Dole's first pineapple on Lana'i

Dole's first pineapple is harvested on Lana'i. (Note: It takes 18 months to two years to grow a pineapple from the crown).

How to grow a pineapple

First, twist the leafy crown from the fruit.

Place it in a dry, dark place for a full week to allow the end to harden.

Layer an 8-inch porous clay pot with an inch of coarse gravel, then fill with a good, light garden soil mixed with up to 30 percent well-composted organic matter. Be sure the pot has good drainage. Later, when the fruit grows, you'll want to transplant to a 12-inch pot - again, with gravel and good drainage.

Water the soil once a week and fertilize with a household plant food fertilizer about every 3 months. If you live in a year-round warm climate, the potted plant should do well outdoors. But if your climate turns cold, keep the plant indoors during frost or freezing temperatures.

(Note that this tropical plant can suffer from "sun shock" if it is moved directly from indoors to the sun. If you are going to move it, let it adjust to the change by sitting in a semi-shaded spot for a few days first.)

When the plant is about 18 months old it will sprout a bright red cone. If this hasn't happened by 20 months, "coax" the cone out by putting the entire pot in a plastic (garbage) bag. Place a ripe apple in the bag and tie it closed, move to a shady spot and leave for 3 days. Remove the bag and return the plant to its usual sunny location. The bright red cone should appear after about 2 months. The next stage brings row upon row of beautiful, bright blue flowers which open over 2 weeks. When the petals of the last flower have dried, the fruit begins to develop. When your fruit is 6 months old, it becomes sweeter, turning from green to rich gold on the inside and outside. Time to pluck and enjoy it!