Pineapple bracteatus is an epiphytic plant native to South America, in particular Brazil and the Amazon forest; it is cultivated as an ornamental plant, but also, in tropical countries, as a fruit plant. The pineapple produces large rosettes, up to a meter high and even 120-150 cm wide, consisting of long leathery leaves, slightly succulent, stiff and thorny at the edges and at the apex; the color of the foliage is varied: from bright green to striped green with yellow or white. In summer, a fleshy stem rises between the leaves, which supports a large panicle-like inflorescence, surmounted by a rosette of leaves similar to the one below, but in miniature; the flowers will be followed by the fruits, which will form a single infruttescence with a yellowish pulp. In the apartment are cultivated species of reduced dimensions, which are unlikely to produce edible or considerable sized fruits; there are numerous hybrids, with colored foliage and with reddish flowers or purple streaks.
The specimens of Ananas bracteatus are grown in a beautiful bright position, but away from direct sunlight, especially during the summer; they fear the cold, therefore in winter they are cultivated in places that have a minimum temperature higher than 12-15 ° C. If they are grown in a dimly lit area, the leaves will tend to lose their streaks.
The pineapple is watered constantly but in moderation, trying to keep the soil not too wet; generally water is supplied every week, filling the hollow between the leaves. Reduce watering during the winter months. It is important that water does not form which can cause a lot of damage and cause the onset of rot.
These plants love environments with a good degree of humidity; to be able to keep it, especially during the hot period, it is possible to place the pot in a saucer in which there is material, such as pebbles or expanded clay, on the bottom, to prevent the roots from remaining in contact with water.
To cultivate the pineapple a soil recommended for all epiphytic plants is used, consisting of a part of peat, a part of perlite and a part of shredded barks; repot every 2-3 years. It should be checked that the chosen soil allows a good degree of drainage, as stagnant water is very harmful for this kind of plant.
Pineapple bracteatus propagates through the suckers that form at the base of the mother plant, taken in spring and planted in pots. The new plants, kept warm (23 ° c), bloom after two years. For those who want to try, it is also possible to get a new plant by planting the tuft of leaves taken from a pineapple. To do this, it is necessary to remove the first leaves from the base and place the tuft in a container with water, making it touch with the base. The roots will start to appear after a couple of weeks; when they reach at least 2 cm the tuft can be planted in the ground. It is also possible to proceed by drying the base of the tuft for a few days, then placing it on a layer of damp soil, without burying it, keeping everything at a temperature of about 22 ° C.
Pineapple - Ananas bracteatus: Diseases
Pineapple bracteatus is not a plant very prone to attack by pests and diseases, but is afraid of root rot and cochineal, which can sometimes appear on its leaves. To eliminate the problem it is possible to intervene manually with the use of a cotton swab with alcohol.