Fruit of the dragon, Hylocereus undatus (Pitaya blanca)
A new year means looking for unusual and novel plants. Embarrassingly, it was when my son ordered a beautiful magenta-hued Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher from Starbucks that I first learned about this plant. When I took a sip of the chilled beverage, I discovered that it was naturally sweet and tropical, but I was particularly taken with the hue the pink-skinned dragon fruit pieces had given it. I started to wonder right away if I could grow this fruit. Following some basic research, I discovered that this plant is a species of tree in the cactus family, is a climber, provides you with footlong fragrant blossoms and nourishing delicious tropical fruit, and that the skin is actually neon pink. I gave in.
The dragon fruit, which is native to South America and warm, humid climates and is grown in tropical and subtropical areas, is also referred to as cactus fruit, strawberry pear, Belle of the night, and moonlight cactus. You would be correct to assume that anything might occur at night based on the common names. Each huge, fragrant white blossom blooms from July through October for just one night before withering by daylight. The “dragon” in the name relates to the creature’s leathery skin and scaly spikes, which would make someone hesitant to eat it. But of course you can—slightly it’s sweet, with small, crunchy black seeds reminiscent of kiwis, and is very healthy. This fruit from the tropics is rich in vitamin C.
As a true tropical plant, dragon fruit requires temperatures of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with an ideal range of 60 to 80 degrees F. Dragon fruit may be able to survive outside all year in USDA zones 9 through 11. If you reside outside of those mild climates, however, this plant is ideal for a container so that you can bring the plant and pot inside when the cold weather arrives. Just keep in mind that a dragon fruit tree requires a sizable pot, so you might want to think about getting a dolly or putting your pot on wheels.
While more plants will improve the quantity of your crop, technically only one dragon fruit plant is required to yield fruit because it is self-fertile. Additionally, you can grow this plant by saving the seeds from the fruit. Cut the fruit in half, remove the seeds, and then wash the seeds to separate them from the flesh to do this. Place the seeds in potting soil, but not too deeply, after drying them overnight. Wait 10 to 15 days for the seeds to germinate after moistening the soil, covering it with plastic wrap, and maintaining soil moisture. The seedlings can be carefully moved to a little bigger pot after they have sprouted.If you’re fortunate enough to have a friend who has a mother plant, you can respectfully request to take a cutting from them. After doing this, allow the end to air dry for a few days. When the portion is dry, plant it two inches deep into the ground, keeping the ground damp but not wet. Ideally, you’ll notice new growth in three to four weeks. However, keep in mind that it can take your plant several years to bear fruit.
Include dragon fruit in fruit smoothies and salads. The texture is like a kiwi, and the flavour is like melon blended with a pear. Slice a dragon fruit in half, then remove the skin or scoop out the meat to consume.
Because this fruit doesn’t continue to ripen off the plant like strawberries do, it should only be picked when the skin is flaming pink.
This exotic-looking plant, whose trunk resembles a palm tree, would go in well in a contemporary tropical garden.
Grow this tropical cactus in a beautiful pot with drain holes as a feature plant.
Maintain Life :
Planting dragon fruit in a location with direct sunshine or one that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day will enable it to bear fruit. Make sure your plant is placed indoors in a warm, sunny area.
Dragon fruit prefers somewhat damp soil, unlike the majority of cacti.
If you’re planting your dragon fruit in the ground, make sure the soil is sandy and slightly acidic and that it has quick drainage.
As a vining cactus that wants to climb, dragon fruit. It can clamber 5 to 10 feet, so add a stake or trellis for support. Additionally, ensure that your support system is very strong because the plant may get overburdened with fruit.
During the summer growing season, this plant benefits from a low-nitrogen cactus fertiliser every other month; once winter arrives, halt the feedings.
Watch out for larger animals that enjoy the fruit, such as bats and birds, as well as smaller intruders like bats and mealybugs.