A great source of Vitamin C and B, dragon fruit requires very little water and grows best in places with hot temperatures. This makes it an ideal fruit to grow in various parts of India. In fact, various farmers across the country are now growing this exotic fruit, and the best part is that you can too, right at home.
Indira Ashok Shah, a resident of Bengaluru, is an avid urban gardener and has two dragon fruit trees in her terrace garden. She helps us understand how we can grow the fruit in pots.
“From the two trees I nurture, I am able to get close to 20 fruits each season,” she tells The Better India. While the ideal way to grow dragon fruit in your pot is by sowing the seeds, the plant can take up to 4 to 5 years to grow. Therefore, getting a sapling from a nursery will also work just fine.
Steps to follow:
1. To begin with, prepare the drum or pot you intend to use to sow the seeds or plant the sapling. The potting mix should consist of red soil, cocopeat, compost and sand.
2. If you are using a cutting of the fruit, it needs to be kept aside for four days in a shaded area before you can plant it. The cutting needs to be dry before it is transferred to a pot.
3. Once the cutting is dry, it can be planted. Make sure you water the soil once you have added the cutting.
4. This should be followed by placing the pot in an area that gets good sunlight. Dragon fruit needs ample sun to be able to grow well.
5. This plant does not require a lot of water. The best test is to check the moisture levels on the surface and when the soil starts to feel dry, water the plant. Do not over-water at any point.
6. Once the plant starts to grow, it will need support, for which you can add in a stick and tie the plant to it.
Indira notes, “The best part about growing dragon fruit is how low maintenance this plant is. Water only when the top soil seems dry and add compost once every three months, and the plant will grow well.” While some dragon fruits are self-pollinating, others rely on moths and bats to carry out night time pollination.
How to carry out hand-pollination of dragon fruit?
- Look for the female flower (it’s usually the one that has opened or bloomed the most).
- Pluck the pollen from the female flower and gently sprinkle over the male (smaller or lesser bloomed) flowers.
- Click here to watch a video on how you can aid the pollination process.
Things to note
- The ideal size of the pot should be 15-24 inches in diameter and 10-12 inches in depth. It is important to ensure that the pots also have two or three drain holes.
- You can use plastic, clay or even terracotta pots for the dragon fruit.
- While the ideal size is mentioned, using a bigger pot will only be beneficial as it will give the roots more space.
- Try to make sure that your dragon fruit plant gets close to 8 hours of good sunlight each day.
- Aphids and ants are the pests most likely to infect the plant. To tackle this problem, you can use an organic insecticide.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)