How to grow dragon fruit?

Are you looking for a truly amazing plant to be a centerpiece of your garden? Then, look no further than the dragon fruit, learn how to grow dragon fruit easily!

Also sometimes known as pitaya, pitahaya, strawberry pear, night-blooming cereus, the belle of the night, and even cactus fruit; dragon fruit is indigenous to Mexico, Central America, South America, and most importantly it’s among the fruits grown directly from special species of cacti.

Well-known for its deep pink and leathery skin, dragon fruit is unusual, nutritious, and showy with sweet sap inside highlighting bright white flesh and minute black seeds.

Not only dragon fruit trees will produce round, spiky, and nutritious fruit, but these quick-growing dragon perennial plants will add ornamental value to your garden landscape.

Best soiled in spring, dragon fruit trees take seven to eight years to bear fruit when grown from seeds and one to three years when grown from aerial cuttings.

Here’s everything you need to know about cultivating dragon fruit in gardens.

Also, see, Yellow Dragon Fruit and Exotic Asian Fruits To Try.

Dragon fruit plants with dragon fruits

What Is Dragon Fruit Plant?

The dragon fruit plant is a larger-than-life, creeping, and climbing cactus plant.

It grows tall: featuring chunky and succulent-like branches and produces bright pink or yellow and leathery skinned fruit containing inside bright whitish flesh with tiny shiny black seeds.

The fruit of the dragon fruit tree is luscious, heavy, and sweetmeat – heavenly for eating fresh, chopping up to add in various salads, or mixing for fruit juices or exotic ice creams.

Moreover, the dragon fruit cactus produces some of the biggest flowers in the world, “often called night-blooming cereus” which free themselves for only one night, adding eloquent distinctive tropical fragrance. See If Dogs Can Eat Dragon Fruit.

Types of dragon fruit trees:

Although there are several dragon fruit varieties, the following are the top three varieties of dragon fruit that are closed to the hearts of home gardeners:

Hylocereus costaricensis. This dragon fruit variety produces dragon fruit featuring vivid red skin and red or purple flesh.

Hylocereus undatus. The fruit of this variety is vivid red or pink-skinned with white flesh, and it’s the most common grown dragon fruit variety in the tropics.

Hylocereus megalanthus. If you’re looking for a dragon fruit tree that gives yellow skin and white flesh dragon fruit, opt for this.

How to grow dragon fruit in pots?

Many people get confused with whether they can grow dragon fruit plants indoors in pots or not.

Let me tell you: yes, you can grow dragon fruit plants indoors if your house has a special place that gets plenty of sunlight, such as a sunroom or large east-facing or west-facing window where the potted plant can get at least 06 to 08 hours of sunlight during the day.

Next, you’ll be doing manual pollination – with your hands. Outdoors, this job is performed by insects such as butterflies, bees, bats, etc.

Here’re some of the varieties of dragon fruit that are suitable for indoor gardening: ‘Edgar’s Baby’, ‘Alice’, ‘Seoul Kitchen’, ‘Yellow Dragon Fruit’, and ‘Zamorano’.

How to grow dragon fruit from seeds

Indoor Dragon Fruit Growing Guide:

  • Dragon fruit plants are sun-loving species. They need 06 to 08 hours of sunlight daily to produce flowers and fruits. To meet the sunlight demand, you can place the potted dragon plants at the west-facing window to capture morning sunlight rays and west-facing windows to capture sunlight rays during the evening. To ensure the plant is getting sunlight evenly, rotate the pot 180 degrees at regular intervals. 
  • If you can’t ensure 6 to 8 hours of sunlight supply year-round, you can mimic the sunlight conditions by implanting strong LED grow lights near the pots. Initially, place the LED grow lights 30 inches away, and as time passes, bring the LED grow lights near the pot. 
  • When growing indoors, always try to grow in locations where the room temperature doesn’t exceed the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark. The dragon fruit plant can’t bear too cold or freezing conditions. During winters, keep the pots away from windows. 
  • The dragon fruit cactus loves 30 to 50% indoor humidity percentage. You can test the humidity levels by using humidity tester tools. During the summer dry spells, use a room humidifier or sprinkle water by using a water mister over the plant leaves.
  • Regarding container size, you can surely opt for a five-gallon pot with a depth ranging from 10 to 12 inches.

how to grow dragon fruit from seeds

How to grow dragon fruit from seeds?

Growing dragon fruit plant from seeds is one of the tricky, conventional, and direct approaches. 

You can grow dragon plants from tiny black seeds by buying a dragon fruit from your local fruit market and planting its seeds into the soil. But remember, dragon fruit plants grown from tiny black seeds take five to seven years – sometimes even more than that – to bear fruits. 

  • Preparing the soil bed: Plants of dragon fruit are sun-loving species. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of daylight. About the soil, prepare a soft, organically rich, and well-draining soil. 
  • Getting the dragon fruit seeds: Purchase a big and vibrant dragon fruit from the fruit market and slice it in half. Next, scoop out all the shiny tiny black seeds. Clean the seeds from the flesh by washing them with tap water and placing them on the paper towel or any other soft dry place for at least 12 hours. 
  • How to plant dragon fruit seeds? As of now, the tiny black seeds have dried and it’s the perfect time to sow them in the garden soil. Sprinkle the seeds evenly on the already prepared soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. Remember, the seeds of dragon fruit don’t need to be covered with a thick layer of soil. 
  • Watering: Dragon fruit cactus is different from other cactus plants. They need sufficient moisture levels to sustain themselves; therefore, it’s crucial to add enough moisture during the initial growth stages. However, as the plant matures, it develops a certain level of water tolerance. But, to obtain a healthy, optimal blooming, and best fruiting dragon plant, it’s very imperative to add sufficient water. 
  • Thinning and pruning: Thinning and pruning give each dragon fruit cactus room to grow and space to breathe. As the plant matures, obtains sufficient space and height, prune the extra shoots, and remove the off-performing plants. 

dragon fruit cuttings with shears

How to grow dragon fruit from cuttings?

Growing dragon fruit from seeds is freaking hard. It takes a lot of time to bear flowers and fruits. If you want a quick turnaround with regard to fruiting, grow dragon fruit plants from cuttings. 

To grow dragon fruit cuttings, follow the below-mentioned steps:

  • Selecting the garden space: Select a sunny spot in your garden. Ensure the opted spot is getting at least 06 hours of sunlight year-round. 
  • Prune healthy axial shoots from a mature dragon fruit plant. Using garden pruners or shears, meticulously cut a 12-to-14-inch-long branch (s) from an already existing healthy mature dragon fruit plant. It’s best not to cut the mature plant too harshly. Doing so will stunt its growth and development. Good news, you got what you were looking for: dragon fruit cuttings. 
  • Slice the big, pruned branch(s) into smaller branches. Using a knife, chop each dragon fruit cuttings into three to five pieces. Each of these components has the ability to produce a new dragon fruit plant. Make a mental note of which way is “up” for each cutting; you’ll need to plant them upright to let them to grow properly. If you want to help avoid illness, brush some fungicide onto each cutting, but it’s not necessary.
  • Allow the cuttings to heal for some time. Allow the dragon fruit cuttings to recover around the edges by storing them in a warm, dry location. They’re ready when the tops of the cuttings become white, which might take anywhere from two days to a week.
  • Time to transplant the cuttings: To keep dragon fruit cuttings stable and upright, place the base one inch or two beneath the dirt and squeeze the soil around it. Make sure the cutting is planted in the same direction as the original branch—the end closest to the base of the original dragon fruit plant should be planted in the soil, and the end closest to the tip of the original branch should be sticking out of the soil surface.
  • Watering: Keep the soil moist by watering the soil surface. Don’t let the soil turn dry. Dragon fruit cuttings need moist soil conditions to thrive at a faster pace. 
  • Transplanting: If you’re growing your cuttings indoors, as they become larger, move them to larger pots or a garden bed that has the right environment.

planting dragon fruit in pot

Dragon fruit cactus care and management:

Growing your own dragon fruit cactus in home gardens is true bliss. To grow these trees, your garden must be in a warm and sunny location featuring ample space.

Dragon fruit trees are heavy cactuses – with a spreading habit and elongated stems. 

 Before planting dragon fruit cuttings or tiny black seeds, ensure you’re planning to grow these cuttings or seeds far enough away from your home sweet home, electrical lines, and other dangerous objects the tress could interact with in the future course. 

Sunlight: Dragon fruit plants are sun-loving creatures. They love and adore growing in warm weather with an ample supply of bright sunlight. But, during extremely hot and dry weather conditions, bright sunlight rays could harm the harm. If you’re located in a region where the average temperature exceeds 100 degrees F, it’s best to grow dragon fruit cactus in a partial shade location. On the flip side, try not to grow these sun-loving species in the extreme shade. This would negatively affect the dragon fruit mass production and plant overall health. 

Soil: Soil is home to all plant species. Regarding dragon fruit plants, they aren’t terribly picky when it comes to soil pH and soil type. They are naturally adapted to a wide array of soils. But a soil that is rich in organic matter, moist, and well-draining will double the plant growth, development, and fruit production. Veteran dragon fruit growers recommend mulching around the base of each plant during dormant seasons – autumn and winter – to protect plants’ roots from extreme weather conditions and drier times to preserve more moisture for a long period of time. 

Remember: A cozy home for dragon fruit seeds or cuttings will guarantee a healthy plant. 

Watering: Water is the lifeline of every living species on the planet Earth! Watering the dragon fruit cactus is crucial during the growing and reproductive seasons – spring and summer. Though dragon fruit plants possess some level of water tolerance, it’s mandatory to water the plant from the start of the flowering season to the end of the fruiting season to harvest a good fruit yield. However, it’s also important to avoid overwatering as it causes root rot and other fungal and bacterial diseases. To confirm a prolific flowering during the spring, consider maintaining a necessary dry spell during autumn and winters. 

Humidity and temperature: Dragon fruit plants are highly picky when it comes to specific places. They aren’t suitable for every garden. Naturally, they are adapted to tropical regions of the world. So, they don’t perform productively in areas that experience cold and freezing temperatures. If you hold a garden that gets 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, congrats you’re good to go. 

  • Fertilizers: Dragon fruit plants are heavy feeders especially during their initial growth stages and during flowering and fruiting seasons. Therefore, it’s crucial to add balanced 20-20-20 NPK fertilizers every couple of months during their first two years. However, once the plant establishes, the plant is good to go with a few annual fertilizer applications. 

potted dragon fruit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to grow dragon fruit?

When grown from seeds, the dragon fruit plant takes at least five years to bear its first fruit. On the other hand, growing dragon fruit cactus from cuttings only take one to two years to produce its first fruit. The best thing is, once the plant establishes itself, you can see four to five fruiting cycles per year. Moreover, they can bear fruit for more than 30 years.

Does dragon fruit need a lot of water?

The simple answer is yes.

Dragon fruit needs a lot of water during growing, flowering, and fruiting seasons. Although, the plant itself is drought tolerant and can survive dry spells, keeping the soil moist can yield good results.

However, the dragon fruit tree doesn’t need too much watering during autumn and winter.

How do you start dragon fruit seeds?

To start growing dragon fruit seed, pick a large ripen dragon fruit from your local market. Slice the dragon fruit into two equal parts and scoop out the tiny black seeds with the help of a spoon. Next, wash the seeds with water and place them in a dry space for at least 12 hours.

After drying them, sow the tiny black seeds in a sunny spot.

How to support dragon fruit plants?

Dragon fruit plants are highly active cactuses. They grow and thrive at a tremendous rate.

When they touch the mark of 12 inches height, it’s very important to support the whole plant structure with a supporting skeleton.

As dragon fruit plants are creeping and climbing cacti, use a wood stake or trellis to support the entire plant.

Other Related Articles

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  2. Easy Fruits And Vegetables To Grow
  3. Fruits That Start With D
  4. The Benefits Of Organic Farming: A Comprehensive Guide

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  1. Hello, I really liked your article and have a question that I can’t seem to find an answer to anywhere.
    I bought a couple small dragon fruit plants from my local Krogers. They both have well over 30/40 stems growing in the pots. I transplanted both plants to larger pots for future growth and they seem to be growing well, but not at the average of 1 inch a day that I’ve seen online.
    Could the reason of shorter growth be because of the amount of stems in each pot? Do I need to separate the stems and if so, when do I do that?
    Thanks in advance,

    1. 30 -40 stems in a pot does seem like an awful lot of crowding. I suspect that growth of an inch a day is for big healthy plants growing under ideal conditions in the tropics. Potted plants, especially if they’re crowded, could be expected to grow more slowly. You could make a call to the IFAS office for Dade County, Florida – they have lots of info about growing dragonfruit.

  2. This is an excellent article. I like dragon fruit so much that I purchased seven cuttings in red, white, and purple. They are so expensive at the store that I thought it would be great to grow my own. I haven’t had great luck with cuttings so I didn’t think they would all survive. Well, I was wrong, they have all survived which is awesome. However, they are sprouting very long vines that I didn’t expect. I didn’t do my research in how big they were going to grow. I live in an apt and I’m beginning to panic. I’ve begun spreading the word to friends who may like to have one of them. I’m also going to visit garden shops to see if they would like any. Thank you for all the information you gave on how to take care of them. I realize I’m going to be giving away a lot of them once they mature. Do they freeze well? It would be great to eat them in Autumn and Winter. I live in Massachusetts so we have a cold winter. I’ll be prepared thanks to your information. Thank you and have a blessed day!

    1. Betty, yes they are very expensive, that’s the reason why I decided to grow my own as well. Only problem is they don’t do well in the cold. Yes sharing the cuttings will help because they can grow at great lengths.

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