The dragon fruit plant is a fast growing, fruit bearing plant. The plant has a vining growth habit that requires support when grown indoors. Like most fruit bearing plants, dragon fruit thrives with proper sunlight and temperature conditions.
Dragon Fruit Appearance
Dragon Fruit has a climbing growth habit requiring a trellis for support when grown in pots. Aerial Roots grow from the plant’s branches latching onto the trellis. The dragon fruit plant grows to a height of up to 20 ft ( 6 meters) tall when grown indoors. Popular indoor varieties include Edgar’s Baby, Alice Soul Kitchen, and Zamorano.
Dragon Fruit Plant Care: Sunlight Requirements
Provide Between six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Exposure in the morning from an East facing window and evening exposure from a West-facing window is ideal. Avoid exposure from a South-facing window unless the light is filtered through a sheer curtain. Too much direct sunlight causes scorching of the leaves. Ensure even sun exposure by rotating the plant 180° regularly. For low lighting conditions, supplement light with a full spectrum LED grow light.
Watering Your Dragon Fruit Cactus
Branches of the Dragon Fruit plant store water making the plant somewhat drought tolerant. Water your Dragon Fruit plant when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Water until the soil is evenly moist but not soggy. Follow this watering method throughout the spring and summer. Reduce water frequency in the fall and winter when the plant becomes dormant.
Soil And Fertilizer Requirements
Proper Dragon Fruit plant care requires growing the plant in a nutrient-rich potting soil. Add a layer of small pebbles or bark to the bottom of the pot before filling with soil to improve drainage. Ensure you use a pot with drainage holes to allow excess soil moisture to escape. Fertilize your plant once per month, during the spring and summer, with a low nitrogen fertilizer. Avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen content which results in excess foliage growth but little fruit. Withhold fertilizer during the fall and winter.
Temperature And Humidity Levels
Keep temperatures for your Dragon Fruit cactus between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18.8 to 29.4 Celsius). Avoid temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius) as well as cold drafts. Maintain humidity levels between 30 to 50%. Supplement low humidity levels by misting the plant regularly or using a pebble tray.
Harvesting Your dragon Fruit Plant
Dragon Fruit is ripe when the fruit turns bright pink in color. Pick the fruit by twisting off or cutting the fruit from the plant. Fruit is typically ready for harvesting 30 to 40 days after the plant is started.
Dragon Fruit requires hand pollination when grown indoors. When the flowers are nearly open, use a small, clean brush to transfer the pollen from the anther of the male portion of the flower to the female portion called the stigma. Load the brush with as much pollen as possible and generously coat the stigma to increase the chances of successful pollination.
Repeat this process with each flower.
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, Mealybugs, and scale are common pests found on the Dragon Fruit cactus. These insects are visible on the leaves and stems of infested plants. Also present will be sticky honeydew, which the insects excrete after feeding on the Dragon Fruit plant. Rinse the plant thoroughly with a spray nozzle or in the shower to remove the insects without the use of chemicals. For stubborn infestations, use neem oil to treat the entire plant.
Botryosphaeria dothidea, a type of leaf fungus, is also common among Dragon Fruit plants. The fungus presents as spots, often looking like a bullseye, on the stems and foliage. The spots start as yellow, then darken in color. Remove affected foliage and treat advanced cases with a fungicide.
Dragon Fruit is an exotic and delicious fruit that grows quite easily indoors. The plant requires the same care as most houseplants but provides a delicious fruit as a reward. Enjoy this unique treat by adding the Dragon Fruit plant to your indoor plant collection.
Grow Dragon Fruit outdoors in USDA zones 9 to 11.
Repot your Dragon Fruit Plant once per year, similar to a cactus.
Dragon Fruit is high in antioxidants and fiber, naturally fat-free, and may help reduce blood sugars.
Yes, prune your Dragon Fruit plant once the last harvest is finished in May or June. Remove branches growing up the main stem, as well as old growth from underneath.