Author Topic: Dragon Fruit thread.  (Read 830725 times)

bassisti95

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • US, Columbus, Ohio 5b/6a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2550 on: April 01, 2018, 05:20:02 PM »
Ok, first off, your best bet is to start back a few pages and read up on past discussion. a lot of questions about pollinization, crossbreeding and such can be found there. Second, do NOT grow dragon fruit thinking your main crop is going to be the yellow fruit. The Megalanthus, the yellow that's actually good, is a giant pain in the rear to grow and to get to produce, and even harder to wait for, as it has a ripening time up to 3 TIMES that of common dragon fruit. What you should strive for is to produce a collection of fruit, and if you want to include the yellow into that, that's fine. Try and pick yourself up a good red/magenta variety, like American Beauty, or others, for fruit production, one of the sweeter white ones for presentation, and as I recommend to everyone, try and get at least one S-8 "sugar dragon" for both flavor and pollen production. You can add yellows, or anything else you fancy, to this list. Yellow Megalanthus is not what I would call a 'beginners' variety. I grew it for a while and Ive removed it from my collection. I have limited space and it wasn't worth the resources required to maintain it.
Other than that, welcome to the community. I'm sure we can help you get into the groove of things here.

Thank you so much for your advice it's so very appreciated. I'm so in love with the yellow that I feel, at least now, that I don't want to let anything hold me back so I'm def going to take your advice and not rely on one yellow and one red to get consistent results and try to set myself up with four plants if I can make it work, or else I'll start with some other varieties and introduce the yellow when the time is right, that's def thoughtful advice. I'll try to keep an eye out for the sugar dragon variety but in Ohio I'm pretty much limited to what I can get shipped to me from online companies... That said long term I'm thinking I may take a road trip southwest looking for a farm where I can get more varieties. Just something on the back of my mind... Anyway thank you so much for taking the time

Rannman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 293
  • Dragonfruit collector
    • Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2551 on: April 01, 2018, 06:16:40 PM »
Rob, can you share a little more on challenges of growing the giant yellow? I am grafting seedings onto other DF vines and would love to hear more about it.

Rannman, is there a more common name of G2? Not sure if itís available in the states.

Thanks.
Quote

G-2 is the only name I know it by, sorry. Donít even remember where I purchased the cutting unfortunately.

RobPatterson

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
    • Ontario, California
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2552 on: April 01, 2018, 07:06:02 PM »
Ok, first answer. Starts with a question. By 'giant yellow', are you referring to the spiny Megalanthus, the one that kinda looks like a yellow pineapple when the cactus spines are brushed off, or do you mean the yellow Undatus, that looks like a traditional dragon fruit, but yellow. I don't have much (any) experience growing the yellow Undatus, but what Ive read has been that it is very attractive, but not as good tasting as the standard pink/red varieties. There might be sub-species out there where this is not the case, but that's what I know about them to this point. As for the Megalanthus, I have grown those before, at least the varieties that were available 3-5 years ago. The plant tends to be fickle about growing, its more sensitive to rot and fungus, at least for me, and the fruit takes up to 160 days to ripen from flower. It is VERY high sugar content, but the ones I grew were almost ALL sugar, and no flavor. I started referring to them as the "Rock Candy" variety, because it was just like eating sweetened raw gelatin. They weren't 'bad', but neither is pouring sugar into a glass of water and drinking it; just a hit of sugar. Now having said that, this is a hobby for most people, and everyone has differing tastes, and I would never tell anyone they are wrong for liking what they like. I just decided that the yellow wasn't for me.
Second answer, is if they are still doing business, Linda Nickerson, the lady in Fallbrook who sells the Sugar Dragon variety, had (had) a huge crop of G-2 plants. She runs Elk Creek Ranch in Fallbrook, which is reasonably close to the San Diego area. Here's her website:
http://www.devonsaustraliancattledogs.com/
Yes, I know it says cattle dogs, but she's a multi-tasker. If they are still selling plants, they can hook you up with a few top quality varieties, at good prices. As always, Id suggest buying rooted plants instead of cuttings, if you can afford the small difference. Will put you ahead up to an entire year's worth of growing time compared to waiting for cuttings to start.
Hope this helps you guys out.

bassisti95

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • US, Columbus, Ohio 5b/6a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2553 on: April 01, 2018, 07:23:23 PM »
It is VERY high sugar content, but the ones I grew were almost ALL sugar, and no flavor. I started referring to them as the "Rock Candy" variety, because it was just like eating sweetened raw gelatin. They weren't 'bad', but neither is pouring sugar into a glass of water and drinking it; just a hit of sugar. Now having said that, this is a hobby for most people, and everyone has differing tastes, and I would never tell anyone they are wrong for liking what they like. I just decided that the yellow wasn't for me.
That's such a shame to hear you didn't like the megalanthus you had! There is an international market super close to my house and given that I just eat plants their produce section is my candy store. Anyway for the past little while they have been host to a very delicious yellow (def the one with spines, megalanthus) which was not much smaller than the average DF's around here (which to be clear aren't the worlds largest) and while def sweeter than all the whites and reds I've had I def wouldn't have described it in that way and I don't think I'm too much of a sweet tooth guy... Maybe I should be going there now to try and inquire after their supplier before they throw away receipts.... xD

beicadad

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 323
    • San Diego
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2554 on: April 02, 2018, 12:34:23 AM »
Rob, yes I was referring to the Megalanthus. Agree that itís very sweet and has less flavors compared to the ones with red flesh, but all my family enjoy it very much. I am a new DF grower and I am trying other varieties too.

Thanks for sharing the info as well as G-2 source. I will check it out.

Jct

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 138
  • Zone 10b
    • San Diego
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2555 on: April 02, 2018, 02:37:12 PM »
That's such a shame to hear you didn't like the megalanthus you had! There is an international market super close to my house and given that I just eat plants their produce section is my candy store. Anyway for the past little while they have been host to a very delicious yellow (def the one with spines, megalanthus) which was not much smaller than the average DF's around here (which to be clear aren't the worlds largest) and while def sweeter than all the whites and reds I've had I def wouldn't have described it in that way and I don't think I'm too much of a sweet tooth guy... Maybe I should be going there now to try and inquire after their supplier before they throw away receipts.... xD

If you have access to the fruit, you can always grow your own from seed. When you eat your next fruit, save a bunch of the seeds, clean them off, scatter a bunch in a pot, using well draining soil, then cover lightly.  Water and wait.  If its fresh seed, it should have a high germination rate.  After a bit, pick the largest 3-4, pot them up, and then wait (a couple of years - the only downside.)  I've done it on a lark, using seed from an uninspiring white flesh DF.  I've pretty much neglected the two survivors, they are in small pots on the side of the house.  One's about 4' high.  If I was serious about fruit from them I'd put them on my trellis and take care of them.  But its an option.
LaVerne Manila Mango; Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp & Gala Apple Trees; Violette De Bordeaux & Black Mission Fig; Santa Rosa Plum & Snow Queen Nectarine; Nagami Kumquat, Pixie Tangerine, Lemon, Australian Finger Lime & Washington Navel Citrus; White & Red Dragon Fruit; Miracle Berry Plant

bassisti95

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • US, Columbus, Ohio 5b/6a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2556 on: April 02, 2018, 04:03:17 PM »
If you have access to the fruit, you can always grow your own from seed. When you eat your next fruit, save a bunch of the seeds, clean them off, scatter a bunch in a pot, using well draining soil, then cover lightly.  Water and wait.  If its fresh seed, it should have a high germination rate.  After a bit, pick the largest 3-4, pot them up, and then wait (a couple of years - the only downside.)  I've done it on a lark, using seed from an uninspiring white flesh DF.  I've pretty much neglected the two survivors, they are in small pots on the side of the house.  One's about 4' high.  If I was serious about fruit from them I'd put them on my trellis and take care of them.  But its an option.

Indeed I'm def considering it. I'm up to page 45 in this thread but I'm still a little confused about a few things regarding pollinating so I'm kind of worried that if I grow something where I'm not explicitly told how to go about pollinating I might have a hard time troubleshooting as it were while I'm still new. But I guess if I can get a bunch of flowers at once I can just try a different thing on each flower, see what happens and go from there. Especially considering if I do it from seed by the time it's ready I may have already had a few years with other DF plants and be in a better place to figure it out...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 09:47:02 PM by bassisti95 »

Seanny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 952
    • Garden Grove, Orange County, California, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2557 on: April 02, 2018, 10:45:25 PM »
My DF flowers have up to 10 bees inside in the morning so I don't ever hand pollinate them.

ricshaw

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1598
    • USA, Southern California, Zone 10b
    • View Profile
    • ricshaw805 YouTube Channel
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2558 on: April 03, 2018, 12:33:13 AM »
My DF flowers have up to 10 bees inside in the morning so I don't ever hand pollinate them.

Some people have to hand pollinate with stored pollen when the bees do not have any non-related pollen to pollinate non-self fertile varieties.

Tomas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 773
    • USA, Virginia - 7a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2559 on: April 05, 2018, 09:37:57 AM »
Hi,

Can someone please give me a good recipe for a soil mix for growing dragon fruit in a container?

Tomas

RobPatterson

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
    • Ontario, California
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2560 on: April 07, 2018, 03:16:38 PM »
There is a 2 part answer to this question, and it depends on where you are with your plants: Cuttings or rooted plants.
FOR CUTTINGS: You're going to want to use the most basic of soils for establishing cuttings, Raw sand or gravel, perlite, fine wood chip mulch, even bagged 'topsoil' works for cuttings. The idea is you want to have a physically stable medium for them to set up in, with access to light moisture but plenty of air, moderate warmth and ZERO fertilizer. Root stimulator is fine, but DO NOT EVER put new cuttings in fertilized potting soil or add any sort of outside nutrients until the plants are transplanted to their actual growing location, with a healthy set of established roots. Most engineered fertilizers are designed to promote healthy adult plant growth, and can be too much for newly sprouting roots. Would be like giving a newborn two adult multivitamin pills a day; more harm than good. Also, since were on the subject, find a partially shady spot to keep your cuttings while they set up. Sun and warmth are fine, and encouraged, but if you over-sun them, they can get bleached and yellow up. Remember, these aren't complete plants, and they have very little way of sustaining or replacing the chlorophyll they use for growth and energy production. At this stage, warmth is more important than sunlight, and if you want, you can even keep them indoors if you have a low power heating mat you can place the pots on.
As a side note, to generate rooted plants at my house all I do is throw my cuttings, usually an entire plant branch, into a large yard tub, in a semi-shady area, and add about 3 inches of water every two weeks or so. It seems to work fine, but people keep telling me you can't start these plants in standing water, so you did not hear that from me.  ;)
FOR ESTABLISHED PLANTS: First and foremost, make sure you're using an appropriate sized container. Personally, I recommend working in stages, putting young plants in, say, a gallon sized pot with a support stick, until they grow tall enough to start training on a permanent support, but if you want to jump right away into a endgame sized container, that's fine too. I just prefer the smaller pots because they are mobile, take up less space in the mean time, and it gives you the ability to monitor the plants growth before committing it to the big leagues. I always try to tell people to get multiple cuttings of whatever they decide to grow, that way if theres a problem with a particular cutting, you have backups. You can always give away or discard extras if things work out. And a small container, when youre ready, you can just slit the side of the cheapo nursery pots to free then entire soil ball, or shatter cheap ceramic pots to free them. Avoid pulling plants out of pots to transplant them, as the root tips tend to be very fine and you don't want to do ANY damage, if you can avoid it.
OK, back on topic. Soil composition for growing plants should be porus but hold water. Airy but solid. One of the biggest myths and misconceptions about dragon fruit is the idea of "overwatering" the plants. If your soil is proper, you CANNOT overwater dragon fruit. The problem is STANDING WATER. During the growing and fruiting seasons of the plants, your soil should ALWAYS be moist, but not wet. In the off months, late fall, winter and very early spring, its ok to not water the plants, especially if you live in an area that experiences reliable rainfall. But the rest of the year, the plants need water to survive and grow, and how often you water will depend entirely on your climate and the way you prepared the soil.
There are 3 key needs for dragon fruit when it comes to soil. Water retention, drainage and the ability for the roots to grow freely.
Now retention and drainage seem like they would be at odds with each other, so let me explain what I mean by that. When you water a pot, organic and pourus materials in the soil soak up free standing water and (usually) expand, same as how a dry sponge does. When a volume of soil has absorbed as much water as it can, if the soil compositionand pot design allows, the remaining water drains out of the container. from that point forward, as time, heat and pressure persist, the water in the absorbant parts of the soil slowly leaches back out. This is where the roots collect their needed H2O between watering sessions. Eventually, the stored water is completely exhausted, and it's time to either water again, or the plants will stop collecting new water to use in growth and energy production. The problems arise when too much water is allowed to stay in the spaces between the soil, as the roots also require exposure to the "air" to collect CO2, Nitrogen, etc., just like the rest of the plant does. Making sure your soil can both hold moisture and drain water is key. If you can do this, the third portion, having soil loose enough for the roots to freely expand and spread out, should come naturally.
Wow, that was a long way to go for a recipe for dirt, I know. But since that was the original question, I suppose I should get to that at some point. Here's what I, personally, recommend:
Mix the following (for established plants):
40% quality potting soil, moisture retaining type if available
20% fine grain bark chips (nothing added, no colors, weed block, etc)
20% steer manure
10% playground sand
10% perlite
Prepare your container with 2 inches of course gravel at the bottom for drainange, with either coco fiber or weed block fabric over that (to ensure drainage holes dont get clogged). Add soil mix to fill container to 80% capacity (max). Use a minimum of 15 gallon container for a single plant to grow to full maturity. Larger containers can host 2-3 plants if you have room for them, and are a great way to ensure variety and help with pollinization later on, by mixing varieties in a single container. The 80% fill limit gives you room to both dump in water/liquid fertilizers without having to nurse in your pour, and to allow for addition of additional layers of soil; I ofter use time releaste fertilizers and blooming additives, but since the roots on dragon fruit are VERY shallow, instead of "scratching" in solid fertilizer, i layer it on top and then add an inch of top soil to allow the granulated nutrients to break down under a level of soil, as they are designed to do.
Now, this is how I prepare and prepared my dragon fruit for the world. It's entirely my opinion on how to make it work. Im sure others have differing opinions and techniques, and I encourage everyone interested to seek out multiple ideas before deciding on how they ultimately want to set up their gardens. Climate, location and growing skill can all effect how well you do with your plants, but I do hope this helps you get a bit closer to what you were hoping for.

Mark in Texas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4217
    • Fredericksburg Texas, (central TX), zone 8a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2561 on: April 07, 2018, 04:04:00 PM »
Will soon be planting cuttings in a RootBuilder pot.  It's finished out at 8" high, 15" wide, 5' long under clear Lexan polycarb.  Bottomless of course so rooting can continue in native soil it sits on.

I plan to lay the cuttings on their side, punch down one side of the 3 sided cuttings into the soil so it will root along the cutting and put off multiple shoots from the air/light exposed two sides.  Any one done this?

Galka

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 667
    • USA, FL, OCALA, 9A
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2562 on: April 07, 2018, 04:37:45 PM »
The best tasting DF I had so far, sweet.





« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 01:13:16 PM by Galka »

RobPatterson

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
    • Ontario, California
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2563 on: April 07, 2018, 08:12:06 PM »
Will soon be planting cuttings in a RootBuilder pot.  It's finished out at 8" high, 15" wide, 5' long under clear Lexan polycarb.  Bottomless of course so rooting can continue in native soil it sits on.

I plan to lay the cuttings on their side, punch down one side of the 3 sided cuttings into the soil so it will root along the cutting and put off multiple shoots from the air/light exposed two sides.  Any one done this?
They are traditionally not grown this way by farmers or hobbyists, mostly because, I assume, no one does it that way. The roots do not come out of the side of the plant, they start from the wooden core of the branch. Once stimulated to produce roots, the cutting will, typically, start making new roots at the point of least resistance, which would be where it was separated from its parent plant. I don't think there is any real advantage to trying to root the entire cutting, as the plant, provided its healthy and in a favorable environment, will produce as large a root system as it requires or can accommodate.
Having said that, I don't think it would 'hurt' anything to grow it that way, aside from making the point from which your new shoot(s) spawn from a bit more random.

Tomas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 773
    • USA, Virginia - 7a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2564 on: April 07, 2018, 10:26:37 PM »
Hi Rob,

Thanks so much for that elaborate answer! That explains all I need to know an more. In my case I have cuttings. From what I read, the soil I use now may no be airy enough. One of my cuttings got brown an wilted so that's why I asked the question.

Tomas

Mark in Texas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4217
    • Fredericksburg Texas, (central TX), zone 8a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2565 on: April 08, 2018, 09:27:13 AM »
They are traditionally not grown this way by farmers or hobbyists, mostly because, I assume, no one does it that way.

IOW, "a thousand flies on a pile of shit can't be wrong".   ;D

I might plant a few vertical, few horizontal.  Appreciate the thoughts though.  Works great for cactus and the physiology is not that far off.

"Roots can grow from any surface of the plant. This photo shows a root
growing in the middle of a surface and perpendicular to the surface.
These roots are intended to anchor to walls, tree bark, post, etc.
The roots can dry up without any harm.
The roots can absorb moisture and nutrients from wilted leaves and debris."



Seanny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 952
    • Garden Grove, Orange County, California, 10B
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2566 on: April 08, 2018, 12:35:14 PM »
Rob,

my DF cuttings root fine in a white 5 gallon bucket filled with 1" of water, in full sun, half day. I top off once a week.
No need to baby those weeds.

Mark,

DF put out many side roots, the side close to the fence. Laying on the side waste space so we stand them up.

Mark in Texas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4217
    • Fredericksburg Texas, (central TX), zone 8a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2567 on: April 10, 2018, 08:31:51 AM »
My DF flowers have up to 10 bees inside in the morning so I don't ever hand pollinate them.

I thought pitaya was pollinated with some kind of night moth.  Forgot the name - it's big though.  If bees pollinate DF then I've got it made, IF, they do so early morning before the flowers close up???????

Dangermouse01

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 319
  • East coast, Central Florida
    • USA, Palm Bay, FL 32907, Zone 9B
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2568 on: April 10, 2018, 08:49:32 AM »
My DF flowers have up to 10 bees inside in the morning so I don't ever hand pollinate them.

I thought pitaya was pollinated with some kind of night moth.  Forgot the name - it's big though.  If bees pollinate DF then I've got it made, IF, they do so early morning before the flowers close up???????

Seems like my DF flowers don't fully close until about 10 in the morning.  In my yard, the bees are busy on them until they can't get inside anymore.

pineislander

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2167
    • Bokeelia, FL
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2569 on: April 10, 2018, 11:03:01 AM »
My DF flowers have up to 10 bees inside in the morning so I don't ever hand pollinate them.

I thought pitaya was pollinated with some kind of night moth.  Forgot the name - it's big though.  If bees pollinate DF then I've got it made, IF, they do so early morning before the flowers close up???????

I expect the Sphynx moths are a good pollinator. It hovers like a hummingbird and has glowing eyes when lit at night.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/pollinates-night-blooming-cereus-59442.html
 
video on moonflower/Datura:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3U5IWZCEFI

One night I noticed these moths visiting a Four-O-Clock bush(Mirabilis jalapa) I had which flowers late afternoon and through the night. I've planted one of these plants between each DF post to encourage visitation. They are a mixed blessing, one has a larval stage which is the tomato hornworm. Mirabilis jalapa is easy to grow from seed or once established, tubers. It is frost tender but returns from tubers even in lower zones.

ricshaw

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1598
    • USA, Southern California, Zone 10b
    • View Profile
    • ricshaw805 YouTube Channel
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2570 on: April 10, 2018, 01:24:21 PM »
I thought pitaya was pollinated with some kind of night moth.  Forgot the name - it's big though.
If bees pollinate DF then I've got it made, IF, they do so early morning before the flowers close up???????

In theory... yes, bees can pollinate early in the morning before the flowers close up. But, the Dragon Fruit flower's pollen is better sometimes at night before midnight.

Commercial growers, with many plants, can rely on bees for pollination. Hobbyist growers with only a few plants, hand pollinate to increase their success getting fruit.

Mark in Texas

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4217
    • Fredericksburg Texas, (central TX), zone 8a
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2571 on: April 10, 2018, 01:38:10 PM »
I expect the Sphynx moths are a good pollinator. It hovers like a hummingbird and has glowing eyes when lit at night.

That's the one I was thinking of.

Sounds like your visitation hours work out pretty well.

RobPatterson

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
    • Ontario, California
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2572 on: April 11, 2018, 08:38:51 PM »
DF flowers also open and close based mostly on temperature, not light. On cool mornings the flower will stay open longer but on hot nights it might not open as much. Bees, bugs, even ants can facilitate pollinization

Rannman

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 293
  • Dragonfruit collector
    • Australia
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2573 on: April 17, 2018, 06:04:04 AM »





Finally got a fruit to set on my Megalanthus x unknown variety, (Yellow x 68, Mattís Landscape)! Only a very small fruit, possibly due to lack of cross pollination 🤔🤔🤔🤔, not sure if it is self fertile or not.
Was happy to see it had hot pink flesh(not obvious in photo), but flavour was ordinary.
Hopefully next season will be better. Knowing itís a megalanthus with pink flesh will probably encourage me to spoil the plant a bit!

SandyL

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
    • Nor Cal
    • View Profile
Re: Dragon Fruit thread.
« Reply #2574 on: April 19, 2018, 03:01:09 PM »





Finally got a fruit to set on my Megalanthus x unknown variety, (Yellow x 68, Mattís Landscape)! Only a very small fruit, possibly due to lack of cross pollination 🤔🤔🤔🤔, not sure if it is self fertile or not.
Was happy to see it had hot pink flesh(not obvious in photo), but flavour was ordinary.
Hopefully next season will be better. Knowing itís a megalanthus with pink flesh will probably encourage me to spoil the plant a bit!


Nice looking fruit. The seeds look like the size of the megelanthus. Have you tried it yet?

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk