Dragon fruit (pitaya)

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    This video interview gives an excellent insight into growing dragon fruit (Pitaya) by an expert dragon fruit grower and it's definitely worth watching the full 20 minutes if you are into growing this wonderful cactus climbing fruit like I am!

     
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  2. ken

    ken Member

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    [QUIFor anyone who thinks that the dragon fruit is bland
    Cut it in half, put some slits in the flesh and squeeze some lime juice into it
    It's fantasticOTE="Mark, post: 131, member: 1"]Very true Benn, I reckon dragon fruit are underrated personally. Some think they taste bland but I totally love the fruit and taste.[/QUOTE]
     
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  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    [/QUOTE]
    That's a top idea and I've never tried it even though we have a huge lime tree with lots of limes! I'll give it a go.

    Personally, I do love the taste (especially the yellow variety) just cool it down in the fridge and they are great!
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    We took some dragon fruit on holiday with us (yellow variety) absolutely wonderful cold straight from the fridge.

    This season the vines aren't growing too well but the fruit is awesome and very large for a yellow... I've hit the plants with some trace elements to hopefully give them a boost.

    dragon fruit on holiday.jpg

    dragon fruit on holiday in half yellow variety.jpg
     
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  5. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ok, I'm just a few years behind you guys, but I was inspired to germinate my own DF...I love the fruit but had only ever seen them grown over a fence, which looked pretty ugly I have to say! Quite like the idea of growing 3-4 plants up a sturdy post though. I had hoped to grow them in a pot, as being a cactus, I'm guessing they don't need too much in the way of soil, but now I think about it, they'll get too top-heavy, and the post won't have enough soil to stand up in.
    So now I'm wondering whether a metal post, with a plate at the base (like an umbrella stand - the plate goes under the soil in the pot) and a ring at the top might work...
    Any better ideas for growing them in a pot? (I'm talking about a large pot here...600x600x600mm)
     

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  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Great germination! I'm doing the same atm and got about 10 seeds to germinate on paper towel not as good as yours. I'll be potting mine up in seedling raising mix soon.

    I know you are wanting to grow your vines in pots but check out my recent article/video on making a dragon fruit trellis.

    Pitaya do grow well in pots, however, they are probably better in ground because I found they tend to dry out too much and don't fruit as well. Even though Dragon fruit is a cactus and can survive low water or bad conditions they actually prefer lots of water and a good feed. I suppose given the right care the plants should do well for you in large pots.

    600mm is a big pot. I'd say your stand with the buried base would work nicely. Apart from using a cage structure or something (like how you grow a tomato) I can't think of another way.

    I've considered doing an experiment by growing a df in a pot that was raised and instead of climbing let it cascade over the edge and down. I'm kind of doing this now with a plant I grew from a cutting the pot isn't raised though, but the plant is branching out and over the sides plus flowering! I was wondering how it would go on a stand about a metre off the ground...
     
  7. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hmmm that's an interesting idea...do you think a tall pot like this one might work for the cascading effect?
    It's maybe 900mm tall - and you could probably add a similar trellis to the one I'm using with the bougainvillea if you thought it would carry the weight....would mainly be to give the DF a little more height before bending back on itself. Unnecessary?
     

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  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes I think a tall pot like that would probably work but I'd train it up something a few feet high before leaving it naturally hang down just the give the limbs a bit more growing length.

    Here's the pot experiment I mentioned a few posts above - I managed to find a spot for it.
    I have it secured by a galvanised band attached over the top of the pot to the stump, which is about a metre or more high, so all up the dragon fruit vine is probably around 5-6 feet off the ground. The plant is growing in a mix of garden soil and premium potting mix.

    The aim obviously is to not have to train it up anything but to let it grow down. This plant was started from one 6 inch cutting. I'll have to keep it well watered and fed for it to do as well as an in-ground plant but we'll see how it goes over the next 6 months or so...

    dragon fruit in pot on stump for height.jpg
     
  9. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    Here's another method, this lady has about 8 videos up but this is how she builds her frames. She is in Australia too.




    12 months later... and some cultivation growing tips.

     
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  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nice dragon fruit set up. There's plenty of ways to grow them it seems :)
     
  11. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yup. And she has plenty of growing tips in the comments too. :)
     
  12. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for posting that Director...very informative (love her little dog that just wants to be in her husband's face all the time!) looks like it'll be a few years before my poor little seedlings will produce anything.
     
  13. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hey Mark, how are your DF seedlings going?
    I expected to lose quite a few, but it seems they're all quite happy, and now very overcrowded. I've popped them in my greenhouse and will plant out the strongest (always feel bad about wasting seedlings, but I reckon 80-90 DFs is a little too much!) not sure why they germinated so well - I suspect at least 90% or more grew...maybe it's the magical Viva paper towel - really does hold more water than the other brands ;)
     
  14. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Well, that might be kind of true actually... because I used cheap paper towel and my germination rate wasn't great LOL

    Anyway, I've potted mine up and have them in my mini-seedling area. Not a very good pic.

    Dragon fruit seedlings germinated from seed 600.jpg

    I kept about 7 or 8 but not sure whether I really need that many if they all make it I might have to give some away.
     
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  15. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    Yaaayyyy! :yahoo:

    Last years cuttings which did nothing seem to be responding to the extra food/water. Plus now that I know a bit more I can see where the bunnies nibbled off all the new growth points last year, I have them protected this year. Two out of the three cuttings now have new growth on them, PLUS the new cutting I got recently seem to be going OK as well....I shall be the dragon fruit king of Toowoomba in no time!
     
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  16. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    :cheers: Great to hear! Those pesky rabbits - who would have thought they'd even munch on a cactus...
     
  17. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I now have my seedlings in the glass house in pots....they seemed to nothing after I moved them from the paper towel - but this morning I noticed that heaps of them are starting to get the first signs of cactus like growth - tiny little spiky tufts growing apically! Very cool.
    I did notice that Bunnings is now selling them, and I kinda thought to myself..."why on earth am I waiting so long to get DF from seed", but then again, for me that's a large part of the pleasure of gardening.
     
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  18. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    image.jpg
    Tada! Sorry about the quality of the shot...I have an old iPhone 4s and an even older iPad, so the camera res is just too crappy for macro pics. But I guess you can get the idea of the little tuft of prickles in the centre. Just a few more years, and it may actually bear fruit! :)
     
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  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    You couldn't have put it better :twothumbsup:

    Mine are also transferred to pots in my seedling area - they seem to be happy enough, similar to yours.
     
  20. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Man, these little fellas grow slow! My biggest one us still only about 1cm long. How're yours growing Mark?
     
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