To support a small dragon fruit plant, 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 can also work.
If you want to see some more ideas, let's check them out next:
For small dragon fruit plants
To support small dragon fruit plants, you can use bamboo sticks. Bamboo has incredible strength & flexibility to support the plant. If you've ever tried breaking a bamboo stick, you'll know it is super darn hard to snap it off. This material is long-lasting and does not cause root rots for your dragon fruit.
Treated wood may not be a good idea because they are coated with preservative chemicals, which may be toxic to your plants. Pressure treated wood on the other hand 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
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 affordable as a tomato cage can be had for very cheap–around $3-5 bucks. It might be a bit flimsy for bigger plants though.
Wooden stakes like the one below 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.
4x4 inch posts
People usually use the square 4x4 inch posts for the plants to lean on & climb up. With four sides on the post, you can also plant four cuttings at a time. Some folks however advise that we should not plant different varieties of dragon fruits together because of root competition. It's okay if the four are of the same variety. Others have found that it is definitely possible to grow different species in the same pot provided that you give them enough space and nutrients.
How high are the posts
When doing the trellis this way, just make sure you plan ahead 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 ripe fruits or prune the branches.
As dragon fruits are semi-epiphytic (semi-tropical) plants, those that can get moisture & nutrients from the air and host plants, if you build the post too high they may just keep climbing up & up forever. This could slow down fruiting time. So a shorter post that lets them branch out or umbrella out is good.
On top of the post
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. The curves may retain some water inside. And after some time of usage, you may need to replace them with newer tires.
You can still support your dragon fruit plants even without a trellis:
Support dragon fruits without a trellis
If you don't like the idea of building a trellis or it is too much work, you can let the plants lay happily on some rocks outdoors like this one:
We think this is a super cool setup by Garden S:
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, check out this supporting setup:
This guy uses water jugs as containers for soil & feed:
As the plants grow taller, you can stick a pole in the jugs support them. It is super easy and the maintenance is also much lighter. Here is another setup by Ed Valdivia:
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.
Now what if there are 1000s of dragon fruit plants to support? How do the big farms do it? The good news is it is totally doable to support them too. Let's have a 'virtual tour' around:
For bigger farms & gardens
Visiting a dragon fruit farm (Yen in Long An), you can see these posts:
For these larger-scale farms, they often use cement posts. These posts are very heavy (about 200 lbs/90kg) so they won't be knocked out easily by the wind and they last a long time.
To plant the dragon fruit cuttings, farmers 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 gradually as they grow.
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 the rebars designed to support the core of the posts & the branches once the tree matures. Other people also use bicycle tires or some sort of rectangle support base. Just 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 /'''\. It looks a bit like this one:
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.
>> Link YouTube:How to grow red flesh dragon fruit
You can also use long ranch of wires. The up-front material investment costs are acceptable.
>> Link YouTube:Growing dragon fruit on fences Planting dragon fruits in pots
If you would like a closer look at how to make these cement posts, see the materials, sizes & dimensions in this post:
>> Link Blog post: How to make concrete dragon fruit posts
And that brings us to:
Great support for dragon fruit plants
So above you have explored some ideas to support your dragon fruit plants. Remember to stay away from treated wood so the plants won't get root rots or any harmful chemicals.
For good fruiting results, build a high enough but not too high trellis so the dragon fruit plants can umbrella out. And for you the gardeners to take care of the plants easier & harvest the fruits more conveniently. Hope you will enjoy the dragon fruits of your labor of love. And see you next time.
- Grafting Dragon Fruit
- Thien Tran
- Thao Cali
- Phuc Tran
- Garden S
- Momtaz Garden
- IV Organic
- Dung Thanhlongruotdohatinh
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