What method should I use to grow pineapples hydroponically?

Q:

What method should I use to grow pineapples hydroponically?

A:

Great question! Though pineapples are not typically thought of as a viable hydroponic crop, they certainly can be grown in hydro systems. The main drawback is the amount of time devoted to care of each plant and the extremely long development period. It can take up to a year and a half to harvest a pineapple, so unless you just really like to grow things and challenge your horticultural skills, don’t expect to grow them as a lucrative crop.

Having said that, it is important to keep pH and nutrient levels monitored just as with any other hydroponic crop. Pineapples like a more acidic environment than many other hydroponically grown crops, so they should not be grown in the same system as other plants with different cultural needs. Pineapples like a pH around 5.5 but have been successfully grown in the range of 5.0 to 6.0. EC levels should be between 2.0 and 2.4, ideally. Keep the temperature between 60- 80°F (15-26°C) in the growing area and make sure they get at least eight hours per day of light at a minimum. Natural light is of course preferable but grow lights have been used to successfully produce hydroponic pineapples.

Pineapples can be grown in gravel, stone wool, or Styrofoam. A bucket system, where each pineapple plant is in its own media and container, with its own reservoir, would probably be the most effective way to hydroponically grow pineapples. I suggest this, as due to the lengthy cultivation period, there is ample time for things to go wrong, and if you have multiple pineapple plants growing in the same system, you could potentially lose them all.

Best of luck on this one!

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Written by Chris Bond
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Chris Bond’s research interests are with sustainable agriculture, biological pest control, and alternative growing methods. He is a certified permaculture designer and certified nursery technician in Ohio and a certified nursery professional in New York, where he got his start in growing.

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