It’s hard not to love this cactus.
Like all cacti it has some needles but treated carefully and handled rarely, it is never a problem.
If you grow these from seed then you will have the whole experience but it will take a little longer than buying a ‘rooted’ cutting from our nursery.
The seed needs to just covered with a light, sandy potting mix either in individual pots or sprinkled in one large pot if you prefer.
Remember that if you sow in one pot or tray, once they have germinated you will need to separate them out, away from each other.
This can be avoided by sowing one or two seeds per pot.
They are so cute when they are little but they will still catch your fingers by surprise if you are not prepared.
We keep our seed grown plants potted for 12 months before planting them out.
If you have purchased a rooted cutting then it is ready to go out straight away.
Now it is time to choose your location wisely.
Many people have this romantic idea that they will plant their Dragon at the base of a large tree and encourage it to climb and ramble in a storybook fashion. This does work to a certain extent and your Dragon will climb a 20m tree without a problem, but you will never have flower or fruit, in your lifetime at least.
If you plan on enjoying the wonder of the Dragon flower and the delicious taste of the fruit then you need to provide an environment where it can ‘crown’.
This simply means reminding the plant that it can’t grow any farther than is comfortable for you to harvest the fruit. 2-2.5 m is usually adequate and the vine will stop, wave it’s stem around, realise that this is the top and settle down to produce buds.
You do not need a major construction job on which to grow your dragon but it does need to be sturdy.
Just a post, set well into the ground will do the job.
Frequently a cross bar at the top of a post will help to educate the plant that it’s many branches can all stop here!
Another mistake often made regarding the plant is that because it is a cactus it will love the dry, drought like climate of it’s cousins.
This would be a mistake.
It loves a good drink as often as you can and will always do it’s best fruiting before and after good rain.
Just like Aloe vera, it will survive the dry times but prefers not to if not necessary.
You will also need to remember that many birds have also formed a liking for the fruit so that making it possible to conveniently net or cover when fruit is formed can be necessary.
They are not happy with frosts and will often lose stem and condition if not perish all together, so some preparation will be required before Winter.
We have so many birds and insects visiting the 24 hour flowers that we are never sure who has done the best job but rarely does a flower go un-pollinated, and it is not unusual to have many flowers on one plant at the same time.
Generally, once the basic setup is complete there is no ongoing work involved in keeping and growing these dragonfruit and you may find yourself with a low maintenance orchard in a short while. Continue reading Grow your Own Dragonfruit