According to many growers, some best dragon fruit varieties for commercial grow are:
- American Beauty
- Physical Graffiti
- Edgar's Baby
- Valdivia Roja
For commercial varieties, people often look for these characteristics:
- Good yield
- Good taste
- Good size
- Self fertility
- Easy hand pollination
From these base points, the American Beauty & Physical Graffiti stand out the most to meet such criteria.
Here are the insights growers share when growing these varieties:
#1. American Beauty
American Beauty has this beautiful magenta/purple flesh. When picked early, they have a sweet taste with a bit tart after-taste that kind of lasts in your mouth.
The texture is nice & firm. When picked ripe, American Beauty is almost as sweet or sweeter than the Sugar Dragon (which is really sweet already & is many people's favorite).
The outside of this variety looks as impressive as its pulp. This is an attraction point for many consumers. The fruit has good size from half a pound (226 grams) to over 1 lb (450 grams). Oh and its juice doesn't stain your hands like the thorny Lisa variety.
American Beauty is also an early bloomer. You can just leave them there for self-pollination. But hand pollination may give you better results.
Sometimes, there may little or no pollen in the pollen sacs. Growers pollinate them using Lisa or Sugar Dragon pollen.
If you're growing them in a consistently hot climate (over 100F/37.8C) in the days continuously, they may get sunburned. If it is too cold (below 32F/0C), they might also be damaged. These beauties are sensitive to heat & cold.
In some areas, they may suffer from chlorosis, the yellowing of leaves. People tackle this by grafting them on stronger, more resilient rootstocks. In normal weather conditions, American Beauty should do fine.
Here is one productive variety:
#2. Physical Graffiti
Some people say these guys' pollen is not very good or is one of the weakest. They may not produce lots of pollen either.
But (and this is a big but) if you cross pollinate them with some other hybrid varieties pollen, then Physical Graffiti can be one of the most productive ever. It will give you so many fruits on one plant.
They have large fruits from 0.75 (340 grams) to 1.5 lbs (680 grams). The inner flesh is a beautiful blend of pink & white.
The taste is just 'eye-closing'-ly amazing. It is a perfect blend between sweetness & tartness. Many folks love this balance. It's comparable to the taste of a golden kiwi. In blind taste tests, this still ranks as one of the best.
Physical Graffiti grows & produces well in California as well as Florida where it originates.
You can protect them from too much sun & cold and you can then get pretty good return on your investment. The marketable weight for this is around 23 kilos (or 50 lbs) per plant. Its days to harvest is around 40 days. So it's a heavy & fast producer.
Sometimes, they are so productive that people actually go & thin off the buds.Dragonfruit thinning | By gray martin
Self Fertile vs Cross Pollination Varieties
Check out this graphic below for more info on self-fertile vs cross-pollination varieties:
Self-fertile vs Cross-Pollination Varieties
|American Beauty||Physical Graffiti|
|Sugar Dragon||Red Jeina|
|Colombian Yellow||Hayley's Comet|
|Peruvian Yellow||Frankie's Red|
|Ecuador Palora||Edgar's Baby|
|Dark Star S9||Maria Rosa|
|San Ignacio||Connie Mayer|
|Royal Red||Cosmic Charlie|
|-||Paul Thomson G2|
|-||Kathie van Arum|
Some Other Good Commercial Varieties
- Tricia: very heat/cold tolerant, but quite thorny
- Vietnam white: heat/cold tolerant, strong growth, good root growth
- Edgar's baby: big round fruits, quick flower-to-fruit
- Valdivia Roja: red, high in anti-oxidants, good taste, produces well
- Seoul Kitchen: good yield, big fruits, great for diabetics
Some other considerations when choosing a variety are:
The Hanging Time of the Fruits
When choosing a commercial variety, also take into account the time the fruits can hang on the tree.
For example, some Purple/Magenta varieties can hang on the branch for up to 1 month if we wrap a bag around the fruit.
This is one way to keep the fruits good during times when prices are low. Some growers want to wait so the prices go up before harvesting. Some other varieties like the red ones can only anchor on the stem for 10 days.
Growers wrap the fruits with a brown paper bag:
Another point to look at is:
The Thickness of the Scales
Also, look briefly at the length or thickness of the scales. During shipping or stacking, some scales might break off.
This is not a big issue for many consumers. But it may affect the price when you're selling, because they may lower the price due to the perceived physical attraction of the fruit.
Some growers hand-curve these scales to thicken them up. The curviness helps create some strength & resistance when dragon fruits are stacked close together. So the scales won't break off easily.
Also, many people wonder:
Why Sugar Dragon S8 Is Sweet, Juicy & Crunchy but Not Grown More Commercially?
This may be because Sugar Dragon S8 produces pretty small fruits compared to the other varieties. They weigh around 0.3-0.5 lb (136-226 grams) & are about 4 inches (10 cm) long.
S8 skin is also quite thin. This means they can get bruised easily & would decrease in value easily if so. This also means more handling care is needed compared to the thicker skin ones.
But for pollen, Sugar Dragon is one of the best or A+. If you love the taste, this is another great one to grow for enjoyment.
For more varieties evaluation, you can check out this pdf file here:
Tips for Commercial Growing
Check out these posts below for some good information:
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