It was ten years before she saw the fruit of her labor, successfully growing a pineapple after keeping the top of the tropical plant for a decade at the recommendation of a friend.
Tracey Aldridge, 56, told the Daily Mail in the UK she was stunned to discover a pineapple finally growing on the plant, which she has kept in her conservatory for the last 10 years.
Aldridge said, though skeptical, she kept the top and left it in water, before the plant rooted and she moved it into a pot in her conservatory. The semi-retired science technician, of Gosport, Hants, said: ‘It all started in 2007 when I had my best friend Donna over – we were having fruit salad and I was chopping some pineapple.
‘I was about to throw the top away when she told me to keep it because another pineapple would grow out of it.
‘I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical, but I popped it into the conservatory anyway.
‘When it rooted, I moved it into some potting compost and let it be, really.
‘I suppose having a conservatory does help it to grow, but nonetheless, it does seem quite bizarre, because of where pineapples are usually grown.
‘The pineapple is only about 7cm with the leaves measuring around 16cm.
‘It’s a miniature pineapple and it smells delicious but I don’t have the heart to eat it.’
Typically grown in South American countries. The growth of a pineapple in the UK is relatively rare.
The pineapple plant, which is indigenous to South America, is believed to have been introduced to Hawaii in the 1500s.
Gardening expert Brian Kidd said Tracey had, possibly inadvertently, presented a masterclass in British pineapple growing. He added ‘You can get pineapples to grow if you are lucky enough to be able to get one with green growth on the top, that the retailer hasn’t removed.
According to Kidd, winters are a big problem for pineapples, because if the temperature falls below 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), the plant can suffer.
“She has done everything correctly and deserves a lot of credit for that. I would personally like to send Tracey my congratulations. If she can get growth again next year then she could end up with another baby pineapple – if she does that, it will be quite the achievement,” said Kidd.
Aldridge said she did not give the pineapple plant much attention during the winter as she has a holiday home in the French Alps where she usually stays.
She added: ‘I could end up with a pineapple farm one day – that would be quite remarkable.’
TOP TEN PINEAPPLE FACTS
- The top of a pineapple can be planted and a new plant will grow.
- Almost a third of the world’s pineapples are produced in Hawaii and grown year round.
- The biggest ever pineapple was 8.28kg and 32cm long.
- Pineapples ripen faster upside down.
- Traditionally, pineapple juice was used to induce labour.
- The pineapple plant can live for 50 years in the wild.
- Viral pineapple song PPAP reached number one in Japan.
- In Australian slang, ‘the rough end of a pineapple’ means an unfair deal.
- The name comes from it looking like a pine cone.
- Pineapple has been linked to preventing some cancer forms.