Pineapples are well-loved by many for how juicy and sweet it is. Besides being eaten as a fruit, some cuisines incorporate pineapples in their cooking. Pineapples are not only yummy and delicious, they are very easy to grow as well. Since it can be grown and harvested easily, pineapples are grown for its fruit and made into other products like dried or processed forms. Did you know that commercially grown pineapples usually don’t contain any seeds? Pineapples also have to be grown in areas that have warm temperatures, like in the sunny area of a garden or the south side of a home to absorb the warmth and sunlight. If you’re interested to plant and grow your very own pineapples, read on to find out what you need to know before you start getting your hands dirty!
Introduction to Hydroponics
One easy and simple way to grow your own pineapples is to use hydroponics. If you have never heard of the term, what hydroponics refers to is the growing of plants and crops without soil. Instead of growing them in soil, pineapples can be grown in a solution of water. The solution also contains the necessary nutrients for the crops to develop and grow. As the root of the plant is submerged directly in the water, the nutrients are obtained directly by the plants. Hydroponics actually helps to shorten the time that is needed for the pineapples to conventionally root themselves in the soil and locate a water source. Besides this, hydroponics also provides absolute control over the nutrient intake of the plant and minimizes the risks of encountering pests and diseases which are commonly seen in soil-based planting.
Advantages of Hydroponics
Compared to the traditional and conventional soil-based planting, growing crops with hydroponics comes with various advantages. The most prominent one would be the increased rate of growth in your plants. In fact, with the correct steps and proper system in place, plants can grow 25% faster and produce up to 30% more compared to soil-based planting. The reason for the expedited growth and bigger size of your plants is because they are able to absorb the nutrients directly. Compared to soil-based planting where plants have to work to obtain and absorb the nutrients, hydroponics is more efficient and effective. Another advantage of hydroponics is that it is possible to have control over the nutrient solution and pH levels. Since the plants are absorbing the nutrients directly from the water solution, you are able to have control over what nutrients are provided and what pH level is maintained. This is useful in ensuring the most conducive conditions for growth. Since hydroponics is an enclosed system, less water is needed as less evaporation occurs. Furthermore, hydroponics reduces waste and pollution that happens from soil runoff in an environment where the roots are directly in contact with the oxygenated nutrients solution and essential minerals. Hydroponics is also space-efficient as it does not require a large amount of space for the growing of plants. Plants can be stacked on top of one another, or placed on shelves since they do not require soil. Plants that are grown using hydroponics use 20% less space compared to plants grown in soil.
Setting up a system in a greenhouse
To grow pineapples using hydroponics, you need to set up your system in a greenhouse. As pineapples absorb nutrients from their leaves compared to the conventional roots, a greenhouse can help provide nutrients from above. You should ensure that the greenhouse is able to mist your pineapple plants for at least two to three times daily for the best growth. As mentioned earlier, pineapples are best grown in warm temperatures. If you want to grow ripe and sweet pineapples, you need to ensure that the environment has a suitable high temperature. This can be provided by a greenhouse. Additionally, pineapples need plenty of sunlight throughout the day. A greenhouse can help ensure that sunlight directly reaches the plants for at least eight hours a day, which is the recommended amount for pineapple plants. Besides ensuring the most optimal environment for your pineapple plants to grow, a greenhouse also helps prevent pests and diseases.
Compared to other crops that can be grown in a hydroponic environment, pineapples require a more acidic environment and should be cultivated in a separate space for the best results. Research has shown that pineapples thrive best at pH levels of around 5.5 but can still grow between 5.0 to 6.0. For the most ideal temperature to grow pineapples, you should ensure that the greenhouse remains at 15 to 27 degree celsius and ensure ample sunlight throughout the day.
Things to take note of
Even though hydroponics already prevent most pests and diseases, pests and diseases can still affect your plants. If pests and diseases occur, try to go for natural elimination methods as commercial pesticides are not suitable for hydroponics. Another step you can take to prevent the spread of pests and diseases is to filter your nutrient solution through an ultraviolet sterilizer before application. The ultraviolet sterilizer helps to remove any remaining bacteria, viruses, fungi, or diseases that can possibly damage your crops.
As mentioned earlier, pineapples prefer warm environments with ample sunlight. That is why they thrive in tropical climates and are cultivated easily in such environments. When grown using hydroponics, they require a minimum of seven to eight hours of direct sunlight every day. Once they start to bloom, you must take note to ensure an additional three to four hours of sunlight for the best results.
Pineapples can be easily grown and cultivated. The use of a hydroponics system to grow pineapples can be helpful since hydroponics help the plants to directly obtain the necessary nutrients and essential minerals. For the best results, you should set up such a system in a greenhouse. Greenhouses help to ensure that the pineapple plants get their nutrients from the top, and maintain suitable warm temperatures for their growth. It also helps to facilitate direct sunlight for the pineapple plants which are necessary and beneficial for their growth.