The common edible pineapple, Ananas comosus, is the best known and commercially the most important member of this genus. Its spiny- leafed relative A. bracteatus var.
tricolor (which used to be known as var. striatus) is much more ornamental, however, and is sought as a pot plant for its dramatic foliage and occasional brown, edible fruits.
It forms stiff, pointed rosettes of bronze green leaves with yellow margins. The swordlike leaves can be 2V2in/6.5cm across and can grow to more than 3ft/90cm long, so the plant needs plenty of space.
When the plant is five or six years old, a pink fruiting spike that contrasts attractively with the foliage may be produced. The fruit takes several months to form, usually maturing in spring.
ORIGIN Southern Brazil; Paraguay.
HEIGHT To 3ft/90cm.
POTTING MIX Commercial bromeliad mix; or equal parts by volume of coarse sand and peat moss plus half a part of leaf mold.
REPOTTING Move into a pot one size larger every second spring.Once the plant has reached the desired size, top-dress it each spring.
PROPAGATION Use the top of the fruiting spike, which bears a small plant, or good-sized offsets from around the base of older plants and set them in a mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Warm conditions in filtered sunlight or a propagator are needed to induce them to root.
KEEPING PLANTS Mature plants may become top-heavy. Repot them into heavier clay pots as they grow.
Ananas bracteatus var. tricolor Bromeliaceae PLANT CARE
- A bright location, with some direct sunlight.
- Minimum winter temperature of 64°F/18°C.
- Allow the top two-thirds of the soil to dry out before watering.
- Stand the plant on a tray of moist pebbles or plunge it into moist peat moss to keep humidity high.
- Apply a weak liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from early spring to late summer.