Pineapple plant finally blooms fruit


Myles Glandorf

English teacher Mark Schillerstrom’s pineapple plant took 10 years to bloom a fruit, rather than the normal time, which is only two years.

Myles Glandorf, Staff Writer

Walking into English teacher Mark Schillerstrom’s room, one may be surprised to see that there may be just as many plants as there are students in the room.

“I just don’t have enough room to keep them in the house, but it also helps green (the classroom) up a little bit too,” Schillerstrom said. “I’d rather have plants around than change bulletin boards, that’s not very much fun.”

Schillerstrom keeps a multitude of different types of plants in his room including Elephant Ears, Peace Lilies, an African Mask, an Ekka and an Aloe, just to name a few.

Each plant has an interesting and unique story behind it. All of the Peace Lilies in his room originate from the same plant. Schillerstrom got the first of his Peace Lilies from his grandmother’s funeral. “I put it in a bigger pot and as it grew I split it again,” Schillerstrom said. “They just keep growing.” Schillerstrom also has a Philodendron, which currently resides in another teacher’s classroom because he had a student that was allergic to it.

Arguably the most interesting plant in Schillerstrom’s collection would be his pinneapple plant, which are generally grown in Hawaii. “I read about [the pinneapple plant] and thought it would be kind of cool,” Schillerstrom said. “A lot of the plants that interest me have different shaped leaves to it and the pinneapple has kind of an odd leaf compared to most houseplants that (one) has.”

Though he has a large connection, Schillerstrom still considers himself no expert when it comes to pineapple plants. “All I learned about pineapples I learned from Google,” he said.

The plant came from a regular pineapple that he bought at Hy-Vee. Once he had the pineapple, he cut the green stem off the top and peeled off the bottom layers of the leaves. He then put the leaves in dirt and watered them. After that he let them sit for a day or two before he began the watering cycle.

“The trick is not to overwater it because that causes the roots to rot,” Schillerstrom said. A year or so later Schillerstrom moved the plant to a larger pot.

Normally it takes a pinneapple plant two years to bloom, however it took Schillerstrom’s 10 years. “I was about ready to throw it away,” he said. “It gets to the point where its kind of ungainly and warped looking.” However the plant saved itself by blooming eight years late. “(I) was trimming off some dead leaves and I saw there’s some pink stuff in (the plant) and realized thats the pineapple coming up,” Schillerstrom said.

Schillerstrom figured that many different factors contributed to the pineapple plants late bloom. “It’s just a mix, you have to have the right air, and the right climate, and the right water and sun balance to trigger (the on time bloom),” Schillerstrom said. “And Iowa is not Hawaii.”

All in all, Schillerstrom is content with having another interesting plant among his compilation. “I have no idea what it was that triggered a bloom,” Schillerstrom said. “I was just happy to see it bloom after all this time.”