Dragon fruit (Hylocereus undatus), also known as strawberry pear and night blooming cereus, is in the family Cactaceae and is a cactus known for its blooms and fruit. Native to the tropical Americas, dragon fruit will grow well planted in containers in the subtropical and tropical regions of our country. It blooms in colors ranging from white to dark pink, depending on the species and the fruits are edible. Starting dragon fruit cuttings in containers is actually the recommended method of planting.
Cut a 6- to 15-inch stem from the parent plant, at an angle. Dip the end of the dragon fruit cutting into a fungicide. Allow the cutting to heal over for one week in a shady area, before planting into the container.
Select a container that is large enough to support the dragon fruit cutting and not be top heavy. For example, plant a 6-inch cutting in a 1-gallon container and a 15-inch cutting will require a 3-gallon container. Be sure the container has drain holes in the bottom of it.
Fill the container two thirds full with a well-draining, potting mix that has organic material in it. Be sure the potting mix drains well and does not retain water, or the dragon fruit will rot and die. Dragon fruits will not tolerate living in constantly wet conditions.
Dig out an indentation in the center of the soil that is 2 to 3 inches deep. Place the dragon fruit cutting into the hole and pack the soil in firmly around it. Make sure to plant the cutting deep enough so it is able to stand upright on its own.
Situate the container in an area that receives partial sunlight or filtered sunlight during the day. Move the container to a shadier area if the plant becomes sunburned.
Fertilize the dragon fruit with an 8-4-12 fertilizer after it has been growing in the container for one month. You can also use a palm fertilizer. Continue to fertilize the dragon fruit every other month. Water the fertilizer in well and do not allow it to butt up against the dragon fruit’s stem.
Allow the container to completely dry out before watering. Depending on your local weather conditions, water the dragon fruit every one to two weeks. Water until it runs out of the bottom of the container. Dragon fruits require a dry period to bloom.
Prune off long stems to control the dragon fruit’s size and shape.
Treat scale, mites or other insect problems with an insecticide designed for use on dragon fruit plants. Pests are usually not a problem for plants grown outdoors.