The Hylocereus polyrhizus is another type of dragon fruit (also called strawberry pear, pitahaya, nopal, pitajaya, night blooming cereus etc.). It has pink skin on the outside and pinkish-red flesh on the inside. Most of the time, this type is bigger and sweeter. It is often confused with the Red Jaina and Voodoo Child varieties. As you have probably already realized, in this topic we will talk specifically about the variety called “Bloody Mary”.
The Dragon Fruit Bloody Mary plant is a vine with fleshy stems that grows on land. From late spring to early fall, the plant has white flowers that smell nice. Flowers are complicated and only bloom at night.
Makes red fruits that are round. The round fruit has clear scales all over it, and it can grow up to 5 inches long. Inside the thin skin is a big mass of pink pulp that tastes sweet and has many small black seeds. This kind is a lot like Red Jaina in size, color, and taste. The fruit can be eaten by itself, and used to make juice, ice cream, jam, and other kinds of processed fruit.
The beautiful, fragrant white flowers that bloom at night can be up to 14 inches in diameter. The white flowers bloom quickly, smell great, and look amazing from late at night to early in the morning. Flower buds are also gorgeous, and they produce soft, colorful, and tasty fruits. A dragon fruit is ready to eat after 35 to 45 days.
After you pick the fruit, you should put it in the fridge and eat it within 3 days for the best taste. Fresh pitahaya fruits, on the other hand, only last about a month in the fridge. Depending on how it grows, a plant can bloom many times a year.
Bloody Mary may have up to four fruiting cycles per year when it is at full production. For proper cross-pollination, we suggest using at least three different varieties. Grows quickly. Easy-to-grow. Easy to put in a container.
Pitaya is perennial, terrestrial, epiphytic, vine-like cacti that grow quickly. They have green, fleshy, often-branched, triangular stems with three or four or five sides. The flowers are big and bloom at night. Each segment of the stem has three flat, wavy wings (ribs) with corneous edges. Each rib may have one to three small spines or none at all.
Pitaya’s stem pieces look like aerial roots that stick to the surface they grow or climb on. The stem could be as long as 20 feet (6.1 m).
|Plant type:||Perennial vine fruit / vegetable|
|USDa hardiness zones:||9-11|
|Size:||H: 6'-20' |
|Tolerant:||Heat tolerant, humidity tolerant, verticillium wilt resistant|
|Water needs:||Even moisture - regular|
|Sun exposure:||Sun - mostly sun|
|Flower season:||Spring, summer, fall|
|Suitable for:||Indoor, outdoor|
|Date of harvest:||Mid-season|
|Uses:||Gardening, personal home use, agriculture use, home gardening, tree planting|
|Flavor:||3 out of 5|
|Production:||3 out of 5|
|Commercial planting:||3 out of 5|
What does dragon fruit taste like?
When people find out what pitaya fruit is, their next question is usually:
What does it taste like?
That’s easy to understand, since the outside of the fruit doesn’t tell us much. When you cut a dragon fruit in half, the first thing you’ll see are the many tiny black seeds in the flesh. Because of that, the texture of pitaya is often compared to that of kiwi fruit, which is also full of tiny seeds.
The taste of the fruit is often called “tropical,” so it goes well with other fruits from warm climates like mango and pineapple. People have also said that the flesh tastes like pear, watermelon, or the mild taste of kiwi.
How good dragon fruit is for you
Dragonfruit is not only beautiful to look at and tasty to eat, but it also has a lot of great health benefits.
One dragon fruit has only 61 calories, but it also has 3 grams of fiber, which is 12 percent of the daily recommended amount. Also, one serving of dragon fruit has 154 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, as well as small amounts of iron, vitamin A, and calcium. The fruit also has 312 milligrams of potassium, which is 9 percent of the amount you should get every day.
The dragon fruit seeds have a small amount of healthy fats that are good for the heart. The fruit also has lycopene and phytoalbumin, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants that come from plants are highly valued because they seem to help protect our cells from damage that can lead to heart disease and cancer, which are both life-threatening diseases.
How to use it
The texture of pitahaya makes it fun and easy to use in many different ways. Getting the flesh out of the inside of the fruit is similar to how avocados are done. Cut a dragon fruit in half first. Then, put a spoon between the flesh and the inside of the rind and run it all the way around. This takes out the insides in one piece. After that, you can cut it into cubes, strips, or other shapes to serve. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out perfect spheres, or you can cut the fruit into wedges with the skin still on, like you would with an orange.
You can’t eat the skin, so only eat the meat inside.
Fresh dragon fruit is delicious, especially in fruit salads, and it looks pretty in smoothie bowls. It goes well with fish, either as a side dish or chopped into salsa. You can mix pitaya with other ingredients to make interesting drinks.
How to take care of and plant
Dragon Fruit grows best in soils that drain well and in full sun to part shade. The vine will grow from the plant’s root if you keep the plant in full sun and a warm temperature. Where winters are too cold for dragon fruit (Zone 8b and colder), it can be grown in pots and brought inside. The structure of the roots is very small.
Plant the vine in a regular-sized, large pot. Use good potting soil, like a mix of compost, sand, soil, peat moss, and vermiculite.
Choosing a site and getting ready
When choosing a site, it is best to have full sun in the morning and afternoon shade. Rich, sandy soil on top is best, as long as it drains well.
Plants should be put anywhere between 8 and 12 inches apart. Plants are often grouped around a pole or a structure for climbing.
Fertilizer and soil pH
Grow in soil that is moist, well-drained, and full of humus. Also, you shouldn’t fertilize your garden when you plant seeds or during the first growing season. Plants need time to get used to their surroundings before they can grow.
Ph requirements are 6.0-7.5
Most plants that are already growing well do best with light fertilization. Early in the spring, use a light coating of a balanced organic fertilizer to feed the soil. But if a concentrated, water-soluble fertilizer is used, please pay close attention to what the manufacturer says.
This cactus needs to be watered often, and the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out between waterings. After planting, water well and give new plants a good soak once a week during the summer, unless it rains a lot (more than 1 inch per week).
Most plants can get by with less water once they are established, but most grow best if the soil stays evenly moist. As long as the vines are growing strong, it won’t be hard to get rid of weeds. The best way to water plants is with a drip line. You should water once every two weeks and let the soil dry out in between.
Short growing tips
- Take a one-gallon pot and loosely fill it with potting mix. Cactus-based potting mix can be bought at a local hardware store.
- Press a wooden post firmly into the middle of the pot. Take the pitahaya cutting and press it into the soil until at least an inch of it is below the surface.
- Press the topsoil down around the cutting of dragonfruit until it is stable.
- Attach the cutting to the post, and keep doing this as the plant grows up the post. Cuttings will take 3-4 weeks to root and must not be disturbed.
If you decide to move your little dragon around to “see” if it has roots, be careful. The first roots it grows are likely to come off if you move it around. The tap root will grow down from the center, then keep growing outward. No matter how fertile the soil is, you should plant two dragons next to each other if you want more fruit. It’s best to use two different kinds, or even the same two kinds if you have more than one plant.
- These cacti can live in Zone 9 and up, where winters are mild. If you live in a lower zone, plant your pitahaya fruit near a sunny window or in your greenhouse. It will be fine outside when the temperature at night is at least 60 degrees F. The lowest temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but once a plant is established, it can be 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Guard against hard freezes;
- They are known to grow outside in Southern Sunbelt states like Zone 9 Houston, Texas, Southern Louisiana, Central Florida, S. Florida, Arizona, and most southern and coastal parts of California and Hawaii;
- Support structure: They are climbing vines, so it is best to plant them next to a support stake, pole, or trellis that is ideal at 6 feet tall (8 feet total, 2 feet cemented underground) with crosses on top to mound them in;
- Light: They do best in some shade to full sun. A plant can get sunburned in full sun, so let it get used to it slowly. However, they do fine with 4-6 hours or more of sun;
- Soil: Plant in soils that drain well, such as sand or perlite;
- Water: once a week, when the top of the soil is dry. Once they are established, they can handle drought very well;
- Root systems: They have shallow roots, so they need to be kept free of weeds. The best way to protect a plant is to put mulch 2 to 3 feet around it;
- Time to bloom: They can bloom more than once a year, especially when it’s warm. Most of the time, moths and bats pollinate it, but you can also use a brush to help it set more fruit.
The dragon fruit plant, also called pitaya, is a cactus vine that grows well in dry places. Because it grows on other plants, it does best in soil with a lot of organic matter. The flowers are white and can be as big as 30cm or even bigger. When they bloom, they smell sweet and are very pretty. Only one night, the flowers bloom.
Most people eat the fruit raw, and it tastes best when it’s cold. You can also drink it as a juice. The flesh is sweet and sometimes goes into a tropical sorbet with mango. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should definitely try it!