Tropicals forum: Dragon Fruit

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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
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DogsNDaylilies
Nov 9, 2015 7:20 AM CST
I'm a little confused...I was going to come here to see what success, thoughts, and recommendations ATP members have had with Dragon Fruit; but, when I did a search for the term, I saw a post that shows that dragon fruit grow on a cactus:
The thread "Anyone grow Dragon fruit cactus?" in Cactus and Tender Succulents forum

The website I was thinking of purchasing from (*if* I purchase a plant online) said that Dragon Fruit grows as a vine: https://www.rollingrivernursery.com/products/956/208/cacti-a...

...and all along I thought it grew as a TREE! Blinking


Clearly, I need to learn more about this plant. I would love to hear from any of you that have had experience growing this. I'm in zone 5b/6a, so I'm wondering if there's any hope for this plant here...it might be one I would be willing to bring indoors for the winter months and plop outside for the summer *if* it will still yield fruit with that method.

Has anyone successfully grown this from seeds of a dragon fruit that they purchased at the grocery store?

...and can someone confirm for me if this is a fruit, cactus, or tree? Hilarious!
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 9, 2015 12:03 PM CST
It is a climbing cactus, so both sites are more or less correct. Around here they grow them on 2X4 supports, or against a block wall. They have air roots that will attach to the wall or a tree. Mine climbed the 10' block wall and went over it looking for sun. It was a bear to remove! I've never heard of anyone growing it from seed. They are usually grown from cuttings, and can get huge. In tropical regions they are grown for fruit.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Nov 9, 2015 12:17 PM CST
Thank you, Carol! It sounds like the Dragon Fruit plant isn't the best option for me in my zone then. And I already have critters that 'crawl' around here...I don't want to wake up one morning to a cactus that thought my bed was cozier than the pot I gave it. Hilarious!

In all seriousness, though, that's really interesting that they can move themselves like that! Sorry it was such a PITA to remove, but it's neat that you had one. Did you get fruit from yours?
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 9, 2015 12:29 PM CST
No, I didn't leave it long enough to get fruit, nor was it in enough sun. The one dragon fruit I tasted from another source made me decide it wasn't worth it.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Nov 9, 2015 11:24 PM CST
DnD - If you want to try your hand without spending a lot of money....go buy a cactus with the stupid colored cactus graft on the top - if you find one on sale, so much the better. Rip top off and discard the top - very hard to get it to root. Grow the base cactus in cactus mix or 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 sand. That is a cheap dragon fruit. In your zone it will be slow going. To speed it up, move outside in summer. To get to fruit producing size, they grow huge - 8 - 15 feet. Doubtful in your zone you will see a flower or fruit.

I started mine in July or so from one bought for $ 4 at Home Depot. It has two branches about 14 inches long each and they both have made air roots.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 11, 2015 9:03 PM CST
Yeah, dragon fruit grow just fine here in Florida, but as Carol says, the fruit is interesting but not all that tasty. I would love to see a flower on the thing, though. They are beautiful, large and fragrant but bloom at night and only last one night, so it's hit or miss if you get to even see it bloom.

People up north grow them in greenhouses, and that seems like a good way to actually see the blooms at least. You could probably prune it to keep it from taking over if you had a greenhouse, or even a really sunny window. They are a little bit prickly, too of course, being an epicactus.

My dragon fruit plant is currently rambling along one corner of our stucco wall, but the oak tree near it has grown a branch over its location, so I'm not getting any flowers or fruit until I tackle the job of pruning the oak tree.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Nov 12, 2015 5:11 AM CST
Personally, I like the fruit--I've had it once or twice and it's good--but I don't have a greenhouse or a sunny window for a cactus. Oh well, I guess no dragon fruit plant for me, I'll just keep an eye out at the store for the fruit whenever it's available.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Nov 13, 2015 5:43 AM CST
A few years ago I saw Dragon Fruit growing at the Coastal Botanical Gardens in Savannah where they research cold tolerant fruits. They had some in a GH and others were in the open but would be covered with a temporary cover when necessary. The plants were like huge thorny vines and they had them growing on 6" x 6" posts with heavy wire strung between them. We got to taste the fruit and it was very sweet but those plants need a lot of real estate.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Nov 13, 2015 11:25 AM CST
I love the fruits too, when I tried it in Manila one time, really juicy, not too sweet. Reminds me of kiwi texture. Too bad can't grow it here, our conditions are too dry in summer and then we go too cold in winter. I don't want to grow it indoors either, knowing of its rambling growth style Big Grin

But in lieu of the Dragon Fruit I just grow epiphyllums at least I get the lovely blooms occasionally. Smiling
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 13, 2015 12:13 PM CST
Maybe the one I tasted wasn't quite perfectly ripe? It was just slightly sweet and bland.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Nov 13, 2015 3:13 PM CST
That must have been it Elaine. Publix has them all the time but I have never tried theirs.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 13, 2015 6:48 PM CST
The one I tasted was BLAND! I have never seen the fruit in our stores, but I see lots of them growing in the neighborhood. The prickly pear cactus fruits can be found , especially in the Mexican markets, and those grow wild in our local hills, and those are tasty. Go figure. I guess it's an ethnic thing.
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
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Pistil
Nov 29, 2015 2:57 PM CST
Hi everyone-
Last month I bought a Dragon Fruit at my local grocery co-op. When I cut it open it had magenta on the inside as well as the outside. It was beautiful, and it was very tasty. I saved some seeds, and have now sprouted them both using the Deno method on the kitchen counter, and in pots in seed starting mix in the window- they sprout easily and rapidly, both fresh and after drying (I have some if anyone wants any).
Now I have to figure out how to keep them alive in our chilly gloomy winter.
They seem to be a close relative to Epiphyllums (Orchid Cactus or epiphytic Forest Cactus) and I have some Epiphyllum in my house that do well. I did a bit of web searching, there are several species of Dragon Fruit, and now hybrids so I don't know what exactly I have. Probably some kind of Hylocereus. Does anyone know-are these the same as the houseplant called Night Blooming Cereus or Queen of the Night?
The seeds were interesting, each one is encased in a gelatinous clear coat, it took a while to dry, and it stuck to whatever it was in contact with, but once I had scraped the seeds off, they were fine.
D&D- if Dragon Fruit seems just too big for a houseplant, you might check out the genus Epiphyllum- many of them do make good houseplants, and the blooms are spectacular. Since these are forest cacti that grow on trees, they are pretty good houseplants, unlike cacti which may want more light than we have in WA and MI.

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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Nov 29, 2015 3:43 PM CST
Cool photos Mary. I might have to try a fruit just to see if it is red inside.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 29, 2015 5:37 PM CST
Some are pink or red inside, and some are white, Alice. All have little black seeds like Mary's.

I think they are closely related to your Night-blooming Cereus, Mary but not the same as that one doesn't make fruit that I'm aware of. I would think the cultural demands would be similar, though. If you do hope to get blooms and fruit, I think you need to give it the longest, warmest, sunniest summer weather you possibly can. It takes some sun, even here in Florida, to get it to bloom.

Not sure how long those seedlings will take to get to blooming size, either. Mine have all been started from good-sized cuttings.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 29, 2015 6:10 PM CST
Takes full sun all day here in So. Cal.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Nov 29, 2015 6:31 PM CST
Takes full sun here too and protection in the winter. I have only seem them with ripe fruit in October, not sure when they started fruiting.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Jan 6, 2016 3:58 PM CST
Interesting blog about Dragon Fruit. I had no idea what they were using for the base of those little grafted cacti.
http://thecitrusguy.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-train-your-d...
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
[Last edited by ardesia - Jan 7, 2016 5:56 AM (+)]
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Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
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DavidLMO
Jan 6, 2016 5:27 PM CST
Just what I did Alice. See above:

http://garden.org/thread/view_post/986539/

My plant is doing great has 2 branches ~ 20 inches and a new one ~ 4 inches.

The dragon fruit is used as a base for most of the grafted cactus.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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