Dragon fruit (pitaya)

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I tried to be nerdy about pH...even bought both a powder kit tester and a weird metal gauge thingy (which seems to be wildly inaccurate). I had read that if the pH is too low, essential soil nutrients can't be absorbed by some plants - in my case I think it was calcium becomes unavailable to zucchini. Turned out my soil was the opposite...seriously alkaline. Acidified it...still no improvement with the zucchini! So I gave up on pH :think:
     
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  2. Sanyam

    Sanyam Member Premium Member GOLD

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    :):)I don't trust the pH test kits being sold on eBay etc
    I am planning to send my soil sample to a lab for testing. They report pH, EC and micronutrients as well.
    I have plans on going super nerdy about the pH.
    For a basic at home test, I'd choose the method given here http://preparednessmama.com/testing-your-soil-ph-without-a-kit/
    I faintly remember the method to accurately measure pH in my chem lab classes. It was easy and cheap as far as I remember. That should give me something to cross check the lab report with :)
     
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  3. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That's a great price for a dragon fruit cutting in a pot!

    I haven't heard of these guys looking forward to browsing their website ;)
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    How did you acidify your soil? My bore has water of pH 9 with CaCO3 being the main reason for its alkalinity. I haven't yet tried the sulfur I've got ready to go for the soil (way too time poor at this stage) but I figure it should help with the citrus in particular...
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Not sure if this tip has already been added to one of the dragon fruit threads....but....

    My brother's girlfriend who spends time in Thailand says the dragon fruit farms over there make sure at least the last 3 segments are hanging down to encourage flowering. They don't let them get very high so the posts the vines grow on are less than 1.5m tall & the vines are cut back every year to curb rampant growth.

    Of course that sort of growth is unlikely here but good to know about letting the segments hang down.
    When my brother saw my dragon fruit vines climbing right up my palm trees he said they would probably never flower unless I pulled the vines off the trunks back as far as head height.
     
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  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Pruning and not letting the vine climb up too high are definitely good tips to remember in regards to dragon fruit growing.
     
  8. Kim

    Kim Member Premium Member

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    Hi this is my tree and i have never seen a flower. What can i do now to get flowers and fruit. Its in well drai ed soil, gets watered and chook ****. Hmm help please.
     

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  9. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hey Kim, that's a good looking plant you got there! Looks pretty mature. I'm growing my dragon fruit from seed and they're still tiny, so I'm no expert! I'd have thought the chicken manure would supply ample phosphorus so perhaps check other essential minerals...I notice a large crop in the background...any possibility the fertiliser or conditions for that could be spilling over to your dragon tree?
     
  10. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That looks like sugar cane n the background so the fertilizer from that shouldn't affect the dragon fruit.
    But maybe there is too much chook poo (nitrogen)as the tree looks pretty dark green.
    Water, humidity, potassium & a little less nitrogen should do the trick.
     
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    That's an amazing looking dragon fruit plant @Kim but I do tend to agree with Clissa above by hitting it with potassium - i would leave out the nitrogen altogether. Also, give it a good prune to thin the plant out and perhaps this will create enough stress to trigger flowering.

    How old is it?
     
  12. Doug

    Doug Member Premium Member

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    We are at Wamuran and have a massive plant (maybe more than one) that has been left to its own devices. This season I hand pollinated 70 flowers and ended up with 6 fruit, none of which were edible as carpenter ants had made their home in each. The second flowering (just finished) produced 57 flowers, with zero fruit set. I may have to go to the commercial grower up the road in the GHM.
     
  13. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Doug. Welcome to our forum.
    I know the Wamuran area & it should be a good place to grow dragon fruit all things being equal.
    Are you sure your type is one that requires hand pollinating?
    Mine does not & the only way I know is because I got my dark red fruit type cuttings from the guy down the road who had several huge vines growing across the front of his house that had sandstone pillars on which they climbed.
    They were so high there was no way they could have been pollinated & the owners were regularly away but the vines were always productive.
    Also they never bothered to molly coddle the vines other than to trim off rampant growth & leave the tap dripping a little when away in dry times. They grew the full 2 stories high but due to being very heavy vines, they did come unstuck from the sandstone pillars at times & did hang down a lot too.

    Doug perhaps the hand pollinating is not necessary & may be damaging the internal flower parts thereby preventing fruit development. On the other hand if you know for sure your vines need pollinating, it seems that dragonfruit like their s#x a bit rough!! (according to the youtube vids I've watched on the subject of hand pollination of dragonfruit):rolleyes:

    As for the ants, you might try covering the new fruit with fruit fly bags like those used on tomatoes & other bunched fruit types.

    General question......Are there also some dragonfruit types that need a partner plant?
     
  14. Doug

    Doug Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for the informative response. We have only been on the property for 14 months. The previous owners said the plant(s) had never fruited. We did get one edible fruit last year (pink skin, white flesh), but again that was from at least 50 flowers. The property is certified organic, and to increase the degree of difficulty is being converted to veganic. I have a dozen red fleshed and a couple of yellow skin seedlings ready for planting out, so we will probably leave the monster to do its own thing.
     
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  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    They might cross-pollinate with the monster and improve the setting of the fruit. The plant is obviously healthy enough if it's producing so many flowers so I would guess it's just not a very good variety for setting fruit and probably would benefit from other plants around it.
     
  16. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Since the rain I was ever so thrilled to see 3 new flowers on the vine I got 2 fruit from this year.
    However on further inspection today I was dismayed to see only one flower now. :(
    Anyway here is a photo of my latest fruit just picked this evening.
    The words say it all! The thing weighs 600g!:p:D
    dragonfruit snodger.jpg
     
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  17. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wow awesome.

    I just bought a red dragon fruit plant from Bunnings. It has bits sticking out everywhere. I was thinking of cutting some of the bits of and planting them. What is the best way to go about that?
     
  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Dragon fruit are easy to grow from cuttings.

    Often if you leave the cutting it will grow roots after several weeks (see the pic - roots growing out the bottom) and then you can plant it out.

    Or, you can place the cutting in potting mix and it should strike but don't overwater or it might rot.

    dragon fruit cutting roots rooted.jpg
     
  19. Berkeloid

    Berkeloid Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    @Mark I just saw your latest video "Dragon Fruit Daytime Flower" which was great to see a flower in daylight!

    I noticed that your dragon fruit plant has a lot of dried/grey looking stems, which you mention as needing to cut off to clean up. I bought some cuttings to grow about a year ago and they have recently started producing new stems, but I noticed when I first got them that those in the direct summer sun really struggled and started getting similar pale/grey patches on them.

    So I'm wondering whether yours is looking like this because it's getting too much sun? I guess it's possible it was a lack of water (since my cuttings had no roots so they would also have been struggling a bit for water) but the cuttings of mine that were in partial shade didn't experience this problem.

    Anyway just thought I'd mention it in case you wanted to experiment with introducing some shade if, after you've cut off all the dead stems, you notice new ones struggling.
     
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  20. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That's very observant Berkeloid, mine that were in the sun went like that too.
    Since I didn't want to loose more plant size by pruning, my solution was to keep them moist by regular misting with very weak foliar fertilizer & loosely covering with pieces of shade cloth.
    So they got water & food as often as I could manage which was most days & they got to acclimatize more slowly.
     
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