Introduction to growing hydroponic pineapples: Pineapples are wonderful fruit and they are very easy to grow. It is grown for its fruits, either fresh or in processed forms. The Pineapple plant is an herbaceous perennial, 2.5 to 5 ft. high with a spread of about 3 to 4 ft. At the blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth a cluster of small purple or red color flowers. Hummingbirds pollinate the flowers, which generally develop small, hard seeds. Seeds are usually not found in commercially grown Pineapples. It is juicy and fleshy with the stem serving as the fibrous core. The tough, waxy rind can be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the fruit is ripe. Pineapple plants must be planted where the temperature remains warmest, such as the south side of a home, or in a sunny portion of the garden.
In this article we also covered the below points;
- Hydroponic pineapple growing conditions
- Optimal pH for Pineapple growing hydroponically
- Advantages of growing plants by using hydroponics
- Types of hydroponic system
- Hydroponic setup
- Hydroponic pineapple nutrient requirements
- How long does it take to grow pineapple hydroponics
A step by step guide to growing hydroponic pineapples
Pineapple plants can be grown hydroponically or without soil. In a hydroponic system, Pineapples are placed in a solution of water and nutrients directly obtainable to the roots. The growing medium shortens the time Pineapples conventionally want to root in the soil and locate water to survive. Growing Pineapples hydroponically provide you with complete control over nutrient intake, and fewer risks of encountering soil-based pests and diseases. Most importantly, the Pineapple garden’s recyclable water and nutrient system are environmentally friendly.
Advantages of growing hydroponic pineapples
Growing with hydroponics comes with several advantages, the biggest of which is a greatly increased rate of growth in your plants. With the proper system set up, plants will mature up to 25% faster and produce up to 30% more than the same plants grown in soil.
Your plants will grow bigger and faster as they will not have to work as hard to obtain nutrients. It is possible through careful control of the nutrient solution and pH levels. Hydroponic plants will use less water than soil-based plants because the system is enclosed, which results in less evaporation. Believe it or not, the hydroponics system is better for the environment because it reduces waste and pollution from soil runoff. Roots usually expand and spread out in search of foods, and oxygen in the soil and this is not the case in the Hydroponics system, where the roots are sunk in a tank full of oxygenated nutrient solution and directly contact with essential minerals. This means you can grow plants much closer, and consequently huge space savings.
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Hydroponically grown plants can use only 10% of water compared to field-grown ones. In this method, water is re-circulated. Hydroponic plants will take up the necessary water, while run-off ones will be captured and return to the system. Many crops can be formed twice as fast in a well managed hydroponic system.
In hydroponics, decreasing the time between harvest and consumption increases the nutritional value of the end product. No chemical weed or pest control products are required when operating a hydroponic system. Plants growing hydroponically need 20% less space than plants grown in soil. This means you can grow more plants in a defined space or can grow plants in small spaces where it would not be practical to grow soil-based plants.
Set up a hydroponic system for growing pineapples
Set up a system in the greenhouse, which provides the Pineapple plants with nutrients from above at least once a day. Pineapples absorb nutrients from their leaves, as opposed to their roots. So, you must set up a system that permits the misting of your plants at a frequency of at least 2 to 3 times per day.
The plant is sensitive and intense exposure to water can end up with the rooting of the roots. And another important thing is represented by the temperature. If you want to grow a healthy Pineapple plant, you will have to set up an environment that has high temperatures. And, the light is essential too. This plant needs 8 hours of direct light each day, which means you will have to use grow lights. Don`t forget the fact that after blooming the light amount must be modified and increased.
Generally, when you grow plants in a hydroponic environment you use a greenhouse. This means that the risks of getting pests or diseases are reduced. Anyway, if you do not wash hands or use the same tools you have for soil, you risk transferring bacteria.
Pineapples like a more acidic environment than many other hydroponically grown crops, and then they should not be grown in the same system as other plants with different cultural needs. Pineapples like a pH level around 5.5 but have been successfully grown in the range of 5.0 to 6.0. EC levels must be between 2.0 and 2.4, ideally. Keep the temperature between 59 to 81°F in the growing area and make sure they get at least 8 hours per day of light at a minimum.
Pineapple plants can be grown in gravel, stone wool, or Styrofoam. A bucket system, where each Pineapple plant is in its media and container, with its reservoir, probably be the most effective way to hydroponically grow Pineapples.
Growing medium for hydroponic pineapples
Provide your Pineapples with a Suitable Growth Medium;
The hydroponics system is a method of growing plants in a water-based nutrient-rich solution. Pineapples grow fast. Support their growth with an appropriate growth medium that has a pH level of 5 to 6. A mixture of gravel, perlite, and peat is an ideal growth medium for Pineapples. Though, allowing these plants to remain in contact with the medium for a long time may prove to be harmful. Extended exposure makes the Pineapple plant susceptible to root rot. So, the roots of the plants must be maintained in a well-drained condition.
Control the temperature and light in hydroponics
Growing lights are crucial for keeping the fruit happy and temperature offers an imitation of a tropical climate. A regular check on the pH levels is a must because the growth of the plant can be influenced by its variations. This being said, you can start growing fresh Pineapple at any given time. And it requires a bit of attention to details, but it is not that hard to keep it happy.
Pineapples are hardy plants and need a temperature of 59 to 81°F for good growth. When grown by hydroponics, these plants need 7 to 8 hours of light per day for healthy growth. Though, when they start to bloom, they require additional amounts of light to be supplied over 3 to 4 hours. The use of grow lights is very beneficial.
Protect the plants from pests and diseases in hydroponics
Hydroponic Pineapples grown in greenhouses are safe from most pests. In case of infection, opt for natural methods of pest elimination and commercial pesticides are not suitable for use in hydroponics. Also, passing the hydroponic solution through an ultraviolet sterilizer helps in removing all the resident bacteria, fungi, and viruses that are capable of causing damage to the plants.
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It is possible to grow Pineapples indoors instead of growing them in a greenhouse structure. In such a case, provide these Pineapple plants with appropriate amounts of light, temperature, and nutrients the same as necessary inside the greenhouse to ensure a healthy Pineapple plant.
Types of hydroponic systems for growing pineapples
There are different types of hydroponics systems available. Some of the best hydroponic on the market combine different types of hydroponics into one hybrid hydroponic system. Hydroponics is unique in that there are multiple techniques you can use to get the nutrient solution to plants.
Deepwater culture for growing hydroponic pineapples
Deepwater Culture (DWC) is also known as the reservoir method, is by far the easiest method for growing plants with hydroponics. In a Deepwater Culture hydroponic system, the plant roots are suspended in a nutrient solution. An aquarium air pump oxygenates the necessary nutrient solution; this keeps the plant roots from drowning. Remember to prevent light from penetrating the system, as this can cause algae to grow. The main benefit of using a Deepwater Culture system is that there are no drip or spray emitters to clog. This makes the DWC system an excellent choice for organic hydroponics, as hydroponics systems that use organic nutrients are more prone to clogs.
The Wick system for growing hydroponic pineapples
The wick system is a passive non-recovery hydroponic type. And it uses no pumps and has no moving parts. The nutrients are stored in the reservoir and moved into the root system by capillary action using a candle or lantern wick. The nutrient solution travels up the wick and into the plant root system. Wick systems use sand or perlite, vermiculite mix, and a growing medium. The wick system is very easy and inexpensive to set-up and maintain. Though, it tends to keep the growing medium to wet, which doesn’t allow for the optimum amount of oxygen in the root system. The wick system is not an effective way to garden hydroponically.
Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T) for growing hydroponic pineapples
Nutrient Film Technique or NFT is a type of hydroponic where a continuous flow of nutrient solution runs over the plant roots. This type of system is on a slight tilt so that the nutrient solution will flow with the force of gravity. This type of system works well because the roots of a plant absorb more oxygen from the air than from the nutrient solution itself. Since the tips of the roots come in contact with the nutrient solution, the plant can get more oxygen which facilitates a faster rate of growth.
The Ebb and Flow System for growing hydroponic pineapples
This is the popular hydroponic system due to its low maintenance and low cost. It is used for plug production and potted plants. In this type of system, the growing bed is flooded with nutrient solution and it is allowed to drain. The duration and frequency of the flood depend on several factors such as the type of growing medium used, size of containers, and plant water requirements.
The Ebb and Flow hydroponic system is an active recovery type technique. The Ebb and Flow system uses a submersible pump in the reservoir and the plants are in the upper tray. And they work on a simple flood and drain theory. The reservoir holds the nutrient solution and pump. When the pump turns on, the nutrient solution is pumped up to the upper tray and delivered to the plant root system. The pump must remain on for about 20 to 30 minutes, which is called a flood cycle. Once the water has reached a set level, an overflow pipe or fitting allows the nutrient to drain back into the reservoir. The pump remains on for the flood cycle. And after the flood cycle, the nutrient solution slowly drains back down into the reservoir through the pump.
Process of growing hydroponic pineapples
First choose a reservoir that is the same length from top to bottom, similar to the shape of a bucket or fish tank. Paint the reservoir black to make it light-proof, will eliminate the growth of algae. Pineapples need manual pollination to flower and produce fruit. Use a small paintbrush to brush the flower’s center to rid it of any pollen.
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Measure the length and width of the reservoir with a tape measure. Cut the Styrofoam 1/4 inch smaller than the size of the reservoir; for example, if the reservoir is 36 by 30 inches, cut the Styrofoam to 35 3/4 by 29 3/4 inches. Place the Styrofoam within the reservoir temporarily; note that there must be just enough room for water level adjustments.
Place the growing pots onto the Styrofoam to find out where you want to put each Pineapple plant. Allow plenty of space between pots, as Pineapple plants need ample room and sunlight to flourish. Trace around the bottom of the growing pot using a pen or pencil. Use a sharp knife to cut out the traced circles and cut a small hole on one side of the Styrofoam for the airline to enter the material from the reservoir.
Combine the airline and the pump, and then adhere the air stone to the other end. Confirm that the pump is long enough to reach the reservoir bottom and deliver oxygen to each plant’s roots. Place the pots into their designated areas; every pot should have a growing medium along with one Pineapple plant.
Empty the nutrient medium of gravel and peat into the reservoir. Ensure that the medium has a pH level of 5 or 6, as Pineapple plants tend to grow in shorter periods. Then, place the Styrofoam back into the tank and run the airline through each punctured area. Plugin the pump and activate the homemade Pineapple hydroponics system.
Adjust your room temperature range between 59 to 81°F, as Pineapples are tropical plants. Expose the plants to 8 hours of daily sunlight through artificial lightning for healthy growth. Mist the Pineapple leaves 2 to 3 times a day using a spray bottle of nutrient solution, as Pineapples absorb more nutrients from their leaves than their roots. Review the growth of Pineapples consistently to ensure healthy Pineapple plants, which may take a period of 2 to 3 years to fully bloom.
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