It All Started With 2 Pineapples

2 pineapple plants have turned into 84, as Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative retiree Rudolph Brown stays busy in retirement.

About 10 years ago, Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative retiree Rudolph Brown had seen people growing pineapples.

“How hard could it be?” he thought.

Before his retirement, Rudolph bought 2 pineapples, planted the tops, and waited.

“After about 2 years, the plants looked ‘pregnant,’” Rudolph said.

Before his retirement, Rudolph didn’t have much time to devote to gardening. By the time he retired, he had about 15 plants growing from the original 2 pineapple tops. He currently has 84 plants.

“It’s becoming more of a job than a hobby,” Rudolph says.

While Rudolph researches pineapple growing online, he says his success has been 90% trial and error. He has experimented with several fertilizers due to soil issues and has discovered the plants grow better in pots with potting soil versus the ground. In pots, Rudolph can better control the environment and can remedy poor soil issues. He also found watering differs from plant to plant depending on the plant’s stage of growth.

He has experimented with planting pineapples two ways. A slip—the tiny plantlets that grow at the base of the fruit on the fruit stalk—and planting the pineapple top.

When Rudolph starts a planter, he records the date and the type of pineapple to track the progress.

Rudolph has found pineapples grow year-round, but they grow faster during summer months. He has also found the pineapples are sweetest when all the green leaves turn yellow.

Ten-gallon potted plants are available for $50 each. To buy, call or text (850) 381-1882.