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Pineapple and Avocado
by Diana Roberts
Category: Indoors
Most gardeners love a challenge and what could be more challenging than starting your own house plants from a piece of fruit you buy in the store. Over the years, I have planted avocado, oranges, lemons and pineapple. Some make it and some donít but itís always a challenge.
One of the prettiest plants to grow from store-bought fruit is the pineapple. Over the years, I really didnít know what I was doing when it came to starting pineapple, so each and every one rotted before it ever rooted. I finally realized what I had done wrong and things went much better.
The first thing you must do is find a pineapple which has a healthy-looking top on it. Of course, you can root a pineapple top that doesnít look so healthy, but it will take longer to look real good once it starts growing. Cut the top off the pineapple and clean off any fruit which is left on the top. It is this fruit which will cause your pineapple top to rot.
Next remove the bottom inch and a half of leaves, as the stalk is the part which roots, not the leaves. Then you should allow the top to dry in a cool place until a callous forms on the bottom of the stalk. It could take anywhere from a day to a week depending on the humidity of your home. If you skip this part, the stalk will rot. Faster rooting will take place if you dip the dried end into water, then rooting hormone. Next, fill a pot with fast draining soil and lay the stalk on top of the soil. You do not want the whole stalk in the soil, just a part of it touching. If you plant it with the complete stalk in the soil, it may rot.
Use a mister to keep the soil damp but not wet. If your home is very dry, you may wish to put the pot into a large clear plastic bag to keep the moisture in, though most homes are usually moist enough. Within two to three weeks you should see some roots starting. Once you see roots, you can then pot up the pineapple by placing the whole stalk into well drained soil. Be careful not to damage the roots.
The pineapple grows in tropical conditions in the wild, so you will need to keep it in high light with lots of humidity. Water with a weak solution of fertilizer all summer long and within about 3 years you will be growing your own pineapple.
If you want to start your own avocado tree, you should wash the pit and remove the dark skin covering it. Look carefully at the seed to determine top and bottom. The top will be pointy and the bottom more flat. Use three toothpicks pushed into the side of the seed (about the middle) to prop it up in a glass of water. Try to be sure the bottom quarter to third is always kept in the water. The seed should sprout roots within a few weeks. During this time, keep the water level constant in the glass but donít change the water. If it doesnít sprout within a couple of months, then get rid of the seed and start again.
When the roots are three to four inches long, you can plant the seed in light sandy potting soil in a four to six-inch pot. Remove or break off the toothpicks before potting up while taking care not to damage the roots. When placing the seed in the soil, leave a tiny bit of the seed top showing above the soil to allow new stems to grow.
Quick growth
Once planted, water thoroughly and place in a bright window, east or west is best. The plant should be watered regularly keeping the soil moist but not wet. You can let the soil dry out just a bit between watering. If you over-water, you will find that your plant will wilt and shed dried leaves. As with the pineapple, the avocado also likes to be misted. Fertilize a couple times per month during the spring and summer. A young plant does not require much fertilizer but an older one that remains in the same pot will need more. The avocado plant grows very quickly so when the plant gets to be six inches tall, you may want to cut it back to three inches to induce a bushy plant. The avocado will probably never produce fruit indoors as it takes twenty years or more for a tree to produce and the tree will normally get too large for your home.

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