.

Irrigation management for Pineapple farming in the USA

  • Water your Pineapple plant throughout its life. As with most bromeliads, you should never let your Pineapple sit in water and always water it from the top down. Pineapples will grow more slowly if they aren’t getting enough water, but they are generally more tolerant of being submerged than overwatered.
  • Both top and root rot are fungal diseases caused by overwatering the plant or poorly drained soil. To solve this problem, consider repotting in well-drained soil or reducing your watering schedule and allowing the soil to dry out between watering. 
  • The plant is remarkably drought tolerant, but adequate soil moisture is essential for good fruit production. It is grown mostly as a rainfed crop in this area. Irrigation of Pineapple once in 10-15 days is recommended wherever facilities are available to ensure a good crop during rainfall deficiency. 

Conditions for Pineapple farming in the USA

  • Pineapples grow best in tropical environments with at least 40 inches of annual rainfall. Irrigation may be necessary for growing areas with less abundant or sporadic rainfall, such as the Hawaiian Islands. A rich, loamy, loose soil with good drainage and a low pH (4.5 to 6.5) is best for the best growth. Pineapple is a syncarp, meaning it consists of many flowers fused into a single unit that then ripens. 
  • New crops can be grown from parts of old Pineapples such as crowns, leafy fruit tops, or undeveloped fruit or flower buds. Pineapple is a perennial plant that produces 2 to 3 crops in about 32 to 46 months. New Pineapple plants take about 18 months to bear fruit. Fruits can grow up to 12 inches long and 5 to 6 inches wide, with each plant typically producing 1 to 3 heads. 
  • Pineapple harvesting is done by both hand and semi-mechanical methods. Once picked, it is washed, waxed, and usually treated with a fungicide before sorting and grading. 

Pineapple fruiting time in the USA

The time from planting to fruiting depends on the propagating material’s temperature, source, and size. For example, plants planted in early spring bear fruit in less time than plants planted in early fall. Additionally, suckers require less time than slips which require less time than crowns. Due to differences in propagule material, a major difference is in propagule size, as larger propagule material generally establishes more easily, reducing the time to fruiting.

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Although exact times for planting fruit in containers in Texas cannot be specified, you can estimate the time required under Hawaii conditions. After early spring planting, a sucker can take about 16 months, a slip about 24 months, and a crown about 28 months to flower. After flowering, the developing fruit takes another six months, more or less, to mature. As such, you should expect to wait 21 to 34 months from planting to enjoy your home-grown Pineapple.

Flowering will last for two weeks, as the basal flowers on the small cone-shaped fruit open first. Support stakes and loose ties should be placed at flowering to prevent the accidental dropping of young fruit. Fruit quality is best when the Pineapple fruit is allowed to develop a yellow-orange peel on the plant, as there is no growth in quality after the fruit is harvested. People in the supermarket had to cut the food before it reached the best quality, such as tomatoes, peaches, and some other produce.

Pests and diseases management in Pineapple farming

  • The mealybug is an important pest in Pineapple. Nymphs and adults suck sap from plant leaves and soft twigs. Monorotophos (Nivacron) 2.5 gm/l of water for insect control and Dimethoate @ 2.5 M1/liter of water at the Pineapple fruiting stage is also recommended as a requirement-based application. 
  • Heart rot or stem and root rot are common diseases in Pineapple. Green leaves turn yellow-green, and then tips turn a brown color. When infected, the central whorl of plant leaves will come out with a soft pool. The plant leaves base shows rotting signs and emits a foul odor. It is controlled by good drainage, proper selection of healthy planting material, and chemical preventive treatment with Dithane Z-78 (3 g/l water). 
  • Diseases in Pineapple include various rot conditions, including root, heart, black, and root rot, pink blight, wilt, yellow spot virus, and several bacterial diseases. Ensuring proper drainage and airflow can prevent most rot and diseases from taking hold and damaging plants or fruit development. 
  • Common pests in Pineapple include mealybugs, mites, scale, and nematodes. Nematodes damage the roots while other insects attack the leaves and fruits. Ants can harvest mealybugs and scale as their food sources and then ‘farm’ them to other crop areas. 
  • Mealybugs in plants spread by ants can be a problem. However, controlling ants will control mealybugs. In most commercial growing locations, nematodes, mites, and beetles can also be harmful, but this is not a problem in California. 

Pineapple harvesting season in the USA

It is difficult to tell when a fruit is ready to harvest. Some judge ripeness and quality by running a finger on the side of the fruit. A good and ripe Pineapple fruit has a dull, solid sound. A hollow voice indicates immaturity and poor quality. Pineapple fruit should be stored at 45°F or higher but should not be stored for more than 4-6 weeks. 


Pineapple is the fruit head of a tropical plant with long, sword-like leaves. It may be said that it safely ranks first among the fruits supplied to the markets of the United States. It is true that some other tropical fruits, such as Mangosteen and Durian, are probably better known than Pineapples, but they have not yet been shipped to American markets. The above information is favorable conditions for Pineapple growth in the USA.

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Frequently asked questions about Pineapple farming in the USA

Where does America get most of its Pineapples from? 

Pineapples for consumption in the United States have been and still are largely imported, the West Indies and the Bahama Islands being our main sources of supply. Three-fourths of the Pineapple harvest of these islands comes to our markets. It is estimated that Cuba alone ships about 1,200,000 fruits annually.

Which state grows the most Pineapples? 

Hawaii produces about 10 percent of the world’s Pineapple production. Other Pineapples producing states are Florida, California, and Georgia. 

Where does California get Pineapples from? 

Of the four main classes of Pineapple, the most common in California are the Hawaiian-type Smooth Cayenne cultivars. You can also find red Spanish Pineapples from Mexico or quince Pineapples from the Philippines

How are Pineapples transported to the US? 

For the export purpose, Pineapples are packed in fibreboard or wooden containers. Pineapple fruits are placed vertically or horizontally in the container. The space between the fruits should be filled with straw and a strong lining around the container. For long-distance transport, fruits are stored at 7°C for 10–20 days. 

Can I Grow a Pineapple Tree in California? 

Pineapples are drought tolerant and produce fruit under annual rainfall between 25 – 150 inches, depending on the cultivar and location and the degree of humidity in the environment. They are grown successfully in coastal areas of southern Florida and southern California. 

Can Pineapples grow in Texas? 

Given the plant’s small size, its sensitivity to frost, and its preference for well-drained, acidic soil, Pineapples can be grown anywhere in Texas in 4- or 5-gallon planters or containers– Moving plants indoors with full sun. A window in the cold winter months. 

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Can you grow Pineapples in the United States? 

Most of the Pineapples grown in the US still come from Hawaii or Puerto Rico, although small-scale production exists in parts of California and Florida. Most of the Pineapples consumed in the United States come from imports by Central and South American or Mexican growers. 

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