Dragon fruit (pitaya)

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

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have just finished writing a post about dragon fruit. Most of my fruit are starting to ripen now (mid-winter) but we've eaten several already over the past few months.

    It really is a stunning fruit to look at and I think they taste good too and so does the rest of my family. It's strange why dragon fruit isn't more common in western society. Here is a link to the dragon fruit article I wrote.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    This is a short video on how to remove the thorns from the yellow dragonfruit before harvesting. The red dragon fruit does not have thorns.

     
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  3. Excellent blog, Mark! Interesting how the cropping season varies depending on location (or I suppose that's the major reason). The first Dragon Fruit I ate came from the Red Fox Pitayas at Nanango and the end of the season was May/June. Although whether red or white inside, I don't remember. I've not seen yellow ones yet. Mine have not flowered yet, one is close to big enough to do so. Fascinated sitting on the sidelines watching these wonderful plants going about their business. The video is very useful; do you need to carefully pick up every thorn which drops to the ground? Or do they rot away before they spike unwary feet?
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks DBayGardeners!

    Yeah, that's interesting about different flowering times. My red dragon fruit still need about 12 months of growing before I'll see any fruit so I can't compare the two types on my property just yet. I've seen fruit being sold locally (the red variety) over the past few weeks though. I would say there probably is quite a variation in fruiting times from property to property even around locations which are pretty close.

    Last year my yellow variety fruited a few months earlier than this year so I think fruit really is more random for this plant.

    In regards to the thorns, I don't need to worry about them being stepped on after brushing them off the fruit because I have my dragon fruit plants contained in a garden bed - the thorns just mix with the mulch. You could capture the thorns with a dustpan if there was concerns for them falling where people may step - they are quite nasty.
     
  5. Benn

    Benn Guest

    I have watched this video. It is superb. I like this thread and the discussion is awesome. This fruit is great and has many benefits. Its a good source of vitamins and minerals. Good sharing.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Very true Benn, I reckon dragon fruit are underrated personally. Some think they taste bland but I totally love the fruit and taste.
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I received this question from Cindy in the comments section of our Dragon Fruit article (on our Blog): Q - I have 2 dragon fruit plants, one is the dark red fleshed and the other is the white fleshed. I went out this morning and found what looks like the beginnings of flowering on my white fleshed plant but I have only had these plants for a couple years. I live in Hawaii, the island of Maui, on the very dry side of the island. Will I have to self pollinate these flowers? I am not sure what kind of birds that fly@night except the sea birds as well as other night creatures we have. I got these pants because I love the fruit, they are $15 plus @the store here.

    Answer - Hi Cindy, I've been to Hawaii for a holiday you're so lucky you live there what a great place! Hand pollination is an interesting question - personally, I never hand pollinate and our plants flowers tend to develop into fruit most of the time (80%). The flowers are likely to be pollinated by small bats and night insects like moths (I'm sure you'd have them on your island). However, I've seen the flowers still open at dawn many times getting visited by bees and ants etc. I'm not an expert on pollination by hand but if you are worried then go ahead and hand pollinate - there are some good examples on YouTube search for " Hand pollinating Dragon Fruit". Thanks for commenting!
     
  8. nila11

    nila11 Active Member

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    Pitayas fruits are a variety that is commonly eaten in the arid regions of the Americas. They are more sour and energizing, with juicier flesh and a stronger taste. The sour pitaya or pitaya agria in the Sonora Desert has a vital food source for local Americans.
     
  9. [/quote]However, I've seen the flowers still open at dawn many times getting visited by bees and ants etc.[/quote]
    Since writing my reply last year, my white-fleshed Dragon Fruit has given 3 fruit to us. The first two I hand-pollinated by cutting off some stamens and shaking the pollen on the stigma. The last one, I noted many ants active and left the fruit to its own devices. We got fruit, 3 from 3. So I am assuming from my small sample that the plant somehow find a way to fertilise its fruit.
     
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  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    However, I've seen the flowers still open at dawn many times getting visited by bees and ants etc.[/quote]
    Since writing my reply last year, my white-fleshed Dragon Fruit has given 3 fruit to us. The first two I hand-pollinated by cutting off some stamens and shaking the pollen on the stigma. The last one, I noted many ants active and left the fruit to its own devices. We got fruit, 3 from 3. So I am assuming from my small sample that the plant somehow find a way to fertilise its fruit.[/quote]


    Now there's someone I've missed :) Pffft not really We've had a good season here about 20 fruit (some still forming). We have a guy down the road who has about 7 plants all in a row on large 3 m posts - the strange thing is I never see any flowers forming on his. I wonder if he is treating them too well? Like with some other food plants where over fertilisation can lead to lots of good growth but little fruit.

    Edit: My quote reply didn't work?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    testing... hmmm quote is working? Just not on DBG message - strange :confused:
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Had a fair season in dragon fruit and still have about 15 yet to pick. They do hang on the vine for a long time after ripening and even though the outer skin shrivels slightly the inside is still perfect. Fruit fly don't sting the fruit either which is a blessing! I ate one this afternoon (below) but I need to save some for my wife and also my mum who just loves them...

    yellow dragon fruit half eaten.jpg yellow dragon fruit vine with fruit set.jpg
     
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  13. steve h

    steve h Active Member Premium Member

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    Mark, love your video and all the information, mine is 2 years old and had no flowers yet but in the last year alot of grown I have in growing up the truck of an avacardo tree I cut down only about 1.8mtrs high, cant wait to see some flowers, hopefully soon
     
  14. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks mate, you shouldn't be far off fruit then - once it starts to branch out and lean over it will start fruiting.

    Oh, BTW there's no need to brag about growing avocados Steve (and cutting them back) :) ... I'm yet to grow one successfully here in nearly 10 years :( - clay soil.
     
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Still have a few dragon fruit left :)

    dragon fruit thorny yellow.jpg ]
     
  16. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Question from Ruth
    Answer:

    Hi Ruth, I use hardwood because the plant (vine) actually attaches itself to the post with small root like tendrils (still needs to be tied and trained) and treated pine may possibly leach chemicals into the plant (I have no proof of this notion I must say). However, I've seen DF growing up all sorts of structures including chainlink fencing and trellis materials. But post for post - I would now use at least 100x100 mil hardwood fence posts dug in so they are no more than 6 feet high and train the plant up the post to the top by tying it with a wide type material which wont cut into the vine.
     
  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's a video explaining the difference between the red and yellow dragon fruits:
     
  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Spent dragon fruit flowers - they only last one night and then they die but sometimes if you get up early enough you can get to see the flower at day break before it closes.

    [photo]182[/photo]​
     
  19. steve h

    steve h Active Member Premium Member

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    P_20140324_172149.jpg Hi Mark first setting fruit , first flowers just fell off, got 3 fruit now cant wit t pick them and try them out they are getting cheaper now, 6 for 5 dollars at local Caboolture markets
     
  20. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    It looks nice and healthy Steve! Clever use of a natural post to grow it on too.

    So your fruit are nearly ready to pick and mine have only just flowered (my pic above yours was only taken last week) that's interesting since we live in the same area - I wonder if slightly different varieties flower at different times. This could be very handy for staggering fruit over an extended harvesting period.

    Really! That's the cheapest price I've heard for dragon fruit - I saw them at Woolies at the end of last year for $4 each...
     
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