You might have noticed that the pinkish fruit with white pulp and black seeds has taken over your Instagram feed. We wanted to know more about the fruit, and we researched its origins and whether it grows on trees or not.
So does dragon fruit grow on trees?
The dragon fruit grows in some species of cactus which resemble a tree. The cactus that bears the dragon fruits is a natural climber and could need support as the plants mature.
The cactus grows roots from its branches that spread and find something to climb and support itself.
Due to the nature and growth style of the cactus that grows dragon fruit, the final plant closely resembles a tree. It’s not a true tree, as ti has no stiff, hard bark and no foliage to speak of.
Instead the cactus ‘hands’ are more like the branches of a weeping willow, bending over with their own weight.
If you want to invest in growing the dragon fruit at home, it could be best to let it grow together with another plant which will act as support. Keep in mind that dragon fruit takes a long time to actually bear fruit, so you will have to be patient.
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The Types of Dragon Fruits
The red dragon fruit is more common than the yellow variety, but both fruits will be green until they are ripe. Some of the dragon fruit varieties include:
This type has a yellow shell with white pulp and black seeds, and it is thornier than any dragon fruit. It is rare to see this dragon fruit variety in the gardens, and it is the least known variety of dragon fruit.
This fruit has a red outer skin with a white bulb and is commonly grown in gardens, and it is the most known variety of the dragon fruit.
Both the shell and the pulp of this dragon fruit is red with small black seeds. The pulp looks deep red, which sometimes makes it look unnatural, while the outer skin is a lighter color.
It’s simply the sweetest and most flavorful, with the red pulp (the costaricensis or Costa Rica) coming in close behind.
It’s the deep pink variety with white flesh that seems to be the blandest of them. This is often due to lower sugar levels in the fruit, but also due to unripe fruits.
Unfortunately it’s really difficult to pick out a ripe dragon fruit, so most folks end up with one that’s not yet mature enough and isn’t sweet enough.
Not only that, but dragon fruit is one of the most expensive pieces of exotic fruit you’ll ever come across.
Growth Requirements for dragon fruit
As a tropical plant, dragon fruit will have some requirements you have to meet in order to grow it in your own home. Here they are.
Dragon fruit is indigenous to some parts of Mexico, Asia, and South America. It requires a hot climate for it to do well since cacti are adapted well to deserts, so if you want to plant it at home, it is better to have them in pots so that you can shield them from the hot weather.
The dragon fruit might not grow in a cold climate, and you should ensure that the temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent frost and cold damage.
Dragon fruit does well in sandy soils similar to those found in the deserts since sandy soils drain well. If you do not find sandy soil for your home garden, you could use any type which drains well. It prefers slightly acidic soil, and the ideal acid levels should be between six and seven.
Dragon fruit will do well with a balanced fertilizer during the months that are actively growing, and it could be better to feed it once a month. It might not be necessary to apply fertilizers during the winter when it is least growing.
Since the plant is cacti, it could need little water, and you might have to water it only when you feel like the topsoils are dry to touch. The cacti could retain water in its succulent leaves, which is used to feed the dragon fruit. The soil should be well aerated without stagnant water, as this might kill your cacti and reduce the production of the dragon fruits.
How to Grow Dragon Fruits At Home
When growing the dragon fruits from seeds, ensure that you get an organic fruit from the market and scoop out the seeds for propagation. It would help if you then sowed the dragon seeds in compost or a pot, and it will germinate after two weeks. The dragon fruit cactus plant could take approximately five years to reach maturity when planted from seedlings.
You may nip 30 cm of the dragon fruit cacti and let it to dry for a week before planting. The cactus will sprout in a month with proper watering. With this method of cacti propagation, your plant will mature in three years, and you will be ready to enjoy the fruits.
How to Harvest Dragon Fruits
When the cactus flowers, it indicates the dragon fruits are forming, and it will take weeks before the fruit is ready.
The fruit could be bright pink-red or yellow when it is ready for harvesting. It could be prudent to use a sharp knife to cut off the fruit and keep in a cooler place to stay fresh for an extended time.
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The Bottom Line
Dragon fruit grows in cacti and loves warm and humid climates, and they have different health functions in the body.
Although the cacti do well in the warm areas, you could plant it in the pots and shield it from cold winters when the climate is unfavorable. You could plant the dragon fruit from seedlings harvested from an organic fruit or cuttings of the plant.