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Products > Hylocereus costaricensis 'Kip's Red'
Hylocereus costaricensis 'Kip's Red' - Red Pitaya, Red Dragonfruit
Image of Hylocereus costaricensis 'Kip's Red'
[2nd Image]
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
Synonyms: [H. polyrhizus]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Hylocereus costaricensis 'Kip's Red' (Red Pitaya, Red 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. 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 a pound and have a tough pink skin of overlapping scales with an interior of a dark purplish magenta-pink flesh holding many edible tiny seeds this is a different variety from the white fleshed Hylocereus undatus 'Joyce Greenlund' that we also grow and think it likely a cultivar of Hylocereus costaricensis (Often listed as H. polyrhizus). To ensure fruiting it is advised that the flowers be hand pollinated in the evening since the natural pollinators are lacking in California but like our H. undatus 'Joyce Greenlund, this plant produces some fruit without hand pollination but likely these efforts would be rewarded. 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 the Santa Barbara area and further to the south. Hylocereus costaricensis as the name implies is native to Costa Rica and ranges through Nicaragua south as far as Peru while Hylocereus undatus is thought to have originated from the tropical rainforests of Central and northern South America, but it native range in unknown since being spread worldwide for its fruit and ornamental plant. The fruit of both varieties is 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 Kip Omweg of Trio Nursery in Carpinteria, California. Kip noted that he was given a cutting of this plant in 1996 by Jenny Saragosa of Carpinteria CA who had been growing it in her garden for many years after collecting in travels into Central and South America. The images on our website are from Trio Nursery. 

This information about Hylocereus costaricensis 'Kip's Red' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.