If the flowers fall off but the fruit has started to set, then it is in its normal cycle. If the flowers fall off without the fruit setting, then there may be some issues. Let's see together:
Check for small shoots
As the dragon fruit reaches the flowering stage, if you notice some small little branches still shooting out, this may suggest an excess amount of nitrogen in the soil. They look something like this:
These small shoots suck up nutrients from the flowers' intake. In some cases, they make the flowers smaller & drop off. If you notice the flowering pitahaya trees, they don't usually have these little "bunny ears". If that's the case, it may not be good.
Cut off these little guys. And if you're fertilizing the plants, reduce the amount of nitrogen.
Look out for rain
Rain, with its high humidity, can be an invite to fungi & insects to come party along. If your plants have some excess food (with the high nutrients in the rain), then they may be a more yummy target. Rain + overwatering can cause flower dropping & fruit cracking.
Check the fallen flowers if they have some mushy, black stuff inside and around. Does it smell a bit off. Many times the rainwater gets into the flower, causing it to rot & eventually fall off.
To protect the flowers from rotting, growers actually pull the flowers off 3-4 days after they bloom. The pulled off flowers (if not infected) are thrown around the plants as mulch. If they have been slightly rotted, they take it far away from the growing area.
Sometimes, growers intentionally pick the flowers early to use them as garnish or for making salads. Dried dragon fruit flowers make good tea. To know if flowers are good to pick, check for this line. You can see clearly the green vs yellow parts.
Then, you can pull it off:
Grafting Dragon Fruit has a video on this if you'd like a quick look:
Check the roots
Nematodes in the roots create the pathway for other fungi to come in:
String roots have just sprouted out but are already blackened:
This may suggest:
If the plants are overfed with chemical fertilizers, you might notice the hardening of the soil. These chemical elements tend to heat up the growing medium & sometimes burn the roots as water evaporates out. When the roots are sickly, water & nutrients may not get transported up to nourish flowers & fruits.
The clay compacts & limits air flow in and out the roots. As a result, flowers may fall.
Also, how old are your plants:
The age of the dragon fruit plant
A pitaya grower in Riverside told us that in the first 1 or 2 years, his plants had flowers but they fell off & produced no fruit. This may be because the plant is still young. From year 3 & on, it began to put out fruits.
To save the plants
Remember don't overwater and don't overfeed. Cut off the small shoots to focus all the energy on the flowers. And look out for rain that could damage the flowers.
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