One of the fruits that has become popular in recent years for its flavor is the pitaya. It is known by the name of the dragon fruit and belongs to the Cactaceae family. There are several varieties of this species and it is quite striking since it has a pink or yellow color and is to blame for a white, yellow or pink color. The plant is native to America and is currently cultivated in all parts of the world. The pitaya cultivation it needs some essential care.
Therefore, we are going to dedicate this article to tell you everything you need to know about the cultivation of pitaya and how to take care of it in good condition.
Characteristics and properties
The pitaya is composed mainly of water and contains important minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorus, in addition to innumerable vitamins (vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C), which they are very suitable to keep our body healthy. In fact, it is especially indicated for people with high cholesterol and those who are concerned about strengthening the immune system.
These are some of the main properties of pitaya:
- Pitaya is a diuretic fruit which not only prevents it from retaining moisture, but also allows it to retain moisture.
- As a source of vitamin Cis considered a fruit with antioxidant properties, which means that it can delay the signs of skin aging. It can also combat the risk of chronic degenerative diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
- If you want to lose weight, it will be one of your best allies because it has very few calories.
- The seeds contained in 60% of the pulp of this kiwi can improve intestinal processes and prevent constipation.
Pitaya can be grown from seeds and cuttings. However, the first option is much slower and it can take several years for the plants to start bearing fruit. Here we will explain the cultivation of dragon fruit by cuttings, because it is much faster. Pitaya seeds aren’t particularly brittle or difficult to grow, so it’s a matter of time anyway.
- Choose a plot with enough space or a pot of at least 25 cm deep and with drainage holes at the bottom. If you are growing outdoors, find an area that is exposed to sunlight for at least a few hours of the day. If the winter in the area where you live is harsh, it is best to grow indoors, because severe frosts can damage the plant and kill it.
- The soil or substrate used for cacti is somewhat sandy and has good drainage. You must use this type of substrate.
- You should get cuttings that are at least 2 years old and put them in a cool place for about 5 days before planting.
- Subsequently, transplant the cuttings into pots with the aforementioned characteristics and water them in a sunny place, such as a tropical cactus: only when the substrate is visibly dry.
- You can apply a little cactus fertilizer when transplanting and apply it several times a month in the hot season.
- After 4 months it should be able to be transplanted to its final location, either outdoors or in a larger pot.
Once we know what are the aspects to take into account for the cultivation of pitaya, we are going to describe the main care. As a tropical cactus, one of the biggest dangers of this plant is high humidity. It’s easy to be tempted to overwater to speed up growth, but doing so will only lead to disease and spoilage. Water only when the substrate is dry.
In terms of soil and fertilizers, it shares the needs of most similar cacti. Use soil or substrate to grow succulents and add fertilizer with special fertilizers every month or every 15 days in spring and summer. We recommend using natural compost for cacti. This plant needs a lot of sunlight, so unless you live in an area with particularly strong sunlight, plant it in a spot with more sunlight throughout the day.
Finally, the plant should be pruned shortly after transplanting the cuttings to maintain proper structure and fruit yield. One of the most common methods is to remove all the buds, except for one or two pods at the end, and start production pruning from the third year of the plant’s life, in which all unsuccessful pods are removed.
Harvest and food
This plant produces fruit in a staggered fashion from fall to early spring. You should pick them up when they look ripe, brightly colored, completely pink, red or yellow, depending on the variety you grow, except for the tip of the red pitaya fruit variety. If you’re not sure, wait four days before they change color.
These extremely low-calorie, sweet fruits are popular the world over because of their pleasant color and taste, and almost zero carbohydrate content. Eating them is very easy, a bit like the process of eating kiwis: just cut the fruit to reveal the pulp, simply take a bite or eat it with the help of a small spoon.
The seeds can be eaten without problems, in fact, the most common is to do so because eliminating them is annoying and unnecessary, and they also provide beneficial nutrients. There are also many people who choose to cut the fruit into thin slices or quarters, then peel it and use it in dishes, either in desserts and breakfasts, or in main dishes.
It is a type of fruit that can be included in any type of diet either to gain or lose weight since it has many nutrients and fiber. Therefore, it is not only indicated to have in your home garden, but also you can incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. In a short time you will notice the benefits.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about the cultivation of pitaya and how to carry it out.