Resorting to Tropicals for Houseplants

Create your own tropical paradise with these exotic houseplants. However, in their native lands these tropical plants have jobs to do.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe pineapple is the fruit that has come to symbolize hospitality and welcome.
(Ananas comosus)

A popular citrus fruit native to South America, pineapple is sure to be a conversation starter when grown as a houseplant. This bromeliad has silvery-green, spiky foliage and a striking rosy-pink to red flower. From this flower comes the fruit that has come to symbolize hospitality and welcome. High in vitamin C, the fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain that's used as an anti-inflammatory and as a meat tenderizer. The leaves contain strong fibers used in making textiles and fishing nets.

Pineapple requires bright light and a moist soil. You can start your own plant from a fresh pineapple purchased at the grocery store. To propagate your own, cut off the leafy top of the pineapple fruit, leaving enough of the fruit to hold the leaves together at the base. Allow this wound to cure for about a week or two. Plant the base of the leafy section approximately one inch deep in a soil mix designed for cacti and succulents. Water well and provide plant with additional humidity. It may take several years for a plant to produce fruit, and even then, it likely won't taste as sweet as ones purchased at the store. For a variegated selection, use A. comosus 'Variegatus'. USDA Zones 10 to 11.

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