Dragon Fruit can be a tricky sub tropical fruiting plants to both grow and fruit when your first starting out, which is why I have made this blog post to better help those who are new or learning to grow Dragon Fruit in zone 9.
1. I highly recommend planting all dragon fruit in 15-25 Gallon Pots as their finally resting place, starting with 1/2g and gradually increasing with time.
2. Soil needs to be well draining, encourage root growth, and nutritious for better growing and less likelihood of both stem and root rot. Please feel free to refer to my blog post on Dragon Fruit Soil for further instructions.
3. Dragon Fruit in areas like Sacramento do not like full sun, as they don’t do well with the direct harsh afternoon light especially during summer months. Hence why it’s highly recommended that they get Morning sun and filtered Afternoon sun (this can be achieved through other trees or plants providing protection during that time or a shade cloth).
4. I recommend dragon fruit are grown on the south facing wall of the house within five to ten feet of the house (five is preferred) for optimal warmth during winter months, added protection from frost, and better growing in Sacramento and other zone 9 areas.
5. Fertilizing is crucial for potted plants, for better growth, fruit set, and even flowering. I personally use Espoma Organics Citrus Tone as my fertilizer of choice for my dragon fruits. The application I use is 1tsp for a 5g Nursery Pot or 1tbsp for a 15g Nursery Pot, any size pot that is smaller I just add a small sprinkle/pinch of fertilizer.
6. Watering is always one of the most controversial things about dragon fruits, I personally like to error on the side of less is more with dragon fruit after several years of growing them. During the winter/cold/rainy months I typically do not water unless it’s been a few weeks with no rain. Though during summer even if it’s 100+ out I don’t water more than 2x a week despite the high temperatures. So what I do is I deep water when I am watering and then let the soil dry out before watering again. This can take some adjusting to learn how to water at different points of the year. But even during the months between wet-dry I don’t water more than once a week!
7. Dragon Fruit need trellises, there are many different types of trellises you can find online, the main takeaway I always mention, if you are going to do a wood trellis please use redwood, don’t use cheaper wood and seal it as that can leach into your soil and eventually those trellises will break!
8. Last but not least, protection during frost especially when dragon fruit plants are still young is a must. They’re protected best by being on the south side wall of the house though frosts can still do damage depending on the variety/varieties grown. Though there is a simple fix that doesn’t require a greenhouse or a heater. You get a free stakes (wood or bamboo or plastic will do) and place them around the plant. Proceed to wrap old fashioned (not LED) Christmas lights around the plant and the stakes as these will give off heat without too much energy usage. Once the above is completed you can put frost blanket on top. You can do this method over one large section instead of each individual plant as well.
Overall these are some of the best tips I wish I would have been taught at the beginning of my dragon fruit journey, though this is obviously not all inclusive.