When I moved to my house, there was a double clothes-line on the side, strung between 4” X 4” wooden posts ending in a T on the tops. I decided to keep the two posts for the express purpose of using them to grow climbing plants: Pitaya on one post and Passion Fruit on the other. Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) is a climbing cactus, native to Central America. It can be propagated by cutting a piece (approximately a foot long) off of an existing plant and either rooting it in water or in potting mix. It prefers sandy, well-drained soil. Since I had never cultivated Pitaya, I drove over to Pine Island Nursery, a commercial grower in Miami, to see how they do it.
Several cacti are planted around a support and tied loosely against it as they climb up the post. There is a circular support on the top of each post that the Pitaya branches hang over. Since Pitaya has aerial roots that attach themselves all around the post, a sprinkler is placed on top of the post so all the roots get wet, not just the ones in the ground. Dragon Fruit can also be grown successfully in containers; Pine Island has a large number growing in planters as well as in the ground.
I have three cuttings that I received from a couple of different people. The two older cuttings, which I had planted 7 months ago, have already reached the top of my clothes-line post. The third cutting was planted 4 months ago and is still small. Pitaya can begin bearing fruit in as little as two years so I still have a ways to go before I’m eating home-grown Dragon Fruit.
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