Dragon Fruit Tips

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  • I saw a new technique for growing them which looks excellent. They used a coco coir pole.  Using this method, dragon fruit roots absorb more nutrients in the coir poles when being fertilized instead of cement poles. (Coir is the outer husk of the Coconut). Ref:  Sheryl Backhouse
  • Dragon Fruit can last for up to 2-3 weeks in a plastic bag if kept in the refrigerator. You can also freeze dragon fruit but the texture will be altered and it will best be used in a sauce or sorbet.
  • In Vietnam Pitaya are grown on square concrete posts 1½ mtrs above ground, 25cms thick, 3 mtrs apart and cuttings are grown on all four sides and then taped to the post. With this particular variety when they reach the top, they just trail down. There are no wires between the posts for them to climb along.  Ref: Sheryl Backhouse
  • Yellow Pitaya:  At the last meeting, Jim Wyman bought in some yellow Pitaya which were so sweet!  I asked him what he did and he said:  “I have clay soil, give them a little Nitrophoska in spring, a handful of Potash when fruiting, they like lots of horse and cow manure and I just brush off the spines when the fruit look ripe on the plant”.  Ref: Sheryl Backhouse
  • Graham Reinders mentions that to achieve higher brix levels in Pitaya, try bumping the sulphur content of your nutrient up a bit. It is the main flavour giver. Bumping CO2 is not a good idea unless you maximize all the other plant inputs. I have bumped the CO2 up to 1500 ppm in a high yield greenhouse and can get about 30% yield increase, however the plant only does as well as the LIMITING input of the 20 or so required, so any one lacking negates all the other good work.
  • When do you pick Pithaya?  If it is for your own consumption, the right time will be when the bud (the end where the flowery part drops off) has begun to show signs of a crack. This means the fruit is ripe. If you leave this be, the fruit will start showing signs of cracking in the middle part. This is sign of the final stage of fruit development in terms of ripeness. Sweetness is dependent not only on ripeness but variety/species and type of nutrient uptake. If you have all the N, P, K, Mr, Trace Elements and Humic Acid at par – adding a little bit of Sulphur based plant nutrient will improve the Brix index.     Ref:  Surjan Singh Kuala Lumpur
  • Bob Cosgrove reports that he’s had great success in getting his Pitaya to come into flowering by hanging a stocking over the plant with two handfuls of fowl manure and 1dsp of potassium inside so when it rains, it’s getting fertilised!
  • Besides the Cracker Dust and Fowl Manure we give them an NPK dressing every 6 weeks so after the water and  fertiliser, these will really start to bud everywhere in 2-3 weeks. They need a heavy structure to support them. Large upright posts and a post-rail on top and perhaps put in 2 rows a metre apart so they can go over each side. When they get too large, just go through with a cane knife and hack them off.   Ref: Bob Brinsmead – Tropical Fruit World
  • Overwatering or excessive rainfall can cause the flowers to drop and fruit to rot. Birds can be a nuisance. The bacterium Xanthomonas campestris causes the stems to rot. Dothiorella fungi can cause brown spots on the fruit, but this is not common.   Ref:  Wikipedia
  • Pitahaya flowering but not fruiting. There is a tendency for young fruit or flowers to turn yellow and drop off after rain. This can be reduced or prevented using minerals like calcium or plant vitamins to bolster health.  You might try placing an iron additive around the base of a few to see if that cures the “yellow” condition…
  • We had a bad case of rust which took 3 months spraying every 3 weeks with mancozeb to clear. Anyone that needs help with rust it is the only product that worked with white oil to stop pests.   Ref:  Roslyn
  • Pitaya in Pots  I initially went the “60cm basin” route and after a few years I had to move. I had 2¼ mtr bamboo posts stayed to the rim of the basin and four plants in each. After my move I kept them in pots and all their lives they did better than those I planted in the ground because I had used a “light” mix of growing medium, no sand or clay. Remember in their native condition they are feeding from the leaves and detritus off the trees they grow under, not heavy soils. The roots are fibrous with no tap roots and they never go deeper than what hypothetically would be the detritus layer, may 8 -12 inches. Moving them was heavy and difficult but not impossible. As soon as you get a permanent place, take very long cuttings off the basin plants and you will have an orchard in no time.   Ref: Graham Reindeer
  • To remove prickles on the Yellow Pitaya:   Get an old kitchen brush and the prickles all fall out. The prickles will even go through leather gloves!