Introduction to Dragon fruit seed germination
Dragon fruit is also known as pitaya, is a white-fleshed fruit with tiny black seeds and vibrant pink skin. Each fruit weighs between 150 to 600g and is commonly used in fruit salads, smoothies, and salads. Dragon fruit has little flavor and its texture closely resembles that of kiwi fruit. Dragon fruit belongs to the cactus family. In this article we also discussed below topics;
- Process of growing Dragon fruit from seed
- Time to take Dragon fruit seeds take to germinate
- How do you germinate Dragon fruit seeds
- Dragon fruit seed germination temperature
- Process for germination of Dragon fruit seed
- Dragon fruit seeds germination period
- Paper towel germination method for growing Dragon fruit
A step by step guide to Dragon fruit seed germination
Requirements for growing Dragon fruit plant
Dragon plants can grow in any well-draining soil, but it prefers to grow in soil that is slightly acidic with a pH level that is between six and seven. Sandy soil is the best option for this Dragon plant; if it is not available, just ensure that it is a well-draining soil.
Make sure you put stones, broken pots, or pebbles at the bottom of the pot to encourage good drainage. Select a well-draining potting mix contains sand, perlite, or vermiculite and organic matter such as bark. If you can find a mix that contains bone meal that is a bonus as it will promote flowering. The base of the plant can see a little shade, but the tips of the plant need full sun to ensure that the plant blooms properly. If too much shade is given to the Dragon plant, the fruit will not do well.
Choose a pot according to the size of the root ball of your plant, one or two sizes bigger. Start the plant in a 5-gallon, 10 to 12 inches deep container and keep repotting yearly or when the plant seems root-bound. A large 25 to 30-gallon size pot that is around 20 to 24 is enough to accommodate a mature Dragon fruit tree. Be extra careful while repotting if you’re a novice.
The recommended planting distance is 3 meters between posts and four meters between rows. The proper distance of planting is very important since a narrower spacing gives quicker production than larger spacing. Red flesh pitaya or Dragon prefers to grow on a trellis or fence line. The recommended planting distance is about 3 meters between concrete posts and 4 meters between rows. Higher density plantings produce quicker returns, but Dragon fruit plants will begin to crowd each other sooner.
Pot size for growing Dragon fruit plant
In the right conditions, Dragon fruit plants grow can grow to be quite tall and will put down aerial roots as they grow so make sure pot is at least 40cm in diameter.
When you are choosing a pot to grow Dragon fruit in it is important to make sure it has drainage holes in the bottom as Dragon fruit as a desert plant will die if it is left to grow in standing water.
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When you are starting the best size of pot would be one that is 10 to 12 inches deep and around 5 gallons. If Dragon fruit becomes root bound you may want to re-pot it into a pot that is 20-24 inches and around 30 gallons and that will be big enough for a fully mature Dragon fruit plant.
Paper towel seed germination of Dragon fruit seeds
- The paper towel method is relatively simple to germinate Dragon fruit seeds.
- First, you have to collect seeds from inside a Dragon fruit.
- The easiest process for gathering these seeds is to peel a Dragon fruit slice and force the fruit pulp through a sieve which will leave only the seeds in the sieve.
- Wash the seeds though they are in the sieve and leave them to dry for 24 hours and you are good to go.
- Once you have your seeds there are 3 simple methods you can use for the seed germination process.
- The first is the soil process where you simply put seeds in a container that is filled with soil.
- The second is the mini-greenhouse method where you put a damp paper towel on a plate, put the Dragon seeds on it then cover with a glass.
- The third is the zip lock bag method where you put a moist paper towel in a zip lock bag and put the Dragon seeds in it, blow air into the bag to make it like a bubble, and seal it.
- Whatever method you use, keep the seeds damp until it’s time to repot when the seedlings are around 1 to 2 inches tall.
The spacing of the Dragon fruit plant
Normally, the distance between Dragon fruit plants depends on the type of support used. With vertical support, a 2 to 3 m distance between planting lines is required. Planting at a distance of 2.5 m each to row and between the plants and this gives good yields and quality of fruits.
Dragon fruit plant pollination
Moths, bats, and bees pollinate Dragon fruit, but some other varieties do not self pollinate at all. This is where hand pollination comes into play. You will want to collect the pollen from two different Dragon fruit plants, and gently use a cotton swab to paint it onto the stigma of the opposite plant to cross-pollinate. This does require to be done at night, so between the hours of eight at night and eight in the morning is best. If you are pollinating different types of plants, use a new cotton swab for each. It will take about a month for the Dragon fruit to grow.
Process of growing Dragon fruit from seed
- First, choose your plant. Dragon fruit can grow from seeds, but many people prefer a seedling so the cactus grows quickly. Obtain the seedling from a reliable nursery and those that sell cactus are the most likely to offer Dragon fruit.
- Place some rocks in the bottom of a pot that’s at least 2 feet deep and wide, followed by about a 2-inch covering of sand for good drainage. Then, position a trellis in the middle and pour in good potting soil to hold it in place. Push the seedling down into the dirt so just the top peeks through the soil.
- Add water to the soil and it should feel damp but not soggy. This fruit is susceptible to root rot. And, as a succulent, it naturally holds a lot of water so you don’t need to keep it overly wet. Then, cover the pot using a piece of clear food storage plastic with tiny holes poked through. Move the growing pot to a partly sunny window or in front of a grow light. Dragon fruit requires 4 hours of direct sun daily. Adjust the temperature of the room in which Dragon fruit grows. They like it around 37 °C. A heat lamp can provide the temperature range desired.
- Move the seedling deeper in the soil. After about 2 weeks, the seedling should be about 3 inches tall. It’s now ready to move further down into the soil then it doesn’t become root-bound. Move it very carefully, gently shaking the roots to move it out and then replacing it in the pot, leaving about 1 inch out of the soil. When the plant grows about 6 inches, tie it to the trellis for security. Your plant should begin flowering in about 6 to 8 months.
- Once fruit develops, watch for signs of ripeness before picking the Dragon fruit. The skin will appear yellow or red instead of green, the fruit will easily release from the tree, and the Dragon fruit will feel tender when squeezed.
How often to water Dragon fruit plants
Dragon fruit trees do not require much water, much like their cousin, the cactus. Be sure to water when the top of the soil is dry to the touch. Once dry, water deeply and be sure that pot has good drainage holes. Never let the Dragon fruit plant sit in water as this can cause root rot. For a young plant, you could have to water every day or every other day. As the plant matures, this schedule can change. Watering Dragon fruit plant depends on the climate, humidity, and age of the plant.
Process of Dragon fruit seed germination
To grow Dragon fruit from seeds you need little equipment but a lot of time. Grab an organic Dragon fruit from the local supermarket and scoop out the seeds. First, wash the seeds and dry them overnight before planting them. Simply sow Dragon seeds in compost or potting mix the seeds should germinate within 2 weeks.
Dragon fruit seeds are fairly easy to germinate but show variable germination rates. Fresh or undried seeds will germinate quite rapidly, usually within just a few days. Dried seeds show longer germination periods and often germinate within 1 to 4 weeks, though some groups may need up to 8 weeks for germination. Plant seeds 1/4-1/2 inches deep in moist, sterile soil. Keep soil temperature consistent at 21 – 29°C. Cool soils will significantly delay seed germination time and inhibit germination completely.
Dragon fruit seeds are small and fragile, so handle with care. And also take care of watering not to jostle the soil as seeds can become deeply buried where they may fail to breach the soil surface and rot. Estimated germination time under optimal conditions is 1 to 4 weeks, though occasionally up to 8 weeks.
Dragon fruit trees can be started from seeds, but it can take as long as 7 years for the plant to produce fruit. Because of this reason, the much more popular alternative is growing Dragon fruit from a cutting of an already mature plant. This method can produce fruit in as little as 6 months.
To propagate Dragon fruit, cut a full segment from a mature Dragon plant. This can be anywhere from 6-15 inches (12-38 cm.). Then, make a slanted cut in the open end and treat it with fungicide. After that, you could plant it directly in the ground. You may get better results, however, if you first plant it in a pot and let it establish a good root system for 4 to 6 months first before transplanting.
Dragon fruit plant problems
Mealybugs and aphids can be a common problem for growing Dragon fruit. They are sap-sucking pests that feed on the sweet sap of the Dragon plant. Aphids attract ants, who will then feed on the plant as well. Mites and thrips can be a hindrance; they will not kill the plant, but they are not good for the overall health of the plant.
Dragon Spots, which occur on the stems and leaves of a Dragon plant, can be the sign that your plant has an infection. And bacteria can cause other issues as well as soft stem rot. This is the main disease that affects the ends of the branches. These illnesses are transferred from plant to plant, so sterilize your clippers. Sunburn can occur during the hottest time of the year when the sun is sweltering hot, and if too much water is given to the Dragon plant, root rot can also occur.
Harvesting Dragon fruits
You can harvest Dragon fruit once fruit skin color changes from bright green to red or pink. The fruit should be oval and about 10 to 15 cm long. Fruits should be ready to harvest 30 to 50 days after flowering. The plant will start flowering in its first or second year after planting.
Commonly asked questions about growing Dragon fruit plant
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Does the Dragon tree need sunlight?
Dragon fruit trees grow best in bright light but they can also survive in dim light. Plants in lower light situations will grow slower and will produce smaller plant leaves with less intense color. Don’t put Dragon tree in full sun, which can burn its leaves.
How often should you water the Dragon tree?
Water plants frequently for 3 weeks, then once per week. Then, moisten the soil surrounding the Dragon tree 2 to 3 times per week while it’s settling into its new spot. After about 20 days, reduce watering to plant once per week. If the soil is wet, you can water the plant even less frequently.
Why do Dragon fruit flowers fall off?
Growth and yields are improved if they are given some moisture during the growing season, too much rain or moisture results in Dragon flower drop and fruit rot. Keep them dry until the fruits have set and they can be watered.
Is Dragon fruit self-pollinating?
Dragon fruit surprisingly easy to grow. Even cross-pollination between 2 flowers on the same plant can help the Dragon to produce fruit. And white fruiting Dragon fruit is self-fertile.
Is Dragon tree dying?
Water Dragon tree when the top inch or so of the soil starts to dry. The Dragon plant holds up to dry conditions fairly well, so you don’t have to worry about it dying if you miss a watering or two. If your Dragon tree develops brown leaf tips, the most common cause is low humidity.
How much time does it take to grow Dragon fruit from seed?
Dragon fruit seeds are fairly easy to germinate but show variable germination rates. Fresh (undried) seeds will germinate quite rapidly, within just a few days. Dried seeds show longer germination periods and often germinate within 1 to 4 weeks, though some groups may need up to 8 weeks for germination.
Conclusion of Dragon fruit seed germination
Well, you must be aware of the seed germination process of Dragon fruit for better sprouting rate and good yield. You may also like the Pomegranate Fruit and Flower Drop, Causes, Control.