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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although covered in little spikes these are not hard at all so it wasn’t tough to transplant this little fellow.
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.
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.
You can see from the photos that the cacti have grown, but not massively. But at least they are growing!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.