If you're looking for some DIY ideas to build a dragon fruit trellis in containers then check out this following section.
If you're wanting a trellis for in-ground dragon fruits, then check out the dragon fruit trellis in-ground part in this same page.
Let's begin the ride:
Plating Dragon Fruit Plants in Pots
Dragon fruit plants can grow very well in containers–a little-known fact to most growers. When choosing a container, the trick is to look for the width of the pots and not so much the depth of it.
Dragon fruit plants grow shallow but far-reaching roots that crawl quite far out (like octopus tentacles on land) to find food. In root-bound conditions or tiny pots, they may grow very slowly & be in dormancy most of the time.
Here are some container ideas to get you started:
Choosing a Dragon Fruit Pot
A 15- or 20- gallon pot would be good for 1-2 cuttings. A bigger 50- to 100- gallon pot would be fine for 2 or more plants. Make sure there are some good drainage holes for the water to flow out.
When planting, don't overcrowd the space. It may cause root competition & slower development. People often plant companion dragon fruit varieties together. Those that can cross pollinate with each other in a pot. Some varieties of dragon fruit don't do well together in the same space.
While fabric pots may be cheaper, growers find that they don't work well for planting in the long run. It may cause heat/moisture issues. Others that work okay are regular plastic pots, bigger terracotta pots & sometimes steel, plastic or porcelain-coated steel inner tub of old washing machines.
DIY Pot Ideas
- Plastic drums cut in half
These drums are about 50 to 55 gallons. Mr. Lien, a dragon fruit grower in Riverside, shared with us his setup. The pots are about knees high.
Beneath them, he puts some bricks as risers too so the water can flow out easily & doesn't stand stagnated. It also keeps the thermal balanced as the pots are not directly touching the ground.
- Terracotta pots
Terracotta or clay pots provide good air flow. They can withstand the heat & cold quite well.
Although they are heavier than plastic drums, they are durable & won't be knocked out easily by strong winds.
Some other things you can try are:
- Inner tub of washing machines
- Regular plastic containers
Now that we've selected a suitable pot, let's get to:
Building the Post
The key thing for the dragon fruit post is that it won't cause root rot, release toxic chemicals or lose too much moisture.
Height & width
The height of the post can be around 5-6ft (1.5-1.8m). It's just enough for a person to pick the fruits. And it's not too high that the dragon fruit branches will keep climbing on forever. Reaching the top & branching out helps with fruit growth.
Take note of how deep you'll be planting the post in. If it's about 1-1.5ft (30-45 cm) deep then we'll have about 5ft (1.5m) of post from the top of container up.
Many people use a 4x4 inch square post. A round cylindrical post also works. Some like the square one more because it provides a flat surface for the branches to lean on.
Here are some common materials:
Chemically treated wood may not be the best idea for dragon fruit posts. They may release toxic chemicals into the soil. Pine, red wood, yellow lumbar work well. Pressure treated wood or bamboo is also good.
Wood holds some moisture so the dragon fruit air roots can latch on & enjoy. In some climate however wood may rot & fail after some years. So you'll need to replace them if need be.
PVC plumbing pipes also work as supporting poles. You may want to block the open ends so small insects won't come inside or reproduce in it.
Some folks wrap a PVC wrapper around a wooden post to prevent early rotting. A PVC + cement mix can work. It makes the overall weight a bit heavier & the post more sturdy.
You can also try tomato cages. They are cheap & work okay for growing dragon fruits. If the plants branch out quite a bit, the cage may be a bit flimsy to support their overall weight. Pruning off some branches can help in this case.
To increase the moisture retention of the climbing poles, people wrap coco coir mat or burlap around it. These are good cheap materials. They also make coco coir poles that you can purchase & plant immediately.
And in the far far wild east, there are also the:
Living posts are live plants used as the host for dragon fruit vines. The pros of choosing living posts is that you can just grab them alive or naturally around your environment.
The up-front costs & work is much lighter compared to making your own cement posts. As dragon fruits can survive well by getting nutrients from the host trees, you can let the vines lay hanging on them.
Erythrina orientalis. L and Samanea Saman (monkey pod or tree rain) are good living host posts. If you live around a saline environment, try mangroves. They survive the saline water extremely well & can be a good host to the dragon fruits.
In some orchards in Hawaii, they also use ice cream bean tree. It's a great nitrogen fixer that gets along well with dragon fruit plants.
The cons of living posts is, you guessed it, nutrient competition. You need to take care of the host & the babies. This may affect fruit production & growth.
But after all, if we've got a good pot and post, it's time to finish up your design:
The Top Support
The top platform should be strong enough so strong wind or storm won't break off the dragon fruit branches.
Also, it should be able to balance the plants, especially when they get monstrously bigger & heavier, so the weight won't make the structure tip over to the side.
Some materials might be a house for other little creatures like rats, ants or mosquitoes. So watch out for those. Let us see some good, cheap materials next.
Old tires have good curve to support the umbrella hanging of the dragon fruits. Look out for mosquitoes because sometimes they house inside the tires. Drill holes through the tires so there's no standing water inside, which tend to create a good breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Thinner tires are good if you don't like something too heavy that might collapse your post. You can connect the tire to the post using wires or some rebar. This top support goes well with wood, cement or PVC posts. A recycled tire costs about $5. The average diameter is 24 in (60cm). You can use car tires or bicycle tires.
Wood rectangles are easy to install, especially if you have a wooden post. Drill in some general-purpose 8 x 2.5 inch (20 x 6 cm) screws to secure it to the post. And you're good to go.
The edges of this platform are not quite smooth & curvy. Strong wind just might break some branches leaning on it. Yellow lumbar is good for this top support. But you may need to replace it after some years.
And That's All There Is To It!
If you're planning to build a trellis for the dragon fruits in containers, then your setup is basically done and up and running.
The considerations we've explored are the width of the container, the height & material of the post (with some dead vs living post ideas) & finally the top supporting platform.
With those 3 elements assembled head to toe, you'll provide great support for the plants to grow & produce fruits year in year out. Good luck and have fun with your DIY project.
If you're wanting to build a dragon fruit trellis for in-ground plants, then check out:
Planting Dragon Fruits in Ground
When planting dragon fruits in ground, growers usually take note of the weather pattern in the local area. These can help you find the right material & design for protection against:
- Heavy rain
- Strong wind/storm
- Stuff in the soil
From these considerations, the #1 material for dragon fruit post in the ground is...
Cement or concrete is a good post material. It is heavy so it won't be knocked out by the wind easily. A 6ft/1.8m post weighs around 200lbs/90kg (with rebar inside). This stuff lasts a long time. It doesn't cause root rots. Dragon fruit air roots grab on concrete posts well & don't cause any crackings.
Inside the cement post, they usually put steel rods or rebar to reinforce its strength. The piece of rebar that sticks out is also used as the top support. You may or may not want this piece of steel sticking out because moisture or rain may cause rusting. This can be solved by using galvanizing sprays or Zinc Gal as a protective layer.
Here are the dimensions of the post:
|Height||6ft (1.8 m)|
|Diameter||4.7in. (120 mm)|
The rebar inside is 5.5ft (1.7m) with diameter from 0.23-0.31 in. (6-8mm). You can use three & wrap them into a triangle prism or pyramid shape as the core support inside the post.
Here is a closer look:
They have these 4-post molds (like baking cake molds) made from steel. After placing the rebar in, they pour the concrete in & let it cure. When the top surface seems dry after 15-20 minutes, they lift up the mold so the concrete won't solidify with the mold. There's no oil or release agent sprayed in the mold. It releases quite easily.
Here are the finished cement posts:
If you're making just a few posts, you can make the mold to pour concrete in using wood or steel. As you can see, this takes a ton of work.
Many mass-production farms do this because these posts are very durable. They last 60-70 years or more. Which is more than enough for a life of a dragon fruit (50-60 years).
The material costs (concrete, sand, rebar, gravel aggregate) + labor costs are around $5 to $9 per post, not accounting the shipping fees & other stuff. The shipping fees are the bulky part. This varies depending on where you live. But it's an okay investment for long term if you're looking to do this on a large scale.
>> Link YouTube:Make dragon fruit concrete posts A to Z
In this video, he makes individual square cement posts (6ft/1.8m high and 6x6 in./15x15 cm diameter):
>> Link YouTube:How to make concrete post or trellis for dragon fruit planting
The reason some people don't like square posts is because it's never actually square or straight at the corners. The concrete almost never fills up the 4 corners, creating a more rounded shape around the edges.
For cylindrical cement posts, this is a great video showing you exactly how to make them:
>> Link YouTube:Making Concrete Dragon fruit posts
We have a step-by-step + insights guide on how to make these concrete stands:
There's another in-ground style you can try:
This fencing style has one cement post spaced out 3 meters from the next one. There's a PVC pipe on top. They anchor the fence with PVC pipes on both sides, creating a X or A shape.
Along the fence are wood posts closely placed against the wires to secure it from wind. The cost for raising up 1 meter (3.2ft) of fence this way is about $10.
This one is kind of similar. We're not sure but maybe it's called the A-shape trellis. They have a weed mat underneath.
T-posts + 17-gauge galvanized steel wire is another inexpensive and sturdy trellis system.
>> Link YouTube:Organic dragonfruit May 2020
Finally, please remember:
Don't Over-Complicate It
Finally, whatever trellis design you choose, don't over-complicate it. The main points to keep in mind are usually:
- Protection against rotting
- Weather protection (rain/heat/snow/wind)
- Insects/pests issues
- Up-front costs/maintenance
Hopefully this ideas guide has given you some ideas to get started building your own trellis.
We now know some of the materials, their pros & cons, and the dimensions for application. Have fun growing and harvesting dragon fruits! Cheers.
- Tac nghiep channel
- Dung Thanhlongruotdohatinh
- Jeffrie Contrano
- Phuc Tran channel
- Mr. Lien Lam (from Calif)
- Can Tho Online
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