Kips Red is a rare and understudied variety of dragon fruit. In this article, we will tell you what is known about it.
H. costaricensis “Kip’s Red dragon fruit” (Red Pitaya / pitahaya or dragonfruit) – a climbing cactus that requires support, has aerial roots, and may grow to at least 30 feet tall with 1 to 2 inch thick, three-sided, notched stems that have a few spines along the ribs.
This plant grows more like a tropical vine, and we have observed it climbing rocks and structures. The fragrant, big (10-12 inches long), white, bell-shaped flowers appear at dark and only endure one night from late spring to autumn.
|Type:||Succulent epiphytic vining, terrestrial cactus|
|Sunlight:||Full sun to part shade|
|Water needs:||Low water|
|Soil type:||Peat, sand|
|Size:||Height: 6'-20', width: 6'-20'|
|Flavor:||5 out of 5|
|Fruit production:||4 out of 5|
|Appearance:||5 out of 5|
|Home planting:||4 out of 5|
|Commercial planting:||4 out of 5|
This is a different variety than the white fleshed Hylocereus undatus “Joyce Greenlund” that we also grow and believe to be a hybrid of Hylocereus costaricensis (often listed as H. polyrhizus).
To assure fruiting, it is recommended that the blooms be hand-pollinated in the evening due to the absence of natural pollinators in California. However, similar to our H. undatus “Joyce Greenlund”, this plant does produce some fruit without hand-pollination, so these efforts would likely be rewarded.
Plant in a well-drained soil in full sun along the coast but in partial shade inland. In the summer, irrigate sparingly but frequently, including regions where aerial roots may be present. This plant requires a nearly frost-free environment to thrive, flower, and bear fruit, thus it is not suitable for everyone. However, fruiting has been obtained in warm regions in the Santa Barbara area and further south.
As its name suggests, Hylocereus costaricensis is native to Costa Rica and extends south through Nicaragua to Peru, whereas Hylocereus undatus is believed to have originated in the tropical rainforests of Central and northern South America, but its native range is unknown due to its global distribution as a fruit and ornamental plant.
The fruit of both types is delicious and nutrient-dense, containing an abundance of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. The ripe fruit can be chilled, peeled, and sliced into bite-sized pieces to be served as a dessert or used to smoothies or salads. This plant is frequently referred to by the names of its fruit, including Red Dragonfruit, Red Pitaya (or Pitahaya) Fruit, and Strawberry Pear, as well as Belle of the Night and Conderella Plant.
Kip’s red is a Cactus with aerial roots that climbs. Self-fertile, fragrant flowers bloom from late spring to fall. However, in California, the blooms only open at twilight for one night, so hand pollination increases the likelihood of fruit production. Drought tolerant and cold hardy to 30–32 degrees Fahrenheit.