Two words: Baby Pineapples. And we need to tell you ALL about them.
Unlike the pineapples we're used to seeing in grocery stores or on our way to the North Shore, baby pineapples are ornamental and can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.
There are several species of pineapple plants that produce mini fruit (I'm sure you've noticed we like to call them baby pineapples), and at Paiko we are carrying 6" pots of Ananas lava burst, sourced locally from Waimanalo. These bad boys have sharp red leaves and shoot up a center stalk with a flower cluster that soon becomes a bright red baby pineapple fruit. The mature fruit is about four inches, and although the taste is there, this variety of pineapple is much more acidic than the varieties we usually eat. The fruit itself is also covered in sharp bracts that make it difficult to handle. As a result, most people just leave their baby pineapples to do what they do best: look adorable.
As far as care, baby pineapple plants love Hawaii's weather, requiring full to moderate sun, regular watering, and healthy soil. If unripe baby pineapple stems are cut from the mother plant, they can last anywhere from 1-6 months in water, or about a month standing alone. Spritzing your cut baby pineapple stem (especially the top leaves) with water will significantly lengthen its life as an arrangement or even in a flower crown!
Once you are done enjoying your baby pineapple fruit, you can use it to propagate a new plant. Leaving a bit of flesh attached, cut off the top bunch of leaves, and plant in fertile soil. Keikis (suckers) from the mother plant may also be planted in soil to generate new plants. It takes a while, about 1-2 years, but keep your plants going and you will reap the cuteness of a baby pineapple all over again.
(See here for instructions:www.wikihow.com/Grow-Dwarf-Pineapples)
By Kenna Reed