How to Grow Dragon Fruit Plants

Pitaya plants should be planted in full sun for best fruit production. Select an area away from trees, buildings as Dragon fruit vines can become very large if not maintained. Pitayas are adapted to a wide range of soils provided they are well-drained. Pitayas tend to thrive in soils high in organic matter. Manure compost is recommended. Dragon fruit plants should be planted approx 4" apart. A strong trellis should be built that can withstand several hundred pounds of stem weight. A weak trellis may buckle under the weight of a mature pitaya plant. Remember Dragon fruit can live 20 years or more. Do not use wires on the trellis as it may cut the stems. If wire is used, it should be covered by hoses. For the home landscape, consider a trellis for individual plants which should consists of a post and a structure at the top of the post to support the plant. An arbor type trellis may also be constructed. Individual plants growing on a short tree or on a pile of rocks or blocks can also be used as supports for a few vines. There are two types of pruning that need to be carried out to obtain maximum production of healthy, good quality fruits. The first one involves training the growing plants until they reach the trellis. This involves eliminating any lateral stems along the main stem until it reaches the top of the trellis, and tying the main stem to the trellis post. Soon after plants reach the top of the trellis, their tips should be cut to induce branching and the new laterals trained and tied to the trellis. Pitayas are fast growing and produce extensive growth. If no pruning is done, eventually there will be a very dense mass of stems that will reduce light penetration to the stems and interfere with harvesting the fruits. Furthermore, a dense tangle of stems may result in increased incidence of insect and disease problems. Production pruning involves the removal of damaged, diseased or dead stems and those that reach the soil. Also remove stems that interfere with cultural practices and harvesting. Selectively remove some stems and train and tie remaining stems to the trellis to prevent stem breakage and crowding. Try to select healthy, strong stems.  

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