If you are planning to grow or just curious, this article post focuses on how to pick a dragon fruit and the best time to harvest – now about how to grow it. We’re also going to feature some basic facts about this famous tropical fruit.
Who cannot resist such stunning, colourful fruit like the dragon fruit? Its pink skin with yellow-green spikes on the tip and a fireball shaped look can definitely catch anyone’s attention. And if you haven’t tasted, this fruit is amazing!
Growing dragon fruit plant can be challenging because it takes awhile before they start bearing fruits. Yet, it’s worth it because this fruit tastes really good. And this is usually expensive when bought at a local vendor or market place.
Origin and Nickname
Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit as it best grown in dry, humid areas. It is native to South and Central America, Mexico as well as most Southeast Asian countries, which include the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
This fruit is also referred to as pitaya, especially in South America. It possesses the scientific name Hylocereus undatus, a type of cereus.
Some people compare this fruit as a combination of a few fruits. These include watermelon, kiwi and pear. Mainly, it’s due to its tiny black seeds and sweet, juicy flavor.
Although easily grown in tropical countries, dragon fruit can be planted and harvest in the US, along other Western countries or areas with four seasons all year. According to the US Department of Agriculture, otherwise known as USDA, it can tolerate soil at hardiness zones 10 to 11.
However, it should be kept in full sunshine and avoid frost or cold temperatures. Otherwise, learning how to pick a dragon fruit would only remain as a fact in the mind.
How to Pick a Dragon Fruit?
Obviously, the fruit itself can tell you if it’s ripe and ready to harvest. As promised and indicated on the headline, we’ll unlock how to pick a dragon fruit. Keep these three ways concerning when and how to harvest the fruit.
1. Check The Dragon Fruit
By simply looking, you can easily convince yourself that you do need to pick the fruit. The fruit must be a little red rather than pink. The once green part of the skin that turned into yellow also indicates ripeness.
It is a matter of the transition of color from the outer part of the fruit that gives you the sign for its harvesting period. This is definitely one of the easiest ways on how to pick a dragon fruit.
If there are dark spots or blotches on the skin, that indicates overripe. You need to remove it off the vine whether you still want to eat overripe fruit or not. It doesn’t have to stay there and let it fall on the ground.
Other than the outer skin, another sign of ripeness is the wings of the fruit. This is the leafy part or tip on the skin that looks like spikes. It should become brown and withered that indicates harvest.
2. Touch The Fruit
Texture is also a key if the fruit is ready to pick. You do not just figure when and how to pick a dragon fruit by counting the days, although this is also helpful. You must gently press your finger, thumb or pointing finger, to be certain. It should be average soft, not hard or too mushy.
3. Cut Off The Fruit From The Vine
If both of the signs listed above are positive, then smile because your fruit is absolutely ripe! Grab a pair of scissor or shears to remove the fruit from the vine.
Your cutting should be based on the first inch or two of the stem that attaches the fruit and the vine. It takes a few seconds to do this so there’s no difficulty.
Once you’ve collected all ripe dragon fruits, you may crack it open by slicing in half on the middle part. It should welcome you with white or reddish pink flesh and lots of tiny black seeds. That’s the look of a tasty fruit! You can scoop the flesh or completely remove the skin to slice and enjoy eating.
Now that you know the signs and how to pick a dragon fruit, there’s another question we should answer. How long does this plant start producing fruits?
Typically, flowers start blooming first before the presence of fruits. This is usually the natural process and that’s another indication that you’ll be picking fruits soon. So from that time on, start counting 50 days after the flowering period and when pollination begins.
The first fruits can be harvested within a year. The second harvesting time would be after a year and it continues from there up to 20 or 30 years more.