Dragon Fruit Cactus Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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Description

The striking Dragon Fruit Tree is actually a climbing cactus that grows a strange looking but delicious tropical fruit. In USDA Zones 9 to 11, you can grow this American Beauty variety of Dragon Fruit in the ground to climb upon a support such as a tree or pole. In Zones 4 to 11 you can grow the succulent climber in a pot with a vine totem or a simple post for support. The red fruit has sweet white flesh and is eaten fresh, used in salads, and made into tropical smoothies.

Dragon Fruit Trees are easy to grow and do well in dry climates or areas of a garden that gets full sun and tends to be on the dry side. They are simple to maintain, self-fertile, and resistant to deer and other fruit eating wildlife. Although the Dragon Fruit Tree is technically a cactus, it only has small, infrequent thorns that are tucked away along the ribbed edges of the branches. Sturdy gloves and long sleeves are all you need to safely prune, pick, and work with your Dragon Fruit Tree.

Dragon Fruit Tree Care

If you are in USDA Zones 9 to 11, plant your American Beauty Dragon Fruit Tree in the ground. Choose a spot with as much direct sunligh as possible. The Dragon Fruit Tree has to have a support upon which to grow. You can accomplish this in a few ways. Dragon Fruit Trees can be grown upon a palm tree or similar, straight, vertical trunk. Commercial growers grow Dragon Fruit Trees on upright sections of timber, such as round posts, or square columns. Dragon Fruit can also be grown on a fence or a sturdy trellis.

If growing a Dragon Fruit Tree in a pot, use well draining soil and a vertical support. The wooden or metal mesh totems designed for growing ornamental vines in containers are ideal. You can also use a simple section of wood, such as a 2×4 or other pole. Once the Dragon Fruit Tree starts to attach roots to the pole, it will quickly grow upon it.

Fruit & Harvesting

Dragon Fruit Trees bloom in early spring and the fruit is ripe from May through July. They are fast growing, and a new Dragon Fruit can produce fruit within the first year. When fruits are red, harvest them with hand clippers. Sections of limbs that are pruned or cut away while harvesting can be rooted to grow more plants.

Cut the Dragon Fruit in half lengthwise, and scoop out the white pulp. The inside of the fruit will be speckled with tiny black seeds that can be eaten and give the flesh a crunchy texture. The seeds are about the size of kiwi seeds. Sliced Dragon Fruit can be eaten fresh and is best chilled. You can also add it to salads, smoothies, or make it into juice. The flavor is like a cross between a melon and a tart berry. Whole dragon fruit also make a dramatic display on any table setting.

Growing Zones

Advice

When you are growing a Dragon Fruit Tree, branches will reach the top of their support, then turn back to hang down towards the ground. It is these upper branches that produce the most fruit. Once your plant has reached the post top, cut it back to encourage branching. If you are growing a Dragon Fruit on a tree trunk, simply prune it when it reaches a height that you are comfortable harvesting from.

Dragon Fruit can also be grown in a large hanging basket. Prune limbs to encourage branching and fruit production. Always be sure that wherever you are growing your Dragon Fruit Tree, that the soil is well drained and not over watered. This easy to grow cactus will provide years of tropical fruit, and become a unique focal point in any garden where it grows.

FAQs

Do Dragon Fruit Trees need a pollinator?

Dragon Fruit Trees are pollinated by bats, birds, and some insects. You can grow fruit with only one tree, but multiple trees will increase yield.

Can a Dragon Fruit Tree withstand frost?

No. Dragon Fruit Trees are tropical in nature, and if you live in a colder climate, grow your Dragon Fruit Tree in a pot and bring it indoors if the temperature is expected to be below 40 degrees F.

If a Dragon Fruit Tree is a cactus, can it grow without water?

The Dragon Fruit Tree is a type of cactus. As such, it can thrive with very little water. The soil should be dry completely between watering and the medium should drain well. However, it would be incorrect to say that the Dragon Fruit Tree can survive with no water, as in the case of an utterly dry indoor potted tree.

How long does it take for a Dragon Fruit Tree to make fruit?

Dragon Fruit Trees are fast growing. In ample sunlight, with support, and well-drained soil a Dragon Fruit Tree can produce fruit within the first year.

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