Friday, February 22, 2013

Re-potting a pineapple plant

Today I decided to re-pot all the plants I've been overwintering in my garage ... which, while unheated, is only at most about ten degrees F cooler than the house because of fairly good insulation and two huge double pane windows that sit on the east side. So it's a great place to keep plants that can't stand freezing.

My favorite plants of all the ones that I keep here over the winter are my pineapples. I start them from pineapple tops that I cut from ripe pineapples that I buy at the grocery store once in a while.

It's been a while since I re-potted them ... and after being somewhere which probably hasn't been their favorite temperature (being tropical and all) ... and since sometimes I forget to water them as often as they would like ... they're looking a bit bedraggled. Here is my biggest one:

This looks menacing, and everyone I've asked on how to re-pot it has said, "be careful!" and "wear gloves!" and so of course I ignored them. The leaves turn out to be not that sharp at all, but do be careful as the edges are serrated.

The first thing to do is to take off any dead leaves that have come loose and are just sitting in the pot. I give them to my rabbits, but you can compost them or do whatever with them.

Then dump out the plant, shake off all the dirt, and trim off the dead leaves. Try not to cut anything that's still green. Clippers are fine, but if your clippers aren't sharp enough regular scissors will work as well. 

It should end up looking like this: 

See all those lovely roots?

If your plant has green leaves on top but you don't see any roots, it's okay. If it's making new leaves it should be fine.

Pick a bigger pot than the one you had it in, fill the pot with dirt, and plant your pineapple plant, keeping the plant up near the top of the pot.

I don't use any special dirt for my plants. I keep a big washbasin (you can see the edge of it in the picture above) where I put a variety of dirt-like stuff like the dust sweepings from the garage and driveway (don't do this if your garage floor is oily -- ours is pretty clean dirt that constantly gets blown into the garage), old leaves, worm castings, potting mix from dead plants, dried pulverized eggshells, and so on.

Now I know someone is going to have what my mother-in-law calls a "conniption fit" because I don't use special pineapple soil or something. Oh, well.

This works for me I think because I dump all my dead plants and old potting soil in here (except the really thorny stuff), so if there were germs from a dead tomato it wouldn't bother a pineapple, or germs from a dead basil won't bother a tomato plant, and so on. I wait until any added old soil is completely dry before using it.

And since I use this up pretty fast, it doesn't have time to get a lot of salt in it, which can be a big problem in old potting soil.

In any case, this is how my pineapple looks now!

Yes, my garage is full of stuff. It gets a lot of use. ;)

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