Red Fleshed Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya
days to maturity: 1 year
plant spacing: 1 plant per 6 square feet, must be trellised
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: overwatering
harvest notes: harvest ripe fruit when it softens
The origin of dragon fruit is unknown, but its likely native to Central America. Also called Pitaya, night blooming cereus, and strawberry pear, dragon fruit has been gaining popularity in North America recently as tropical fruit has been getting more accessible to non-tropical areas. Dragon fruit is typically pink skinned with either white flesh, or bright red flesh (we sell both varieties). The fruit is very juicy and sweet with a mild floral flavor. Its high in vitamin C and other antioxidants and can boost your iron levels.
Dragon fruit is a super cool climbing/ vining cactus that produces large juicy fruits at the tips of its many branches. While dragon fruit looks very exotic its actually super easy to grow in South Florida and is grown commercially quite heavily in Homestead & the Redland. It has barely any pests and needs barely any fertilizer or care, however it does need a really well thought out trellising situation because it gets large (and heavy) and its spiky!
On farms the way they build trellises is by sinking a 4 x 4 post of wood into the ground a couple of feet and then adding an X of wood to the top of it. Lay half of a tire on top of the X and train the dragon fruit up the post and over the top of the tire & X. If this sounds nuts give “dragon fruit trellising” a google so you can see all the ways people make these systems. Once the plant hits the top of the structure you can prune it and it'll make lots and lots of "arms" that dangle down making the whole thing look like a palm tree. The more arms you have the more fruit you'll end up with since every arm makes a fruit a the end of it. As a bonus to the fruit the flowers are some of the most beautiful found in nature, blooming only at night so that bats and moths will come pollinate its huge drooping blossoms. 3-4 months after flowering your dragon fruit will be ready to harvest. If you prune and maintain your plant property by age 3 or 4 it is capable of yielding you more than 200 pounds of fruit per year.