There are some reasons why dragon fruit plants are turning yellow. Let's see them now:

It may be too sunny

Although dragon fruit is a type of cactus, too much sun can actually cause it to turn yellow. Dragon fruits like semi-tropical climate–not too much sun & not too much cold.

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Yellowing dragon fruit tree

Some folks say this is sunburn. You may see this more often in the summer. The yellowing plants are experiencing some summer stress.

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Have a quick squeeze of the dragon fruit branch:

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If it feels firm, then there may still be some water inside it. If it's dry like this one, then the plants may be thirsty or losing quite a lot of moisture:

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To protect the plants from too much heat, people cover them with sun cloth. Some others use plant guard or sunscreen for the plants. It's made with some plant oils & organic paint powder to help coat the trees from extreme heat. Shade cloth blocks out 75% of sunlight, which might affect fruit production & sweetness.

If your dragon fruit branches are soft (crispy), this may be a sign your plants are thirsty. Which can be a result of the high temperature. In this case, if possible, move your plants into somewhere cooler. Give it a little bit of water to recover.

If yellowing happens too frequently, consider choosing some tolerant variety like Tricia. This one naturally produces a white powdery film to protect itself from extreme heat waves & extremely cold weather. The only downside is their thorns:

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Natural white coat for protection in hot & cold times

Alternatively, you can plant some big trees (e.g. red wood trees) around your garden to filter out some sun & give a nice cool shade for the dragon fruits. Red wood also keeps some mites & ants away. Yellowing happens more with younger plants. As your trees age, it will develop more resistance & can tolerate more heat.

The roots & the soil

Check the roots of your dragon fruit plants. See if there are any black, mushy stuff in there:

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Young blackened root heads

You can see here an example of the string roots that have just sprouted but have already turned black. A weakened root system means a weaker water & nutrient transport system. Your plants then may not be getting enough to nourish their branches.

Make sure also not to overwater the trees. Overwatering may cause little particles in the green branches to go burst, turning it into yellow. But the excess water also invites other guests to the party (like bad bacteria) which may cause more troubles.

Using too much chemical fertilizer may also weaken the roots natural defense ability & in some cases harden the soil. To save the plants, we can:

  • Use well-draining soil
  • Don't pour too much fertilizer near the base (better to spread it out)
  • Don't overwater

Dragon fruit plants survive well in environments that get 50-100mm rainfall/month. The higher water mark can be around 66-166mm/month.

Grafting a dragon fruit variety on another strong rootstock may also help with chlorosis. In some cases, it can also keep the bad guys away while still nourishing your plants. If you'd like to explore more, check out this how-to guide on grafting dragon fruits:

How to graft dragon fruits
Let’s experiment dragon fruit grafting together: Why do people graft dragon fruits 1. Easily switch between different species White dragon fruits are grown widely because they are strong, tolerant & have good yields. But for some consumers, the taste is bland compared to the yummy red ones. Graft…

Observe & recover

Keep observing the plants to see if they improve. Some growers also use Epsom salt (MgSO4). Because the yellowing may also be a lack of magnesium or iron.

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a magnesium inside a chlorophyll in a leaf

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