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Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit (Hylocereusundatus)

Hylocereusundatus, the white-fleshed Dragon Fruit or Pitahaya, is a species of Cactaceae and is the most cultivated species in the genus which is fast growing, epiphytic or xerophytic, vine-like cactus.. It originates in Central and northern South America.

It is used both as an ornamental vine and as a fruit crop. The fruit is highly decorative, with a bright red skin, studded with green scales. The flesh is white, juicy and delicious in flavour, with tiny black seeds.

Stems of H. undatus are triangular, 3-sided, although sometimes 4- or 5-sided, green, fleshy, jointed, many branched. Each stem segment has 3 flat wavy ribs and corneous margins may be spineless or have 1-3 small spines. Stems scandent, creeping, sprawling or clambering, up to 10 m long. Aerial roots, which are able to absorb water, are produced on the underside of stems and provide anchorage for stems on vertical surfaces.

Dragon fruit is a nutrient and vitamin-rich fruit. It also has a high fiber, high therapeutic value, lower blood pressure effect, blood fat, detoxification, AIDS lung, beauty, eyesight, constipation and also lower diabetes effect.

Growing Dragon fruit has several positive aspects for commercial producers. These plantings generate a fairly quick return on investment as the fruit production can be expected to begin 11 months from planting, and full production in the orchard occurring from 3rd year.

Tissue Culture Technology

Dragon fruit is usually propagated by seeds or by cutting propagation, breeding and slow growing influence of the mother plant, is not conducive to the expansion of production. Seed Propagation takes longer time and will not continue with mother plant characteristics, which is not suitable for commercial cultivation.

Plant tissue culture is an alternative method for large scale, uniform plants with identical selected genetic traits and also rapid plantlet production.

Climate : Tropical climate region is the best for its cultivation. Shading is required for better yield in high sun light areas.

Soil : These plants grow in all soils ranging from sandy loam soils to clay loam soils. However, sandy soils with good organic matter and internal drainage are best suitable for its cultivation. Soil PH of 5.5 to 5.7 is the optimum for better growth.

Spacing : Spacing requires between 2 plants is 2m x 2m.

Planting Density: 1000 plants can be accommodated in an acre.

Training of the dragon fruit plants in cultivation : These plants should be supported by concrete or wooden columns to get the proper upright growth and development. Immature plant stems are required to tie with these columns.

Manures and Fertilizers : Organic matter plays key role in dragon fruit development and growth. Each plant should be applied with 10-15 kg of organic fertilizers. Fore vegetative growth, the inorganic fertilizer ratio is muriate of potash : Super phosphate: Urea :: 40:90:70 g/plant.At fruit bearing stage, low amount of nitrogen and high amount of potash should be applied for getting higher yield.

Harvesting : These plants start bearing fruits in the first year itself.

Yield : An average yield of Dragon fruit is 5-6 tonnes per acre.

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