Hylocereus undatus: cultivation, plants and where to find it. Characteristics of the exotic plant and its dragon fruit (Pitahaya or Pitaya).
L'Hylocereus undatusit's atropical plantmuch appreciated for hisflowerand for hisfruit. Its fruit is known asdragon fruit, theplantbelongs to the Cactaceae family and you cancultivateAlso in Italy.
Therecultivation of the Hylocereus undatus plantit has several limits: even if it can be grown in our territory, it is not at all easy to make it bloom.
Thereplantit is also known by namesPitahaya or Pitaya.
Dragon fruit: Hylocereus undatus plant
The plant is native to the arid tropical areas of Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica ... and is cultivated throughout Central America and other tropical areas of the world. The plant was exported beyond its areas of origin both for the fruit and for cultivation for ornamental purposes.
In the Mediterranean areas, the plant is cultivated only for ornamental purposes because it is not possible to obtain fruiting. The reason? The climate. Our summers are not long enough, they are not hot enough or dry enough!
Hylocereus undatus has a white flower, the flower is the largest of all the Cereus. With its 30 cm in length, theflowerhas a diameter of 15-20 cm. Thedragon fruit orDragon Fruitit's aplantepiphytic, that is, it uses other plants as support and has sarmentose stems. The fruits have few thorns, are very soft and are popular for being rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and low in calories. Every 100 grams of dragon fruit provides only 36 kcal.
The pulp has a soft texture and a sweet and delicate flavor. In the photo above, specimens of the plant Pitahaya or Pitaya rich in fruit.
Like many cacti, also thehydrocereus undatusit is a plant that loves sunny exposure. For hiscultivation, place the plant in a very sunny position.
After purchase, repot: place the plant in a container full of draining soil mixed with peat. At the bottom of the pot, arrange 3 cm of expanded clay: the draining layer is essential to avoid water stagnation. The plant, in summer, needs to be wet but the soil must not remain wet for long.
Among the treatments: the plant should be watered from spring to autumn. A potassium-based fertilization is recommended at the end of autumn. The plant does not tolerate cold and potassium makes it more resistant to drops in temperature.
Theredragon fruit plantit must be grown in large pots because it must develop a dense root system. In Southern Italy, in the more temperate areas, it is possiblecultivatein the open ground, as long as you give it potassium in mid-autumn. If grown in the open ground, the plant needs full sun: the winter rains, if frequent, can cause stagnation! Even in the case of cultivation in the ground, a drainage layer consisting of gravel or expanded clay should be prepared in the hole of the plant.
Thedragon fruitneeds stakes or trellises: the stems are creeping or climbing. As stated, this plant is epiphytic, so in nature it grows on other branches or plant trunks.
Hylocereus tolerate cold but not humidity. For a short time, even sub-zero temperatures can be tolerated by the plant. If the plant is exposed to cold currents (winds) it will hardly be able to flower. If the plant does not bloom, the climatic factor probably needs to be corrected.
Where to find it?
The Hylocereus undatus plant is not easy to find. It is not found in classic nurseries or garden centers, if you are interested in the sale of this species, you should go to gardening exhibitions-markets or taking advantage of the web sale. On "this Amazon page" you can find various offers that propose the purchase of 30-50 cm Hylocereus undatus plants.
Please note: the plant is easy to grow from seed or from cuttings. Sowing must be done in late spring. The substrate to use for germinating dragon fruit seeds should be light, slightly acidic, and fluffy. The soil should be kept moist and in a warm and bright place.