Pine-Apple, the Common, or Brome/ia ananas, L. is a native of Mexico and the Brazils, whence it has been introduced into Europe. It is propagated in Britain, -y planting either the crowns or excrescences growing on the fruit, or the suckers produced from the sides of the plant (after they have been exposed in a warm place to dry for three or four days), in pots of light fresh mould, mixed with rotten dung ; which has been prepared six or eight months, in order that its parts may be more completely united. They are now to be plunged in a hot-bed ; and, if the season be warm, it will be advisable to water the plants, at least, twice in the week; though, in cool weather, one irrigation will be sufficient.
A practice prevails among some gardeners, of removing pine-apples to various pots : thus, however, the growth of the fruit is materially retarded ; as the plants require to be placed in fresh pots only twice in one season, namely ; first, towards the end of April in the second year, when the crowns and suckers of the preceding year must be transplanted into pots of a larger size; and, secondly, in the beginning of August; when such as are of a proper age for bearing fruit, ought to be removed into pots proportioned to their growth. With every change, the hot-bed should be stirred up, and fresh bark added, so as to raise it to the height at which it was originally formed ; formed; and, on re-placing the pots in such bed, the plants must be gently watered, in order to clear the dust, etc. from the leaves.-Thus managed, pine-apples will require little additional trouble, till the commencement of the winter ; when the heat ought to be increas-ed by artificial means of stoves or flues, and the plants to be watered gently every week, or oftener, if the mould should become dry.— Farther, no pine-apples should be removed into fresh pots, after the fruit appears; for such attempts would not only impede its growth and maturation, but likewise impair its delicate flavour.
The principal difficulty attending the propagation of this valuable exotic, in Britain, is the extirpation of the insects that infest it; and of which Mr. Speechley, in his practical " Treatise on the Culture of the Pine-Apple" (8vo. ll. Is. 1779), enumerates three species, viz. the Brown Turtle Insect (Coccus hesperidum, L.) ; the White Scaly Insect; and the White Mealy -crimsoned Inseci. The expedients usually adopted for destroying such depredators, having failed of success, Mr. Speechley recommends the following preparation :-Take one pound of quicksilver, put it into a glazed vessel with one gallon of boiling water, and let it stand till it become cool, when the liquid must be decanted for use. This infusion must be repeated on the same quicksilver, till a sufficient number of gallons be provided. Next, six ounces of soft green soap are to be dissolved in each gallon ; and the whole made lukewarm. The plants should now be taken out of the pots (the leaves of the larger ones being previously tied together), and immersed wholly in the liquid for three minutes it the expiration of which time they must be exposed to the open air with their roots downwards, till they are dry. In the course of a few hours, the immersion should be performed a second time, previously adding one table-spoonful of sweet oil to each gallon of the mixture : after which the plants are again to be dried, with their tops inclining to the ground ; and, as soon as the moisture is evaporated, they may be returned to the hothouse.-—The proper seasons for taking these preventive measures, are stated to be the months of March and September.
In the 67th vol. of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, we meet with a curious and simple method of raising pineapples in water, hy William Bastard, Esq. The plant, contained in a not of earth, is placed in a pah that is kept constantly full of water, and which is deposited on a shelf near the highest and most heated part of the back-wall of a hot-house ; so that the pine-apples stand as closely as possible to the glass, without coming in contact with it.—The fruit thus raised, is said to be uniformly larger, and to possess a finer flavour than such as is propagated in the usual manner on bark-beds.
Pine-apples generally attain to maturity, in Britain, from the month of July till the end of September ; but, when too frequently removed to different pots, or otherwise mismanaged, they will not ripen till the end of October, or November. Their maturation is known by the strong aromatic odour which they exhale, and by the facility with which the crowns or protuberances yield, on pressure with the hand.
As their flavour is speedily dissipated, by remaining on the plants longer than three or four days, they Ought to be cut at the expiration of time, and to be eaten within 24 hours, at the farthest.—This delicious fruit is reputed for its cordial and exhilarating properties: its acid juice, however, generally disagrees with females during gestation, as well as with persons who are subject to flatulency.—Among the different sorts raised in hot-houses, Bechsten observes, the white and red pine-apples are the most esteemed : their juice, when fermented, yields a most agreeable and wholesome vinous liquor.