LynnValleyLife.com’s own Robin Thorneycroft has been growing pineapple plants in Lynn Valley for nine years.
“It was an experiment to see what happens, I could never quite get avocado pits to take off, so one day I thought to try a pineapple,” she said. “Frankly, we had young kids and just bought a home – money was tight. I liked the idea of a “free” plant.”
From one little plant rooting in water, the family now has six pineapple plants in various stages of maturity and this time last year there was a small big surprise.
“Without question, with a harvest of two so far, I think we are the premier pineapple farmers of North Vancouver. We had always assumed that these would just be some greenery in our living room,” said Thorneycroft. “Last year, I was watering the largest of the pineapples – its leaves are about 90 cm long – and noticed in the centre there was a teeny, tiny pineapple growing.”
While Thorneycroft had considered it was possible to have the pineapple fruit after they were well established, she hadn’t taken any of the steps typically needed to trigger the fruiting process.
“It was such a great surprise,” she said. “It took so long for the plant to produce a fruit we had no idea how long it would take for the fruit to mature.”
The answer: about six months over the summer for the first. The second pineapple which fruited last October took even longer. The winter seemed to slow down the process even more – taking more than eight months. Most unexpected were the beautiful magenta flowers that are part of the pineapple fruit, said Thorneycroft.
“This is something we have been playing by ear,” said Thorneycroft. “We could have maybe helped it along by creating a greenhouse. Our second pineapple really needed sun. Once we got the warm spell in late April it went from hard and dark green to bright yellow in about three days.”