Native to South America, this familiar bromeliad is known botanically as Ananas comosus. Reaches 23 feet tall, 12 feet wide, with a short, thick stem topped by a rosette of long (1- to 6 feet), narrow, dark green leaves with saw-toothed edges. At bloom time, the stem lengthens and produces a head of small red or purple flowers, which eventually develops into the pineapple fruit. Fruit is typically borne one per stem.
To grow pineapple, cut the leafy top from a market pineapple (cut about an inch below the leaves). Root in water or fast-draining but moisture-retentive potting mix. When roots have formed, move pineapple to an 8 inches pot of rich soil. Plant will overwinter only in the Tropical South (USDA 10-11); elsewhere, grow it as a full-time houseplant or move it indoors in winter. Water when soil goes dry; feed every three or four weeks with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. If you're lucky, fruit will form in about two years, but it will be much smaller than a typical market pineapple.