Can You Eat an Indoor Pineapple Plant? Exploring the Edibility and Differences Between Ornamental and Fruiting Varieties

Pineapple plants make a fun and unique houseplant with their spiky, tropical foliage Some produce edible pineapple fruits indoors while others are purely ornamental. This often raises the question – can you eat an indoor pineapple plant? This article covers the key differences between fruiting and non-fruiting varieties and provides tips on safely consuming homegrown pineapple

overview of Edible vs. Ornamental Pineapples

There are over 100 varieties of pineapple plants. Some are grown commercially for their fruits while others are strictly ornamental houseplants. Here are the key differences:

Fruiting pineapple varieties

  • Produce full size, edible pineapples under the right growing conditions.
  • Require bright light, warmth, and pollination to set fruit.
  • Examples include Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish, and Golden pineapple.

Ornamental pineapple varieties:

  • Do not yield edible pineapples. They may occasionally fruit but produce small, inedible pineapples.
  • Grown for their unique, spiky foliage as houseplants.
  • Includes varieties like Curly, Dwarf Curly, Variegated, and Twisted Leaf.

So fruiting types can be eaten when properly cared for while ornamental should not be consumed. Examine the features of your plant to determine if it is a fruiting or non-fruiting type.

Caring for Fruiting Pineapple Plants Indoors

Growing delicious pineapple indoors from a fruiting variety takes ideal conditions:


  • Requires very bright light – at least 5-6 hours of direct sun daily.
  • Southern sun-facing windows are best. Supplement with grow lights.


  • Prefers consistent warmth between 70-90°F (21-32°C).
  • Keep above 60°F (15°C) to encourage good growth.


  • Use well-draining potting mix, not regular garden soil. Amend soil with perlite, sand or bark to improve drainage.


  • Fertilize monthly during spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
  • Discontinue fertilizer in winter.


  • Pineapples cannot self-pollinate. The flowers need to be cross-pollinated by insects or by hand.
  • No pollination means no fruit will develop.

Fruit Development:

  • After successful pollination, it takes roughly 2 years for the pineapple fruit to fully develop and ripen.
  • Time varies by size, variety and growing conditions.


  • Harvest pineapple when base color changes from green to golden yellow.
  • Cut the fruit off carefully leaving extra stalk length.
  • Let the harvested pineapple sit at room temperature for 2-5 days to allow sugars to develop.

When given sufficient light, warmth, pollination and time, a fruiting pineapple can produce tasty, edible fruits to enjoy.

Can Ornamental Pineapples Be Eaten?

The simple answer is no – ornamental pineapple varieties are not grown for consumption and their fruits are too small, tough, and acidic tasting to eat. They contain bromelain enzymes that help break down proteins but can cause allergic reactions if ingested by sensitive individuals.

Ornamental pineapple houseplants should only be admired for their unique foliage. While not toxic, consuming their fruits would provide an unpleasant, potentially unsafe tasting experience. Stick with purchasing pineapples from the store rather than sampling ornamental houseplant fruits.

The key for identifying edible pineapples is choosing a fruiting variety suited for consumption and providing ideal growing conditions to support full development.

Tips for Safely Eating Homegrown Pineapples

Follow these guidelines when preparing and eating pineapples grown at home:

  • Pick fully ripened fruits – wait until the pineapple base turns yellow or orange before harvesting.

  • Wash thoroughly under cool running water.

  • Remove the leafy crown, prickly outer skin and eyes. A sharp knife works best.

  • Slice off both ends to reveal the inner yellow flesh.

  • Cut into rounds or chunks. Use a corer to remove the tough central core if desired.

  • Enjoy fresh, grill for a warm treat or blend into tropical smoothies and cocktails.

  • Refrigerate cut pineapple tightly sealed for up to one week. The enzymes start breaking down the fruit quickly.

  • Freeze chopped pineapple for longer storage. It will soften when thawed.

Avoid consuming any unripe or underdeveloped fruits as they contain higher concentrations of bromelain enzymes that aid digestion but can also cause topical and intestinal irritation. Always properly prep and refrigerate fresh pineapple to maximize sweet flavor and nutrition while minimizing potential risks.

Growing a Pineapple Plant for Edible Fruit

Want to grow your own edible pineapples? With a sunny spot, a little patience, and ideal care you can enjoy homegrown tropical fruits. Follow these tips:

  • Select a variety bred for large, flavorful fruits like Smooth Cayenne or Red Spanish.

  • Allow at least 2 – 3 years from planting until fruiting. Choose the smallest sucker plant possible.

  • Site in a warm spot (70-90°F) with maximum bright, direct light daily.

  • Use well-draining, nutrient rich soil. Fertilize monthly during active growth.

  • Pollinate by hand using a small brush when the flowers appear to ensure fruiting.

  • Maintain even moisture. Water when just the surface inch of soil is dry.

  • Harvest pineapple fruits when their base color turns golden yellow.

With the right variety and growing conditions, savoring your own homegrown pineapple is an exciting and delicious possibility for gardeners willing to invest proper time and care.

Add a touch of tropical warmth to your home!

The Ananas comosus produces a single ornamental fruit at the centre of a crown of delicately coloured foliage. These plants have fruits that are smaller than the pineapples we usually see in stores. They are also called Dwarf or Miniature Pineapple plants. It is grown more as an ornamental plant and the fruit it produces is edible but very bitter. Puppy plants should appear in the soil after the pineapple falls off. You can re-pot them and watch them grow into full-grown plants.

  • Pineapple is one of the most sanitizing plants at night, according to studies. It can improve sleeping conditions and even reduce snoring .
  • People all over Europe and Australia want these plants, but they aren’t always easy to find, so don’t pass up a chance to buy one when you see one.
  • Its beautiful fruit and colorful leaves add a tropical touch to any home.
  • Easy to re-pot and grow new plants
  • Hummingbirds spread pollen from the pineapple tree to other plants in its natural tropical environment, where it grows on the ground.

Ananas comosus ‘Pygmy Amigo’

Pots that pair perfectly with this plant

How to Grow and Care for Pineapple Plants Indoors

Can you grow a pineapple indoors?

Good news: caring for a pineapple plant is pretty easy and you can grow a pineapple indoors! Keep reading for everything you need to know about caring for a pineapple plant, fruiting, propagation and more. Ananas comosus, or pineapple plants, are a type of Bromeliad naturally found in tropical regions in South America.

Can you eat pineapple plants?

Yes, many pineapples grown indoors can be eaten, so make sure you’re growing an edible kind if that is your goal. However, there are also ornamental pineapple plants. You might see examples of these in stores or online called pygmy, dwarf, mini, etc. pineapple plants. These are not meant for eating.

Are pineapples turning into houseplants?

Well, in case you haven’t heard, pineapples are turning into houseplants. Yep, over the past few years, more and more people have started to grow either edible or ornamental pineapple plants indoors. If this has you intrigued, then read on for all you’ll need to know about pineapple care indoors, as well as how to propagate your pineapple plant.

How do I choose a pineapple plant for indoor care?

When selecting a pineapple plant for indoor care, you want to make sure you choose a healthy and mature plant. Look for a plant with vibrant and green leaves, as well as a good root system. Avoid plants with yellow or wilted leaves and weak stems.

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