Growing Dragon Fruit In The UK
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Growing Dragon Fruit in the UK

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I have decided to go on a bit of a horticultural adventure and see if I can grow Dragon Fruit right here in Blighty.

I have no idea how these plants will fare, and I feel I will probably end up having to grow them indoors. But let’s see how we get on!

Dragon fruit is actually a fruiting cactus, which is already sending alarm bells ringing about its ability to be grown in the UK.

Especially up in darkest Lancashire where I live, but let’s give it a go, it will be a fun learning experience if nothing else.

Growing Dragon Fruit In The UK
Growing Dragon Fruit In The UK

Getting The Plants

I managed to get my hands on some cuttings from a UK-based seller on Etsy. These arrived quickly and in good health, so now all I needed to do was pot them up.

This is just a temporary arrangement to get them through winter before deciding what to do next. For now, these will be left on a windowsill above a radiator.

The Cuttings
The Cuttings

So this is how my cuttings arrived. They all seem to be in really good health, and despite me not planting them on for longer than I would like to admit they still seem in good spirits.

The Pots They Will Be In For Now
The Pots They Will Be In For Now

I haven’t done anything special with compost or anything yet. I do know there are special cacti soils available but this is just regular compost for now.

As I said before this is just temporary. I had left the cuttings in their bags for far too long and just needed to get them transplanted ASAP.

One Little Baby Cactus
One Little Baby Cactus

They have pretty much zero root structure, I know nothing about these cacti though so don’t know if this is to be expected or not.

In Its Winter Home
In Its Winter Home

Although covered in little spikes these are not hard at all so it wasn’t tough to transplant this little fellow.

On The Windowsill
On The Windowsill

So here they will sit over winter. Above a radiator in a nice warm spot with as much light as is possible.

I will then decide what to do with them come springtime.

Spring Update

So the dragon fruit have been growing away overwintering on my window sill and I have some updates for you.

Unfortunately, not all of the plants have made it, we have lost one of the dragon fruit over winter. It just seemed to wither away and I am not really sure what happened. The other two are doing really well though so let’s have a look.

The purple dragon fruit in april
The purple dragon fruit in April
The white Dragon Fruit In April
The white Dragon Fruit In April

You can see from the photos that the cacti have grown, but not massively. But at least they are growing!

Summer Update

So, it’s time to update you all again on how my dragon fruit is getting on growing away in sunny Lancashire. Well, I will start off by saying it has been a bit of a mixed bag, the dragon fruit has grown, but not without issue.

I moved them into my greenhouse at the start of summer, to give them extra light and sun, the greenhouse will be their final destination too when they are large but for now, my plan is to still bring them back indoors this autumn.

Why the mixed bag? Well, something took a liking to the cacti and decided to have a good old chomp. I’m guessing a slug, but whatever it was it is a tough bugger, those needles on my dragon fruit aren’t messing about.

The Damaged Dragon Fruit
The Damaged Dragon Fruit

I am a bit incredulous, to be honest, that a slug has done this and also a little worried, what sort of super mutant slugs have been breeding in my greenhouse that they would even think of talking down a cactus, never mind actually being successful?

So with the threat of rampaging mega slugs, I decided it was time to pot my dragon fruit on and make them safer.

My idea is to put them in a hanging basket suspended from the greenhouse roof, away from the threat of slugs.

So while I was doing this I thought it would be a good idea to pot them on into some proper succulent compost rather than the generic multi-purpose stuff they were in.

This compost just has lots of grit for drainage and apparently, all the nutrients cacti need, I don’t know whether all of these are already in regular compost or not.

The New Compost
The New Compost

I just got this bag off amazon, I don’t know much about it but the mix seems good and it doe shave plenty of gravel in it.

The Two Dragon Fruit
The Two Dragon Fruit

So here they are, the two dragon fruit in their new home, for the moment at least.

It is the bottom one that suffered the most slug damage and lost some growth but the top one hasn’t completely escaped harm.

You can see that there has been growth, but it is slow. Saying that I don’t know whether it is slow for dragon fruit or pretty regular growth.

Apparently, you can get fruit off a cutting in two years, mine look a long long way from that to be perfectly honest. But as long as they keep growing I am happy as these are really long-lived plants and can keep going for 30+ years!

Over Winter

I decided to see if my dragon fruit would survive a winter in the greenhouse. It is double-insulated throughout winter and normally doesn’t drop below zero often.

This will be a good test to see how the dragon fruit gets on.

If they survive then I won’t need to worry about bringing them into the house every winter.

So did they survive? Errr, nope. As some of you might remember we got some really cold temperatures early this winter.

The greenhouse thermometer recorded temperatures as low as -6 inside the greenhouse.

My poor dragon fruit
My poor dragon fruit

Plans For Next Year

I’m not giving up and will be trying again with some new plants.

I will be getting a proper cutting this time. The cuttings look to be much larger than what I got which I believe was grown from seed.

Apparently, these can take 4-7 years before they get to the fruit production stage whereas a large cutting can fruit in a year.

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13 Comments

  1. ooh i’m so curious to see how this goes! I have a south facing flat and I’d love to try growing a dragon fruit cactus but haven’t seen much about successful attempts here. Good luck 🙂

  2. What was the result? I also live in the UK and would love to grow a pink dragon fruit plant that actually bears fruit!

    1. Still, in progress. the dragon fruit (the two that have survived so far!) have put on a lot of growth recently. I will do another update this summer but as of yet they are nowhere near fruiting but growing along happily

  3. Thanks to you, I have also just bought 2 white dragon plant cuttings from a seller on Etsy today. Due around 9th of June.
    I wanted to experiment with something exotic and edible, and chose a dragon fruit.
    I will keep you informed if you wish how they are doing.
    Please let us know how yours are doing, growing etc.

    Shane

    1. Thank you Shane yes do please keep me updated. I will have a summer update out before too long followed by more regular updates.

  4. Hi Daniel. I have just come across your site as was searching for dragon fruit plants. I grow some of these plants, white and red flowering but have always deadheaded after flowering. Didn’t know that they might be dragon fruit so would like confirmation if they are. I noticed that you live in Lancashire and I actually live in Greater Manchester so we’re not too far away. Would you please confirm if I’m correct in my assumption. Thank you. Erna.

  5. Oh I’m so interested. It never occurred to me to grow a dragon fruit cactus. I just saw a post on Instagram about them so googled an ended up here. The insta post was saying you have to pollinate flowers overnight with pollen you’ve previously collected and frozen. Sounds like an adventure! I’ll wait to see how you fare.

  6. This is so interesting, I’ve really wanted to try dragon fruit but they’re few and far in between in the UK and normally if there is any they’re expensive. But for the first time ever I tried a bite this week and now I’m obsessed! Such an interesting fruit and I wonder if many others have had success with it. I hope you end up experimenting with it again!

  7. Hi I am in the process of growing Dragon fruit from seeds, and have successfully done so to date. I found then fast growing as they germinate in 4/5 days. I keep the plant out of direct sunlight but have given them the odd days into my plastic greenhouse which is bright but no direct sun. I also keep the soil moist by spraying a small amount of water every other day if necessary. Hope this is helpful.

  8. When they get big, make sure they have plenty of support. Mine broke last week 🙁 (2-3 years old 3m long, no fruit yet)

  9. I’m in west Cornwall nd tried dozens of things over the years (more details if interested).
    My dragon grew quit well, but didn’t seem to want to stand up. I put a thin cane by it’s side, but I didn’t want to harm its soft flesh or spikes, so I put an upturned bottle over it. I realise now, that the rooting structure might not be as much as we are used to. Anyway, it’s still growing, and has 4 or 5 sproutlets.
    I also started a few Monkey Puzzle trees, Lychees, Kiwi’s, Avocadoes, this year.
    Good luck to you all. Freddy

    1. Would definitely be interested in more details on what you have tried to grow over the years!

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