Hylocereus guatemalensis

Hylocereus guatemalensis dragon fruit tree

H. guatemalensis (also called Selenicereus guatemalensis, Cereus trigonus var. guatemalensis) is a type of Hylocereus that is found in Guatemala, which is in Central America.

This variety grows large, sweet, tasty fruit that weighs between 1 and 2 pounds and looks good. This fruit makes this variety easy to add to a collection, even if you are just starting out. This fruit tastes and looks a lot like the American Beauty and Condor types.

The flesh is a bright purple color, and the skin is a deep pink color with green fins that stand out clearly. Like many other fruits, Dragon Fruits taste better when they are bigger. The brix score for the one-pound fruit is 16, while the score for the bigger fruit is a little bit better. The plant grows quickly and can climb well.


It is not known where it came from. It was first found in Guatemala, then moved to Florida, and then to California. First described by Eichlam, and given the exact name of Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose. The fruit is round, medium-sized, weighs from 380 grams, and is perfect for selling.

The skin is greenish-red, and the flesh is fuchsia-colored. The pulp is very juicy and lacks firmness; the skin is thin and has scattered bracts; it takes 43 days from bloom to harvest in Southern California, and it can be picked from June to November.

Plant habit: Cactus / succulent
Kingdom plantae  Plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants
Division tracheophyta  Vascular plants, tracheophytes
Subdivision spermatophytina:  Spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames
Family:  Cactus, cacti
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun requirements: Full sun / full sun to partial shade / partial or dappled shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5), neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 10a -1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant height: 12 to 20 feet
Plant spread: 2 to 3 feet
Leaves: leafless, evergreen stems
Fruit: Showy
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy, fragrant, nocturnal, opening at night
Flower color: White
Bloom size: Over 12″
Flower time: Summer
Edible parts: Fruit, flower
Eating methods: Raw
Resistances: Humidity tolerant, drought tolerant, salt tolerant, does not tolerate direct sunlight
Propagation (seeds): Needs specific temperature: 65ºF-75ºF
Propagation (cuttings): Stem
Pollinators: Self
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger, needs excellent drainage in pots
Cold resistance:  Maximum up to -1 microns

Plants have triangular stems with three well-defined ridges that are thin and short. Mature stems are dark green and brittle and produce many shoots. The areoles have 1–2 spines that are 1–5 mm long. The segment between the areoles is quite convex and 36.45 mm long. The flowers are small, with white petals, a yellowish-green calyx, and yellow anthers and stigma lobes.

Average cold and heat tolerance. Hard to grow in full sun. Great commercial potential if grown in a protected area.

Dragonfruit grows best in soils that drain well in part shade. This cactus needs to be watered often, and you shouldn’t let the soil dry out between waterings.

The vine will grow from the plant’s root if you keep the plant in full sun and a warm temperature. Once the root has grown, new vines will start to grow from it.

The white flowers appear near the tips of the shoots. They are up to 30 centimeters long and reach diameters of 8 to 9 centimeters. The fruits have diameters of 6 to 7 centimeters.

Distribution, systematics and endangerment

Selenicereus guatemalensis is distributed in the eastern lowlands of Guatemala.

The first description as Cereus trigonus var. guatemalensis by Wilhelm Weingart was published in 1911. The name is due to Friedrich Eichlam. David Richard Hunt placed the variety in the genus Selenicereus in 2017 and elevated it to the rank of species. Other nomenclatural synonyms include Hylocereus guatemalensis (Eichlam ex Weing.) Britton & Rose (1920), Cereus triangularis f. guatemalensis (Eichlam ex Weing.) Schelle (1926), and Cereus guatemalensis (Eichlam ex Weing.) A.Berger (1929).

In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the species is listed as Least Concern (LC), i.e., not endangered.

Propagation & care

Hylocereus guatemalensis is a rarely cultivated epiphytic Cactus.

The plants that grow pitaya fruit are like orchid cacti. The plant’s branches are green and split, and it needs a support or trellis. It has flowers and dragon-shaped fruits with dark reddish purple flesh that grow to be 4-5 feet long. The sweet and sour fruit with maroon skin is ready to eat about 4 to 5 weeks after it blooms. It can pollinate itself, and it works well to pollinate other dragonfruit. Don’t water too much, and keep the frost away. Cacti can be propagated vegetatively or from seed.

Anna Gorelova
Anna Gorelova
Water only during the growing season: from late spring to early fall. Watering in winter is not necessary at all, except for some epiphytic cacti.

If you don’t water in winter you have a better chance of your cacti blooming. Don’t worry if they won’t survive a few months without water – they don’t need it at all during the dormant period!

What is the ecological role

The ecological role of Hylocereus guatemalensis is not fully understood, but it is thought to play a significant role in the environment. This cactus is a pioneer species, meaning that it is one of the first plants to grow in an area that has been cleared of vegetation. It helps to stabilize the soil and create a habitat for other plants and animals. The fruit of the Hylocereus guatemalensis is also eaten by animals, including bats and birds, which helps to disperse its seeds. Hylocereus guatemalensis can grow to be over two feet in height and six feet in width.

Hylocereus guatemalensis dragon fruit

How do you harvest and prepare?

The Hylocereus guatemalensis, also known as the purple-fleshed dragon fruit, is a cactus that is native to Central America. The fruit has a sweet and tangy flavor and can be eaten fresh or used in smoothies, yogurt, or salads. In order to harvest the fruit, you will need to cut off the spiny stem and then use a knife to slice the fruit open. The edible portion of the fruit is white and contains small black seeds.


  1. Repot young cacti once a year and old ones once every few years – better to do it early in the growing season;
  2. The best place for a cactus is on the windowsill of the sunniest window, closer to the glass;
  3. Don’t water or expose to hot sun for a few days after transplanting.


In conclusion, Hylocereus guatemalensis is an interesting and exotic cactus that can be grown in a garden or patio. It is easy to care for and has beautiful blooms that will bring color to any setting.


What type of plant is it?
Hylocereus guatemalensis is a type of cactus. It is a climbing cactus that can grow up to 20 feet tall. It has green stems and white flowers.
What are the benefits of this pitahaya?
There are many benefits to Hylocereus guatemalensis. Some include its ability to improve vision, help with weight loss, and boost the immune system. Additionally, this fruit has anti-inflammatory properties and can help fight cancer.
How long does it take for an H. guatemalensis to flower?
It can take up to 5 years for an pitaya tree to flower.
What are the natural habitats?
The natural habitats of Selenicereus guatemalensis are tropical forests and rainforests.
Michael Gorelov
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Exotic fruits and vegetables
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