Q. I am interested in raising dragonfruit. Any suggestions or comments?
A. The dragonfruit plant is a tropical climbing cactus that originated from Central and South America. The plant produces large edible fruit covered in scales. The edible fruit interior has a bland taste resembling watermelon or Kiwi with slight citrus overtones.
|Dragonfruit is produced by a "climbing" cactus.|
There are several different varieties with skin colors ranging from green, yellow or red. The flesh, pulp or interior of the fruit is normally white but in some varieties it can be various shades of red.
|Here in a small orchard in south vietnam the vegetative cuttings are planted next to a cement post that will be used for trellising|
Several other cacti also produce similar types of large edible fruit. Collectively these fruits are called pitaya. The cereus cactus is commonly grown in the Las Vegas area, can withstand our cold winter temperatures and may on rare occasions produce a pitaya fruit.
|Although not dragonfruit or cereus, flowers typical of pitayas|
|Dragonfruit cactus in full production, trellised, in south vietnam|
The dragonfruit plant itself is very sensitive to frost and harsh light intensities and must be protected from freezing weather. It will also benefit by being grown in a part of the landscape protected from late afternoon sun.
Just for fun, the plant can be started easily from seed collected from the fruit. The seed is small so you would plant it very shallow in good planting soil. The seed should germinate in about two weeks in warm soils.
However, commercially the plant is started from stem cuttings to maintain plants that are true to type.