Are Pineapple Succulents? (Explained)

pineapple plant

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Fancy growing a pineapple plant at home, but unsure if it’s cared for like your favorite succulents? The question is intriguing: Are pineapples actually succulents?

Although they share water-saving features, pineapple plants are not succulents because they do not store water as most succulents do. They also produce fruits and prefer a tropical growing environment.

In this article, we will compare the similarities and differences between the two in terms of their leaf structure, water-saving and storage mechanisms, and growing habitat to help you understand the best care for your pineapple plant.


Pineapple (Ananas comosus) belongs to the Bromeliad (Bromeliaceae) family and the Ananas genus.

The Bromeliaceae family is part of the Poales order, which also includes grasses and sedges. Pineapples are monocots, meaning they are part of one of the two major groups of flowering plants (the other being dicots).

Succulent is not a formal botanical classification, rather it is a descriptive term for a large group of plants that store water in their leaves, stems, or roots. These plants can belong to many different families, orders, and genera, and include cacti (Cactaceae family), aloe (Asphodelaceae family), and stonecrops (Crassulaceae family), among others.

Water storage

Succulents store water primarily in the parenchyma cells in the leaves, stems, or roots.  These cells expand and contract and thus the plant become visibly swollen or wrinkled in the presence and absence of water.

Pineapples, however, do not have this visible adaptation to store water. While they do have some water-storage capabilities, particularly in their rosette of leaves, their leaves and stems do not swell with stored water in the same way a typical succulent plant does.

Rosette leaf arrangement

Both pineapples and succulents have a waxy cuticle on the surface of their leaves that helps to reduce water loss by evaporation.

The pineapple plant and many succulents arrange their leaves in a rosette pattern to collect rainwater and dew that the plant can use.  The pineapple plant also has specialized structures called trichomes on its leaves. These hair-like structures can absorb water directly from humidity in the air, a trait not seen in typical succulents.


Pineapple plants are larger than many common succulents.  They have a shrubby growth pattern, growing up to 3-5 feet (0.9 – 1.5 meters) tall and 3-4 feet (0.9 – 1.2 meters) wide.

Succulents, on the other hand, range widely in size from tiny ground covers to large tree-like species.

Both pineapples and succulents are generally slow-growing plants, although the specific growth rate can vary depending on the species and growing conditions.

CAM photosynthesis

Both pineapple plants and succulents utilize Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis which allows them to close their stomata during the day to reduce water loss and open them at night to take in carbon dioxide.

Shallow roots

Like most succulents, the pineapple plant has a shallow and wide root system.

Its naturally orange-colored roots are fibrous and shallow that grow only about 8-12 inches (20 – 30 cm) down into the soil. But, the roots can spread laterally and horizontally to about 50 cm (20 inches) from the center of the plant, allowing them to survive in environments where rainfall is light and does not infiltrate deep into the soil.

Fruit Production

Pineapples take about 30 to 34 months from the time of planting to produce fruit in the center of the rosette leaves.  The fruit is actually a group of berries that have fused together. Flowering is triggered when temperatures drop below 60 F (16 C).

Most succulents, on the other hand, are not typically grown for their fruit. While many succulents can produce fruit after flowering, the fruit is generally small and not particularly notable.


Pineapples are native to South America but are now grown in many tropical regions around the world, including Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and parts of Africa.

Succulents are found worldwide, but they’re most commonly associated with arid regions such as deserts. Many cacti, for example, are native to the American Southwest, while many aloes are native to southern Africa.

Climate preferences

Pineapples are tropical plants that prefer a hot, sunny environment. While some succulents are also adapted to hot, sunny conditions, others are native to cooler, shady environments.

Plant care

While both succulents and pineapple plants share some similarities in their care requirements due to their adaptations to arid environments, there are key differences, particularly in light requirements, water needs, and temperature and humidity tolerance.

Pineapple plants, in general, need more care and specific conditions to thrive and bear fruit compared to most succulents.

Light requirement

Most succulents need a good amount of sunlight and do well in bright but indirect light. Some species can tolerate direct sunlight, but others can get sunburned if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight, especially in hot climates.

Pineapples: Pineapple plants also require a good deal of light. They thrive in full sun to partial shade. In a less sunny environment, they can grow, but they might not produce fruit or the fruit may be small.

Water requirement

Succulents are drought-tolerant plants that need minimal watering. Overwatering can cause root rot. The “soak and dry” method is often recommended: water the soil thoroughly, then wait until it is completely dry before watering again.

Pineapple plants are also fairly drought-tolerant, but they prefer regular watering to keep their growth steady. They should be watered thoroughly and then allowed to dry out somewhat before watering again. The central “cup” or “tank” of the plant should be kept filled with water.

Growing substrate and container requirement

Succulents prefer well-draining soil to prevent water logging. Many growers use a cactus mix or add perlite or sand to regular potting soil. The container should have drainage holes. The size of the container should be proportional to the size of the succulent.

Pineapples also require well-draining soil. They can grow in a variety of soil types, as long as the soil drains well. A mixture of loamy soil and sand is often ideal. Pineapple plants need a fairly large container to accommodate their size and the extent of their root system.


Most succulents prefer warm temperatures, although the optimal range can vary significantly depending on the species. Some succulents can tolerate temperatures near freezing, while others need temperatures above 50°F (10°C).

Pineapple plants are tropical and subtropical, preferring temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 95°F (35°C). They can tolerate a small amount of cold, down to about 28°F (-2°C), but prolonged exposure to cold will damage the plant.


Succulents generally prefer dry conditions, as they are adapted to arid environments. High humidity can lead to problems with rot and fungal diseases.

As tropical plants, pineapples can tolerate higher humidity levels than most succulents. However, they are adaptable and can grow in less humid conditions as well.


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