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Pitaya is more commonly referred to as the "dragon fruit". It is an extremely beautiful fruit that has dazzling flowers and an intense shape and color. The dragon fruit of this variety is dark red in color (some types of this fruit are pink or yellow). The skin of the dragon fruit is a thin rind. The skin is usually covered in scales, and the center of the fruit is made up of a red or white, sweet tasting pulp.

Dragon fruit is cultivated in tropical regions around the world. The plant of the dragon fruit can grow from around a few inches or centimeters to up to twenty feet (around six meters). It flourishes in hot regions with a heavy rainfall. Periods of cold will kill the plant, and it loves the high temperatures found in tropical countries.

The flowers of the dragon fruit plant only bloom at night and usually only live for one night. Pollination happens at this time to allow the fruit to emerge. The flowers of the dragon fruit give out a very beautiful scent, and the smell can fill the night air wherever the plant grows.

The dragon fruit is best eaten by cutting the fruit in half and scooping the flesh out. The flavor is very refreshing and sweet. Dragon fruits are delicious chilled and can be served in fruit juices and fruit salads or made into jam. They can also be juiced and added to alcohol to make a very delicious drink. They are said to be rich in Vitamin C and water soluble fibre.

 

Origins of Dragon Fruit/Pitaya Fruit and Climate
Dragon Fruit is native to South and Central America, and as you would guess from that history, too cold conditions or cold winters will kill the pitaya cactus plant long before the pitahaya cactus plant successfully fruits at all. In fact, although it has characteristics of a cactus, the pitaya plant will not tolerate conditions that are oppressively hot either. Think of the pitahaya cactus plant more as a tropical find than a hot desert cactus. In spite of the pitahaya cactus plant not being native, the climates of Vietnam and Thailand suit the needs of those wishing to grow pitaya cactus plants well, and it is commercially grown successfully in both Thailand and Vietnam as a result. Growing pitahaya cactus in greenhouses is also possible.

Getting the first Pitaya Plant Seedlings
Plant the pitaya seeds in (very shallow placement) a well draining potting soil or potting compost material and either keep the planted seed material moist, or better yet cover with a plastic bag or use a small greenhouse type of setup to keep the seeds moist. You should within 10-14 days or so begin to see the first seeds sprout and produce seedlings. Transfer them to a rich but well draining soil mix and keep temperatures moderate, and the pitaya plants should begin to take hold. Do not over water the growing pitahaya cactus plants! Give them a support on which to grow as they begin to mature and increase in size.

As for many fruiting plants, the very young pitaya plants will not liberally flower or fruit at all until they have begun to reach some degree of maturity. The vines of the pitaya plant will have to reach a moderate size and weight (many lbs) before the pitaya plant will start to flower and bear fruit. At a minimum you should not expect fruiting and flowering for many months - unless your pitahaya cutting was huge enough to really be a mature plant already when you planted it!

Growing Pitaya Cactus Plants to Maturity/Fruiting
As for many fruiting plants, the very young pitaya plants will not liberally flower or fruit at all until they have begun to reach some degree of maturity. The vines of the pitaya plant will have to reach a moderate size and weight (many lbs) before the pitaya plant will start to flower and bear fruit. At a minimum you should not expect fruiting and flowering for many months.

Seeing the Mature Pitaya Plant to Fruiting
Because the pitaya plant blooms only at night and the blooms are fleeting, it can be hard to achieve successful pollination required for the pitaya plant to bear fruit. Many of the insects that pollinate other flowering plants are not active at night. Night active pollinators like bats and moths are more likely to pollinate the pitahaya plants than bees and other day active pollinators. Depending upon where you are in the world this can present a problem. One might say this is where the art comes into the process. Have patience, however, as the plants will usually bloom several times each year depending upon your climate and growing conditions. You may have to resort to hand pollinating the plants yourself.