Making a fabulous dining table centrepiece, the Pineapple Plant, Ananas comosus Pacifico, is a remarkable talking point. Had it not been for its delicious fruit, people would grow it like they do other bromeliads, simply for its strikingly sculptural appearance. Handsome, pear-shaped leaves form a dense rosette of low foliage from which grows a central, tall, straight stalk, bearing the mini pineapple fruit proudly aloft.
This fascinating plant is indigenous to Brazil and Paraguay, and spread over time to the Caribbean; now the globally exported fruit is grown mainly in the Philippines.
In eighteenth-century Britain, pineapples were grown for their exotic beauty by the wealthy. Large estates employed gardeners to create pineapple pits or houses called pineries, to coax the tropical fruit out in the less hospitable climate here. The pineapples produced were, as a result, exorbitantly expensive and so became a symbol of prosperity. To this day, pineapples, modelled in stone, or carved into friezes, can be found in Georgian architecture.
Nowadays, anyone can have one as an indoor plant! You can eat the fruit when it turns orange and emits a sweet fragrance. As it gives off oxygen at night, it is one of the few plants you can have in the bedroom. The additional oxygen may even help reduce your partner's snoring!
Pot size 12cm
Common name: Pineapple
Care: Ideally water with rainwater (to avoid chlorine), keeping the soil moist but not wet. Keep plant at normal room temperature.