What No one Told you about Hylocereus Undatus Cactus Care
The Hylocereus Undatus Cactus is commonly referred to as the Pitaya or the Dragonfruit Cactus. Here is a list of several other names that the plant is also known as.
- Belle of the Night
- Cinderella plant
- Honolulu Queen
- Jesus in the Cradle
- Moonlight Cactus
- Queen of the Night
- Strawberry Pear
- Thang Loy
- White-fleshed Pitaya
The Pitaya or the Dragon Fruit Cactus is among the night-blooming Cereus plants that are known for producing beautiful flowers during the night. The plant blooms after dusk and the flowers fade off as the sun rises.
Hylocereus undatus Origin/ Hylocereus Undatus Range
Native to Central and South America
The Hylocereus Undatus is said to originate from the regions of Mexico and Central and Southern America. However, the exact origins of the plant are yet unknown. But researchers doubt that the Hylocereus Undatus might be a hybrid.
It is a kind of Cactus that grows as a lithophyte or a hemiepiphyte, having creepy and sprawly stems. The plant produces several branches from the main stem, which grows around 33 feet tall.
Hylocereus undatus Flower
The Hylocereus Undatus is a night-blooming Cereus, that is, the blooms on the plant last only as long as it remains surrounded by darkness. The Hylocereus Undatus flowers are a beautiful white, lined with beautiful green bracts and sepals on the outside. The Hylocereus flowers measure up to 12 inches in diameter and are around 14 inches in height.
The flowering season for the Hylocereus flowers is not very long. The plant blooms just from the late spring seasons to the early few days of the summer season.
After pollination, these flowers take the shape of fruits. The Hylocereus Undatus fruit is of an oblong and oval shape. These fruits are mostly of a red or neon pink colour and can measure up to 6 to 12 centimetres long and 4 to 9 centimetres wide. It is a fleshy fruit that consists of some white pulp and tiny black seeds that are edible, with a tactful nutty flavour.
Hylocereus undatus Medicinal Uses
Offers several benefits
The Hylocereus Undatus has numerous medicinal benefits. Here we have enlisted some of the best medicinal effects of the plant.
- The Dragon fruit makes for a great snack as it is high in fibre and several vitamins that are good for the body. It is also naturally fat-free. The high fibre helps to keep the stomach full for longer hours, making the Dragon fruit a great addition to dietary plans. The Vitamin C rich fruit also helps to strengthen the immune system.
- The Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants that help to protect the body from cell damage. The antioxidants like betacyanin, flavonoids and phenolic acid also protect one from molecules that can cause harmful diseases like cancer and even premature ageing.
- The gut also greatly benefits from the Dragon Fruit. The fruit consists of prebiotics that helps the body to balance the bad bacteria that are present in the intestines. It also encourages the growth of good bacteria that helps the body fight against viruses and also helps digestion.
- The Dragon fruit is also rich in iron. This is a very great benefit as iron helps in the easy passing of oxygen throughout the body, thus helping to build up energy. The Vitamin C in the fruit accompanies the iron intake in the body, helping the body to effectively use the iron.
The Dragon fruit seems to be acquitted with numerous health benefits. But remember, excess of anything is bad. So is the Dragon fruit. So consume the fruit only occasionally, not every day nor all at once. Instead of consuming just the fruit alone, it is advisable to use it as toppings in yogurts, as a part of a salad, or by squeezing it into a juice.
Hylocereus undatus Care
A low-maintenance plant
The Hylocereus Undatus is mostly known for being a low-maintenance plant. It is a beautiful flowering plant that produces some incredibly tasty fruits, known as Dragon Fruits. An eminent member of the Cactus family, the Hylocereus Undatus is also grown as an ornamental vine and is often found in different households and other indoor settings.
The Hylocereus Undatus plant can survive both in bright and partial light. However, for the best interests of the plant, it must be placed at a spot where it receives partial shade as the full sun might sometimes lead to burns in the plant. Intense dry temperatures also make the stems prone to damage.
The Hylocereus Undatus has higher watering requirements as compared to that of the general Cacti. The plant requires watering once or even twice a week during the summer season. In the winters, this period of watering might extend to once in 10 to 15 days. Thus, watering the plant is a chore that substantially reduces during the winter season. Make sure that you avoid over-watering as it can lead to root rot in the plant.
Fertilization is an essential requirement for the growth of plants, especially the ones that are grown as houseplants, away from their natural habitat. The Hylocereus Undatus plant requires fertilizing once a month with a 6-6-6 or 8-3-9 formulation of fertilizer. Fertilizing should be done only during the growing season and should be completely avoided during the winter months.
The Hylocereus Undatus Cactus is vulnerable to frosts and very cold temperatures. If such conditions seem to threaten the plant, cover it with a transparent plastic cover. This is an important precaution for the plant, especially in the first few years. If such conditions persist in your area, it is best to shift the plant indoors. Also, avoid placing the plant at a spot that experiences temperatures below 11 degrees Celsius.
The Ideal Hylocereus undatus Soil
Placing the Hylocereus Undatus in the right soil type is an important parameter while growing and caring for the plant. Make sure that the soil mix is moist, and not dry. The soil must also be well-draining and rich in organic matter.
The Hylocereus Undatus soil can also be used as an ideal trick to determine the right watering time by keeping an eye out on the condition of the soil that the plant is growing in. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, as this can cause several harms to the growth of the plant. Thus, watering becomes essential when the top layer of the soil starts drying out.
Hylocereus Undatus Propagation
Easy to propagate
Propagating a Hylocereus Undatus is no hard task. Here is a step-by-step guide on effectively propagating a Cactus Hylocereus.
- Use a sterilized knife to slice off a cutting from the healthy mother plant. Make sure that the cutting is around 3 to 4 inches in height.
- Let the cutting rest undisturbed for a few days, maybe around a week or so. This allows the cutting to heal the cut wound, also allowing the callus to dry out.
- In the meanwhile, pick out a planter that is neither too big nor too small. A planter of around 5 galleons might be the ideal choice.
- Fill the planter with some good quality potting mix that is filled with organic matter and is also well-draining.
- Gently insert the cutting, cut end downwards, in the centre of the soil. Make sure that you stick the cutting at least 2 inches deep into the potting soil.
- Place the potted cutting at a spot that gets enough sunlight essential to boost the growth of the plant.
- Avoid watering the cutting. Instead, mist it daily until some signs of growth appear. Only then, you can shift to watering the plant once or twice a week, as needed.
Make sure that you wear gloves while handling the plant, as the tiny spikes might cause some irritation even though they are not that harmful or spiky.
Gives off a pleasant smell
The Hylocereus costaricensis is very similar to the Hylocereus Undatus. Native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the Hylocereus costaricensis is more commonly known as the Costa Rican Pitahaya or as the Costa Rica Nightblooming Cactus.
The Hylocereus Costaricensis produces beautiful creamy white flowers that are mostly known for their pleasant scent. These flowers measure roughly around 22 to 30 centimetres long. The fruits produced are a little ovular in shape and are of a bright magenta or purple colour.
The Hylocerereus Megalanthus is also not very different from the Hylocereus Undatus and even the Hylocereus costaricensis. The plant is mostly popular for its yellow dragon fruit and is also known as the yellow Pitahaya.
The name of the plant is derived from the Greek word Megalanthus that means large-flowered. The Hylocereus Megalanthus is truly named so as it produces the largest flowers among the Cactaceae plant family.
Hylocereus undatus Calories
A fat-free fruit
According to several studies, every 100 grams of a Dragon fruit consists of roughly around 60 calories. It is a fat-free fruit, that is, the fruit that has 0% fats. The 100 grams portion of the fruit also consists of 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fibre.
Thus, just from the above nutrient contents, one can easily make out that the Dragon fruit is one of the healthiest fruits out there.
Hylocereus undatus for Sale
The Hylocereus Undatus is a little expensive when bought. The fruit alone might account for 10 dollars, per piece. The high expense on the fruit is a result of involving several infrastructural supports to grow the plant.
One can easily buy the Dragon fruit, and even the seeds and cuttings of the plant through different sites online. On Amazon, two cuttings of the plant, measuring roughly around 6 to 8 inches can be bought for around 12 dollars, a fair price. The site also sells seeds that can be easily grown as Hylocereus Undatus plants.
Here we have answered some FAQS to help you know more about the plant.
How do you care for Hylocereus Undatus?
To care for the Hylocereus Undatus, place the plant in a semi-shaded region. Water it only as and when the soil starts to turn dry. See to it that the soil does not dry out completely.
How fast does Hylocereus Undatus grow?
The Hylocereus Undatus has an average growth rate. With the proper care, the plant can easily start flowering in around 6 to 8 months. While certain container-bred plants might take up to 1 or 2 years to start producing fruits.
Is dragon fruit invasive?
Yes, the dragon fruit is an invasive species of plant. It is also categorized as an invasive weed in certain countries. Examples of some countries where the dragon fruit is considered invasive are Australia, China, Cuba, South Africa, etc.
Which plant is named as Selenicereus Undatus scientifically?
The Dragon Fruit plant is named as the Selenicereus Undatus scientifically. In scientific terms, the plant is also referred to as the Hylocereus Undatus. It is also commonly referred to as the Pitaya or Pitahaya.
Does dragon fruit grow on cactus?
Yes, Dragon fruit grows on a Cactus. The Dragon Fruit plant or the Hylocereus Undatus is a kind of Cactus. It is one of the few plants that fall under the category of Night Blooming Cereus.
What is the suitable temperature for dragon fruit?
The dragon fruit grows best in temperatures that are similar to its native region, that is tropical forests. The plant thrives best in a temperature range between 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. The least and maximum temperature that the plant can tolerate is 7 and 40 degrees Celsius, respectively.
What is the transpiration process of a cactus?
Transpiration, in a Cactus, occurs during the night hours. During transpiration, the leaves of a Cactus plant open up to release oxygen into the air, while also releasing some water.
What is the procedure for cultivating dragon fruit?
One can cultivate dragon fruits by making sure that the plant is growing with proper care. It must be ensured that the plant receives lots of bright sunlight throughout the day, to boost its growth.
Is the cactus edible to animals?
No, the Cactus is not at all edible by animals or any other living organism. The Cacti have prickly spines that irritate when touched. Thus, eating a Cactus is out of bounds.