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Pitaya, or Dragon Fruit

Do-It-Yourself Support Structure for Dragon Fruit

This interesting article was sent to us by our customer Ron (South Florida).
Many tropical gardeners want to grow this fascinating fruit, and the most common question is - what kind of support I should use for this amazing fruiting cactus?
We hope you find this information very useful. Happy Gardening!

Dragon fruit is a terrestrial/epiphytic fruit baring cactus, which may grow fleshy stems up to 30ft high, given sturdy support.
However, downward hanging or horizontal branches stimulate production of flowers at the tips of the branches. Commercial groves in different parts of the world use different method to achieve this. The traditional Vietnamese way is to train the plant into a “fountain”, which consists of a vertical central trunk about 8ft tall and a horizontal structure, such as a wagon wheel on top of it to support the horizontal branches (see picture on the right).

This picture served as my inspiration to build my own structure. I used five 4”x4” 10ft wood beams as the trunk, shaped as a cross. I attached the beams to each other with 10” long screws.

I dug a 2 ft deep 12”x12” hole in the ground and positioned the trunk inside, such that about 8ft are above ground. I covered it with several layers of burlap top to bottom.
The horizontal structure on top is made of four 4ft long 2”x2” wood beams and two 12”x12” wood plates to hold them together. I attached this structure to the top of the trunk.
I used old watering pipe to form two rings around the trunk to support the branches.
Here is the result:

I planted, over time, eight different cultivars of Dragon Fruits all around the structure.
I encouraged the plant to grow vertically by tying them to the structure and cutting any branches, until the plants reached the top. Then I pinched the top and let them branch freely.
Six month later, it looked like this:

Less than a year after planting, I got the first flowers. These open at night for just several hours.

… Followed by the fruits!

 

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