Are dragon fruit flowers edible?

Dragon fruit, pitahaya

Characteristics

Height
from 100.00cm to 150.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • hanging
  • overhanging
  • flat growing
Leaf shape
  • elongated
  • put together several times
Ornamental or utility value
  • Floral decorations
  • Fruit decorations
  • Leaf jewelry
use
  • Interior greening
  • Planters
  • Winter garden

origin

Dragon fruit or pitahaya: When you hear this, you probably first have in mind the distinctive, conspicuously pink, round fruit that you see in the supermarket every now and then. The associated evergreen plant Hylocereus undatus is a species from the cactus family (Cactaceae). The term "undatus" refers to the wave-shaped shoots.

Hylocerus undatus probably comes from Mexico and the coastal strip of Central America. The cactus is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates in America, partly also in Africa, Australia and Asia, mostly hanging over fences or walls, sometimes growing on dry ground. Sometimes he also climbs up into the crowns of small trees.

growth

Hylocereus undatus is a cactus that grows both as an epiphyte and on the ground. Its several centimeters wide shoots conquer the environment hanging, creeping and climbing - and at an amazing speed! As a houseplant, the dragon fruit can also be grown in hanging baskets.

leaves

The triangular sprouts of the dragon fruit are up to six meters long and are divided into segments by constrictions - the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) has similar structures. With the help of aerial roots, the cactus representatives hold on or fix themselves on the ground. The cushions on the notched, winged edges of the shoots look like small warts, they are well reinforced with several short and grayish thorns, which are, however, rather soft.

blossoms

Wow! It is hard to believe what magnificent flowers Hylocereus undatus can produce in the summer months! They are up to 30 centimeters in diameter and usually only open for one night on green, fleshy sprouts. An intense scent then envelops the whole plant. The Pitahaya is also called "Queen of the Night" because of its nocturnal bloom.

Large green or purple scale leaves surround the flower sprouts. The outer greenish-yellow petals are long and narrow in shape. The tips are slightly bent back. The inner, also lanceolate petals stand out with their pure white. Both types of petals are about four inches long. The stamens are creamy white in large numbers in the center of the flower. They are up to seven centimeters long, the stylus can even reach three times that length. At its end, the stylus branches spread out in a star shape. A cool place in winter is required to stimulate flowering. 10 to 15 degrees Celsius are ideal.

fruit

The flower sprouts grow into fleshy, thornless berries that are round or egg-shaped. "Strawberry Pear" is the name given to the dragon fruit in the English-speaking world. They are up to 20 centimeters long, and when fully ripe, the fruits shine in a bright purple. A rough, about one centimeter thick rind surrounds the fruit cavity, which is completely filled with a white, very juicy fruit pulp. It looks almost glassy and tastes sweet and sour; with a mixture of kiwi, blackberry and watermelon you might get the closest to the taste. Depending on the type of culture, there are fruits with white or red pulp. It is consumed raw as a fruit or prepared with sugar and ice as a dessert. It contains vitamins B, C and E, as well as various minerals.

The black and shiny seeds stand out from the pulp and are present there in great numbers. They are about three times a millimeter in size, they are supposed to aid digestion and sometimes also act as laxatives.

Location

Pitahaya likes it sunny, even the hot midday sun at the south window is accepted by the cactus after a period of acclimatization. In the warm season, the dragon fruit likes to move into the summer on the balcony or terrace. Here, too, it takes time to get used to the unfiltered sunlight.

Substrate

Cactus soil is best for Hylocereus undatus. In the case of unprotected outdoor activities, underground drainage is desirable so that precipitation can drain off quickly. To do this, for example, clay granulate, coarse sand and pumice gravel are mixed under the earth.

to water

The dragon fruit belongs to the cacti, but is a tropical child: Therefore, the substrate is allowed to dry out occasionally - the whole bale. Hylocereus undatus gets lime-free water best when it is watered.

Fertilize

You should fertilize cautiously between April and September, both in terms of quantity and intervals: one liquid fertilizer application is sufficient every four to eight weeks.

Repot

When the dragon fruit comes out of hibernation, it is best to check whether the root ball already fills the whole pot. If this is the case, take the plant out of the container, carefully shake off the old substrate and repot it in fresh cactus soil. In the coming season there is no need to fertilize, because the undemanding plant can gain sufficient nutrition from the new soil.

To cut

Has the dragon fruit got too big? Then you can simply cut them, at the end of each link.

wintering

Anyone who wants to stimulate flowering, which only occurs in older plants, provides a cool location between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius in winter. Please also fertilize cautiously during this time! Young plants should be a little warmer. As soon as the temperatures are steadily above 10 degrees Celsius after winter, the pitahaya can go outside again. A lukewarm shower washes off the winter dust beforehand. To get used to the summer freshness, it is best to choose a partially shaded place without direct sun for a few days.

Multiplication

If you want to spread the seeds, you put them in a tea strainer and first separate them from the pulp under running water. With your fingers you can push the soft pulp down through the sieve. Sucking off the seeds and then spitting them out is less complicated. A low-nutrient cactus or potting soil is suitable as a substrate. Please just press the seeds down, do not cover them with soil! The substrate should always be slightly damp, but not wet - a little tact is required. Germination takes place after one to three weeks at a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Propagation is less complicated by cuttings, which, like propagating the Christmas cactus, can be obtained very easily by shrinking Hylocereus undatus: Simply cut off individual limbs with a sharp knife - twisting is also possible - and let them dry for a few days. Only then are they put upright in potting soil. A cover is not necessary. Temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius are also ideal for this procedure.

Diseases and pests

Sciarid gnats eat the roots again and again. However, a culture that is too humid causes a lot more problems, as it can lead to root rot.