Yes! Dragon fruit can be replanted. They don’t need to be repotted very often, just when the soil needs to be refreshed or the plant needs a bigger pot. When you should put a cactus plant in a new pot depends on the plant and how it is doing. And the key is to make sure you have a healthy cutting from a healthy plant. Let’s talk about it in more detail further on.
Information about dragon fruit
Pitaya is often called dragon fruit in English, which comes from the fact that its Chinese name means “fire dragon fruit.” It also goes by the names pitahaya, night-blooming cereus, and strawberry pear, among others. Dragon fruit is a perennial climbing cactus that lives on other plants. It has three horny, scalloped green stems that are joined together. Depending on the type, one to three short spines are on each wing. Both the fruit and the flowers can be eaten, but most people only eat the fruit.
As the name “night blooming cereus” suggests, pitaya only blooms at night. The flowers open in the evening and stay open until mid-morning the next day, which is just long enough for moths that only come out at night to pollinate them. The flowers have a bell shape and a yellowish-green color. They are about a foot long and 9 inches across (30 cm long by 23 cm wide). The fruit that comes from this happens in the summer.
Before you grow a new dragon fruit plant, you should know a few things about what it needs. Dragon fruit is a type of cactus that grows up and needs something to hold it up. Even though pitaya is a tropical or subtropical plant that needs heat and sun, it’s best to put the new plant in a dry area with only some sun. Pitaya doesn’t like cold weather and can only live through short periods of frost and freezing temperatures.
But don’t worry if you live in a cooler climate or in an apartment without a garden. You can still spread pitahaya plants. Dragon fruit plants do well in pots, and one of the best things about growing them in pots is that you can move them and bring them inside for the winter.
How to propagate
Either seeds or stem cuttings can be used to make more dragon fruit plants. Growing plants from seeds is less reliable and will take longer, as it can take up to 7 years for the plants to start making fruit. Most of the time, stem cuttings are used to make more plants.
To make stem cuttings, get a piece of stem that is 6 to 15 inches (12 to 38 cm) long. Cut the base of the stem at an angle and treat it with a fungicide. Leave the treated piece of stem in a dry, shady place for 7-8 days. After that time, dip the cutting in a root hormone and plant it right in the garden or in a container with soil that drains well. Cuttings will grow quickly and might bear fruit 6–9 months after they are made.
If you’d rather try growing plants from seeds, cut a dragon fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. In a bucket of water, separate the pulp from the seeds. Put the seeds on a damp paper towel overnight to dry. The next day, put seed starting mix that drains well into a tray. Spread the seeds out on the top of the soil and lightly cover them with a sprinkle of medium, just enough to cover them. Spray it with water and cover it with plastic wrap. Don’t let the soil dry out. In 15–30 days, the seeds should sprout. When the seeds have started to grow, take off the plastic wrap and move the plants to bigger pots.
Things you need to repot a cactus
Almost anyone can grow cacti at home, but they do need light, warmth, water, and repotting to keep the soil fresh. To repot a cactus, you need a special soil mix and a container that drains well. So, you’ll need a cactus mix, which you can buy or make yourself. Equal parts sand or bird gravel, potting soil, and leaf mold make a good mix. Your container needs to have good drainage holes and preferably not be glazed, so that any extra water can drain out of the clay and dry out.
When a pitaya needs a new pot
When you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it’s time to repot the plant. This means that it has too many roots. Most cacti like being in small spaces, and they can live for years in their pots. When you see roots, you’ll know it has grown too much and needs a new pot. Since they like things to be tight, the next size up will work. In general, you should repot every two to four years. If you fertilize once a year, the second option is better, but if you don’t fertilize, you should repot every two years to keep the soil fertile. The best time is in January or February, when growth is going strong.
How to change pot
Once you know the answer to “Should I repot my pitahaya?,” it’s time to get your tools and swap out the old soil or pot. Not every cactus needs a new pot, but it should always have fresh soil. Only plants that are growing too big for their pots need a bigger pot.
Wrap, glove, or use tongs to gently pull the plant from its pot. If the soil is dry, they usually come out easily, but you may need to loosen the soil around the edges with a trowel. Shake off the old soil and plant the cactus at the same depth it was growing at in the old soil. Fill in the area around the roots with your medium and put it in a southeast or east window where it will get sun.
One of the most important things to remember when repotting a dragonfruit tree is not to water it yet. The plant is still getting used to being handled and the new soil. After a few weeks, you can water the plant and wait until it’s dry before giving it more water.
- Take the pitaya out of the old planter. If you need to, use a dull knife or trowel to loosen the soil around the edges of the pot. If you need to, you can wrap the cactus in several layers of newspaper to make it easier to grab, or you can use the towel to handle the cactus. Gently pull the root ball out of the old pot and lay the cactus flat on your workspace.
- Loosen the root ball and throw away the old dirt. Once the cactus is out of its old pot, you should loosen the root ball and throw away the old soil. Depending on how tight the roots are around the plant, this can be a tricky process. Slow down and try not to damage too many roots.
- Check the roots and trim them if needed. While the roots are out in the open, it is a good idea to look for signs of pests or diseases. Cut back any roots that are dead or sick, and if necessary, use a fungicide.
- The cactus should be put in the new pot. Fill the bottom of the new pot with the cactus soil mixture. You can buy cactus soil at a store or make it yourself. Place the cactus gently in the pot and hold it there with the towel or newspaper while you fill the rest of the pot with soil.
- Don’t water the newly moved cactus right away because it needs time to get used to its new surroundings. After about a week, you can go back to watering as usual.
Pitahaya cacti are hardy and adaptable, and most types do well when they are moved as long as they were healthy before the move. Make sure you put your newly replanted cactus back where it came from so it can keep getting the same amount of light and airflow it was getting before you moved it.