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Dragon fruit also known as strawberry pear or pitaya is a tropical fruit that is sweet and crunchy. The dragon fruit plant is of the genus Hylocereus and has nearly 20 different species. The dragon plant is famous in Southeast Asia and Latin America. But today, people worldwide grow and eat this fruit.
The fruit looks intimidating with its pinkish-red skin and light green scales, and the most brilliant thing is that propagating this plant is much easier than many other plants. People enjoy eating dragon fruit differently. For example, you can enjoy it as a fruit and include it in your fruit salads. You can also use it to prepare mouth-watering drinks and desserts. Dragon fruit also has medicinal benefits as it treats diabetes, prediabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other health issues.
Dragon fruit has a sweet and delicate taste that you can characterize as tropical. People describe this fruit as a cross between pear and kiwi or kiwi and watermelon. The fruit has a creamy texture with little seeds, similar to kiwifruit.
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Ways to Grow Dragon Fruit Plants
There are different ways to grow dragon plants. While many people like to grow them in pots and ground, some people prefer to make DIY dragon fruit trellis. But making a trellis for dragon plants is an effective way to propagate these plants. However, the question is many people often do not know the ways to make a trellis. So, if you are one of them, you should know the best ways to make dragon fruit trellis. To learn about this, you can go through the below segment because we have listed the most effective ways to prepare a trellis to grow the best dragon fruits.
- Decide where you want to plant the dragon fruit.
Before making a trellis for dragon fruit plants, you should determine whether you want to propagate the plants in a pot or on the ground. It is imperative as this step defines the type of trellis you need to make for your dragon plants. To plant them in the ground, you will need a trellis that is
- Sturdy and durable to hold different weather conditions.
- Long and continuous to sustain all the dragon fruit plants in one row.
- But if you wish to grow them in pots, you will need-
- A post trellis to support the plants’ heavy growth throughout the years.
- A wide container to aid its extensive root system as these plants have shallow roots.
But many people often prefer to choose the latter option and propagate dragon plants like trees with a singular trellis support per plant in a row. However, this step is a little bit harder as you need to put much effort into maintaining it in the long term. It is so because new vines tend to grow above the older vines, and as a result, it causes the latter to fester underneath the developing growth. Besides this, the lack of proper airflow will lead to fungal and bacterial pathogens latching onto this part of the plant unless you prune them away correctly.
But pruning is also a daunting task as you should take proper care and prune them without damaging the plant. That is why you must make a trellis structure extended to support each vine on the plant per row. After all, a proper trellis delivers adequate air circulation around the dragon fruit plants and keeps them off the ground. Additionally, the trellis also works as a protector against pathogens from latching on the plants. Due to this, you can also protect your plants from various diseases. Hence, determine where you want to propagate the dragon plants before making a dragon fruit trellis.
Basic Requirements of Dragon Fruit Trellis
Let us now check out the requirements for the dragon fruit trellis.
- Strength and durability
As you might know, dragon plants can weigh up to 200 kilograms. It implies that you need to make the trellises so that they can support this sort of weight. Besides this, dragon fruit typically lives for around 30 years. Due to this, the trellis materials must be durable enough. If you are using metal, ensure that it is galvanized or zinc-plated to avoid the risk of corrosion. If you are utilizing wood, go for rot-resistant ones.
While the size never affects the trellis much, making the right size will make it easier to harvest, prune, and pollinate the dragon fruit plants. That is why it is advisable to make the trellis at least 6 feet above the ground. But it is also a fact that tall trellises are more prone to wind damage. So, make it as per your requirement.
Similar to size, spacing is another usability issue. If you have more than one dragon plant trellis, spacing them close will lead to maintenance hindrances as it will be challenging to move between the trellises when the dragon plants are mature. If you are using the single-post method, you can leave three meters between each post. Other options include rotating between one high post and one low post by utilizing a fence trellis in between posts or just having one long fence trellis.
- Use durable and non-chemical-treated materials to make the trellis.
It is another vital step in making a trellis for dragon fruits. Although, you can use various materials to make your trellises, such as bamboo, wood, and cement. But many people prefer to use wood to make the trellis. Likewise, if you want to use wood to make your trellis, you should opt for non-treated and decay-resistant wood like cedar and redwood. These woods are durable. As a result, you do not need to take the hassle and spend your money to replace them frequently. This type of wood holds up considerably longer than other non-treated wood types.
Besides this, if you want to use bamboo, you need to make sure to plug the ends so that pests or pathogens will make a home here. But this is applicable only if it is a considerably hollow bamboo stake or log. But irrespective of what material you choose, it should meet the below criteria.
- The material must withstand different weather conditions, particularly wind and heavy rain.
- The building material should not rot quickly. It cannot prevent pests and disease issues from occurring and transferring onto the dragon plant if it rots.
- The material must be chemical-free. After all, you never want chemicals to end up polluting the soil and contaminating your plants.
- It should be affordable so that you can easily maintain or replace it if required.
- Gather the essential things
After determining where you want to propagate the plants and selecting the best material, you need to gather some essential things to lay the foundation of the trellis for your dragon fruit plants. For this, you can follow the below guidelines.
- If you use bamboo, you can take four bamboo stakes at least 4 feet long and 1 inch thick.
- You also need to take a thin and durable rope that is around 2 meters long
- A large and wide bucket about 10 inches in depth and 12 inches wide. It should have drain holes at the bottom.
- You must use all-purpose soil and add a bit of cactus soil mix here.
- At last, you need to collect four healthy vine cuttings from a healthy dragon fruit plant.
- Construct the trellis
After collecting all the essential things, you should construct the trellis for your dragon fruit plants. According to the dragon fruit plant experts, a 3-5 feet tall trellis is ideal for these plants. It is so because they can grow 6-20 feet long, and as a result, keeping this height will help you maintain them during harvest and pruning time. Now, it is time to delve into how to make the trellis for your coveted dragon plants.
Step 1: First, you should take a pot or bucket and pour fresh and chemical-free soil until it is halfway.
Step 2: After that, You need to take bamboo or wood and place it in a stake at every corner to make a square shape for the trellis.
Step 3: In the third step, you must pour the rest of the soil mix into the bucket or pot to secure the bamboo or wood stakes. During this step, you must pat the soil around the stakes. But remember that you should not use too much force as it might hamper the soil. Due to this, you cannot make the drainage system adequate.
Step 4: After pouring the soil and securing the stakes, you now need to take a rope and tie it around the stake securely about 3 inches above soil level. After that, you must attach the rope to the next post, looping and tying it securely. Remember you need to perform this process for the remaining stakes until it loops back to the first one.
So, by following the above steps, you can construct the trellis for your dragon plants. Remember that you want something akin to a clothesline structure for an in-ground trellis. The only discrepancy is you will require incorporating three extra strong wires spaced 5-6 inches apart vertically. If you wish to make the trellis longer, add more supporting posts like in a clothesline, and keep connecting longer wires as required. This way, you can make a trellis for your dragon plants.
- Plant the cuttings within the trellis structure
In the final step, you should place the dragon fruit cuttings within the trellis. After placing them, you should tie them with a rope against the bamboo or wood stakes. Tie them against the stakes continuously as they develop further. This step will help you ensure that the cuttings stay within the trellis. As the cuttings develop further, they will begin to shoot side stems. At this time, you must cut these off. So that the dragon plant only concentrates on developing the primary vine until it reaches the top structure of the trellis. Once you notice they rose above the trellis structure, you should apply the below three steps-
- Bend the vine down gently outwards.
- Tie the vine against the top wires to face downwards.
- Cut the top part to enable the side vines to develop from their parent vine.
If you perform the steps accurately, you will see that your dragon plants will start to grow outwards, resembling a tree. But your work is not done as after some time, you need to include a top structure like a tire to aid the plant’s top canopy. As the plants will begin to get heavy topside once it has developed many vines, you need to provide proper support to sustain the heavy growth.
Ways to support the top of dragon fruit trellis
The top portion of the trellis should be powerful enough so that wind or storm will not break off the dragon fruit branches. Additionally, it should also be able to balance the plants, particularly when they get bigger and heavier. So, you might be wondering how to support the top part properly. Well, for this, you can use different things. They are listed below.
- Car tires
Car old tires are essential and efficient, supporting the top part of the dragon fruit trellis. It is so because old car tires have the best curve supporting the top of the trellis. Before setting up the tires, you need to drill a few holes through the tires so that there is no standing water inside. It is crucial as the holes will help you to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Besides, choose thinner and lightweight tires to prevent accidental collapsing on the post. To ensure safety, you can connect the tire to the post, using wires. In that way, you can effectively support the top of the dragon fruit trellis.
- Wooden rectangle boxes
If you want to provide support to the top of your dragon fruit trellis, you must install wooden rectangle boxes. These boxes are simple to install, especially if you have a wooden post. You need to use some screws to set it up. But while choosing the wood, you should select a durable and sturdy one so that rough wind cannot break it.
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Best Dragon Fruit Trellis Ideas
1. This dragon fruit trellis is made of concrete. The post should not be more than 5-6ft high as it will be difficult to prune and pick the fruits.
2. You can also use a PVC dragon fruit trellis at home. These are light and easy to build at home.
3. Readymade dragon fruit trellis available on Amazon is easy to install. It costs less compared to DIY wooden and concrete trellis. These durable plastic trellises will last for many years.
When to prune a dragon fruit plant?
When you notice your dragon plants begin to branch out, you should prune out any shoots in the bottom two-thirds of the trellis. When your plant develops further, you will also require removing some of the shoots from the top. If you do not do this, the shoots will become overcrowded. In that way, you can also efficiently maintain your plats and the trellis.
Why grow dragon fruit on a trellis?
Dragon fruit plants are a vine. As a result, they grow from a stem segment to form another segment a foot long. It continues as long as there is something for the vine to climb up. You might not believe that dragon fruit plants can climb up to 10 meters up a tree or a wall if left to do so. That is why you should make a dragon fruit trellis to grow this plant adequately.
Reasons to grow dragon fruit on a trellis in place of a post?
Many people often inquire about this question. Though a thick fence post is adequate to grow dragon fruits, making a dragon fruit trellis is much simpler, particularly in an urban environment. Trellising materials will not rot in the ground like posts, and a galvanized mesh trellis is not treated with toxic chemicals to prevent termites from eating it. Besides this, it is also easier to shape the dragon fruit on the trellis. Thus, most people prefer to plant dragon fruits on the trellis.
Thus, it is needless to say that making a dragon fruit trellis is as simple as eating the fruit. You only need to follow the above ways to make the trellis. But while making one, you should purchase the best materials to get fruitful results. Besides this, you can also propagate your dragon fruit on a pot if you do not have space to make a trellis. In the end, irrespective of how you propagate dragon fruits, you must take proper care of the plants to get the most delicious dragon fruits. Therefore, do not waste time and make a trellis for your dragon fruit plants now.
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