Dragon fruit is one of the easiest fruits to grow indoors, it is from the cactus family so prefers a dry warm environment and doesn’t need much care when it is settled.
Dragon fruit is perfectly suited to growing in your house or apartment as the standard household temperature is ideal for this plant.
Even though it is a desert plant it really doesn’t require excessive amounts of light for it to grow healthy.
Read on and I will tell you exactly how to grow dragon fruit indoors…
To grow dragon fruit indoors you should use a pot that is 10-12 inches deep fill it with a good quality potting soil. Position it somewhere that gets 6-8 hours sunlight, a south facing window or conservatory is ideal. Water it twice per week during the growing season and enjoy watching this beautiful plant grow.
This video shows how easy it is to grow dragon fruit in your home:
What variety of dragon fruit is best for growing indoors?
There are many different varieties of dragon fruit that are perfect for growing indoors.
I say perfect because if you want to grow dragon fruit outdoors you need to live in a hot climate but the household temperature is the ideal temperature for growing these beautiful fruits.
Varieties of dragon fruit I recommend for growing indoors include Edgars Baby, Alice, Seoul Kitchen, Yellow Dragon Fruit or Zamorano, they are all different colors and different flavors but they are all beautiful and make excellent houseplants.
Should I grow dragon fruit from seed or buy a seedling?
There are hundreds of seeds in every dragon fruit so there is always a temptation to use these seed to grow a new plant and it is easy enough to do that.
Personally, I grow fruit indoors so I can actually eat the fruit, dragon fruit plants can take up to 6 years to become mature enough to produce fruit if you grow it from seed.
If you grow dragon fruit from cutting it might produce fruit after 1 year.
I normally buy a young fruit plant so that is can get it producing fruits as soon as possible without having to wait years.
How to germinate dragon fruit seeds
It is relatively simple to germinate dragon fruit seeds.
First, you have to gather seeds from inside a dragon fruit.
The easiest method for gathering these seeds is to peel a dragon fruit slice it and force the fruit pulp through a sieve which will leave only the seeds in the sieve.
Wash the seeds while they are in the sieve and leave them to dry for 24 hours and you are good to go.
Once you have your seeds there are 3 simple methods you can use for the germination process.
The first is the soil method where you simply put seeds in a container that is filled with soil.
The second is the mini-greenhouse method where you put a damp paper towel on a plate, put the seeds on it then cover with a glass.
The third is the ziplock bag method where you put a moist paper towel in a ziplock bag and put the seeds in it, blow air into the bag to make it like a bubble and seal it.
Whatever method you use, keep the seeds damp until it’s time to repot when the seedlings are around 1-2 inches tall
This video shows how to germinate dragon fruit seeds:
What sort of pot should I use for dragon fruit?
When you are choosing a pot to grow your dragon fruit in it is important to make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom as dragon fruit as a desert plant will die if it is left to grow in standing water.
When you are starting off the best size of pot would be one that is 10-12 inches deep and around 5 gallons.
If your dragon fruit becomes root bound you may want to re-pot it into a pot that is 20-24 inches and around 30 gallons and that will be big enough for a fully mature dragon fruit plant.
What sort of soil should I use for dragon fruit?
Even though dragon fruit is part of the cactus family I would not recommend using a cactus soil mix for growing your plant as it lacks in nutrients.
Make sure you put stones, broken pots or pebbles at the bottom of your pot to encourage good drainage.
Choose a potting mix that is well draining, contains sand, perlite or vermiculite and organic matter such as bark.
If you can find a mix that also contains bone meal that is a bonus as it will promote flowering.
How much light does dragon fruit require?
Dragon fruit plants are from the cactus family and grow in desert areas so they do like sunlight and the more the better.
If you can get your dragon fruit plant 6-8 hours of direct sunlight by positioning it in a south-facing window or conservatory that is ideal, however, the more light you can get it the more fruit will likely be produced.
If you think you will struggle to get your plant enough sunlight or are serious about getting maximum fruit production I recommend you use an LED grow lamp on a timer to boost the light hours received.
How often should I water my dragon fruit plant?
Dragon fruits are part of the cacti family so they can survive in drought conditions however they do best with regular watering.
You should water so the soil is damp but not soaking because if your plant is kept in soaking soil it will suffer from root rot and probably die.
How often you water your plant will depend on your local climate.
I give my dragon fruit plant approximately 1 inch of water twice per week during the growing season and 1 inch of water once per week during the winter months.
You have to let your soil dry out at springtime until flowers have appeared and opened.
When I do this I give it a deep water until water comes out the drainage holes in the bottom and don’t water it again until the flowers have bloomed.
What temperature is best for indoor dragon fruit?
Dragon fruit is tolerant of hot temperatures because in the wild they grow in hot countries with desert conditions although if the temperature gets above 100 degrees Fahrenheit the plant will wilt and the fruit will start to die.
The ideal temperature for dragon fruit is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-29C). If the temperature gets below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (-0C) your plant will die completely as they are not tolerant of these sorts of cold temperatures.
I don’t take much notice of the temperature but my plant does good in my standard household temperature.
What is the best fertilizer for dragon fruit in a pot?
Using fertilizer on your dragon fruit will be beneficial, however, using too much or the wrong type will be detrimental to your plants’ health.
I use a low nitrogen cactus fertilizer every second month during the growing season and none during the dormant winter months.
Fertilizers that would be suitable for dragon fruit plants include 6-6-6 or 8-3-9 mixes and if you want to add a layer of organic fertilizer such as well-rotted manure or compost to the soil it will always be of benefit to your plant.
How to prune a dragon fruit plant
Pruning your dragon fruit plant will encourage fresh growth and lead to more buds forming that should blossom into flowers then fruits.
I prune my dragon fruit plant in November after the growing season has finished and the plant is in its dormant phase.
You should prune any branches that are touching, growing over other branches or touching the ground.
Any branches you have cut off can be discarded or used to grow new dragon fruit plants so if you don’t need them why not give them to a friend.
Some people like to stand all the branches on dragon fruit up the way and tie a string around them to keep them standing and growing up the way, otherwise, the will end up hanging over the pot down the way.
How to pollinate a dragon fruit plant?
Dragon fruit flowers are strange in that the flowers open up at night time.
In the wild insects and wind will pollinate the flowers but a fruit tree grown indoors will need a helping hand with pollination.
The easiest method of hand pollination is the paintbrush method to do this simply use a small paintbrush and brush the pollen in each flower from the male part (the anthers) onto the female part (the pistil).
Watch this video to find out exactly how to hand pollinate a dragon fruit flower:
When to pick dragon fruit from a potted plant
The easiest way to tell if your dragon fruit is ripe is by the appearance of it.
Dragon fruits will turn from green to pink or yellow when they are ripe, depending on the variety you have chosen to grow.
When dragon fruit is ripe its wings, these are the leafy part that extends from the fruit, will turn brown when it’s under-ripe these wings will be yellow or red.
Finally, give your dragon fruit a squeeze to check if it’s ripe as it should be soft when it’s ripe.
How to store freshly picked dragon fruit
To store dragon fruit in the fridge it is best to keep it whole without cutting or slicing it, put it in a sealable bag or container and it should keep good for up to 2 weeks.
If you have sliced or cut your dragon fruit and want to extend the life of it you should put it in a sealable bag or container and put it in the fridge, although doing this may only keep it good for 2-3 days.
If you want to store your dragon fruit long term, the best option is to freeze it.
To prepare your dragon fruit for freezing you should peel it and cut it into small pieces.
Freeze these pieces of dragon fruit on a flat tray overnight before transferring it to a sealable bag or container, this prevents it all freezing together into a big lump of dragon fruit.
Frozen dragon fruit should keep good for 3-6 months.
To grow dragon fruit outdoors
If you want to grow dragon fruit outdoors it will only be possible if you live in an area that gets no frost during the winter months.
When planting outdoors you should dig a hole and mix in organic material such as manure or compost along with some pellet fertilizer.
Make sure you choose somewhere with well-draining soil and lots of direct sunlight.
If you live in an area that gets frost and still want to grow dragon fruit outdoors you could always grow it in a pot and move the pot indoors or somewhere that gets protection from the weather during the winter months.
Common dragon fruit problems and how to solve them
Dragon fruit plants are relatively simple to grow indoors and should be less susceptible to diseases and pest infestations when grown indoors.
Like all plants that become diseased of infested the quicker you treat these signs the better chance your plant will make a full recovery.
Here are some of the most common dragon fruit problems and how to treat them:
Botryosphaeria Dothidea – Botryosphaeria Dothidea is mostly spread through unsterile pruning practices and has become a common disease in many parts of the world. The first signs of this disease is normally yellow patches on a branch that turn into red/ brown blotchy spots on the stems of your plant. This disease is not deadly if treated soon enough, to cure this disease you should prune any dead or infected areas of your plant and that should be enough to cure it.
Sunburn – Yes the dragon fruit cacti plant can be affected by sunburn, this normally occurs when the plant is moved from a partially shaded area to a position that gets full sun. You will notice sunburn on your dragon fruit plant by the area that receives the most direct sunlight turning yellow, scabby and starting to peel. To avoid this injury to your plant when you move it you should build up its exposure to direct sunlight, turning your plant 180 degrees at regular intervals could be a solution so different areas get the direct exposure.
Corking – Corking occurs when a cacti plant becomes mature and is a normal part of the aging process. The plant will start to have an actual bark texture, this will start from the bottom and work its way up. Don’t worry about this as its part of the natural process for a dragon fruit cacti plant.
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