Dragon fruit, or pitaya, is a cactus fruit that tastes delicious, is nutritious, and grows well in warm-winter climates (it doesn’t like temperatures below 40° F). We’ve wanted to grow it for years, but haven’t had room to trellis it up a wall, because it requires support. The other day while walking past a meandering dragon fruit plant, however, we couldn’t resist taking a cutting or two.
Dragon fruit, like many cacti, is easy to propagate. Simply trim the end and plop it in soil. But there are a few specifics to note along the way. Here’s the breakdown.
Trim the Ends
Dragon fruit grows in segments, so it’s easy to take a cutting at one of the narrow points along a segment. But new roots don’t grow well from the narrow, woody end. Cut the end off to create more surface area along the tender part of the plant.
Prepare your Pots
While it’s well-known that cactus prefers “cactus mix” potting soil with plenty of sand, dragon fruit actually likes regular ol’ potting soil. You may want to add a little more sand or perelite to your mix, but any sandy loam potting soil will do.
Two of our cuttings were fairly long, longer than the advised size of 5-6 inches. We decided to leave them long to see how it worked. We trimmed two smaller segments that were on the short side (about 3″) as well (one of which had a root forming already). We’ll see which does best.
Potting the Dragon Fruit
Dig a hole in the middle of your pot and place the cutting 2 to 3 inches deep. Backfill the soil and compress it slightly to keep the cutting upright.
Water the Baby Dragon Fruit
Water enough to moisten the soil but not saturate it. Remember, these are cactus plants. They don’t need a lot of water.
Place the cuttings in partial shade so they can take root without stress. It may take a few weeks for them to begin generating roots. Root growth is obvious when you start to see new top growth as well.
Once these develop roots, we’ll transplant them to larger pots next to a wall with a trellis…once we figure out where. Ah, the sign of a true Gardenerd–acquiring plants before you know where to put them!
We’ll post updates as they grow. Stay tuned.
This Post Has 135 Comments
Sorry, I do not have a comment but a question of my own. My dragon fruit cactus has longbranches full of roots that just hang in the air. Should I leave it or should I cut them away?
The “roots” are actually little tendrils to help them cling to a wall or trellis. Leave them there and give them something to climb.
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I now live in Missouri but while in So. Cal. I successfully grew, propagated and gave friends plants. All my plants fruited and I made sure that when they bloomed it would hand pollinate then by using a Q-tip to gather pollen from one plant and swab the next. As far as fertilizing: I grew in plain old potting soil and would use “Cactus Juice” in early spring throughout the flowering season. Would add juice about once a month. I found the product at Lowe’s and, of course, the internet.
I have a top of a dragon fruit that has a small bit of the original plant on it, can I root that? It is from the fruit and not the plant itself.
I have not heard of anyone successfully propagating dragon fruit from the fruit (other than from the seeds). Use the plant part instead. You’ll have better luck.
My dad has been propagating some dragon fruit stems that already have roots. I have a question about putting them into pots. Can I put them into the largest pot I have available? Which is approx a 50-60L pot.
Sounds big enough for a few cuttings.
Better to use a smaller pot and then repot it as it grows. When the pot is way too big with a large amount of the soil not containing any roots, it often stays soggy and will encourage gnats and unhealthy soil.
Thanks for the information— one of our friends wants some cuttings from our dragon fruit and I was going to perform some selective pruning (very much needed). Our location is South Florida so dragon fruit can grow really well here, given people follow the sort of advice found in your blog. Ours has been in its current location about 8 years and is now quite massive, producing as many as 4 dozen or more fruits at once. It does love hot weather and so long as we continue to get highs in the 80s-90s it keeps producing.
The soil here is very sandy but is also more fertile than you would expect. Our plant has a metal fence and several 4×4 posts with heavy duty metal trellis for support. It also takes advantage of its 2 “companion” plants—a coconut palm we bought from IKEA 10 years back and a Carambola tree we found about the same time in a local Lowes garden center. The palm and the Carambola(Star Fruit) also produce like crazy. The dragon fruit likes getting plenty of sunlight but at the same time the palm and Carambola tree provide enough shade so it doesn’t get sun burned(it is right on the edge of a very exposed area which has nothing except grass.
I don’t recall the type of dragon fruit we have, but it has the red skin and white flesh (the most common type I have seen for sale in these parts)
Sounds like a great set up! Thanks for sharing.
My DF had one long string that was easy to take off so I am going to let it cure and then I will plant it is a 8″pot and let it do it’s thing or should I put it in water?
You’re on the right track. No need to put it in water. Good luck!
Hi. I bought a small dragonfruit several years ago. Planted in 10 lb grow bag, stuck it in a mostly shaded protected area and forgot about it. In zone 9. Finally ready to do something with it. The single stalk is now 4 arms coming from base. None of it is growing straight up. Kinda sprawling. Not sure how to correct this so it climbs a typical dragon fruit trellis, which is yet not built. Do I cut off 3 of 4 arms and grow them separately? Keeping straighest one on original plant to trellis? I plan to protect them in winter as it gets cold several weeks a year. Thanks.
If you want to train it to a trellis, you may have to remove some of those branchings. Wrangle it back into place, and then keep training it from then on.
Hello from No. California! Just wanted clarification, full direct sun is not ideal once established? When it is mentioned that dragon fruit need at least 2 plants, does it mean from other varieties or is the same fine? Also, can you determine the variety from the cutting?
Good questions. I have seen so many dragon fruit plants in full sun and they stay dark green, but mine and the mother plant it came from do not, so it might depend upon the variety. I would have at least 2 plants of the same variety so they can cross pollinate successfully, though I suppose if they are the same type (meaning pink or white flesh, respectively) they should cross pollinate just fine. And while some people may be able to tell which variety it is just from a cutting, I can’t. I have my labeled with a sharpie so I know which is which.
I have a potted DF plant that has many young individuals all potted together (like, maybe 100 of them in a 4″ pot), and they all stood mostly straight up. It was very root bound so I repotted it but with the extra room in the new pot, the outer ones all fell and flopped to the sides. Is this ok? Will it grow well and thrive like this? Or, should I support them to let them grow straight up? Thank you!!
Hi Lacy, Dragon Fruit does need support so that it will grow up a trellis. It’s growing habit is to drape down, so that’s why trellising and support is important. It will try to grow toward the sun, so new segments that develop will most likely grow more upright. All that said, I would limit only 2-4 cuttings to one pot that is at least 15″ in diameter. If you still have 100 cuttings you will want to drastically reduce the number per pot. They aren’t meant to be that cramped. Good luck!
Hi, I am new to growing DF and I would like some advice. My cuttings are doing fine so far 🙂 it´s about future of my DF.
1) I saw other people´s DF are already blooming or they have fruits, in my climate I can move DF outside from begging/mid may till mid/end of september. If I am lucky will they then start blooming?
2) In winter season should I move them to the room with temperature around 10°C – 15°C (50°F – 59°F) or around 20°C (68°F)
Thank you in advance.
Hi Lucia, it can take up to 4 years for Dragon fruit to start flowering and producing fruit. They also want to be fed, so think of them as a fruit tree more than a cactus. I am not well versed on growing dragon fruit in colder hardiness zones, so it might be best to ask a tropical plant specialist in your area how cacti respond to that short length of time outdoors. It may not matter if they get enough sunlight and food, but I can’t be sure. To answer your second question, they will do much better in that warmer climate, but be sure they get enough water, as home heating systems often dry out plants that are used to absorbing humidity outside.
Thank you for your quick respond, I am aware that it may take few years to bear fruit, I just wanted to know if 4 months outside will be enough for them, well it must 🙂 It’s not popular growing DF in my country probably because of the climate, but I will try. I have one more question about soil, first I bought cactus mix but I didn’t like it, so I bought substrate containing 20% sphagnum peat moss, 35% garden peat,10% high quality organic Worm-Humus, 30% perlite and 5% Pre-Mix, PH is 6,2. My cuttings are in it and doing well, but I am planing to order few more so do you thing this soil is fine for them or I should add something. Thank you and have a nice day.
Dragon fruit prefers a richer soil than cactus mix so your instincts are good. Add some all purpose organic fertilizer to the mix and you’ll be all set.
I heard that dragon fruits tend to prefer soil pH slightly alkaline >7 for better nutrient absorption. You can adjust the pH by adding baking soda or a solid amendment. During growing season, I like to add fertilizer (I.e. FloraNova Grow) weekly – monthly which I notice helps with overall growth. If you have a more mature plant, I heard FloraNova Bloom is good for inducing flower/fruits.
I live in Perth, Australia. I have a piece of dragonfruit on its side and it has sprouted another two segments. The middle segment has been eaten by snails, I think. Should I cut the top segment and start again in a pot? It is Autumn here and we are headed into our wetter, cooler season – Would it be okay to grow inside so it doesn’t get too much sun? It is in a very shady spot and we have sandy soil here. Thanks for your help!
Alison, it all depends on the direction you want your dragon fruit to grow. If you want them to curve up you can leave them segments on the original cutting and plant it straight. They will eventually grow upwards. But if you want stick straight plants, start with the two new cuttings in soil. If you are planting in a shady spot, you can leave it outside. That should be sufficient.
Hi, I am new to growing dragon fruit and I received some cuttings but the bottom is not yet scabbed over. Do I need to wait until the bottom (side that will be planted in soil) to be scabbed over? Thanks
The end (the bottom) should cure in just a few days. Then they will be ready to plant. They plants will be fine until them. I’ve had cutting laying around for longer than that and they end up rooting just fine.
Hi there! My daughter purchased a potted dragon fruit plant from a nursery. After about a week, we are noticing the bottom part that is in the soil has turned yellow and hard. Can we just cut the plant above that area and put the healthy part in soil? Thank you so much!
Hmmm, yellowing can occur if the dragonfruit is getting too much sun. It may be overwatering as well. Once a week is best until you start seeing new growth, which may take a few months before that’s visible. If you do choose to make a cutting and start over, let the cut cure a few days before replanting it. I’d hate to see you lose the months it took to root that initial cutting though. Maybe check with the nursery to see if they have heard of this happening before with their cuttings.
I’m new to dragon fruit planting and I think I need some help. I received several cuttings 1.5 weeks ago and planted them when I got them (as the ends already callused). I’ve only watered them once on the day I planted them and have left them in the shade.
It’s been 1.5 weeks, the soil isn’t dry but I am noticing some of the cuttings look like they’re drying up/about to shrivel up? I’m just wondering how often should I be watering them and should they be getting any direct sunlight because I’ve read unrooted cuttings dry up upon receiving direct sunlight?
Thank you in advance!
Shade is best for them right now, Vivien. But you may want to increase water a smidge and see if that helps plump them back up. I recommend watering at least 1x per week for now and see how they respond.
My cutting is putting off what looks like roots in the top part of the stem. It’s been in the pot for 6 months and that’s the only new growth I see. Can you tell me what I did wrong?
Those “roots” are tendrils for it to grab on to the wall or support it is growing on. It can take a long time for dragon fruit to start growing, but don’t despair. Give it some organic fertilizer (they need food) and you will see growth soon. Feed it monthly from here on out.
Hi, i have been growing four dragon fruit plants for almost a year now and i am wondering if i should cut the tops of the cactus off. Will it help the cactus grow wide?
Dragon fruit will put out side shoots on its own whether or not you top it. But if you want to stimulate more growth, try cutting one of them down by a segment or two and then see what happens. If you like the results, do the same to the others. That said, their nature is to grow long and drape over a trellis at the top like an umbrella shape, so you might want to hold off on doing it until they drape over the top of your trellis.
Hi I am new to growing dragon fruit and would like some advice. I just bought two cuttings that I thought had roots in them but when I went to repot them I noticed they had the bottoms cut off with I think some root growth hormone. The cuts look fresh with not rot that I can tell. Will my dragon fruit be ok or do I need to do something to help them grow roots? They are about 8-12 inches in length if that helps. Thank you in advance.
Fear not, Clara. Those cuttings will develop roots in a few weeks to a few months. Just plop them in some potting soil and water them well, then wait. Eventually they will send up new growth, which will indicate that roots have set in below ground. Give the cuttings a tug every once in awhile to see if they have anchored with new roots. It will happen, I promise!
Hello! I started some cuttings last summer, inside, and just moved them to a bigger pot w a trellis to grow up. I think I snapped just about every new segment I had started in the process. Man they were delicate. Now that they are in their new home, will they start new shoots in the spring/summer? The root systems seemed large n healty when I transplanted them
Aw, that’s a bummer, but the good news is that as long as those roots are looking strong you will see new shoots soon. Take care to protect them from too much sun as they transition to outdoors. They will turn yellow if they’re getting too much sun. Shade cloth is your friend.
Can I grow dragon fruit plant in the month of December in india?
That’s a good question, Jowel. I am not familiar with the weather where you live, although I know there is a monsoon season, when it might be a good idea to avoid planting if flooding is common in your soils. I found this website that might be helpful: https://www.agrifarming.in/dragon-fruit-cultivation You might try posting your question there for a more detailed answer from someone familiar with growing in different regions of India. Let us know what you find out.
I’m just new in collecting moon cactus, when in fact, I have only two of them.And I want to have cuttings of dragon fruit stems, to prepare for grafting or propagating Moon Cactus.My question is:Can I make more than one cutting of a long stem or branch of a dragon fruit?
You can cut dragon fruit into pieces even if it’s not at the narrow end of a segment. I have found the smaller pieces take longer to establish then the larger pieces, however. But given enough time you’ll have new growth from any cuttings you make.
Thank you for this helpful post! I found some dragon fruit cuttings for sale on line and want to give it a try. It’s currently December and I live in the SF Bay Area. Winters aren’t too terrible here, gets rainy occasionally and some nights fall below 40. Do you think I should wait until fall to start or is it fine to start planting them now? Also, once they develop roots and even start to produce fruit, can they stay in pots or should they be planted to soil? Thanks!
Hi Grace, a lot of plants prefer to be planted in fall so they have the winter to develop roots. Then they jump in spring. Dragon Fruit may go dormant over winter, but it won’t hurt to stick it in some soil now to give it a head start. You can start them in pots and transplant them next spring if you like. That way you can control their environment a little better. If your soil gets soggy with rain, then the container route, for over winter, is the best option. Otherwise you can stick your cuttings in well-draining soil in your yard.
I am also in the SF bay area, just acquired dragon fruit cuttings, wondering what you ended up doing with yours and what type of area you have your cuttings in now, being mid Feb and slightly rainy. Thanks!
Ours are in a large pot against a wall with a trellis. They have all sprouted new growth and we’ve pruned a couple times already. They haven’t yet begun to flower (will probably be another year or so before that happens). But we’re committed!
Hi Christy, Grace, and Sara,
What a fun new experience. I am also in the SF Bay Area, and just purchased a cutting, which has some new growth at the top and bear the bottom (the lower one is growing faster than the top). I have the same internal struggle, but only have a patio so my choices are limited: to plant in a larger 10-20-gallon containert with trellis now, or start with a smaller pot (such as 5-gallon) and then wait for autumn to repot. My biggest worry is investing in the big pot/trellis and then the cutting not surviving our wet/windy San Francisco winter…
I hear you, Eric. Containers can be expensive, but plastic pots tend to be the least expensive. Or maybe put out the word on your local Freecycle or Buy Nothing group or Craigslist to see if anyone has a half whiskey barrel or large pot they’re ready to part with. Starting small is also a good idea. You can move it up to a larger pot once you know it’s going to survive in your micro-climate.
I recently purchased a dragon fruit but has no cuttings. Can I start one from the actual fruit? Thank you
You can grow it from seed, but since it takes 4 years before you’ll start getting fruit from a cutting, it will take even longer from seed. It’s worth finding a cutting if you can.
A good quality cutting will fruit within a year, two at the most, if it’s large and plump, taken from a mature plant that has already fruited, has rooted well, and is growing in the right environment. And many people find that plants from germinated seeds can fruit for the first time in as little as 3 years (seeds are super easy to germinate…I just planted about 200 hundred seeds from a couple of DF [a red one, and a yellow] that I bought a couple weeks ago, and well over a hundred seeds germinated [so far over 100 of the red, and about 20 of the yellow, which was planted a fe days later], with more likely to come up…took about 5 days for seedlings to start popping up after planting). I know it will take about 3-4 years to start getting fruit from them, but it’s a lot of fun germinating and growing plants from seeds. And I’ll be sharing a LOT of these with friends once they’ve been transplanted and grown a bit.
On the flip side, you can get fruit much faster from a mature cutting. Honestly, I would be pretty concerned if a mature cutting takes 4 years. If the plant is otherwise looking great, then I would seriously worry that something it is likely not quite right; perhaps the plant needs better nutrients, water, or sun, or the temperature is too cool. Nutrient changes can be made to entice the plant to fruit. And also, taking some cuttings from a mature plant can sometimes stress the plant into “emergency propagation” mode where they will pop out fruit in order to “keep the line going”, so to speak. YouTube has some great videos with very good examples to help figure out how to get your plants to fruit.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Bryant!
Great post. I have two plants that I started from seed from the first fruit i have even purchased and eaten. Do you need more than one plant for the to pollinate and fruit
It is a good idea to have more than one plant. We tucked 4 cuttings in one pot and 3 took off. It may be a mess down the line, but we’ll have pollination!
What is the brand of fertilizer that you use?
I mix my own blend sometimes, and I also recommend brands such as Dr. Earth, Down to Earth, Fox Farm, and G&B. Those are all pretty good and offer a selection of options for different plants.
A very few varieties will self pollinate, most require other plants, either a different variety, or another similar variety that is not a clone of the same plant, to cross pollinate. According to this site: https://growdf.com/pollination-list/, the following varieties are self pollinating: American Beauty, Bien Hoa Red, Bien Hoa White, Capistrano Valley, Colombiana / Yellow Colombian. A few others have conflicting information, and MAY be SF, but most likely not. Best to have a couple of different varieties.
Hi I am looking to start 1 acre of dragon fruits. My question;
1) If I purchase cuttings that already have roots, can I wait a Month or 2 until they grow another section and cut from there so I can multiply early?
Cause it is really expensive to buy tons of plants.
(I’m thinking if I start with 50, in a few months I can get hundreds)
Is this a good idea?
2) should I plant 1 variety or do all 3?
Let’s start with #2 first: diversity is key. I always recommend planting more than one variety in case one does better than the others in your hardiness zone and climate. Now for #1. I have found that the smaller cuttings take longer to start rooting and growing. That said, that is only my anecdotal experience. Test out a few smaller cuttings and a few larger cuttings and see what works best for you.
Hi Christy, I thank you for the post and love reading about agriculture especially like that of the exquisite Dragon fruit. This fruit brings back great memories of my upbringing where you can find it growing wild, and trace back it’s origins to my beautiful Colombia. I just wanted to clarify something which was mentioned incorrectly within the first sentence of the post and help move forward in explaining the difference in Pitaya, and Pitahaya. Dragon fruits have been referred
to as Pitahaya ever since it’s discovery in Colombia, our sister country of Ecuador, Costa Rica and trough Central America. This is the fruit we typically know in the States as the Ecuadorian Palora, Dark Star, Colombiana, David Bowie, Physical graffiti, American beauty, etc. Pitaya Cactus/fruit are the cousins of the Pitahaya which origin’s
are traced back to Mexico, specifically Jalisco. It is a Cactus that reaches great heights and has a thicker stalk than that of the Pitahaya but it’s fruit is smaller with different flesh color like the Dragon fruit and it resembles that of the yellow Dragon fruit with small spikes on the fruit. Pitaya as well does not need a trellis to grow upwards. I hope this can help further educate those who read this great Post and I thank you again Christy.
Thank you, Alexander, for clarifying. I didn’t run across any of that information in my research, so I appreciate you posting it here. I will have to dig in further to learn the distinctions between these fruits.
Certainly Cristy, it was my pleasure to find and be part of your Dragon fruit community. The Pitaya unfortunately has been used to frequently describe the Pitahaya/Dragon fruit simply because of the Mexican influence in this country is much stronger than any other in the Latin community. That is why when someone unknowingly wanted to know in a market or a local garden the name of the Dragon fruit, this fruit which very closely resembles the Pitaya was unknowingly referred to in the same. Remember the origin of the Pitaya is in our neighboring country of Mexico, where the Pitahaya is from countries away. Even one of the lagerst farms which cultivates Dragon fruit in our country, and hosts the largest annual Dragon Fruit Festival in California, refers to it as the Pitahaya Dragon fruit Festival. Thanks again, and be well.
I live in Hawaii and I too learned of Pitaya when speaking with one of the farmers at a local fruit tree nursery. She tried explaining the differences between Dragon Fruit and Pitaya, namely the flavor, color and sweetness of the fruit, and also the 1-2″ thorns that are present on the cactus compared to the small spikes on the dragon fruit. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any Pitaya in stock, so my name is on a wait list, so I am unable to provide my own description or photos to provide more detail. Hopefully by the end of the year or early next year I will be able to get my hands on one!
Hello. I found your writing very informative. During this Covid pandemic, I have purchased online few cuttings of dragon fruit that I intend to plant directly in the field. The length of each of the cutting is about 1ft. The hard end at the bottom is still intact. Could you please help, I have three questions on my mind: 1) What will happen if I plant the cuttings without chopping off the hard end; will it delay rooting? 2) Do I need to use fungicide on the cut ends, and 3) Is rooting hormone necessary. I have read elsewhere about use of fungicide and hormones on dragon fruit cutting. Thank you.
Glad you found the info helpful, Tito. Let’s address your questions: 1) I have done both – planted without cutting and planted after cutting and curing for a few days. They both worked. My cuttings took a long time to generate new growth, about 4 months. 2) You don’t need fungicide on the cut ends. 3) I didn’t use rooting hormone either.
I found some random cutting from my friends and just threw them all In a 15 gal pot with soil Just to try my luck. “If they grow they grow.” It’s only been about a month and all 4 cutting are growing new sections. So Now I’m wondering if I should transplant into a new pot with a built in travelis thingy. I’m concerned about breaking up the roots. Will that be a problem?
I would get them set up with a trellis right away so you don’t have to deal with it once they finally need the support. The soil should be loose enough that you can lift out the root ball without causing too much damage. The younger the transplants are, better their chances of survival.
I got a few cuttings from a friend. Do I need to start each in a smaller pot to root first ? Or can I plant 3 in a 15 gal container right away? Thanks!
You can do either, but consider your growing conditions before you choose. Will the 15-gallon pot be located in its final home or will you have to move it (if it’s too sunny in its final home location you may want to start somewhere else)? Dragon fruit will turn yellow-ish if it’s in intense sunlight. Choose a shadier patch to start it. Also, remember to water it once per week (more if temperatures are hot where you are these days). For some people starting closer to the back porch reminds them to water more regularly. But if you tend your crops regularly, starting in its home location won’t be an issue. Be sure to feed the pot monthly as well.
I have planted a cutting in 6th July…Still no brances came out.. I didn’t cut the narrow woody end of the cutting while planting. Now I see root in the uper body of the cutting above soil.
Should I fluck the cutting and cut the narrow woody end of it and plant it again
I should leave it as it is right now?
Mehedy, It can take months for a dragon fruit cutting to start budding out. Give it time. If you want to try again and cut off the bottom you can, but I have also propagated successfully by just sticking the narrow end in the soil. Patience!
08.09 hello, I l8ve in las vegas and I have been given a dragon fruit plant, its been growing since January of this year. Ive notice that the 1st segments from the original cutting came in very slow i think because it was still cold but then they started sprouting more when the weather got hotter (and I live in Vegas, so imagine that) everything fine and dandy but I notice that the second segments of the plants are coming in a little thinner than the 1st ones. Im at a lost as to why, I was wondering if you you what causes it and then this morning I notice the 1st big segment has a bit of a yellow, soft spot, not that big maybe an inch long and im sad and scared that it might be dying. I need your advise and help if possible. Thank you in advance
It may be that the first segment is dying off, that’s what it sounds like anyway. If you see yellowing, it could be a couple reasons. 1) too much water, but more likely 2) sun exposure. It’s odd to think that a cactus responds to sunlight this way, but dragon fruit does. It needs some shade in the first several months of growing (new segments) otherwise the sun causes yellowing. Throw some shade cloth up over it and see if that helps it green up a bit. Water once per week and see if that helps as well. If it’s developing a soft pot, it will probably die off, but don’t worry. More will come.
We grew a Dragon Fruit plant from a cutting and now it has it’s first buds!! Unfortunately, the biggest buds are coming from a branch that has yellowed and looks like it may break off soon ( I tried epsom salt, but I think it was too far gone). Do you know if you can plant a cutting with buds on it? I thought I could use it as my contingency plan.
It’s worth a try to plant that cutting. I usually recommend removing buds or new growth at first so the cutting can establish roots before trying to make babies.
Where is the best place in South Africa to buy dragon fruit cuttings
I am not familiar with nurseries in SA but maybe someone reading this will know.
If you Google Dragon fruit South Africa . In Hartebeest poort NW.
I just bought from Max and have planted my cuttings.
I recently purchased Dragon Fruit cuttings from Living Seeds
Eagerly waiting for first growth to show
I have a Facebook page for South African dragon fruit support
Hi Riana, I found cuttings for sale at Living Seeds(online store)
You could maybe also try Seeds for Africa.
I’m only just starting my dragon fruit journey, so I’m hoping for the best. Good luck with your search.
I live in the Southern San Joaquin Valley of California (USDA Zone 10, but my microclimate is closer to 11), and I purchased a yellow dragonfruit cutting out of Texas. It was about 8″ long, and the grower was kind enough to mark, in Sharpie “This End Goes In Dirt”. So, no problem with proper orientation.
I potted it up in a makeshift HugelKulture set-up, with twigs and branches at the bottom, and a home made compost and potting mix on top. At planting, I secured a pole with the cutting for support, and kept it on my shaded patio.
After 47 days, I didn’t see any signs of growth. I was ready to pack it in.
On Day 48….I noticed 2 of the spines at the top had “fallen off”. ‘Yeah….this is probably a failure’ I thought to myself.
On Day 49…2 tiny buds popped out of where the spines fell off!!!
Now, a month later, those 2 tiny buds are about 3″ long, and secured to the pole!! Once they start growing, they really put the pedal to the metal! So, don’t give up!
Caveat: I moved it out of the shade of the patio, and into eastern sunshine, and now the base is beginning to yellow. But, we have had several 100f+ days (and this week is expected to see 100+ every day), so it is likely just getting too much sun. The stems are still full and strong. I gave it a hit of Epsom Salt to help with the chlorosis, and will move it out of the intense sun today.
Tl;dr Don’t give up! These things take a long time to root, but when they do, they really grow fast!
I hope this helps someone.
Chris, thanks for sharing your story. It’s heartwarming to hear that others have experienced the same delay in sprouting as I did. We shall endure! BTW – my cuttings are now fully growing new segments all over the place. You’re right, the sun does cause yellowing so you can drape some shade cloth over the plants to help ease the struggle. Keep going!
Hello – my daughter gave me a cutting I planted it and it took about 2 years of looking exactly the same before a smaller one started growing out of the top and now a 2nd has started growing out of the same area. so there is the original plant cutting in the pot and 2 small extensions out of the top. Do I cut them and plant them or leave them growing? I seem to find mixed information. One is small and wide and one is longer and thinner. Thank you!
Hi Jeanette, I would just leave them growing as it, unless you want to propagate more cuttings. But since it took so long, I wouldn’t start over by cutting them off. If you wanted to split the difference, take the longer one and start it on its own, and leave the smaller one to grow as is. See what happens!
I would cut the weaker of the shoots to accelerate growth upward. Two works as well, but I like to get them tall before branching out.
Hi! I just received 3 dragon fruit cuttings. All three have the bottoms sliced off at an angle. I put all three in a pot and literally two days later one of the segments has roots growing out of the top sides of the segment but none on the bottom.. what should I do?
The roots, aren’t really roots. They are tendrils and they are going to seek a place to grab onto. If you can add supports (trellis, stakes, etc.) that would be best. You still have time before it will need that support, but be thinking about where you want to permanently install it and what you want to use to support it. Those tendrils will grab a wall if you let it, so if you don’t want that, make a plan.
Im interested un ordering a dragon fruit cutting
But im afraid that the shipment can a lot of time
Si what is the maximum time that a cutting can survive after Being cut
Usually you can leave them for a few weeks without issue, but I’ve heard of at least one person who left her cuttings a couple months and they were fine. You shouldn’t have a problem ordering through the mail.
Thank you 😊😊😊
Hello from Bellingen NSW Australia. How did everyone go with their Dragon Fruit cuttings?
Hi Leon, Our dragonfruit cuttings are climbing the wall and trellis now. They are about 2-3 feet tall and are doing well. The shorter cuttings haven’t done much, but the longer cuttings have taken off as I described. We’re hopeful for some fruiting in the coming years. Stay tuned!
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Did the longer cuttings survive? I was blessed with a lot of longer cuttings. Was wondering if I should just cut them in half?
The longer cuttings did much better than the smaller cuttings. So YES! Keep those. Don’t cut them. My smaller cuttings are still tiny and just now starting to grow. Meanwhile the longer cuttings have several new branches and are climbing a trellis.
Hello, Our friend give us some cuttings that he did not have time to plant them for about 6 months and it is so dry. Is there any chance that this will still grow? How long will it show some sign of life.
6 months is a long time, but if they haven’t shriveled up yet, you could try cutting a clean end, letting is scar over for a few days and then plant it and see what happens. It can take several months before it will set root or start sending up new growth. It’s always worth a try to plant and see if it survives. Just be prepared to have to start over if it doesn’t work.
Hello from Austin, Texas!
I bought a very small Hylocereus undatus (the type with a colorful small cactus grafted on top) at a local store. It started growing what looks like a cactus arm on the side so I started investigating what kind of cactus it was and it turns out it’s dragon fruit! Do you have any tips to ensure I encourage the growth to grow strong and healthy? Was thinking of cutting it off the main stump and planting it. Is there any way to encourage the growth of the original stump? I hope I’m making sense!
Hi Ximena, If you cut the dragon fruit off the main stump, let the cut end cure for a few days before planting. Then water it weekly and feed it at least monthly. It needs more nutrients than regular cactus if you want it to produce. Give it something to climb, because that’s the growth habit of dragon fruit. As for the original stump, I’m not sure what it is so I don’t know how to encourage its growth. But keep us posted on how it all goes!
I live in Virginia beach does dragon fruit do well here.
You’re in zone 7, I think, so I probably wouldn’t advise it. I checked around to see if others have successfully grown in that area and while some have done it indoors with protection, they have been leery about planting out in the ground. It’s grown in zone 10 and 11 with some adventures in zone 9 with protection. So I think zone 7 would not work well.
Thank you for great beginner’s info on Dragon Fruit cultivation. I have made several cuttings to get started.
Hello,l absolutely love dragonfruit cactus.My brother gave me my first plant last year.Some varieties grow fast.Others not so much.
I have 2 kinds of yellow.3 different red /purple varieties.They seem to do well in a sandy well draining soil.l fertilize with an organic chicken manure .No fruit yet,so we will see.
In zone 9,they get watered every 10 days and they get misted every other morning.They are growing in pots on my patio.
Thanks for sharing. It’s a long process, but hopefully we’ll all have fruit in the end. Mine are in pots, so I’m watering 1x per week, and feeding whenever I remember – usually 1x per month. Fingers crossed!
I am in central Arizona.Last year I got one
I am patiently awaiting growth on my dragon fruit cuttings, so I was very happy to read that it takes about 4 months! I’m pretty sure I have them pointed correctly. My question is should I cut off the tiny stem that looks like a piece that would have been between the segments, but is at the top of my cutting? My cuttings have been planted for about a month. Also, for anyone needing fungicide, you can use ground cinnamon. I’m in southern California, USA. Stay safe!
You don’t need to cut off the top part. That will bud eventually.
Hi there Christy
We are based in South Africa, live on a cattle farm and on a ramble in a pretty wild area discovered an abundance of dragon fruit growing happily. Now going to try to set up a little controlled growing area.
Lovely to find all of your handy advice.
Keeping fingers crossed that our endeavours will yield fruit.
Hi I’m here in Fiji and just bought 4 cuttings. This is my first time and I’m looking for tips. I watched a YouTube video that said after you trim it it has to be dried out for atleast 14 days. That’s to prevent rotting when you plant. Do we have to?
I think I waited 3 days for the cuts to cure over before planting them. Once the cut end is scabbed over a little you can plant them.
I was given a few Dragon fruit cuttings and I just put them in cactus/succelent mix. I couldn’t make out top from bottom so just potted them.
Anyway one of them has one very small root at top and the bottom 3 large shoots and a small one. Should I cut the shoots off bottom and turn the cutting upside down and plant it again. Have I planted it upside down?
Great question, Lorraine. Let’s see if these clues will help you ID which end is up: Most dragon fruit has spikes in the notches of its wavy flesh. If your dragon fruit has this wavy shape along the edges, those spikes will angle upward from the flesh rather than down. If you plant the cutting with the spikes angling upward, you’re headed in the right direction.
There are some dragon fruit types that don’t have wavy edges and the spikes grow straight out sideways. I can’t vouch for all cultivars, but the person who gave me a cutting shaped the way I just described said you can plant it with either direction up. It recently started budding at the top, so I can say that it worked. It took about 4 months before any of my cuttings started to bud, so be patient and water them 1x per week.
Hi, thank you for all that information!!
I’m in Cairns and my neighbor gave me a few mature plants, I wasn’t sure where to start, I’m glad you mentioned it could take 4 months to see any growth!
I’m going to do a few varied lengths like you guys did!
Thanks again! 🌈
Hello over there in Cairns! Just a quick update that our smaller cuttings are only now starting to bud out, so I definitely recommend larger cuttings for a faster response.
Hi, your article is great! I have been growing two cuttings (bought 3 but traded one for some nopales pads) in CA for about a year and two months now with some good growth (although over winter they formed a few dark spots on some of the sections). I’m kind of surprised that they are slower growing, as many succulents and cacti seem to grow great. But maybe that’s my Northern California weather.
I’m wondering if I got a bigger cutting or two, could you cut one foot long section (give it take a little) into multiple small pieces. Cutting off the bottom like you said, and the top? Like dividing 12 inches into 3 or 4 3-4 inch pieces.
Thanks again for the article!
I found that my smaller cuttings never took off, whereas my 10-12″ cuttings all have new growth all over them. I’d go with bigger pieces if you can.
I believe that I read that your living in the Los Angeles area? I live the area too.
I recently lost my 10 year old strong blooming DF after relocation.
She did great for the first twelve months but slowly began to decline after that.
We thought we saved her a few times through the fist year, even after a small animal and insect attack. This brought her down almost a foot all around.
Five, six months layer, I’m left with only propagation sections. *sighs* I have 10 sections, 3 are approx 12-14 inches, very thick and healthy. The rest are barely hanging on today.
She lived her whole life in full sun while laying over a 4 foot brick wall too.
We moved only 7 miles north to the foothills of Duarte. My gardener suggested that I duplicate the same sun conditions which meant burying her OPPOSITE to the north because my yard is fully shaded at the south.
We built a trellis, conditioned the soil, and watered 3 times a day for the first two months, as was suggested. She held strong the first year while duplicating her usual routine.
Long story short…It “appeared” as if out of nowhere that she took to rapid decline.
It was less than six months ago that I checked under the soil. Its where discovered that her roots and lower portions were destroyed beyond repair.
Skeletal remains 🙁
I’ve had to rearrange my other indoor and outdoor plant routines but I thought that my healthy DF was stronger than usual after so many years, but this heat is different now.
It was obvious that it took a while to get to this point. I feel so bad for not checking early, despite an appearance of health with slight adjustments.
Question…is it possible that these segments are tainted?
I’ve never tried to propagate a larger section, but after reading what you stated, I might give it a try.
What do you suggest for these larger sections after reading the above? My 10 year old was so simple to take care of. It was practically effortless. Water, feed and trim. This was my very first experience with cactus type planting/replanting.
I work more with Carnivorous plants and succulents.
Worried about dragons.
I’m so sorry to hear about your dragon fruit decline. I know it sounds crazy but 7 miles can make a huge difference in microclimates. Especially if you’re in the foothills. You might actually get frost, AND extreme heat in your new location. Something your DF might not have been used to.
I do think it’s worth trying to propagate those sections that survived. And you might not even want full sun, because Duerte gets so hot in the summer. You’ll notice a lot of yellowing in full sun, so be prepared to drape with shade cloth or pick a spot that maybe gets afternoon shade. Don’t forget to feed them every once in awhile. A little organic fruit tree or berry fertilizer will help them get going once they have established a new root system.
Keep us posted on how it goes.
Thx for info, I have about 2ha that I’m propagating for trellis system. We are in lockdown in South Africa, and can’t get any assistance. Planted cuttings last week, built a semi nursery, out of direct sunlight… How much water is too much or too little? They are in nursery bags with a mixture of organic compost, Sandy soil from my farm and some growth hormone. I just can’t figure out if the soil is Sandy enough to drain, as I’m well aware they don’t want to sit in water
Hi John-John, Glad to hear you’re staying safe in South Africa. We water our dragon fruit pots about 1x per week to give them a good soak. The soil in the pot is pretty sandy, so you can use that as a guide. If you can poke holes in the soil down to the bottom with a stick, to create some drainage pathways for the water, you should be good. If the cuttings start to turn yellow, check the soil for moisture with your finger. If soil sticks to your finger and is saturated, it’s too wet.
Where are you based in SA ?
We are on a farm in the Xgulu district just outside of East London.
I’m in Hartebeespoortdam area, 40km north of Johannesburg. Would love to chat about your variety and what has or hasn’t worked for you guys.
Hi John John
I am also in SA in East London
We have just purchased 30 cuttings so am waiting patiently for them to take root!
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Can I create dragon fruit plants from 1 year matured plant(cutting taken from 1year old plant)?
You should be able to take a cutting from a 1 yr. old plant and pot it up. Ours took 4 months to root and start sending up buds. So don’t give up! Water weekly and do feed it. They need food!
Hi, When is the ideal time to start feeding them? I just planted my cutting 3 days ago. Also what would you recommend feeding them with? I currently have floragrow coming in the mail. Thank you for all your feed back.
I mixed some organic fruit or veggie fertilizer in with the potting soil, along with a fair amount of compost. Start feeding your dragon fruit about a month or two after it begins to grow new segments.
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Hi, thank you for posting. I’m working for a humanitarian foundation and in Indochina, hiding from Corona just now and don’t have access to anything but sand and soil that appears ok. Located in a tropical zone and temps average 76f to 88f at warmest months, but usually moderate temps and humidity in the 65% to 75%, unofficial at least and I’m a fairly good judge, coming from LA, but living in Houston and Miami over the years. Seems moderate here and things grow obviously year round. My question, I’ve been trying to find and buy growing Dragon Fruit, but have not found. I did find an old dragon fruit lying on ground, but still alive in a small nursery (nothing like nurseries in US), rudimentary at best. Point being, I have one 12″ section, not so good shape, but seems sturdy at least. I intend to cut to 4, 3″ pieces and plant in homemade soil. I have no access to rooting hormones or fungicide rinse and I’ll probably bury a fish at bottom of a 18″ planter for fertiliser and throw in a few crushed egg shells. 1) please any advice to increase chances of success? 2) what do you know or plant/section orientation. I have no clue as to which end was up, it was lying on ground and it’s the first dragon fruit plant or part of plant I’ve seen in-situ. I’ve read that in propagation, maintaining proper or original orientation is important, but of such matter, i have no idea, but does sound reasonable, please, your view? 3) if orientation relevant, might you have advice as to determine orientation/which end is up?? Thank you for taking time to consider. If you are able to assist/comment, how do I find your reply?
Hi John, the spines on dragon fruit point up, so that’s your starting point for orientation. The spines sit in the notches along the edge of the cactus. If you point those notches upward, you’ll be in good shape.
So far I have found that the larger pieces have budded faster than my smaller pieces. So you might want to cut 2 larger pieces instead of 4 smaller. Just my experience so far.
It took mine 4 months with watering 1x per week in winter (very little rain this year in Los Angeles) for them to sprout. I also gave them a little organic veggie fertilizer and that seems to trigger some budding activity after they just sat there for awhile. Your fish idea isn’t a bad one, but maybe try it on one but not the other and see which works faster.
I didn’t use rooting hormone or fungicide, so you can achieve results without them. Just tuck them in potting soil, water and feed them, and eventually they will root and take off.
I think that was everything you asked. Keep us posted on your results.