Pineapple leaves turning yellow and soft

jiffypop27(MA 6)October 7, 2013

My niece and I planted a pineapple top in a pot back in March of this year. It was doing great up until this week. Its leaves used to be green and thick. Now some of the outer leaves are turning yellow in the middle and getting soft. I live in Boston and the nights are pretty cold, down in the lower 50s. I've been bringing it in at night but putting it back out in the daytime even when temps were in the 60s.
I don't have any photos of it just now but will try to have some tomorrow. My niece is 4, and she asks to look at it every time she comes over, so I'm really hoping it can be saved.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

A pineapple can go colder than that without damage...but the key is what type of potting mix you're using. A fast-draining soil is essential for those of us in colder areas. Fertilizing is also essential.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:49PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Sounds like it may be getting too much water and is experiencing root rot. Pineapples are bromeliads. I've grown a couple from the tops of store bought pineapples. This was many years ago before I learned about gritty mix, which I think would work well for them. I grew them in an orchid mix that was mostly fir bark. I didn't water often and hardly ever fertilized. They eventually grew pineapples of their own. If only the outer leaves are dying off, you may be able to save it by removing them and getting it into a much drier potting mix. They grow new leaves from the center. Their roots are sparse and don't need much room.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:20AM
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christine1950

I agree with Ohio, and never water down the center, I grew mine in a gritty soil mixture and let dry between watering. I dont bring plants in & out, once in they stay in. I'm one of those believers that you confuse plants by moving them around to much.
Christine

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:07AM
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jiffypop27(MA 6)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was watering about once a week around the base since the roots aren't very long, and water sometimes went down the center.
I'll repot it right now into drier soil and bigger pot. The leaves are looking worse than they did yesterday. Sorry for the bad pics.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:40PM
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jiffypop27(MA 6)

And a close up of the leaves.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:41PM
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jiffypop27(MA 6)

One more question - should I cut off the yellowing parts of the leaves?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:43PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No, don't trim the leaves yet...let them dry back naturally.
To my eye, that doesn't look like typical yellowing associated with overwatering, but others can help confirm. That almost looks like sunburn...or external chemical burn.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I agree with Josh -- it doesn't look like the result of overwatering. That would start at the base of the leaves. It could be sunburn, but I think that would only happen if you had put it in full sun after an extended period (weeks) in shade. I've seen pineapple growing in full sun all day in the tropics where nothing like that happened. Any chance of drift from an herbicide in a neighbor's yard? Did you try foliage feeding? The rapid deterioration suggests chemical burn, as Josh suggested. It may survive. Pineapples are very tough.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:02PM
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calistoga_al

I grow quite a few Bromeliads and have always made watering into the leaves the routine not the exception. I am not growing pineapple but don't see any difference. Mine are blooming regularly and producing pups. Al

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Pineapples are terrestrial bromeliads, unlike most bromeliads people grow as houseplants, which are epiphytic. They get most of their nutritional needs and moisture from their roots. Although it doesn't hurt for a little water to get into the crown of the plant when it is growing vigorously in warm summer sun, when temperatures drop or the pineapple is grown indoors, pouring water into the crown can lead to rot. There is a bromeliad forum on Gardenweb where someone may be able to tell you what's going on with your pineapple.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on growing pineapples from the Bromeliad Society

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:06PM
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jiffypop27(MA 6)

Just wanted to give an update on the pineapple plant. It's doing better after being transferred to a bigger pot and brought indoors under some T8's. I had to cut off the yellowed leaves since they weren't drying out and were just hanging limp, but very little yellowing has occurred elsewhere.

I'm still not sure what caused it. Ohiofem mentioned herbicide nearby but I don't think it's that since the weather is cooling off and there aren't that many insects around here now. As for myself, I've only used BT and a garlic/onion spray on the other plants around it. I had a jug of the garlic/onion water sitting near the pineapple plant for a while. Could the vapors have an effect on the leaves?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I'm glad to hear your pineapple is doing well. I was really thrilled when mine grew a baby pineapple. It took me about 5 years to get that baby, but I didn't grow it under the best conditions. Since you are growing it under lights, you may get a flower spike in two or three years. You can remove unsightly leaves at any time. They produce a lot of them and they get longer as the plant grows. My pineapple grew to more than three feet in diameter and had very painful barbs on its leaves.

You will probably never know what caused your problem. I was thinking of drift from Roundup, which my neighbors use in early fall to kill poison ivy. I highly doubt that onion or garlic would hurt a pineapple.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 5:18PM
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