Life Cycle of Dragon Fruit - A funky addition and curious conversation piece to our garden is the Dragon Fruit (Thanh Long in Vietnamese). Also called Pitaya or Strawberry Pear, this fruit is one of several varieties of cactus plant fruits prized in Southeast Asia. The numerous, sprawling branches of this fleshy cacti reach out and climb on to anything that crosses it’s path. Just like a dragon or serpent snaking it’s way in all different directions, the spiny plant itself is really easy to grow in warm, hot , sunny areas. Propagation just takes one strong cutting planted in good soil and you can have a whole farm of plants within two years.
We grow the red/pink skinned, white center variety. The thin skin can be peeled, revealing a white center filled with small, black , edible seeds. Eating the fruit and interior seeds has a texture similar to that of kiwi fruit. It’s really a slightly sweet, mild flavored fruit and is best when eaten fresh. Savoring it this way makes it worth the high price tag it can fetch at the store or farmers market. Dad just gave us some cutting for a red skinned, red center variety. Hopefully next years harvest will be good.
Watching this fruit grow and ripen over a period of 3-4 months is cool. The dragon fruit grows right on top of the branches and over this growth period, the fruit is nurtured to a plump, large, orange sized beauty.

Watch it grow:

Life cycle of dragon fruit - 1
True to it’s namesake : “Dragon” Fruit

Life cycle of dragon fruit - 2
Mature flowers about to …Pop!

Life cycle of dragon fruit - 3
   Believe it or not, this beauty only lasts for 1 day! After that, it’s like….
 
Life cycle of dragon fruit - 4
More to come…this fruit is still ripening. The harvest should be in about 2 more weeks!