Pineapples are a perennial, tropical native plant to Central and South America and also the Carribean. They thrive in climates that are consistently warm and protected from freezing temperatures. They are a slow-growing crop that usually produce fruit within 18-24 months.
Pineapples are generally tolerant to drought periods, but do have specific watering needs. Drought periods can delay the growth and fruit production of pineapple plants, so obviously as growers we want to prevent this. Drought symptoms are evident, leading the plant’s leaves to wilt and change to a yellow or brown color.
Both indoor and outdoor plants prefer to be watered once a week, receiving an adequate level of moisture that penetrates the soil four to eight inches deep. It is possible to overwater a pineapple plant, and overly-moisturized soils can lead to root rot, which can kill the drought resistant pineapple plant.
How Often To Water a Pineapple Plant
Pineapples enjoy a frequent misting throughout the year. In all cases, Pineapple plants in both the ground and in containers should be watered at least once a week.
Although pineapple plants are tolerant of dry soil and weather conditions, it will oftentimes lead to a slow and reduced production of plant growth and fruit. The drought symptoms occur slowly, but appear in the form of wilting and in the discoloration of leaves.
During extended dry periods, ensure pineapple plants are receiving adequate water supply for optimal growth and fruit production. Highly drained soils that hold little water should be watered once a week.
In Florida specifically, the drought periods can last anywhere from six to seven days during hot weather, and 10-14 days during cooler weather.
If the Pineapple plant is experiencing a drought period, slowly soak the soil until it becomes moist, approximately six inches deep. Drought causes pineapple’s leaves to turn yellow or brown.
How Much Water Does a Pineapple Plant Need?
An abundant amount of pineapples are grown for commercial use in Hawaii. Drip irrigation has become standard practice in Hawaii. The drip tube is laid beneath the base of the plastic mulch in which the plant rests.
The University of Hawaii Extension says that the irrigation system provides 47,000-94,000 liters of water per hectare–2.47 acres–per week. This translates to approximately 12,416-24,832 gallons of water across one hectare or .11-.23 gallons of water per square feet.
These numbers are very low compared to what I’ve seen suggested for other plants. I believe because it is drip irrigation and has plastic mulch covering the water is delivered directly to the root zone and doesn’t evaporate much.
With overhead watering water evaporates in the air and quickly from the unmulched topsoil.
If you’re growing pineapples at home consider giving them at least 1″ of water per week. 1″ of water in a normal 4’x8′ bed equals 20 gallons of water for the entire bed.
To know when to water feel the soil with your hands about 3″ down. If it’s mostly dry you should water and if it’s mostly wet let it be.
To know how much rainfall is expected for the upcoming week we like to use wunderground.com. To get an estimate of actual rainfall you can use containers you have lying around or use a wide mouthed rain gauge.
Can You Overwater a Pineapple Plant?
It is possible to overwater a pineapple plant. In fact, pineapple plants are not equipped to handle flooding, continuous watering, or overly-moist soil. When Pineapple plants become overwatered, it leads to a noticeable decrease in plant growth and fruit production. Overwatering pineapple plants makes the crop susceptible to root rot, which can lead to the death of the plant.
While the plant is somewhat drought tolerant, overwatering will cause root rot for the crop. Root rot is when a disease attacks and leads to the deterioration of a plant’s root system. Oftentimes, root rot will kill a plant. To avoid root rot, ensure the plant’s soil is not overly moist.
How To Water a Pineapple Plant in a Container
Pineapples are well adapted to container growing. The container in which pineapples are planted should be at least 5 gallons, and should have sufficient drainage holes.
Small containers restrict the potential of the plant’s growth and will produce smaller fruits, so larger containers are preferable for pineapple plants.
Well-drained potting soil should fill the container within an inch of the top of the pot. Prior to planting, water the pot’s soil until the water can be seen coming out of the drainage holes.
After planting the Pineapple in the center of the container, provide consistent and adequate water to the plant.
In containers, allow the potting mix to dry out two to three inches deep between waterings. Pots should be watered thoroughly so the bottom of the pot is fully penetrated with water and water can be seen streaming out of the drainage holes.
It is clear that Pineapple has been watered enough when water is leaking from the bottom of the pot.
Tips for Watering Pineapple Plants
- Be careful not to overwater the plant, as this can cause root rot which will result in the plant’s death. Water again when the soil has nearly dried out 3 inches down.
- Pineapple plants are drought tolerant, but proper irrigation ensures the optimal plant growth and fruit production.
- To enhance the soil moisture retention ability of the soil, add organic soil matter to the soil, such as compost or manure.
- Mulch can be put on top of the soil to help retain retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth
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