Growing a new pineapple from the crown of a ripe one is rewarding and easy to do. It makes for a beautiful plant, a fascinating process to watch, and an end result that is just plain delicious. This is a great kids’ project, too.

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% 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 three months. If you live in a climate that’s warm all year round, the potted plant should do well outdoors. If you have cold winters, keep the plant indoors during frost or freezing temperatures.

Note that this tropical plant can suffer from “sun shock” if it is moved too quickly from an indoors environment to direct sun. If you are going to move your pineapple plant outside, put it in a semi-shaded outdoor spot for the first few days to let it adjust.

When the plant is about 12 months old, it should sprout an unmistakeable bright red cone.

If the cone hasn’t appeared by 14 months, it’s time to “coax” it out by putting the entire plant, with its pot, in a plastic bag. Place a ripe apple in the bag and tie it closed, move to a shady spot and leave for three days. Remove the bag and return the plant to its usual sunny location. The bright red cone should appear within eight or nine weeks.

The next stage will bring row upon row of bright blue flowers, which open over two weeks. When the petals of the last flower have dried, the fruit begins to develop. When your fruit is six months old, it will ripen, becoming sweeter and turning from green to a rich gold on the inside and outside.

Time to pick and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Chocolate Covered Pineapples and Mac Nuts