Crop Rotation Group
Fertile, well-drained soil.
Full sun to partial shade in very hot summer climates.
No. Dragon fruits are tropical tree-size cacti with little tolerance for cold. They are hardy only to about 35°F (2°C).
Feed with a balanced organic fertilizer monthly to maintain good productivity.
Single Plants: 6' 6" (2.00m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 6' 6" (2.00m) with 6' 6" (2.00m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Dragon fruit is propagated by rooting cuttings, so start with a purchased plant. Plant outdoors in a fertile spot that is easy to water. Planting can be done year-round in tropical climates. Young plants need regular water their first year. They are generally less drought tolerant compared to other cacti. Dragon fruit cacti grow 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) tall and up to 10 feet (3 m) wide. In containers, plant one plant per 14-inch (35 cm) wide pot. Dragon fruit makes a very fast-growing houseplant for warm, sunny windows.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Native to Mexico and Central America, dragon fruit cactus often starts producing in its third year after planting, and healthy plants may live for fifteen years or more. Most growers tie young plants to a secure post so they grow into a top-heavy cluster that resembles a single-trunked tree. While not as prickly as some cactus, dragon fruits do have spines, so wear thick gloves when handling this plant. When transplanting, it helps to wrap the plant in paper to reduce injury to you and the cactus. The large white flowers of dragon fruit cactus are edible, and open only at night. Depending on cultivar, the inside flesh of dragon fruits may be white, yellow or red. In tropical climates where dragon fruits grow as long-lived perennials, mature plants need support and regular pruning. To maintain plant vigor, trim out old or broken branches when you see them, two or three times a year.
Dragon fruits are ready to harvest when the fruits pull free with a gentle twist. Refrigerate after harvesting to keep the fruits from softening.
Though dragon fruits need regular water, they can suffer from root rot when kept too damp. Insects and diseases are not common, but animal pests are famous for harvesting almost-ripe fruits.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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