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wide shot of a dragon fruit tree
Dragon fruit may not be well known, but this plant is a must for anyone who loves succulents and enjoys growing their own food. Suited to pots and garden beds, this climbing succulent produces striking white flowers in summer followed by exotic autumn fruit that‘s rarely available at your local greengrocer.


What you need to know about dragon fruit

Name: dragon fruit, pitaya, Hylocereus sp.

Height: 1–2m if pruned.

Foliage: succulent.

Climate: best suited to tropical and sub-tropical climates but will grow in all areas with protection from frost. Best grown as an indoor plant in cold temperate climates where frost is common.

Soil: grows in most soil types but needs free-draining soil. Waterlogged or wet soils lead to rot. If your soil is too wet, raise the garden bed to encourage drainage, or grow in a pot instead.

Position: full sun, protected from strong winds.

Flowering and fruiting: a nocturnal summer flowering plant, stunning large white flowers open for one night only to allow pollination from nocturnal insects and mammals. Fruit is ready to harvest about a month after flowering. Brightly coloured with large showy bracts, only the pulp inside is edible.

Feeding: improve soil at planting with compost and decomposed manure. Top-dress annually and apply a complete organic fertiliser in spring.

Watering: water regularly during dry months or summer. Avoid overwatering during winter, especially in cold climates.

Appearance and characteristics of dragon fruit

A climbing succulent with large, white, nocturnal flowers in summer followed by oval-shaped fruit encased in a vibrant pink, magenta or yellow skin. The pulp is seedy and sweet, much like kiwi.

close up of a dragon fruit sliced in half on a wooden board

How to plant and grow dragon fruit

  • Dragon fruit is a succulent, which means free-draining soil is essential. In wet or waterlogged soils, plants will rot, so if this is the case in your garden, raise garden beds and improve soil with compost and gypsum, or grow in a pot using a premium cacti and succulent mix.
  • Although dragon fruit can tolerate dry periods, like most cacti, it actually benefits from regular watering to support the development of flowers and fruit.
  • Insert a stake or rose hoop at planting to train your dragon fruit up; this will keep this sprawling cactus tidy and productive. Tie onto the stake to keep the growth vertical.
  • When the plant reaches about 1–1.5m, pinch out the top to initiate side branching. These branches should hang over your rose hoop, cascading down for easy maintenance and harvest.

Caring for dragon fruit

Although dragon fruit is a succulent, it actually prefers regular watering during the warmer months. But with this extra water comes the need for good drainage, otherwise your plant will rot.

Improve soil at planting, top-dressing with decomposed manure and compost every spring.

How and when to prune dragon fruit

  1. When first establishing your dragon fruit, cut the main leader to initiate the development of a crown of fruiting growth.
  2. Each year, remove the older stems to make room for the new fruiting branches. If left unpruned, the top will become congested, which is the perfect environment for pests and disease.

Diseases and pests

In humid conditions, rust and other fungal diseases can be an issue. If found, apply a copper-based spray and reduce watering.

How to propagate dragon fruit

Growing dragon fruit from cuttings

  1. Simply break off a section around 30cm long and leave to dry in the shade for around 3–5 days. This seals the wound at the base of the cutting prior to planting.
  2. Plant in a pot and place in part shade.
  3. Water occasionally, but don’t overdo it. Overwatering can cause the cutting to rot.
  4. Once roots are established, the plant can be moved into full sun and can then be transplanted into the garden.

Safety tip

If using products to deal with pests, diseases or weeds, always read the label, follow the instructions carefully and wear suitable protective equipment. Store all garden chemicals out of the reach of children and pets.

If you like this then try

Zygocactus: a flowering succulent that’s perfect for pots and hanging baskets.

Wasabi: growing your own is the best way to enjoy its natural flavour.

Ginger: an easy-to-grow rhizome that complements Asian cuisine.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!


Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.