Frequently asked questions about planting pineapple

How can I prevent seediness in new varieties that I plant?

Seediness is a minor but emerging issue as plantings of new varieties increase. Seediness occurs when two or more varieties are grown close together and overlap in flowering.

Honeybees are the main suspected pollinators as well as, to a much lesser extent, native bees. Many other insects and nectar-feeding birds could also be involved.

To combat this, induce adjacent blocks of different varieties at intervals of more than one month to prevent an overlap of flowering. Flower induction during the winter months will require an interval of two or more months.

Beehives should not be placed close to pineapple fields if different varieties are growing near each other and flowering simultaneously.

What is the most successful multiplication method for pineapple plants?

Plant multiplication is a major issue with new varieties as there is a strong demand for plants and fruit. Tissue culture has been used in some cases to quickly establish field plantings. However, you need to be careful when engaging a tissue culture laboratory to minimise off-types (mutations, usually inferior types, resulting when plant cells are multiplied too quickly in a stressful environment).

For tissue culture, firstly, select crowns or slips only from plants that produced a well-shaped fruit of good size with no obvious faults, such as basal knobs, excessive slip production, multiple crown or spiny leaves. A certain number of buds will be successfully initiated into sterile culture from each crown. Limit multiplication to no more than 300 plants per bud.

Plants derived directly from tissue culture tend to produce small fruit with a large number of slips and suckers, including ground suckers. You can minimise this effect by providing extra growing time and careful management. Scheduling blocks of tissue cultured plants for winter or spring harvest might help minimise the effect.

The multiplication of new varieties will probably rely heavily on using slips, either conventionally grown or by applying chlorflurenol. Where slips are to be used, check those fields before harvest and mark plants that do not appear normal, such as plants with excessive numbers of slips, and/or poor fruit shape or appearance. Do not use planting material from these plants.