White pitaya looks almost otherworldly.

This weird tropical cactus gets mixed reviews. Pitahaya fruit, or dragon fruit, is abundant in favorable conditions, but develops potentially bland flavor. The green succulent stems may be vigorous, but develop distinctly pendulous form that resembles Sigmund the sea monster. Bloom lasts from summer to autumn, but individual flowers open for just a night. 

Selenicereus undatas is the most popular pitahaya. Its fruit weighs between half a pound and a pound, and has white flesh. Selenicereus costaricensis fruit is similar, but with red flesh, and perhaps slightly more flavor. Selenicereus megalanthus fruit is smaller, thorny and yellow, with white flesh and richer flavor. Home grown fruit is superior to market fruit.

Pitahaya grows very easily from cuttings or pruning scraps. Young stems climb with wiry aerial roots, so need substantial support. Fruiting stems hang downward from the tops of such support. Most modern cultivars need no pollinator. Some old cultivars need another of its same species for pollination. Pitahaya is vulnerable to frost where winters are cool.


6 thoughts on “Pitahaya

    1. Yes, they get big and heavy, and are not exactly the prettiest things. We will be growing a few here, perhaps on tree trunks. I would prefer dead tree trunks, but they eventually rot. We might let some cascade over retaining walls.


    1. ?! What?! We will be growing a few here. I hope they are more prolific. They supposedly like warm and dry climates, so perhaps they will be happier here than here. It is not as warm, but it is drier. I have seen a few around, but do not know how prolific they are.

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      1. Well, . . . I believe that the yellow sorts have better flavor. I just do not know what climates they like. I think that they would be more popular if they were easy to grow here. If they are popular there, it is likely because they perform well there. I got my single cutting by purchasing a fruit that it was attached to. I would not have purchased the fruit, but noticed that it had quite a stub on it.


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