Pruning Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)

Pruning is required to maintain the shape and size of the plants as they can quickly become unruly and top heavy. Pruning also enables access to the plant which assists harvesting. Care should be taken to dispose of the cuttings as they have the potential to become weeds.
Refer to the Pitaya Growing Note – FG1 for more information.

Step 1 - Before: Pruning should occur after the last harvest in May-June.

Step 2 - Clean main stem: Branches growing up the main stem must be removed.

Step 3 - Remove old growth: Selectively remove the older branches from underneath.

Step 4 - Cut back clean: Cut branches back to the original stem.

Step 5 - Set canopy size: Keep at the most 50 main branches leaving only 1-2 sub-branches per main branch.

Step 6 - After: Pruning is needed to maintain fruit production and size ready for September-October flowering.

Varieties: There are no varieties in the proper sense, but there are many clones which can differ in the stem type, colour, fruit shape, skin thickness and scale expression. There are however two different species, H. undatus which has white flesh and H. polyrhizus which has red flesh. There are also several other fruiting cactus genera that are called 'pitaya' one of these is Selenicereus megalanthus which has smaller fruit with yellow skin, white flesh and clusters of spines on the fruit that brush off when ripe.

DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY, FISHERIES AND MINES, Crops, Forestry and Horticulture Division, GPO Box 3000 Darwin NT 0801
Tel: 08 8999 2357  Fax: 08 8999 2049  Email: horticulture@nt.gov.au   Web: www.nt.gov.au/dpifm

Disclaimer:  While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the information contained in this publication is correct, the information covered is subject to change. The Northern Territory Government does not assume and hereby disclaims any express or implied liability whatsoever to any party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether these errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause.

Authored by: 
Gerry McMahon, Senior Technical Officer, DPIFM Darwin
Sourced from: 
STFC Newsletter June - July 2006
Date sourced: 
June 2006