Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Low Yield in Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit are produced on a climbing cactus plant, with triangular fleshy stems, known as pitaya/pitahaya; the fruit is also called pitaya. 

Dragon fruit plants prefer a warm, moist climate with rich organic soil. It is not suitable for areas with extreme high temperatures and intense sunlight. It requires 25-50 inches of rainfall annually.  Excessive rain can cause flower drop and the fruit to rot.

Many species of pitaya are self-sterile and because they bloom only at night, successful pollination is difficult to achieve for adequate fruit bearing. Many of the insects that pollinate other flowering plants are not active at night.   Therefore, moths and bats are the likely pollinators for pitaya plants. If moth and bat populations are low, pollination will be limited and hand pollination may be required.
Dragon Fruit Varieties -   Pine Island Nursery

Commercial plantings of pitaya can be found in Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Israel. In Hawaii, where it is known as paniniokapunahou or papipi pua, a famous hedge of this cactus grows at Punahou School in Honolulu.  From July to October this hedge creates a spectacular sight of large, white blooms.