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Products > Hylocereus undatus 'Joyce Greenlund'
 
Hylocereus undatus 'Joyce Greenlund' - Pitaya, Dragonfruit
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus)
Origin: Central America (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Hylocereus undatus (Pitaya, Dragonfruit) - A climbing cacti that requires some form of support, has aerial roots, and can climb to 30 feet or more with 1 to 2 inch thick three-sided stems that are notched and have a few spines along the ribs. This plant grows more like a tropical vine and we have seen it climbing on boulders, buildings and even up palm trees as seen at Western Cactus in Vista, CA. From late spring into fall appear the fragrant large (10-12 inches long) white bell-shaped flowers that appear at dusk and last for only one night. From these flowers come the large oval-shaped fruit that can weigh as much as 2 pounds and have a tough pink skin of overlapping scales with an interior of white flesh and many edible tiny seeds - there are some varieties grown in California that have attractive pink flesh in the interior as well. To ensure fruiting it is advised that the flowers be hand pollinated since the natural pollinators are lacking in California. Some say cross pollination is required but the clone we grow has proven not to need this. Plant in a well-drained soil in full coastal sun but protected inland. Irrigate only a small amount (shallowly) but regularly in summer, including areas where aerial roots may be attached. This plant requires a near frost free climate to perpetuate, flower and fruit so it is not for everyone but successful fruiting has been achieved in warm locations here in Santa Barbara and further to the south. Hylocereus undatus is thought to have originated from the tropical rainforests of Central and northern South America, but has since been spread worldwide throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of the world because of its use as a food source and as an ornamental plant due to its large, scented, night-blooming flowers. Its fruit is both delicious and nutritious as it is rich with antioxidants, dietary fiber and a large amount of vitamin C. One can chill the ripe fruit, remove the skin and cut it into bite-sized pieces and serve it as a dessert or add it to blended fruit drinks or salads. This plant is often named for its fruit and called Red Dragonfruit, Red Pitaya (or Pitahaya) Fruit or Strawberry Pear and also by the names Belle of the Night and Conderella Plant. Our stock plant came from the Santa Barbara garden of Joyce Greenlund who related her acquisition to "The Rare Fruit Growers News Online" where she told of a friend bringing back a cutting of Hylocereus undatus from Hanoi in 1993 and giving it to her in 1995. Joyce planted this plant in full south-facing sun against a large boulder in her Santa Barbara Riviera garden where it began flowering and bearing fruit after 3 years. That first year it produced six fruits that were almost two pounds each with very smooth skin that was about 3/16" thick and bearing no spines on the fruit. The fruit when cut open shows the contrasting hot pink skin and white flesh with tiny black seeds with a flavor Joyce described as delectable. Joyce has shared the fruit at the Santa Barbara Horticultural Society and Cactus and Succulent Society meetings where it was quite popular. Anyone visiting her garden was amazed with this large sprawling cactus covered with its beautiful fruit, that often had the flowering date written on the stem below. Prior to Joyce selling her home with its lovely garden Joyce shared pieces of this incredible plant with us and we are now able to offer this much sought after plant.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Hylocereus undatus 'Joyce Greenlund'.