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  • OT: Dragon Fruit

    I've been looking at Dragon Fruit for quite some time now, I have been able to buy a couple "unknown Cultivars" at a local Asian market. I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there that grows them that can recommend a cultivar that would do well at high altitude with a short growing season and kept in a pot. I will have to bring then in over winter.

    Thank you

    Scott
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

  • #2
    Harvey C will probably be able to help you, Scott. He grows Dragonfruit.
    Gary USDA 9A
    Sebastopol, CA

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    • #3
      You could search it on the other forum. I remember a good thread on it, probably by Harvey like Gary said. If I remember right the pink/red fruited ones are supposed to have the best flavor. I do know the ones from the store are flavorless, surprise!
      Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
      Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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      • #4
        I will hit up Harvey, thank you both.

        The ones from the store have patches of flavor, If there are so so, then one fully ripened must be real good.
        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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        • #5
          I had a red one from vietnam bought at my local asian market. It was very good. My understanding is the yellow ones are the sweetest. I just took a small amount of seeds from the one I ate and germinated all of them. I was really surprised. Now I have 50 starters going. We will see if they make it. Sorry I cant help much with your question. My understanding is you need a warmer climate but I am doing the same thing. Bringing mine in for the winter.
          Jeff in 6a

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          • #6
            It is plenty heat here, just not for very long, late May to early Sept typically we also have no humidity to speak of. I have a greenhouse in my garage that I will be expanding, if I keep the size moderate, I can winter the Dragon fruit in it and have plenty of light and heat.

            I was already planning on stopping at the Asian market today so I will pick one up if they have any in stock. Fingers crossed.

            Can you detail what you did to germinate the seeds, type of soil, light water and such.

            Thank you

            Jeff

            I'll still look for others, but this sounds like a fun way to get started.
            Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

            “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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            • #7
              Sure, happy to help. I took spoonful of dragonfruit and put it through a fine mesh screen and ran water over it to rinse the seeds well.
              Put the seeds in a moist papertowel. Put the paper towel in a baggie and seal. Place that on top of the fridge and forget about it for awhile LOL. It was probably 2-3 weeks up there and I found them by accident. Forgot all about them. Opened it up and to my surprise they had all or mostly germinated. I planted 50 and counted another 30 I could have planted. This was just for fun though so 50 was enough for me.

              I would say start them in your favorite potting mix. I used my compost but others wouldnt recommend that since it isnt sterile. I keep it lightly misted. So far they havent died but they also havent done much ion the few days they have been in there. I figure they are building roots first.
              Jeff in 6a

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              • #8
                I also germinated the seeds from a fruit bought at an Asian market. I didn't do anything special, just inserted them into the containers with figs about 1/4" deep. Grow like weeds!
                I would suggest one seed per hole about 2-3" apart. You can later repot them. The ones in the shade/partial shade grew the best.
                After they gained about 2", I planted them in a sunny spot in the ground and the SoCal sun ate them for a breakfast
                USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: De la Roca, Raspberry Tart, Boysenberry Blush

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                • #9
                  I ordered a pink, white and red from ebay. They sent six really nice cuttings. All but two have put out shoots at least l2" long. I havent the faintest idea of how they will taste but it will be fun. Joyce

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                  • #10
                    MattsLandscapes has the largest selection of Dragonfruit out there if you're looking for top tier varieties, including many of the legendary Pitaya selections Paul Thompsons created including Mexicana, S-8 Sugar Dragon, Delight, and Orejonna and others. I personally have Condor, Orejona, Cebra, Sugar Dragon,(20 plus brix) and Delight.

                    The Agricultural Center in Irvine, CA holds a Pitaya festival every year with tons of top tier varieties...not the typical bland water tasting Pitaya found in your Asian Food Markets.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you all for your help and advice. I'll see what I can do with seeds from Asian market fruit, just to play with then look at a couple top shelf cultivars either later this year or early next year.

                      I don't think I 50 of them, I'm sure I can find homes for the extra if they live. It will be interesting to see how well and fast they grow here.

                      Anyone know how long it should take for a seedling to fruit. Also, how long does the fruit take to ripen on average if there is such a thing.
                      Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                      “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                      • #12
                        seed to fruit is 3 years I think. I had no idea there were so many varieties
                        Jeff in 6a

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                        • #13
                          After looking around the internet a bit, there seems to be hundreds.

                          3 years.... sounds like another fruit I grow. ... what is that called? ??

                          So buying 2 year olds plants may be worth it.
                          Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                          “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                          • #14
                            Many of my dragonfruit took a pretty bad hit with frost two winters ago. Most of mine are growing in half barrels with 4x4 posts but the frost cloth was not adequate protection for them. I had over 30 varieties at one time. To my taste, the H. Guatemalanesis types are the sweetest although some Paul Thomson hybrids are very good as well. One very important factor when growing dragonfruit in less than ideal locations is self fertility. Many varieties require cross-pollination to set fruit. Pollen is usually stored for no more than a week under refrigeration so if you only have a few plants it may be very difficult to get fresh pollen when you need it for your next flower. I'm growing one variety in the ground in a corner next to my house/garage and it is doing fantastic this spring. It is called Santa Barbara Red We only had 2 nights of frost this past winter so the plant came through winter in really great shape. I counted 44 flower buds a week or so ago though some of those have dropped off. My first flower bloomed last week, the second last night, and the third tonight. I counted 27 buds today that have either bloomed or are growing in size and should bloom. This variety was acquired from a grower in SoCal who only grew this one variety and he got large fruits of great flavor without cross-pollinating. I got some fruit last year from pollinating with its own pollen. They were small in size but this is probably due to the plants condition at the time. The original grower showed me photos of nice large fruits. I am probably going to list some on eBay but am also thinking of taking some down to Nicaragua with me in July since I like these types better than the ones that are native to Nicaragua.

                            The Colombian yellow type is very sweet but is a smaller fruit and is thorny and takes something like 6 months to mature vs. 35-45 days for the other types so not very suitable to less than ideal locations. I grew it once but gave up on it though I may try it again now that I have a larger greenhouse.

                            My friend Ed Valdivia has done quite a bit of breeding and grown many seedlings but it's not something I'd recommend unless you have ample space and time. My friend Gray Martin has also bred his own self-fertile varieties (he is a trained plant breeder with several avocado varieties to his credit when he worked at UC Riverside). His varieties are proprietary and has no plans to distribute to others.

                            Here is a photo of my SBR taken a couple of hours ago:

                            My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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                            • figherder
                              figherder commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Thats very nice Harvey. No way I will ever get one that big in Ohio. I will of course try LOL. Do you sell fruits? I would definitely buy from you.

                          • #15
                            That is one big beautiful cactus there Harvey. I thank you for the information, like most things, once you scratch the surface there is a lot more then you expect. I will see if I can grow the seeds I harvested yesterday just to do it. I will take some time to think about varieties, space and size.
                            Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                            “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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                            • #16
                              I gave away seeds a couple of years ago. (Offer was back on the other forum). They just won't do so well here in zone 5, and they get big enough that it wasn't practical for me to have an indoor place to keep them through the winter. Good luck to you in CO... hope you have a greenhouse or something like it. Harvey is the guy for this fruit.

                              Mike
                              Mike -- central NY state, zone 5a -- pauca sed matura

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                              • #17
                                Mike, I don't expect them to do great hear either. It's just something to play with really, something new.

                                I'm not going to bother with a greenhouse outdoors until I move onto acreage in a few years. ... maybe by then these well be large enough to start producing, that is if they germinate and grow.

                                worst case I gift tthem to the university, either way, it's still going to be fun.
                                Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                                “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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