Dragon fruit farming
Dragon fruit farming pictures: Dragonfruit cactus, cacti flowers, white and purple cactus fruits from Cambodian dragon fruit farm. Brief tutorial how to grow plant.
Photo documentation dragon fruit farm - from small cactus to fruits. Dragon fruit farming is very popular in northern Cambodia, north of Siem Reap. Fresh, tasty and deliciously exotic tasting purple dragon fruits and white dragonfruits are abundant on Cambodian markets all year long.
Dragon fruit cactus farm in Cambodia
The pictures here have been taken on 2 days on a small fruit farm with a variety of different fruits, a fish pond and a few dozen dragonfruit cacti. Some of the photos have been take during my first visit late afternoon. All dragonfruit flowers closed. Other dragon fruit cactus pictures are from next early morning.
Dragon fruit farming is easy and best as an addition to other farming products - just as practiced in this small fruit farm. Mixed farming always is much better than monoculture. This small farm was working entirely organic. No chemicals of any kind have been used. Mixed culture just like in jungle is more fertile and much more economical and more healthy for farmer, his family, all planet and the consumers alike.
Dragon fruit farming as practiced here is more or less maintenance free. Almost zero investment. Rejuvenation of the dragonfruit cactus plantation can always be done from your own cacti on an ongoing basis to always have healthy young dragonfruit cacti. Since the cacti grow fast, you may change location every few years within your own property
Please click on a thumbnail to view the full size dragon fruit picture.
Dragon fruit cacti blooming
Dragon fruit cacti bloom only in night time! In daytime the blossoms are completely closed. The cactus blossom pictures below are made from a time before sunrise until about less than one hour after sunrise. The latest dragon fruit flowers I photographed after 7 AM where closing more and more every few minutes. The exif data of the pictures taken are PHT, hence deduct one hour to have Cambodian local time KHT. Most of the below open dragonfruit flower pictures are taken around 0630 KHT. Sunrise was delayed by approx half an hour due to a nearby hill and due to slightly cloudy sky that early morning.
Dragon fruit flowers are extremely rich in pollen. Hence you see very early morning several bees on every open dragon fruit cactus blossom. High "bee traffic" with heavily loaded bee legs with a huge pollen pocket.
Purple dragon fruit and white dragonfruit
Dragon fruits on dragon fruit cacti
After a brief blooming period, the dragon fruit flowers turn into fast growing fruits. When the outside is red all the way, then it's time to cut the fruits. A strong rose cutter is ideal to harvest ripe dragonfruits. Dragon fruit cacti produce more than one harvest per year. As you see on the cacti pictures on this page, some dragonfruit cacti are blooming, others have fruits and other cacti are empty and recovering for next season. In Cambodia you find delicious dragonfruits all year long on local markets.
Hence with proper planting management and rejuvenation of your dragonfruit farm, you may have at least some fruits all year long. Sometimes more, sometimes less - but all year long. Notice that harvest during cloudy or rainy season, the dragon fruits are almost tasteless and sugarless or even slightly sour. Truly sweet and really exotic tasty dragon fruits are harvested only a few weeks into hot sunny dry season with blue sunny sky all day long. From then and all hot sunny season all dragonfruits are sweet AND really tasty.
The by far sweetest AND also by far most tasty dragon fruits ever eaten so far in my life have been the dragonfruits from Northern Cambodia during dry season, i.e. after mid January.
In the Philippine islands we have few dragon fruits only and only during a brief period once per year. The Philippine dragon fruits are tasteless and slightly sour. Hence obviously in the Philippines dragonfruits are growing in wrong location. Remember the need for all day long shadow-free hot tropical sunlight. In the Philippines we have many high mountains, even on islands, producing late sunrise or early sunset! Ideal locations in the Philippines would be places in sunny areas like top of low hills. Example is the beautiful farming area shown in the pictures from Bicol's Simple life - Happy life province. Look at the pictures with ocean view sceneries and the low gently hills. Hilltop would be an ideal location in that Bicol area. Early sunrise, late sunset, sunny for a long period during the year.
How to grow dragon fruit cactus
If you love something really exotic and really awarding and have the plain, hot tropical sun free from any shadow from early sunrise to late sunset, then growing dragon fruit cactus is easy. Go visit a dragon fruit farm and chose a variety of your preference. White dragon fruit of purple dragonfruit. The taste is nearly the same. Ask the dragon fruit farmer to give you a few segments of a dragon fruit cactus. Such segments are about 20-40 cm long. Cut the lower half of the segment and place into soil. 8 months later you may have your own first delicious and truly exotic tasting dragonfruits! Replace old dragonfruit cacti after about 3-4 years. The older the cactus, the smaller the fruits. If you plant too many cacti-seedlings on a single pole, then the dragonfruit plant may lack nutrients and produce small fruits. Be generous to nature and nature will be generous to you. Mingle dragonfruit cacti among flowers, vegetables or in a shadow free neighborhood to other blooming or fruit bearing trees.
Growing dragon fruit cacti is easy and maintenance free. Below pictures show you the basic steps on how to grow your own dragonfruit cactus. Remember that dragon fruit cactus loves plain tropical hot sun from as early as possible in the morning until as late as possible in evenings. Hence plant your dragonfruit cacti in plain sun, outside of shadow from houses, trees or nearby hills or mountains. In addition, dragonfruit cactus prefers NO standing water during rainy season, hence NO flat areas that might be flooded for days or weeks during rainy season!
When you look at the pictures above with fully grown dragon fruit plants (cactus), then you see that on top of the supporting pole is a ring or wheel made of wood that allows the cactus to grow outside and then grow down outside the supporting ring made of wood. If you make this supporting ring too high, then you may need a ladder to harvest the dragon fruits. Thus a height of 2 to maximum 3 meters might be ideal for easy harvesting.
Give the cactus cut a supporting pole to climb. If you plant your cactus cut directly at the final location, then there is NO need to attach the cactus to the pole as here in the picture. A newly cut segment of a dragon fruit cactus plant is placed about half its length into soil, other half above soil - right next to a 2-3 meter high pole you place deep into the soil for support of the cactus plant. A dragon fruit cactus climbs up and grows some kind of air-roots that hold onto the pole or even onto a plain concrete wall without string or attachment! The attachment on the picture only is needed when small dragonfruit cactus seedlings are first grown in a nursery and later relocated at final location.
Dragon fruit cactus grow fast. From a small young cactus seedling - a cut segment of an old dragon fruit cactus - to fruit bearing dragonfruit plant approximately 8 months only!