Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a native of Latin America and is now being cultivated in Asian countries, primarily for the nutritional content of the fruit. Dragon fruit are eaten in salads, made into drinks, and the color is used to dye food. The dragon fruit plant is a climbing cactus and is best suited for propagation in dry areas. The long white flowers, which bloom only at night (the plant is also called night-blooming cereus), produce fleshy, scaled fruit. Dragon fruit can be grown either as an ornamental or to bear fruit. Ornamental dragon fruit does not require fertilization. However, dragon fruit grown for food requires frequent fertilization to produce a healthy crop. The root system of the dragon fruit sits close to the surface and quickly absorbs existing nutrition in the soil. Correct fertilizing can lead to a bountiful harvest of dragon fruit.
Apply 3 oz. of 13-13-13 fertilizer around the base of the plant 3 months after planting. Surround the base of the plant with 4 lbs. of well-composted cow manure. Keep manure away from the stem.
Repeat application of fertilizer every 3 to 4 months during the first year of growth. Stop fertilizing 10 days before harvest.
Apply 0.3 to 0.4 lbs. fertilizer every 2 months during the second and third year. Increase manure to to 6 lbs. during the second and third years, spreading manure around the base of each plant.
During and following the fourth year, increase fertilizer to 0.5 to 0.75 lbs., applying three to four times a year. Add 5 lbs. of manure twice a year.