The Dragon Fruit or Pitaya is a tropical fruit that has become very popular because of the various dishes and drinks that can be made from its fruit. Why it is called “Dragon Fruit” is beyond us, but may have something to do with its artichoke-like appearance with pointy peels resembling the scales of a dragon.
The succulent plant is also known for its scientific name Hylocereus undatus. Depending on its variant, the fruit of the plant may come in pink, white, purple, or red colors. Aside from Pitaya, the succulent plant is known for its other names such as Strawberry Pear, Queen of the Night, Moonlight Cactus, Honolulu Queen, Conderella Plant, Belle of the Night, and Night-blooming Cereus.
With proper care, the Dragon Fruit can grow up to 33 feet vertically with its diameter reaching up to 4 inches. Meanwhile, its fruits have an oval shape with a size of 5 inches long and 3.6 inches in diameter.
Besides providing variety to your succulents collection, its nutritious fruits can be enjoyed in many ways. So if you want to propagate it, here is an easy method of doing it:
1. Make sure that it has the right environment.
The Dragon Fruit is a tropical plant so it should be placed under direct sunlight, especially during the summer. However, it can still thrive under partial shade and can be grown indoors as long as it is placed near a window with good exposure to the sun and fresh air.
The perfect temperature for it is around 70 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the USDA, it can survive temperatures going down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but putting it to its limit is not advisable. During cold weather or winter, try to supplement the lack of sunlight with grow lights to help its growth.
2. Identify the part for propagation.
The plant can be propagated using its seeds or cuttings. The faster way of doing it is through its cuttings though.
Start by cutting a branch from a fully-grown Dragon Plant using a pair of shears. Make sure that the edges of the shears are sharp to keep the cut as clean as possible, and that it has been sterilized to avoid contaminating the wound of the plant.
3. Choose the right soil mixture for it.
Any kind of garden soil can be used. The best pH level for it should be between six and seven. Sandy soil is a better choice if it is available in your area. Just see to it that the soil is well-draining to prevent water clogging and to promote air circulation in the roots of the succulent.
4. Pick the right succulent plant pot.
An outdoor garden where the plant has more exposure to sunlight and air is recommended. However, if you are looking to place it indoors, only choose pots with holes at the bottom to allow excess water to drain freely.
5. Avoid overwatering it.
Only water the succulent plant if you notice that the soil starts getting dry. Overwatering causes the leaves of the Dragon Fruit to become very plump and limp. In the long run, it may even lead to fungal diseases and rotting.