In recent days, we are observing the fruit markets with glossy pink-colored pear type fruit that is strawberry pear or pitaya or Dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is an ornamental plant as well as a fruit-producing plant. Also, these fruits have higher marketing value, as we compare with other exotic fruits.
There are many health benefits of dragon fruits. These fruits are used to improves human health conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases, etc.. and also used for jam, jelly production, wines, and ice creams preparation. Tropical regions are best for the cultivation of dragon fruit, so Indian climatic conditions also suitable for dragon fruit cultivation. Only a few farmers are doing dragon fruits cultivation in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat states of India. Many farmers are willing for dragon fruit farming are unaware of the package of practices of dragon fruit cultivation in India. Therefore, we have come up with this article on the dragon fruit farming package of practices.
Scientific name: Hylocereus undatus
Common name: Pitaya or strawberry pear or Dragon fruit
Origin of Dragon fruit: The origin of these plants is Southern Mexico or Central America
Soil requirements for dragon fruit farming: Soil with good organic matter is best for its cultivation. These fruits can grow in a wide range of soils from sandy loam to clay loam.
Climatic Requirements for dragon fruit cultivation:
The tropical climate is more suitable for Dragon fruit cultivation. The optimum temperature required is 20ºc – 30ºc. Too much sunlight is not good for its cultivation, in high sunlight areas, shading can be provided for better yield. It needs an annual rainfall of 500-1500mm.
Dragon fruit propagation methods:
The dragon fruits are cultivated in two ways viz., through seeds or cuttings. Let us look into it. However, stem cutting dragon fruit farming is time saving and profitable for the dragon fruit farmer.
- If we use seeds for propagation, it will consume too much time.
- Stem cuttings are the best preference for dragon fruit cultivation. To propagate stem cuttings, 20-25cm long stem cutting is suitable. Make these cuttings to get dry just 2 days before planting. These stem cuttings should treat with a fungicide to prevent diseases. These stem cutting will be treated with root hormones and then directly plant in the field or plant these cutting in 12×30 cm polythene bag with 1:1:1 ratio soil, Farm Yard Manure, sand then keep it dry, shaded area. These cutting roots preferred for planting after 5-6 months. Cutting will grow rapidly and may produce fruits 6-9 months from propagation.
This Dragon fruit is a cactus type plant so it needs support to grow. After attaining 1.5-2 m height the plant started to hang down so the poles are used for support then the plant will climb and grow rapidly.
Types of Dragon fruit :
There are different types of dragon fruits, however, noteworthy are given below
- Red white dragon fruit variety: pink color upper epicarp, the edible part is in white color with black seeds – Hylocereus undatus
- Pink dragon fruit variety: upper epicarp, as well as edible part, is a pink color with black seeds – Hylocereus costaricensis
- Yellow Dragon Fruit Variety: upper epicarp is in yellow color, the edible part is a white color with black seeds – Hylocereus megalanthus
Irrigation requirement for dragon fruit cultivation: water requirement for these fruit plants is less. But there is a need for providing irrigation at the time of planting, flowering and fruit development stages. Drip irrigation is suitable for these fruit plants.
Manures & Fertilizer management in dragon fruit farming: for each plant 10-12 kg of organic fertilizer should be applied and increase the 2kg of organic fertilizer every year. In the vegetative stage, apply Urea: SSP: MOP in 70:90:40 grams. After the fruit-bearing low amount of N, high K should apply. Just before flowering, at the time fruit development and after harvesting of fruits the fertilizer requirement is Urea: Single superphosphate: Murate of potash @50: 50: 100g/ plant. For every year increases the dose by 220grams to 1.5kg.
Flowering: Dragon fruit flowers will be open in the night and lasts only in one evening. Flowers first form the small buttons or buds. The 2-3 buds flowering within13 days of formation. Flowering will occur from Apr-June.
Harvesting of dragon fruit:
The plant starts yielding 10-12 months after planting. The fruits will mature 30 days after flowering. If fruit epicarp turns from green to red/ pink it indicates fruit maturity. The plant yield the fruit in the month of Oct-Dec. 4-5 picking will be done in 1 month. The fruit weight may range from 300-800g. The present cost for Dragon fruit is 150-200/ kg.
Pests and Disease management in dragon fruit farming:
This crop such a type of crop which is free of pests and diseases. The proper drainage facilities and dry, shaded areas for plants are best for preventing the pest and diseases.
Conclusion: This is all about dragon fruit farming in India. For further information, comment below.