One of the most attractive looking, the dragonfruit is easy to grow, both indoors and in a container. Here’s all about Dragonfruit Cultivation in India!
What is Dragonfruit?
Dragonfruit is an ornamental climbing vine from Cactaceae species. It tastes delicately sweet but crunchy and looks beautiful with its pink skin and green scales. The fruit was named dragonfruit because of its scaly appearance, which looks similar to the scales on a dragon. They are 6-12 cm in size and oval in shape. The white pulp is filled with black edible seeds. If you too are looking forward to growing this exotic fruit, then you are at the right place! Let’s have a look at Dragonfruit Cultivation in India!
Botanical Name: Hylocereus undatus
Common Names: Dragon fruit, Dragon phal, Brahma Kamal, Red pitaya, Leiking Thambal
Dragonfruit Cultivation in India
The tropical fruit is cultivated in many countries and is much-loved. In India, the demand for this exotic fruit is increasing day by day. It is only available in supermarkets, and they sell at a high price. The fruit may have high demand in Indian markets, but the supply is limited. So, the farming of dragonfruit in India can be profitable. Thus, farmers, these days, are taking a lot of interest in its cultivation. Many states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Assam are commercially farming dragonfruits.
How to Grow Dragonfruit?
If you are wondering about the dragonfruit cultivation in India, this section will cover the requirements, propagation, and cultivation.
- Propagating the plant from seeds is very simple. All you have to do is take fruit and remove some flesh and take all the little black seeds from it.
- Wash off all the flesh, and pat dry these seeds using a cotton cloth and keep them in moist cloth or tissue overnight.
- Prepare a small pot or the germination tray by filling it with the mixture of one part perlite and part peat. You can also use a starting mix.
- Sprinkle the seeds over the tray and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
- Pour some water on them and cover the moist soil with plastic.
- Once the seeds germinate, transplant them in a bigger space or pot. The germination will take around 15-30 days.
We highly recommend you buy a healthy plant from a nursery.
Choosing a Container
Yes, you can grow these plants in containers as well. Choose a container that is at least 2-3 inches bigger than the size of the root ball of your plant. For starters, a 10-12 inches deep container is going to be enough. Keep repotting yearly or when the plant seems root-bound.
Requirements for Growing Dragonfruit
These plants come from the cactus family and love sun and heat. Keep the plants in the sun, and in case the summer temperature rises above 35°C, move them in partial shade.
Although the plants can survive even in poor soils, a well-draining, sandy, or loamy soil is ideal for growing dragonfruit plants. You can also use a mixture of any kind of soil with sand. These plants prefer ordinary garden soil rather than the cactus soil even after being a member of the cactus family.
These plants do not require a lot of water to grow. Like other succulents, water them carefully and only a little. That too, when the soil in the pot dries out.
These plants are climbing vines, and the stems are not strong enough to handle the weight of all the branches, which is why they require support to climb on to. So, it is advisable to plants them near a trellis or provide them some kind of support to climb up to.
You can fertilize your dragonfruit plants with a balanced fertilizer in the growing season of the plant. You can also enrich your soil with rotted cow dung manure or compost now and then. However, do not fertilize them in the winter season.
You need to prune this plant to train in on fence or trellis. They can grow up to 15-20 feet tall, so pruning is also required to maintain the height. Pruning prevents infections, improves air circulation, removes any dead stems, overgrowing and decaying leaves, thereby helping to maintain a healthy plant.
Pests and Diseases
Dragonfruit plant is tolerant to a wide variety of pests including scales, aphids, and spider mites. However fungal infections like anthracnose, stem rots, and brown spots can pose a danger to the growth of the plant. So it is better to use a preventive pesticide to protect your plant.
Dragonfruit is ready to harvest after 12-15 months from sowing the seeds. The fruit comes after one month of flowering. The ripen, ready to pick dragonfruits are red in color while the immature ones are bright green.