Dragon Fruit Plant: Strange But Delicious

Ed Wike
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Quick Care Guide

Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit with a brilliant red skin and fruit pulp that ranges from pink to deep red. The inner flesh is white and resembles the texture of kiwi fruit while the skin is slightly rubbery but easily peeled with a knife or your fingers. A ripe dragon fruit will have a slight sweet smell to it that is very refreshing. Despite the effort you need to care for a dragon fruit in your home, the fruit itself is not only pleasant to look at but to eat as well. But before you serve dragon fruit at your next dinner party or birthday party, here are a few tips on how to take care of it.

All About Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit is an exotic, tropical fruit that's known for its midnight-blue skin and white, creamy flesh. It's not related to dragon fruit in any way, which is also known as pitahaya. Instead, it's native to Central and South America, where they use the fruit in drinks and desserts.

The name "dragon fruit" may leave some wondering why it was given such a bizarre name. The reason is that the fruit's skin looks just like the skin of a dragon. How cool is that?

The fruit is fairly easy to grow at home. Its main requirement is a sunny spot near a window. The plant is hardy and capable of growing outdoors in the summer.

What is the dragon fruit plant?

Dragon fruit is actually a cactus, which are well known for their ability to grow in the dry and hot climates of the Americas. The tropical fruit is actually called pitahaya. Many people do not know that while pitahaya is a part of the genus Hylocereus, there are a number of different fruit types within that genus.

Dragon fruit is a fruit that is primarily found in Mexico, Guatemala and Thailand. Today, the fruit is becoming more well known because of its health benefits and its flavor.

Dragon fruit benefits?

Types Of Dragon Fruit

When you hear the name dragon fruit, you probably think of the bright lilac flesh of the dragon fruit. It is sweet and juicy. But actually most of the dragon fruit plant is green. You will find many unexpected colors on the plant and especially its leaves.

There are three kinds of dragon fruits in the markets:

White Dragon Fruit

White dragon fruit has a white/pink flesh. The top look is the same as the red one. White flesh is less sweet and less juicy than the red one. Although it has white flesh, the inside of the fruit looks red.

Red Dragon Fruit

Red dragon fruit is found in Mexico and South East Asia. The plant has short, thorns, strong-smelling leaves. It branches out. The fruit is big. It is bright purple when it’s ripe. The flesh is white, red, or purple, depending on the variety. It is unlike the white dragon fruit is less sweet and less juicy than the red one.

Yellow Fleshed Dragon Fruit

Yellow-fleshed dragon fruits are native to South-East Asia. It has yellow flesh that is less sweet and less juicy than the red one. The fruit is big and resembles an inverted cone. It’s originally had black seeds, but now some varieties have white seeds.

Care

Dragon fruit, or pitaya, is a strange but tasty fruit native to the tropics of Central and South America. The fruit can be eaten raw and is typically seedless. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It also makes a refreshing, milky juice, which is dark red and not very sweet.

Pitayas are grown in a tropical climate. Pitayas like warm weather, and they will grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 7b through 11. The pitaya plant is an epiphyte, which means it grows in trees. The plant sticks its roots into the tree's branches.

The type of dragon fruit you get depends on the varieties you grow. Your choices include white-fleshed pitayas, red-fleshed pitayas and the most common dragon fruit, the green pitaya. White dragon fruits have a spiky shell that helps protect the fruit inside. The green pitaya is smooth on the outside.

To grow dragon fruit, you need a warm climate, although the dragon fruit plant grows fastest when it is young. Mature dragon fruit plants grow more slowly.

The plant grows to be 4 to 8 feet tall, according to a 2009 article in the Journal of Food Science.

Sun and Temperature

Dragon fruit is a popular tropical fruit that comes in both red and yellow. It is known for its strange appearance and unique flesh. The outer skin has a dragon scale look, which is where it gets its name. The flesh is bright pink and has an apple-like texture. This is a medium sized fruit with a typical weight of 200 to 250 grams. The skin may be inedible, depending on the variety.

Water and Humidity

As with most tropical plants, dragon fruit require high humidity, lots of water and plenty of sunlight. The plant’s importance as a tropical plant can be seen in its temperature and humidity requirements, as for one to survive both temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius and temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius must not be brought about.

Watering and Humidity: The fruit of the dragon fruit is great for ornamental purposes, but are quite delicious to eat. The growing of this exotic fruit requires the proper humidity. In fact malnourishment will occur if the humidity is not balanced. Make sure to water the plant daily and place its pot in a tray to hold water and keep the plant moist. To help create humidity in the air, place the pot near a running fan or humidifier.

Location: In order to get proper growth your plant will need to be placed in a warm, sunny location. Try to keep it away from air conditioning units which tend to dry out an area.

Type of Soil: Dragon fruit is an acidic plant and does not thrive in alkaline soil. Therefore, the soil should have some peat moss mixed in with it.

Soil

Dragon fruits require moist soil to thrive. You cannot grow dragon fruits on dry land; the plants simply cannot grow and survive under these conditions. However, feeding the plants with non-bitter fertilizer solution every 2 to 3 weeks is extremely important. Feeding them at these intervals will ensure that the plant is healthy and has a good yield.

The soil for dragon fruit has to be prepared and treated in particular ways to keep the fruits from turning out soft and tasteless. The soil has to remain hot. That makes watering very important. Add dry nuggets to the soil to help increase the pH level and to neutralize the soil. The side dressing of the nuggets will also help kill the nematodes in the soil. Also, the solution can help increase the water retention in the soil and helps you grow dragon fruits when you are away from home for several days.

When growing dragon fruits, the soil has to be rich in nutrients and maintain an optimum pH level. To maintain the constant pH level, add coffee grounds to the soil. Coffee grounds are important to keep the soil in a more acidic, phosphate form. They are also good at preventing soil erosion.

Choosing a Good Planting Site:

Fertilizing

Dragon fruit plants are tropical plants that are rich in vitamins and minerals. It produces apple-sized and burgundy-colored fruit with white flesh, and it has large leaves. Their flowers grow in small clusters.

Dragon fruit plants are heavy feeders, so it’s important to fertilize them often. Because they’re so heavy feeders, it’s easy to over-fertilize them. This can lead to root burn, stunted growth, or the death of the dragon fruit plant.

The best way to fertilize them is once a month. Use a balanced fertilizer for healthy growth. Don’t use straight nitrogen or only phosphorus. It’s also easy to over-fertilize if you use the wrong measure. Fertilizing with frozen fish fertilizer is a good idea because the fertilizer packets are small enough to use one packet on a dragon fruit plant every few weeks.

In addition to fertilizer, be sure to give your dragon fruit lots of water. It needs at least an inch of water a week to thrive.

Pruning

Pruning depends on the variety of dragon fruit plant you grow. If you haven’t purchased your plant yet and are still deciding, look at a local nursery or online to find out which varieties are best suited to your area.

  • Passiflora edulis ” also called "edible pincushion" ” is the most common variety of dragon fruit. It is an annual vine, which can be used to cover fences and arbors.
  • Passiflora coerulea is the blue fruit variety and is commonly used to grow 2.5-3.5 meters (8 to 12 feet) high
  • The red fruit variety is a little lower growing and more suitable for container growing.

When pruning, first remove any damaged or diseased plant parts.

You can remove blossoms, a fruit, the plant's stem or branches for shape. Pruning will also improve fruit production and maintain plant health.

Pruning can help to train the plant to grow vertically and thus avoid the need for staking. But you might want to stake plants if the branch is crooked or if you want a bushier plant.

Training

The dragon fruit plant, more commonly referred to as pitaya, is a unique house plant. If you're looking for something new to liven up your living space, this is it.

It is a tropical plant that requires care when you grow it indoors. The dragon fruit plant is also known as pitaya, pitahaya, durian de maracuya, margarita, and strawberry pear. It is a cactus relative that grows on a viny stem in an upright and slightly irregular manner, with white, pink, or yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds. Its leaves are soft to touch and are long and tapered with sharp, spiny edges. Pitaya is a good houseplant, as it is very tolerant of high light levels indoors.

The dragon fruit plant is an excellent choice for people in tropical areas who want to grow their own exotic flowers and enjoy the beauty of nature. It is a perennial herbaceous plant that looks like a large cactus due to the glossy green, oval- to heart-shaped leaves that are shiny and stiff. They have a rough texture and a glossy finish with spiny edges. The stem can be as long as three feet tall with some variegated pink or white stripes. The flowers are white or pink in color, and they have red or pink tips. It is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10A through 11a.

Propagation

Planting and Growing Dragon Fruit Trees.

For many years, the only way to get dragon fruit was to grow it yourself, starting with a cutting from another plant. But today, while there are still no commercially-grown U.S.-grown dragon fruit in the stores, you can go online and purchase the fruit from growers in South and Central America.

The plant grows in a shrub-like shape, with a smoothed trunk and large, purplish leaves. Flowers are white and pinkish-red, and the fruit is a flattened, orange ball with small white bumps that give it the dragon fruit look. To keep it properly watered during growth, you can build a support for the fruit when the vine reaches about 20 feet.

Most of your time will be spent worrying about bugs, especially the mealy bug that might damage the dragon fruit at blossoming time. For your dragon fruit to bear fruit in the future, you need to buy a grafted plant or a rootstock. Make sure you select one that is resistant to nematodes and fungal diseases. These can be bought online from various sources. If you have a strong constitution, you can start from scratch with a cutting from another dragon fruit plant.

Pollination & Fruiting

Dragon fruit is considered a fruit, though it’s technically an elongated fruit, with a flesh that is white, crisp, juicy, and slightly grainy. The flesh has a mild taste that is slightly similar to kiwi. At most, dragon fruit can grow to about two and a half feet in length. The outside is thick, tough, and purple or pink. Inside, the flesh is white with rainbow color swirls throughout.

Typically, a dragon fruit plant requires about eight months to produce fruit. While dragon fruit plants are generally grown on their own, there are some cultivars such as Fiyu, that need to be pollinated by a different plant. Other cultivars are generally self-pollinating.

Once a dragon fruit plant has produced fruit, you can pollinate it again by taking a green fruit and gently rubbing the pollen from the inside of its own male flower with the pollen of a female flower. You can tell if the fruit is ready to be pollinated when it turns from green to pale pink.

Harvesting and Storing

The dragon fruit is harvested primarily in the summer because that’s when the fruit is mature, and it’s best to have a warm, dry climate for them. If you live in a tropical or subtropical area where they can easily grow, they can be grown successfully year-round. Once harvested, they are usually eaten whole, often with a spoon, as this allows you to get at the tender, flavorful, pink-toned flesh inside the translucent, pinkish-white shell.

Are Dragon Fruits Edible?

The answer is, “Yes, dragon fruit is edible.” It’s rich in vitamins and has many health benefits. It’s very popular in Asia, but it’s also growing in popularity in North America as a healthy snack or fruit. Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that belongs to the cactus family. It has flowers that resemble that of an orchid and its fruit is has a bright pink or orange exterior with white flesh.

Harvesting

The dragon fruit also known as pitaya is a delicious tropical fruit that is found in the warmer climates of Mexico, Central and South America. The pitaya plant is a cactus and belongs to the genus of Bromelia.

The dragon fruit plant is actually an aggregate plant where many stems grow from the main root and they can produce up to twenty young plants. In its natural habitat the dragon fruit plant can reach the height of eight feet.

The plant usually produces colorful red flowers followed by a fruit that has bright red scales and white flesh. The dragon fruit plant can grow in poor sandy soils and requires minimum maintenance.

In its natural habitat the dragon fruit plant can grow in poor sandy soils and requires minimum maintenance. This plant can be cultivated in almost any type of container and it is a very suitable plant for container gardening.

The dragon fruit is rich in fiber, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and iron. In addition to the healthy ingredients the dragon fruit is also full of antioxidants.

The dragon fruit plant can be used in landscaping especially in the gardens of tropical countries. The plant is very popular and is largely exported to Europe and North America.

Storing

Depending on what the food is, take note of the expiration date on the package. For instance, you cannot store lettuce or spinach for very long after you buy them. They will spoil quickly and become unusable. So you should use these foods immediately or throw them out.

Most dried foods have a shelf life of five years or more. When you store rice, pasta, or dried fruits, generally keep the stuff in airtight containers. This is to keep out pests, reduce moisture, and microbes such as molds and bacteria.

Do an experiment. Check your dried goods every 30 days and take note of how fresh it is. Check the expiration dates and see if any product is past its prime.

Always throw out these products no matter what.

Troubleshooting

When a plant dies – or it might be due to a pest or disease – the danger is not only that it may infect other plants you have in your house, but it’s also unsightly. The one solution to avoid these issues is to learn how to take out the plant and plant it again. Use the right type of soil and look after the plant properly. With the proper fertilization and watering, it may just be possible to revive it.

Growing Problems

The dragon fruit plant (Hylocereus undatus) can grow 6 feet tall and requires very little maintenance to grow indoors. The macronutrients for dragon fruit are nitrogen and phosphorous. Since they are both extremely abundant in the earth, they are easy to find and are not commonly an issue. Macronutrients are readily available, and if you have a healthy, nutrient-rich soil and a lot of organic material, the dragon fruit plant may not need to be supplemented.

It’s important to note that dragon fruit love sunlight. Without extra sunlight, the plant will have fewer fruits because they won’t develop properly. The dragon fruit plant is resistant to waves and floods, but it’s not resistant to less-natural situations. If you have pets or small children, use caution with your dragon fruit plant. It doesn’t hurt to move your dragon fruit plant into a safer place when it’s not in season.

If you want to ensure your dragon fruit plant’s success, you may need to do some work. No matter how good the dragon fruit plant’s structure is, the dragon fruit won’t develop without light. Luckily, there are some easy solutions.

You can simply move them to a place with additional sunlight.

Pests

Dragon fruit plants (or pitaya) are palm-sized, about a foot or so tall. The fruits are about the size of an apple and have an orange to red flesh that's kind of like a kiwi. The texture is similar.

Dragon fruit plants have been popular as ornamental fruit trees for more than 50 years, although they are fairly new to most US gardeners. The fruits themselves didn’t become widely available until the mid-2000s. Today, you can find them at supermarkets and farmers’ markets, as well as at tropical fruit shops.

The fruits are delicious, but this plant is subject to a lot of pests.

One of the problems with this plant involves ants. When you first buy your pitaya, look at the base of the leaves. This area is often where ants like to nest.

Many people like to place a grid of sorts over the top of the plant to keep the ant problem at bay. This grid should be at least three inches above the leaves to keep out ants and many fruit flies. If you use a grid, it’s important to make sure that you roll it up when you water your plant, or you’ll end up with water damage to the leaves.

Diseases

The most common dragon fruit disease is caused by entomopathogenic nematodes. This seems to be a problem only in the warmer, more humid climate of the tropics. Nematodes are tiny worm-like parasites that cause damage to dragon fruit by eating their roots. Cases of the entomopathogenic nematodes usually occur in potted plants, but you can treat them with a product called Nemex. The most common predator of dragon fruit is spider mites. If you notice fine webs around the edges of leaves this shows the presence of spider mites. It is best to treat this immediately because if left untreated spider mites can completely defoliate your dragon fruit plant.

The best way to prevent all these problems (as well as overheating, which can be a big problem when growing dragon fruit indoors) is to use a high-quality, well-drained potting soil combined with plenty of drainage pebbles and maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Dragon Fruit Plants Tropical?

Dragon fruit plants are actually subtropical. They aren’t native to tropical regions. Therefore, these plants are grown in gardens in regions that are close to the equator, but not directly in it.

Are all Dragon Fruit Plants the Same?

The fruit of this plant is not the same. The fruit sizes can vary, and the color can also differ. Most dragon fruit plants are small which means that even if they start producing fruits early, they can only yield a few fruits. When you see beautiful fruit in the supermarket, it is most likely hybrids. The dragon fruit plant that you’ll grow in your backyard can be a combination of a few varieties.

Will Dragon Fruit Plants Tolerate My Region?

Growing these exotic plants is not easy as they are not hardy and will not tolerate low temperatures well. So, if you live in the United States, you should know that it will need a constant temperature between 55 and 75 degrees in order to survive. Heat and nighttime temperatures of over 65 degrees are just right for this plant. If you live in Canada, keep in mind that you cannot grow it outdoors between September and June.

Where Can I Find Dragon Fruit Plants for Sale?