Pitahaya Information: Learn How To Grow Dragon Fruit
By: Liz Baessler
Maybe you’ve seen dragon fruits for sale at your local grocery store. The red or yellow collection of layered scales looks almost like an exotic artichoke. Inside, however, is a sweet mass of white pulp and tiny, crunchy seeds. If you want to grow dragon fruit at home, you’ll be rewarded not only with fruit, but also with an impressive, branching cactus vine and brilliant, night-blooming flowers. Keep reading to learn how to grow dragon fruit.
Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus), also known as pitahaya, is native to Central and South America and needs year-round heat. It can tolerate a brief frost and will recover quickly from any freeze damage, but prolonged exposure to below-freezing temperatures will kill it. It can tolerate heat up to 104 F. (40 C.).
Although it is a cactus, it requires a relatively high amount of water. Dragon fruit trees are vining, and need something to climb. They are also heavy – a mature plant can reach 25 feet (7.5 m.) and several hundred pounds. Bear this in mind when building your trellis. The best choice is strong wooden beams. A decent amount of pruning and tying is necessary in training it to follow the trellis, but dragon fruit trees are fast growing and very tolerant of pruning.
How to Grow Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit trees can be started from seeds, but it may take as long as seven years for the plant to produce fruit. Because of this, the much more popular alternative is growing dragon fruit from a cutting of an already mature plant. This method could produce fruit in as little as 6 months.
To propagate, cut a full segment from a mature plant. This may be anywhere from 6-15 inches (15-38 cm.). Make a slanted cut in the open end and treat it with fungicide. Then allow it to “cure” in a dry, shady place for a week, letting the open cut dry and heal.
After that, you can plant it directly in the ground. You may get better results, however, if you first plant it in a pot and let it establish a good root system for 4-6 months first before transplanting.
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Read more about Dragon Fruit
How to Care for Dragon Fruit
The dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus undatus), also known as the pitaya, strawberry pear or night-blooming cereus, is a tropical fruiting vine native to southern Mexico and South America. The dragon fruit plant is a fast-growing, perennial, vine-like cactus with stems that can reach 20 feet long. This plant produces large white, fragrant, bell-shaped flowers that bloom at night and can grow as large as 14 inches long and 9 inches across. The fruits are oblong, 4 ½-inch-wide berries with red or yellow peels and many small black seeds in the pulp. The dragon fruit plant can grow only in tropical climates that don’t experience frosts or freezing temperatures.
Water your dragon fruit plant deeply and thoroughly once every other day during the summer, and then water the plant once or twice each week during the fall and winter in the absence of rainfall. Don’t water the dragon fruit plant during spring to provide a dry period that will induce flowering.
- The dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus undatus), also known as the pitaya, strawberry pear or night-blooming cereus, is a tropical fruiting vine native to southern Mexico and South America.
- The dragon fruit plant is a fast-growing, perennial, vine-like cactus with stems that can reach 20 feet long.
Feed your dragon fruit plant during the first year after planting it once every two months with ¼ lb. of 6-6-6 NPK palm tree fertilizer containing 2 to 3 percent magnesium. Spread 4 lbs. of well-rotted manure or organic compost on the ground around the base of the dragon fruit plant, keeping it about 1 inch away from the stem. Apply up to six foliar sprays of minor elements from late March through September.
Spread a 2- to 6-inch layer of bark or wood chip mulch on the ground around the base of your dragon fruit plant. Keep the mulch 8 to 12 inches away from the plant stem.
- Feed your dragon fruit plant during the first year after planting it once every two months with ¼ lb.
- of well-rotted manure or organic compost on the ground around the base of the dragon fruit plant, keeping it about 1 inch away from the stem.
Erect a sturdy climbing support, such as a strong trellis, beside the dragon fruit plant. Train the dragon fruit plant on the trellis by pruning away the lateral stems that grow on the main upright stem until the plant reaches the trellis. Tie the main stem to the trellis post, and then begin to cut back the stem tips to encourage branching after the plant grows up to the top of the trellis.
Train the lateral stems by tying them to the trellis. Prune the dragon fruit plant immediately after harvest by removing the weaker, crowded or tangled stems, and then tie the healthy, strongest stems to the trellis.
Increase the fertilizer amount gradually during the second and third years to 1/3 or 2/5 lb. of fertilizer applied once every two months, and then increase the amount to ½ to ¾ lb. of fertilizer in the fourth and subsequent years. Apply 6 lbs. of compost or manure once each year, and then increase the amount to 5 lbs. of manure applied twice per year in the fourth and subsequent years.
- Erect a sturdy climbing support, such as a strong trellis, beside the dragon fruit plant.
- Prune the dragon fruit plant immediately after harvest by removing the weaker, crowded or tangled stems, and then tie the healthy, strongest stems to the trellis.
Harvest the ripe, fully mature dragon fruits by cutting the fruit stems using pruning shears or hand clippers. If you have the thorny type of dragon fruit plants, wear leather gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when harvesting the fruits.
If you have high-pH (alkaline) soil, drench the soil around the dragon fruit plant with ¼ to ½ oz. of chelated iron during the first year after planting it. In the second and subsequent years, apply up to ¾ to 1 oz. of chelated iron. Perform the soil drench once each year during a warm, rainy period.
Don’t mow or weed-eat close to the dragon fruit plant, because it’s extremely sensitive to any kind of trunk injury. Keep a 5-foot diameter circle around the dragon fruit plant clear of weeds and grasses. Also beware of applying lawn fertilizers near the dragon fruit plant’s root system, because this can harm fruit quantity and quality.
How to Fertilize Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a native of Latin America and is now being cultivated in Asian countries, primarily for the nutritional content of the fruit. Dragon fruit are eaten in salads, made into drinks, and the color is used to dye food. The dragon fruit plant is a climbing cactus and is best suited for propagation in dry areas. The long white flowers, which bloom only at night (the plant is also called night-blooming cereus), produce fleshy, scaled fruit. Dragon fruit can be grown either as an ornamental or to bear fruit. Ornamental dragon fruit does not require fertilization. However, dragon fruit grown for food requires frequent fertilization to produce a healthy crop. The root system of the dragon fruit sits close to the surface and quickly absorbs existing nutrition in the soil. Correct fertilizing can lead to a bountiful harvest of dragon fruit.
- Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a native of Latin America and is now being cultivated in Asian countries, primarily for the nutritional content of the fruit.
- The root system of the dragon fruit sits close to the surface and quickly absorbs existing nutrition in the soil.
Apply 3 oz. of 13-13-13 fertilizer around the base of the plant 3 months after planting. Surround the base of the plant with 4 lbs. of well-composted cow manure. Keep manure away from the stem.
Repeat application of fertilizer every 3 to 4 months during the first year of growth. Stop fertilizing 10 days before harvest.
Apply 0.3 to 0.4 lbs. fertilizer every 2 months during the second and third year. Increase manure to to 6 lbs. during the second and third years, spreading manure around the base of each plant.
During and following the fourth year, increase fertilizer to 0.5 to 0.75 lbs., applying three to four times a year. Add 5 lbs. of manure twice a year.
- fertilizer every 2 months during the second and third year.
- During and following the fourth year, increase fertilizer to 0.5 to 0.75 lbs.,
If you garden organically and want to avoid chemical fertilizers, dragon fruit respond well to an application of cow manure alone.
Dragon fruit do best in well-drained soils.
Dragon fruit can be grown in containers and moved indoors during the colder seasons.
All About Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruit is quite an impressive plant, from start to finish. The green cactus grows in long, ovular segments connected with thin joints. Each segment, or stem, has three ridges with small but sharp spines. In order to climb, the stems send out aerial roots, which technically classifies this plant as an epiphyte.
In commercial production, dragon fruit is trained to grow in a tree shape. The stems climb up a support and then spill over the top, looking like a bizarre palm tree. The flowers are remarkably large, with white petals and a flowery scent. These blooms produce reddish-pink, round fruits with green leaf edges sticking out of the skin. The flesh holds black seeds that are easy to save and grow at home.
If you choose to grow dragon fruit in a container, choose one that’s at least 25 gallons. This grows to be a very large plant, so we don’t want to have to repot it later.
Types Of Dragon Fruit
There are essentially two types of dragon fruit: sweet and sour. The sour types belong to the Stenocereus genus and are called Pitaya. However, this name is often applied to the sweet type since it’s often confused with the sweet type’s common name, Pitahaya. Because they’re the most popular, we’ll focus on the Pitahaya dragon fruit (Hylocereus).
There are lots of dragon fruit varieties, so we’ll just cover the most common species.
White pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) has white flesh and pink-red skin. This species includes the Vietnam White, which is the kind you’ll most likely find at the grocery store.
Red pitaya (Hylocereus costaricensis) has the same pink-red skin, but the interior is pinkish-red as well. The coloring ranges from the dark red, dense flesh of the Physical Graffiti variety to the hot pink hue of the red La Verne.
Yellow pitaya (Hylocereus megalanthus) stands out from the others with its bright yellow skin. It has white flesh that, in the Ecuador Palora, is so sweet that it tastes like sugar cubes or honey.
Pitaya has specific needs, but should be relatively easy to grow once you get the hang of it. Here’s everything you need to know.
Sun and Temperature
You’ll have the best chance of success with this plant if you live in a warm area, such as zones 10-11. The dragon fruit plant needs as much sun exposure as possible to build up the energy to fruit. Place yours in a spot that gets over 6 hours of sunlight a day.
While dragon fruit can survive light frost, it much prefers temperatures from 70-85°F with a minimum of 55°F. On the flip side, temperatures above 100°F aren’t ideal and can even burn the plant. In those periods of intense heat, you may want to shield your dragon fruit from the sun with some light shade.
Water and Humidity
Cactus plants are used to long dry periods and intense watering sessions. To mimic these conditions, use the “soak and dry” approach. Wait for the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry completely before watering. When you water, do so deeply so that the excess seeps from the drainage holes. Be careful not to drown the plant though. There should never be puddles left behind after the soil has taken its fill.
Because it’s going to be in direct sun and heat, water in the morning so the plant has a good supply to last through the day. This will also make sure that water left on the stems will dry in the heat, preventing rot and disease.
Dragon fruit plants need soil that’s light and well-draining while also full of nutrients. Meet these demands by making a growing medium that’s ⅔ vegetable potting mix and ⅓ cactus mix. The vegetable mix will boost soil fertility while the cactus mix is great for draining.
Soil pH isn’t a dealbreaker here, but dragon fruit does prefer its conditions to be slightly acidic. A pH from 6-7 is perfect.
You’ll need to fertilize if you really want the best results from this cactus. During the green growth phase, apply a 6-6-6 granular fertilizer. It can be slightly higher in nitrogen if you can’t find a 6-6-6.
Once blossoming begins, switch to an 8-4-12 fertilizer of the type that’s used for date palms. The extra potassium will help boost flowering.
We recommend a slow-release fertilizer that can be watered into the soil. Apply ¼ cup once every month and a half to two months throughout the growing season for best results. During the winter, stop using fertilizer entirely so the plant can go dormant.
If left to its own devices, the dragon fruit cactus can get pretty unruly. Because it’s a climber, it will cling to any rough surfaces it comes across, including your home! The area between the stem and textured surface make perfect hiding spots for pests. The long stems also grow outwards and can take up a lot of space. That’s when pruning comes in handy.
Keep your plant under control by cutting it back as needed. This will also keep your plant healthy and encourage new growth. Using sharp, clean clippers, cut off the stems at the thin connecting joints.
Before you start cutting, examine the entire plant and strategize which stems need to go. The first to go should be diseased or dying pieces. Next, trim back or remove stems growing out of control or in the wrong direction. You can also search for parts that don’t get much sunlight and are just eating up energy without providing in return. Removing these will redirect energy flow into new growth and flowering.
After harvest is over, you’ll need to prepare your dragon fruit for the winter. Even if you live in a warm climate, the plant needs this time to go dormant and build up energy for next year’s crop. When you’ve picked all the fruit, add some topsoil mixed with high-nitrogen fertilizer. Feather meal is an excellent organic option with an NPK ratio of 12-0-0.
Cut down on watering to only once or twice a month and stop fertilizing altogether. In cold climates, move the plant indoors so it’s not exposed to frost or snow. If you can’t bring it in and live in a warm climate, wrap the cactus with a frost blanket as needed.
Without a support, dragon fruit plants droop over like hanging plants. If you train them to a support though, the stems will actually learn to climb! When done properly, you can train your dragon fruit cactus to form impressive trees, though that takes years of growth and a good dragon fruit trellis to accomplish. The plant will usually fruit before then though, so you won’t have to wait ages for a harvest.
You’ll need a long support that’s sturdy to hold up the plants. Dragon fruit doesn’t like to climb smooth surfaces, so use something textured like a wooden broomstick or a piece of sturdy lumber. If the support won’t support the plant as it grows, add in another to share the weight.
Start by removing your dragon fruit cactus from its container and gently loosening the roots. Plant just one or multiple starts in a circle. If any of the starts are tilting to one side, point them away from the center so they don’t cross.
Next, moisten the soil and then poke the stake into the ground. Watering the soil beforehand will help the support slide through the ground without breaking the roots.
Use cloth ties to tie the plant to the stake. It’s imperative that you use a flexible tie like cloth so you don’t cause any damage to the stems. Loosely tie the fabric around the joint between segments (it’s sturdier than you think).
Once tied up, your cactus is going to look messy. As it grows though, the stems will fill out and droop over the top of the support. As new segments grow, tie them to the support until they reach the top. In time, the stems will start growing aerial roots that cling to the support.
Like most cacti, dragon fruit is very easy to propagate by cuttings. It’s super simple to remove segments and encourage them to grow roots. All you’ll need is sharp, clean pruners, a container, soil, and gloves.
Using your pruners, clip a segment off right at the joint. You can also collect any sections that broke off while training or pruning. Remove any aerial roots from the cutting and discard stems that are deformed, diseased, or pest-ridden.
Next, use your clippers or a kitchen knife to slice the bottom inch off the cutting so the end has a triangular shape. Large stem segments can be cut into two or more pieces. It’s vital that the stem be planted cutting side down. To help you remember which side that is – especially if you’ve split one stem into multiple dragon fruit cuttings – use a permanent marker to draw an arrow on the cutting.
Let the cutting dry until it’s completely scabbed over (2-3 days). Then, fill a container to the brim with soil and stick the cutting in, cut side down. It should stand upright on its own. However, you can add a small stake to keep the cutting stable.
Place your dragon fruit cutting in the shade and keep the soil moist until new growth emerges. It only takes a couple of weeks for new roots to grow, which you can test by gently tugging on the cutting to feel resistance. You’ll see new growth emerging from the top joint or the edges of the stem.
If you’d like more of a challenge, give seed saving a try! Start by picking the seeds out of your harvested dragon fruit and rinsing them off. The seeds are so small that you may want to use a tea strainer to wash them. Transfer the seeds to a damp paper towel, fold it, and place it in a plastic bag. Give the seeds a couple weeks to germinate, ensuring that the towel stays moist.
Once they’ve sprouted, plant the seeds and cover them with a clear dome to lock in humidity. The seedlings that emerge are very susceptible to root rot, so you have to be careful not to overwater them. Keep the container indoors in bright light until the seedings are sturdy enough to transplant into their own container or outdoors.
Pollination & Fruiting
Dragon fruit flowers are the pinnacle of the entire growth phase. The fruit may be tasty, but these blossoms are downright exquisite! You’ll be amazed at their size, beauty, and – sadly – brevity.
Your dragon fruit will produce small, green buds along the ridges of the stem. If a bud starts turning yellow, it’s likely about to abort itself. You can speed up the process by plucking the bud off so the plant will redirect that energy.
In time, the buds grow long and outwards, similar to the stems. When the sepals start to separate, you can expect a bloom within 48 hours, often at night. You’ll start to see white petals through the sepals as they open to reveal a very beautiful and very large flower.
Some dragon fruit plants are self-pollinating, while others rely on bats. No matter which kind you have, it doesn’t hurt to aid in pollination. Looking at the flower, you’ll see light yellow anthers packed in a dense circle around the center. The stigma is green and grows above the anthers.
Use a paintbrush or cotton swab to pick up pollen from the anthers and gently brush it onto the stigma. Once pollinated, the flower will close up surprisingly fast, so take pictures while you can!
Now the flower has to get down to the real work: growing fruit. The petals and sepals will start to dry out and fruit will grow in their place. We’re now approaching the next exciting step: harvesting!
Above: The exterior is leathery, but the fruit on the inside is soft enough to be eaten with a spoon. Photograph by Ali Eminov via Flickr.
- Add dragon fruit to salads and fruit smoothies. The flavor is like a melon mixed with a pear, and the texture is similar to a kiwi. To eat dragon fruit, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh or peel away the skin.
- Harvest when the skin is flaming pink and not any sooner because like strawberries, this fruit doesn’t continue to ripen off the plant.
- With its trunk resembling a palm tree, this plant has an exotic vibe and would look at home in a modern, tropical garden.
- Grow this tropical cactus as a focal plant in a decorative pot with drain holes.
L.A. at Home
I have a fast-growing, gravity-defying pitahaya, or dragon fruit plant. It's a cactus vine with triangular limbs that can put out successive flushes of blooms lasting only one night. If the flowers are fertilized, ripe fruit may appear in four weeks, theoretically.
Mine has yet to bear fruit. When I met Lincoln Heights gardener Anna Thai a few weeks ago, she also said her pitahaya has gotten flowers but no fruit at times. In the garden on the other side of her fence, however, the leggy limbs of her neighbor's pitahaya cascaded from the top like dreadlocks, scarlet fruit ripening on the ends.
“I don’t know why,” she says, somewhat wistfully, staring at the treasure next door. “It’s just one house away.”
Nurseries do have a trick to encourage fruiting, it turns out, but first some background: Dragon fruit got its name after the colonial French imported the low-maintenance, fast-growing plant from the Americas to Southeast Asia in the 1890s.
Beneath the thick, slightly rubbery husk is kiwi-like flesh that varies from acidic and sour to sweet. Some say the colorful cultivars, especially the pink-flesh variety from Nicaragua, are the best. For the lunar new year, the white-fleshed Vietnamese fruit is often placed on altars.
At the pitahaya experimental farm at the UC South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, small farm advisor Ramiro Lobo has about 500 dragon fruit plants on a half acre. He selected some varieties that are self-fertilizing and some that require cross pollination, looking for data on which of the 19 will fruit best in local conditions, under full sun and with no hand pollination. Lobo sees the first flush of blooms in April and says some varieties have fruit now.
At the seventh annual Pitahiya Festival in August, more than 100 enthusiasts came to Irvine for tastings and plants. The UC center often makes cuttings available to gardeners, and backyard growers sometimes report back on their success or failure, providing anecdotal information for Lobo’s growing database.
Now is the time to be making cuttings for propagation, he said. Cut at the lobe, ideally with 18 inches of the plant branch, or tube. Let this scar over for a week or so. Then plant it upright in a 50-50 mix of potting soil and perlite, and keep the mix damp but not wet. Lobo clips off the first new shoots that appear after potting, encouraging growth at the roots instead. Potting cuttings should be kept protected from sunburn and frost until transplanting in spring. A plant started now could have fruit a year after it goes into the ground.
Don’t expect to find a fruiting plant in a nursery. “Whenever we get a plant with fruit on it, the buyer gets it right away,” said Gilbert Guyenne, founder of Mimosa Nursery in East Los Angeles. “At Chinese New Year’s they will have a very high price.”
And that trick for getting more fruit? If you have a self-fertilizing variety, prevent pollen from getting blown away when the flower opens. Once the petals spread, wrap a rubber band around the top of the flower, trapping the pollen inside.
UPDATED: Follow-up post includes another source for pitahaya as well as pictures of the fruit in yellow.
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Dragon fruit covers a wall at Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca, the botanical garden in Oaxaca, Mexico.
How to Grow Dragon Fruit
Learn how to grow dragon fruit, one of the most peculiar looking fruits in the world! Can be grown in USDA zones 9 through 11, and with a soil pH of 6 to 7.
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is an exotic, tropical fruit you’ve most likely seen before in stores. The taste is similar to that of a kiwi, but a lot less subtle. The dragon fruit actually belongs to the cactus family and they have some of the biggest, most impressive flowers in the world. Dragon fruit is native to Central America and most often grown in tropical and sub tropical climates.
If you’ve never heard of dragon fruit, no worries – it actually has a slew of other names in goes by: Indonesia buah naga, Khmer sror kaa neak, Thai kaeo mangkon, nanettika fruit, Kaktus madu, Long guo, Cereus triangularis, Thanh long, Strawberry Pear, Cactus fruit, Night blooming Cereus, Belle of the Night, Jesus in the Cradle.
Because dragon fruit is part of the cactus plants family, it will love heat and full sun. Choose a spot that’s as dry and as sunny as can be. In hot climates, such as tropical or subtropical climates, place your dragon fruit plant in a semi-shaded area.
Because it’s a climbing cactus, it will need lots of support such as a fence, trellis, or climbing pole.
Choose well draining soil that is sandy and loamy. You can also make your own soil by mixing in half perlite and half peat, or just add a little bit of sand into your potting soil. The good news is that dragon fruit is very tolerant of poor soil, and even cactus oil will work well.
Water the plant as you would a cactus or succulent. This means moderate watering – it’s always best to give your dragon fruit less water than more water. Learn more about watering succulents.
If possible, try not to expose your dragon fruit plant to temperatures below 32F (0C), or temperatures above 100F (38C) – both of these extremes can be fatal to your plant.
Dragon fruit is a climbing cactus and will need support to climb. Therefore, it order to grow dragon fruit, you’ll need to plant it near a fence, build a trellis, or a climbing pole. In either case, it’s extremely important for your dragon fruit plant to be able to support itself.
Because it’s a sub tropical plant, dragon fruit loves warm weather and partial sun. If you live in a colder climate, you can still grow dragon fruit, but make sure you do so in pots, and never put it outside, especially if below 28F.
The flowers of the dragon fruit are some of the most unique and strange looking flowers in the world, not to mention some of the biggest! They can reach a diameter of up to 25cm and are about 30cm in length. The flowers themselves only open up for one night and give off a beautiful exotic and fruity scent.
Growing Dragon Fruit From Seed:
- Purchase a dragon fruit and cut it in half. Scoop out the black seeds and wash them off.
- Place the seeds on a moist paper towel and leave them overnight to dry.
- Fill a small germination tray or a small pot with well draining soil. You can also make your own dragon fruit soil by mixing one part peat with one part perlite. Alternatively, you can also use cactus soil.
- Sprinkle the seeds onto the surface of the soil and cover with a thin layer of the growing medium, barely covering the seeds.
- Moisten the soil with a spray bottle and cover with plastic wrap to keep moisture.
- The seed should germinate within 15-30 days. During this time, keep the soil moist.
- After they’ve germinated, remove the plastic wrap, and transplant to a bigger pot.
Growing & Managing Dragon Fruit in Pots:
- Dragon fruit grows well in pots, especially if you live in a cooler climate or don’t have a lot of growing space.
- Fruit growing in pots is fairly easy to care for, and dragon fruit plants are no exception.
- Growing dragon fruit in pots is easy because you can move the pot indoors once the weather cools and you can also control the amount of sun it receives.
- Remember that the dragon fruit plant or pitaya plant can only survive temperatures that are above 28F (-2C).
- Choose a pot that’s about once or two times bigger than the root ball of the dragon fruit. This will usually be a 5 gallon pot that’s 10-12 inches in depth. You will need to repot the plant every year as it grows.
- A mature dragon fruit tree will fit in a 25-30 gallon size pot.
How to Care for Dragon Fruit
How to Fertilize Dragon Fruit Plants:
During its growing season, fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer. If growing in a cooler climate, stop fertilizing in the winter. Side dress with aged manure or compost to keep moisture in.
How to Prune Dragon Fruit Plants:
You should prune dragon fruit plants on a regular basis to control size and improve air circulation. This will also help prevent fungal infections and diseases. If left to its own devices, the tree can grow up to 20 feet in height. Prune the tree annually by removing any dead stems as well as overgrowing stems.
Dragon Fruit Diseases and Pests:
Normally, there are no real pests or diseases that can seriously affect the dragon fruit, but do watch out for aphids. Aphids will usually be found feeding on young buds and shoots. Also, be careful when watering the dragon fruit plant, as over-watering can cause root rot as well as fruit rot.
How to Pollinate Dragon Fruit:
Most dragon fruit varieties are self pollinating, but there are a few varieties which do require cross-pollination, also known as hand pollination. If that is the case, you’ll need to grow two or more plants close to one another so they can cross-pollinate. Cross-pollination will usually occur at night since pollination depends on moths and bats. Make sure the soil is well draining, and always moist.
How Often to Water Dragon Fruit Plants
Dragon fruit trees do not need much water, much like their cousin, the cactus. Be sure to only water when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Once dry, water deeply and be sure that your pot has good drainage holes. Never let your dragon fruit plant sit in water as this can cause root rot. For a young plant, you may have to water every day or every other day. As the plant matures, this schedule may change. Watering dragon fruit depends on the climate, humidity, and age of the plant.
Harvesting Dragon Fruit:
- You can harvest dragon fruit once its skin color changes from bright green to red or pink.
- The fruit should be oval in shape and about 10-15 cm long.
- Fruits should be ready to harvest 30-50 days after flowering.
- In a regular growing climate, dragon fruit will grow from summer to late autumn, and even into winter.
- In temperate regions, you’ll be able to harvest dragon fruit between summer and early to mid autumn.
- The dragon fruit plant will start flowering in its first or second year after planting.
Growing in Pots
Growing the dragon fruit plant in pots is not that much different than growing them in the ground. In fact, it can be much easier, since the pots can be moved to accommodate the plant. In hotter climates for example, the plant may need more shade and therefore will need to be moved.
There are two ways you can grow dragon fruit in pots. The first way involves growing the plant from cuttings, and the second way is to plant seeds. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that growing dragon fruit from seed could take up to 6 years to produce fruits, whereas growing from cuttings will only take a year or two. Obviously, growing from cuttings is the most popular method, but it can also be quite difficult to achieve, especially for beginner gardeners.
Method #1: Growing From Cuttings
- Cut a 6-15 inch (12-38cm) stem from a plant (the parent plant) that is at least one year old. Make the cut at an angle for best results. Let the cut stem heal for about a week in a dry place.
- Choose a container that’s big enough to support the plant and ensure it has good drainage holes. The pot should be at least 20-24 inches deep and hold 25-30 gallons.
- Because dragon fruit is part of the cactus family, it prefers cactus soil, or well draining soil. The should should also be slightly acidic, with a pH of 6-7. Alternatively, you can make your own cactus soil at home by mixing in sand/perlite, organic manure, and compost, using the following ratio respectively: 2:3:1:1.
- Fill your pot with the correct soil, and water the soil well. Wait until the soil has absorbed all the water and is draining properly before planting.
- Dig a hole in the middle of the soil that’s at least 2-4 inches deep and place the cutting inside of it, packing the soil firmly around the stem.
- Follow the same care directions as above.
Method #2: Growing From Seeds
- Be sure to acquire good quality, preferably organic seeds from a reputable seller.
- Follow the same directions as above (for growing dragon fruit from seeds) and plant in a big pot with good drainage holes.
- Again, make sure the soil is suitable for this type of plant and that is is well watered.
Please note that growing dragon fruit can take several years to bear fruit, but in the meantime, you’ll have a stunning flowering cactus!
So now that you know how to grow dragon fruit, let’s get the planting!
Dragon Fruit Nutrition And Benefits
Dragon Fruit Nutrition
- vitamin C
- polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Vitamin B
Various Dragon Fruit Benefits
Dragon fruit is beneficial for healthy skin and hair.
Dragon Fruit Health Benefits
- Dragon fruit is help in Lowers Cholesterol
- Helps With Stomach Ailments
- Lowers Blood Sugar
- Improves Cardiovascular Health
- Cuts Low Hemoglobin Risk
- Helps In Weight Management
- Prevents Cancer
- Prevents Congenital Glaucoma
- Boosts Immunity
- Helps Suppress Arthritis Pain
- Dragon Fruit During Pregnancy
- Prevents Renal Bone Disease
- Stronger Teeth And Bones
- Is Good For Dengue Patients
- Repairs Body Cells
- Improves Appetite
- Improves Vision
- Boosts Brain Function
- Cures Respiratory Disorders
- Healthy Snack Option For Kids
Dragon Fruit Skin Benefits
- Fights Signs Of Aging
- Treats Acne
- Soothes Sunburned Skin
- Promotes Skin Health
- Provides Essential Moisture To Dry Skin
Dragon Fruit Hair Benefits
In local and international market these dragon fruits are very demanded. So, you can get the good returns from this dragon fruit cultivation. This all information that is required for any farmer or investor to grow the Dragon fruit.
I hope I have covered the all informative details for the dragon fruit farming. If you like this information then please gives your review in the comment box.