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One month ago I brought home a store-bought pineapple (fairly beat up one) and decided to plant it. Planting process went like this up to the moment of asking this question:

  1. I cut off almost all fruit flesh from the head of the fruit so it won't rot and placed it in a glass of water. I also stripped away several bottom layers of the leaves to expose new/old roots.

  2. It produced some roots around 3 weeks ago, so I planted it in a pot of citrus soil mix with a layer of keramzit on the bottom for better drainage.

  3. I initially used some rooting fertilizer to aid the development of the roots.

  4. The pot was then placed next to a window and radiator, so it would have some natural sunlight and constant, warm air temperature of around 20 - 25 C.

  5. Additionaly I provided the plant with a 400 lumen plant LED placed 30 cm over it as it is currently winter where I live and there is not that much sunlight coming through that window.

  6. I was watering it with normal drinking water in around one-week intervals (soil was drying up after around 7 days). Any excess water was emptied from the bottom of the pot.

  7. I've also cut off dry ends of the leaves.

It looked like the pineapple was feeling comfortable in this spot, because in spite of it not growing at all in the top part, it has developed some more roots - I can feel a resistance when trying to really gently pull the plant out of the soil.

Despite this progress I've noticed yesterday that the central leaf of the plant became yellow and dry, so I've watered it well as the soil looked dry too. It didn't help and today it looks worse (dead):

Now

But the "center" of the plant does not look that dead to me:

enter image description here

4 days ago this central leaf looked healthy and green - NOTE This leaf is not a new growth. It was on the plant already when I brought it home. It is hard to tell, if it grew at all during that month. If it did, then only by a few milimeters.

UPDATE

I removed the pineapple from the soil and tried to examine the roots as Graham Chiu's answer suggests. The roots were tightly covered in soil. I didn't want to scrape it off, because i didn't want to risk damaging them. Some parts of the roots were vibile and they looked hairy and white (like on the unclear photo below). The roots also overally seem firm and strong - I wouldn't call them mushy for sure.

enter image description here

Before replanting I've removed some of the dead leaves from the bottom layers to enable more roots to grow out and I've discovered 3 things:

  • There were a lot of little white spots hidden under these leaves - Possible new roots?
  • Two of these white spots placed on the top of the plant are particularly big - Possible new leaves or center bud?
  • There is some kind of weird leaf damage. It looks like something has pierced several layers of leaves - Maybe some kind of worm? - but it does not go all the way to the center of the plant and it stops with a little spot on the next leaf after the one visible on the photo below.

Damage:

enter image description here

One of these big white bulbs:

enter image description here

I've replanted the pineapple in a bigger pot, so I won't have to stress it one additional time later on, if it starts growing. I've used the same citrus soil as before, but this time I've mixed it with some regular homeplants soil. I've also applied this rooting fertilizer once more as the packaging says that it can reduce replanting stress. I've also watered the new soil. Bottom of the pot was layered with keramzit just like before and the plant sits now away from the radiator, 50 cm under this LED lightbuld that I've mentioned before.

A similar question was already pretty much answered on this site here, but I think it does not exactly apply to my situation (Is the center leaf also the "central bud" of the plant?) and I would like to know:

  • Is this plant dead?
  • If it is not already dead but dying, then what can be done to save it?
  • What are the possible reasons for this leaf to suddenly dry up? Could it be that the plant is trying to shed old leaves to make room for the new ones?
  • Did I do anything wrong in the whole planting process?
  • BONUS QUESTION AFTER UPDATE - Could it be, that this big white bulb visible on the last photo is a new center of the plant and the old one will just simply die off?
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To plant a store bought pineapple the method is to twist the leaves off the pineable as one piece so that there's no fruit, and then to strip back an inch of leaves at the base so that you expose the roots. And then you plant it in potting mix, and water it in cycles so that it dries between watering to encourage root formation. As it grows it will take nutrients from the leaves which will brown. After a month the new central leaves should be maybe a few inches or more in length.

From what you're saying there was initially some new leaf formation in the centre which is now browning. This suggests the roots are failing.

Can you take it out of the pot to examine the roots?

And if the roots are rotted, cut them off and replant into a freely draining cactus type mix. You might be able to keep it going by spraying the leaves as it can absorb some nutrients from foliar application.

Ray's youtube pineapple tutorial

  • I will do it immediately after i'll wake up tomorrow (in around 7 hours). Could you tell me how would they look like if they are failing, so that I will know what to look for? And also how to proceed with the plant if the roots are the cause? – Michał Górecki Feb 5 '18 at 2:21
  • Healthy roots are white. Rotting roots are mushy and brown. If you have enough viable roots remove the rooted ones and replant. – Graham Chiu Feb 5 '18 at 2:27
  • I agree with all Graham says except the spraying bit. No spraying. Have you used potting soil and have you fertilized at all ever? Pineapple needs a lot of light the best drainage possible. Did you use just potting soil in that pot? No rock or gravel beneath and above the drain hole? Your plant is still very much alive. I'd get it away from the forced air heat, make sure it has a little bit of balanced fertilizer (otherwise that green of your plant is unable to make food for the plant via photosynthesis). You could check the roots for sure but this plant needs time. – stormy Feb 5 '18 at 6:42
  • @stormy if the roots are damaged, why not use a foliar spray? bromeliads do absorb from foliar sprays – Graham Chiu Feb 5 '18 at 8:01
  • I've added some more information to the question as well as the examination results. – Michał Górecki Feb 5 '18 at 13:23
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I would say it is not worth saving considering how easy it is to start a new one. Buy a whole pineapple. I just cut off about the top 1/2 inch , with leaves attached and set it on the soil. Trim off any imperfect leaves if you want . Put a little fertilizer in the soil as suggested and plain water in the center, occasionally. I have only done this outside so I don't know how well it works inside. If you live close to Houston TX I will give you a 2 yr old plant.

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