Man next to a dragon fruit pitaya cutting
Interesting Info

How to Grow Pitaya From Cuttings (Dragon Fruit)

34 comments

I love Pitaya! It is such a cool-looking cactus fruit. Commonly called, Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya, the Pitaya is grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical regions. It also can be grown in the desert in places like Arizona with some care. In this post, I will show you how to grow dragon fruit plants or pitaya from cuttings.

If you love to garden and want to try growing a cool cactus, learn how to grow pitaya! The dragon fruit cactus plant will be a great addition to your garden. Let’s get started!

Pitaya or Dragon Fruit Information

Pitaya Dragon Fruit growing on a plant.

The hylocereus undatus or selenicereus undatus or The Pitaya (dragon fruit or strawberry pear the common names) is a tropical fruit that is cultivated all over the world, in particular, in Mexico, Central America and South America, Southeast Asia, India, the Caribbean, Australia, and other tropical and subtropical humid climates around the world.

Vietnam, Indonesia, and China grow the most dragon fruit out of any other country. In fact, in 2018, Vietnam accounted for 50% of the global pitaya or dragon fruit production.

The dragon fruit even grows well in places in the United States, like California, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, and other southern states. USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 are ideal areas. But zone 9 can get cold to where you need to protect them from frost or bring them inside if in a pot. In a bit colder areas they will grow in warmer greenhouses or inside like a sunroom.

Pitayas love the sun and warmth, but not super hot, and not very cold. They can survive a few temps below freezing once in a while, but not sustained freezing temperatures.

Want to know how the dragon fruit taste? I have two posts on how to eat them and how they taste. Check out this yellow dragon fruit taste test and this pink dragon fruit taste test to find out more about how to eat them and what they taste like. Common uses for the bright white flesh are to eat them plain or put them in fruit salads.

How to grow pitaya from cuttings

Hand holding a pitaya cutting over a pot of soil.

There is no dragon fruit tree. Dragon fruits grow on a climbing cactus. While pitaya can be grown from seed, this post focuses on how to grow pitaya or dragon fruit from a cutting.

To grow the pitaya from a cutting, first, you need a dragon fruit cutting. They are easy to prune off the main plant because they grow in segments.

Cut a segment at the stem/woody part that connects to another part of the pitaya. Sometimes the cut end has a harder time sprouting roots, so you may want to snip it off. If you do, let the cutting sit out in the shade for about a week, so it can scab over.

Hand holding a pitaya cutting with rooting powder on it.

Take some rooting powder and sprinkle it on the base of the cutting. In the above image, I didn’t snip any off of the bottom. I recommend planting a few, some with the end snipped off and some without.

NOTE: Rooting powder is not necessary but it definitely helps it along. Try a few with the rooting powder and a few without.

Hand planting pitaya cuttings in a pot.

Fill up the pot with good well-drained soil

Take a medium pot to a large pot and fill it up with good draining sandy soil. The Dragon fruit loves good drainage. Try and make the soil mildly acidic as well. If you like, you can add some earthworm castings to the soil for extra nutrients.

Then stick the pitaya cutting directly in the soil about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Water the soil well. The roots should develop in a week or two. And you will have your very own dragon fruit plant.

The dragon fruit cuttings should stay green. Don’t overwater, however. Dip your finger in the soil, and if it is dry two inches down, give it some more water.

Dragon fruit cutting update

Pitaya plants grow well in pots for a few years, but eventually, you may want to plant them in the ground. You can prune them as well, to get more cuttings to plant, or so it grows the way you want it to.

Dragon fruit cactus plants are vining or climbing cactus. You will need a trellis or pole or some other support structure for it to grow up. As it gets longer loosely tie the cactus vine to your pole.

Dragon fruit cactus growing up a pole.

Depending on where you live you may need to plant them in partial shade. I live in the very hot Phoenix area. This pitaya cutting after it was rooted was planted on the west side of the house which had lots of shade cover. It gets sunlight, but not too much direct sunlight. It is very protected during the harsh summers and extreme heat.

If you live somewhere like California, planting them with full sun or direct sunlight, shouldn’t be a problem. The pitaya cuttings grow much quicker than growing dragon fruit from seeds. Some people have been able to get edible fruit after only the first year of growth. The speed of growth will depend on where you live.

When the cactus matures and eventually flowers they may or may not be self-pollinating. If you have lots of bees around then don’t worry about it. Or you can just pollinate the flowers with hand pollination with a small paintbrush. And hopefully, the fruit will grow from that. Allow the fruits to grow until very bright in color and have a slight give to them. Then you can pick them. Usually, they are ripe about a month after flowering.

Time to grow your own pitaya from cuttings. Enjoy!

Can I grow dragon fruit from seeds?

Yes, you sure can grow pitaya or dragon fruit from seeds. If you want to try and plant dragon fruit seeds first cut the fruit in half and dig out the white flesh. Remove and rinse the seeds. Dry out the tiny black seeds from the fruit, then place them on a damp paper towel.

Fold over the moist paper towel and place it near a window for a week or so to sprout. Once sprouted put them in a small pot with a good seed starter or cactus soil mix. Cover the pots with a plastic bag which will create a greenhouse effect. You can also skip trying to sprout them in the bag and place them straight in the soil in the pot.

As the young plants mature you will want to transplant them into a larger pot.

In general dragon fruit cacti are fairly easy to grow with the right climate and proper care. In harsher climates, you can still grow them but they will take more specialty care.

How to grow Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) from Cuttings Video

Watch this video I made on how to grow Dragon fruit from cuttings.

How to Grow a Dragon Fruit cutting | Propagating a Pitahaya

One dragon fruit cutting made it and is alive and thriving in my parent’s yard. I made the mistake one year and didn’t move the post to the other side of my yard during the summer and torched the other ones. Sad day.

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34 Comments

  1. Lisa Bennett

    Hi. I live in Phoenix at 32nd St and Shea. I’ve got two healthy dragonfruit plants in 12 inch pots that I want to plant in the ground Thanks for your help. Thinking of the east side of the house to shelter from summer sun

    • Awesome Lisa! Yes, you definitely need shelter from the sun. Shade, filtered sun from other trees, and 50 to 60% shade cloth are all suitable ideas. I live in AZ as well. 🙂

  2. Trina Fridel

    I also live near Phoenix in the east valley. Thank you for your tips. I have just started researching how to grow down here in the heat and it can be tricky.

    • That is awesome!! And you are very welcome! 🙂 The heat can definitely be tricky. Depending on what you are growing and the location, you may need a shade cloth.

  3. This comment isn’t necessarily for posting on your website comments section. It is feedback for the author. I am a professional proofreader for a tech company, so things like misspelling stand out to me when I read.

    I’m not sure if you used your phone with autocorrect turned on when you wrote this article, or if English isn’t your first language. But I found an error in this version of the website.

    The statement:
    “you may want to plant them in the grown.”

    in the instructions is grammatically incorrect. I assume you meant “ground” not “grown.” I’m sure you realize that ground is the earth in your garden area, and grown, means having completed a phase of growth.
    Just a little feedback to help your website look more professional.

    Thanks, Trey

    • Thanks, Trey, yeah just an oversight/lack of proofreading. English is definitely my first and only language. Grammarly doesn’t always catch things like this, haha. But I need to be better at proofreading when I have Grammarly turned on.

  4. I cannot thank you enough for this post: Ever since I visited Viet Nam, Pitaya is one of my favorite fruits. If I could really grow it at home that would be awesome!

  5. Great tips! We actually have a lot of dragon fruits! We even have one in our garden. My mom loves it so much!

  6. I have been meaning to grow Dragon Fruit. This was really helpful.

  7. I didn’t we could have this at our house and plant it. This is cool. I would love to add it to our garden and get more of it instead of keep buying it. Thank you for sharing!

    Fransic – https://querianson.com/

  8. Oh this is so cool! I wish I could try growing some dragon fruit. But Atlantic Canada wouldn’t be the right kind of weather sadly. It was really fun to see the whole process, thank you!

  9. I’ve seen some of our neighbors with dragon fruit in their front yard and I’m curious how it’s grown. Now I know how.

  10. I used to love eating dragon fruit when we lived in Singapore but sadly we don’t get much if it here in the UK. I didn’t know you could grow it from cuttings.

  11. This is so neat. I’ve never tried dragonfruit but have heard that it tastes great.

  12. Interesting! I’m so bad with these things, but when we buy our home I want to plant everything! lol

  13. That’s so cool! I love dragonfruit and never knew you could do that.

  14. WOW, Matt! This is amazing. I would love to try growing this in New York. I have been growing an avocado plant for the last 5 years. It lives in my garden bathtub.. LOL it is now truly a garden tub. But my bathroom gets the most light and humidity from showers. I wonder if I could attempt to grow a dragon fruit plant too. What do you think?

  15. I love dragon fruit and once tried to grow one but failed. I am excited though to try to grow another with your tutorial.

  16. This was so helpful and interesting read! My teens love dragon fruit and they would love to have a plant like this. So excited to start growing one!

  17. I’ve always been fascinated by dragon fruit. My neighbor just gave me a cutting so I’m going to plant it this weekend with the help of your tutorial. Thank you!

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