How to Support Dragon Fruit Plants

Dragon Fruit Plants 17 May 2020

If your dragon fruit plant is small, you can use some supporting bamboo sticks so they won't fall over. For bigger dragon fruit trees, people build cement, plastic, or cedar trellis to hook up to 4 plants on each side. A tomato cage might also work. Let's check out some ideas.

For Small Dragon Fruit Plants

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Support bamboo stick with plastic tie

To support small dragon fruit plants, using bamboo sticks can help. Bamboo has incredible strength & flexibility to support the tree. If you've ever tried breaking a bamboo stick, you'll know it is super darn hard. This material is long-lasting and does not cause root rots for the cactus.

Treated wood may not be a good idea because they are coated with preservative chemicals, which may be toxic to our plants. Pressure treated wood is fine. Pine or red wood are also good choices. If the sticks don't seem to hold the plant in place, you may need to re-pot it into a bigger pot.

For Bigger Dragon Fruit Plants

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Tomato cage for dragon fruit

Depending on the height of your dragon fruit cactus, you can center a wooden post in the ground & then surround it with a tomato cage. This idea is very doable as a tomato cage can be had for very cheap–around $3-5 bucks. It might be a bit flimsy for bigger plants.

Wooden stakes like this one can also work. Some people also wrap burlap around the posts to help retain moisture. Some use PVC wrappers to prevent the post from rotting.

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Thao sharing tips on dragon fruit trellis

The square 4x4 inch posts are good because they're easier for the plants to lean on & climb up. With the four sides, you can also plant four cuttings at a time. Some folks however advise that we should not plant different varieties of dragon fruits together. It's okay if the four are the same variety.

When doing the trellis this way, just make sure you plan enough height for the trees to grow up & enough depth for the roots. A 5-6ft post would be okay. If you build it too high, you may need to tiptoe or use a ladder to pick the fruits.

As dragon fruits are semi-epiphytic (semi-tropical) plants, those which can get moisture & nutrients from the air and host plants, if you build the post too high they may just keep climbing up & up. This could slow down fruiting time. So a shorter post that lets them branch out is good.

On the top of the post, you can attach some wires or rebars to support the branches once they outgrow the post & start to umbrella out. If you use old car or bicycle tires, look out for mosquitoes, rats or birds reproducing inside them. You may need to replace the tires after some time.

Support dragon fruits without a trellis

If you don't like the idea of building a trellis or it's too much work, you can let the plants lay happily on some rocks outdoors like this one:

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Dragon fruit on piles of boulder

We think this is a super cool setup by Garden S:

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The rocks are heated by the sun & provide a good surface for the vines to climb on. The dragon fruits get nutrients from the air around, some neighboring plants & the soil. There's some good soil underneath them. Also if you have a balcony, try this style:

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Rooftop dragon fruit garden

This guy uses water jugs as containers for soil & feed:

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As the plants grow taller, you can stick a pole in the jugs support them. It's super easy. The maintenance is also much lighter. Check out another setup by Ed Valdivia:

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He just lets the dragon fruits climb on the wall. When their air roots are developed, even if the ground roots are cut off, they will still survive. They get the nutrition from the air. The wall is also a protection for the plants against the cold winter or very hot summer.

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Dragon fruit roots climbing on the wall like creeping ivy

For Bigger Farms & Gardens

Visiting a dragon fruit farm (Yen in Long An), you can see these posts:

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Yen's dragon fruit farm with over 2000 dragon fruit posts

For these larger-scale farms, they often use cement posts. These posts are heavy so they won't be knocked out by the wind and they last a long time. They dig a hole in the ground. In the holes, they usually put in some fertilizers like composted cow manure & potassium so the plants can eat as they grow.

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Around the dragon fruit post

One post is around 5ft tall. Each is spaced out about 6-8ft away from each other so the roots have room to expand. They spread hay around the trees to retain the moisture. As the hay decomposes, it enriches the soil every year.

On the top of the post, you can see some wires sticking out. Those are designed to support the branches once the tree matures. Other people also use bicycle tires or some sort of rectangle support base. Make sure it's wide enough so the branches won't break by strong wind or rain.  

Depending on the elevation of the land, you will need different post design. For low-lying areas, you will need to raise the posts up higher than the water level to avoid over-flooding. We can do this with the cone style soil around the post /'''\. A bit like this one:

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Create some water ditches or ponds so the excess rainwater can run off easily & not stay in one place, causing rot. For higher areas, it's easier. You can dig holes around 80 x 30 cm & work the soil around to make it fluffy and airy.

You can also use long ranch of wires. The up-front material investment costs are acceptable.

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