Before you get to taste any delicious dragon fruits from your plants, first, you’ll need them to flower. Given the right conditions, this should happen quite naturally, but not everything works the way it’s meant to. Here we’ll look at how to induce your dragon fruit to flower and ensure you’ll soon be getting a bountiful harvest of delicious fruits to enjoy.
What You'll Learn Today
How Do I Get My Dragon Fruit To Flower?
Being semi-tropical, dragon fruit trees must have enough heat to make them flower. Here are some things that might help you get more flowers.
- Greenhouse – The weather these days can be rather unpredictable, even if you live in a zone where dragon fruits should thrive. If the temperature is falling below 65°F, then this inhibits flowering. If you can, try moving your plant into a greenhouse or warm room with plenty of light.
- Lighting – It isn’t only heat that stimulates your plant to produce flowers. Daylight hours are also important. If things have been unusually dull, or you live where daylight hours are short, use artificial LED lights for a couple of hours to lengthen the amount of light your plant receives.
- Energy – Many things can use up your plant’s energy; growing, blooming, fruiting, disease, stress, and so on. Firstly ensure you provide your dragon fruit with enough support. If the branches of your tree are looking weak, damaged, or diseased, prune them off, along with any lateral stems. Then try tipping some of the branches by just removing the very end. This will help it re-energize and stimulate flowering.
- Watering – It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking your dragon fruit plant needs more water to help it flower. Counterintuitively it’s actually necessary for the plant to have a time of dryness in spring. This should be done for a couple of weeks from late spring to early summer.
How Long Does It Take For Dragon Fruit To Flower?
Most dragon fruit trees are grown from cuttings and will almost always begin flowering by their second year of growth. However, depending on the cultivar and growing conditions, some will have their first flowers sooner.
If seeds are used to grow a plant, it can take much longer, as it must do a lot of growing before it is mature enough to flower.
Once your tree begins flowering, it should continue for several months until late autumn. This flowering happens in cycles, and providing the plant stays healthy, it will continue to bloom and bear fruits until it is twenty or thirty years old.
How Do You Induce Dragon Fruit Buds?
If your dragon fruit is already fruiting and you want more buds, or if it’s the start of the budding season and you don’t see many buds, there are a couple of things you can do to help induce them.
Tipping the branches
This simply means breaking off the tip of some of the branches and works well on any that are looking a bit weak. Tipping makes them grow from the nodes, and then buds will begin to develop.
Tipping helps your plant store more energy in the branch. You’ll see it fill with water, and buds appear.
If, after tipping, your dragon fruit tree still isn’t producing buds, it might need some help from a liquid fertilizer. Try using one that is at an NPK ratio of 4:8:7 for best results and use it at half the strength suggested on the packaging once a week.
Be careful not to get any fertilizer on the plant and simply water it around the base. Once you start seeing new buds forming, stop feeding and go back to organic compost.
The regular use of organic compost tea can help your dragon fruit tree recover once it’s fruiting because growing the fruit takes a lot of energy. You may notice some of the branches become weak and wrinkled. The tea helps them refill and become plump and healthy again.
In this video, you can see how a dragon fruit is induced into forming buds:
Dragon Fruit Flowers But No Fruit?
There are a few reasons why dragon fruit trees flower, but the flowers fall off without producing any fruit. These include:
- The flower was not pollinated
- Too much water was given to the plant during flowering
- There was too much heat while the plant was flowering
Although some dragon fruit plants are said to be “self-pollinating,” meaning it doesn’t require another dragon fruit tree to provide it with pollen, it is always better to cross-pollinate.
There are a few things to keep in mind here.
- Some cultivars absolutely do require a partner tree.
- Different cultivars don’t always flower at the same time, so you’ll need two that do if you’re to get adequate cross-pollination.
- It can also be that too few pollinating insects or bats are around to do the job, and you’ll need to pollinate your flowers by hand when they open at night.
A lack of nutrients is another problem that can influence your plants’ fruit production.
Be careful not to feed too much nitrogen as although you’ll get a large, green plant, it won’t stimulate it to flower and produce fruits.
Bone meal and chicken manure are two ideal and natural solutions you can try.
With the proper care getting your dragon fruit tree to flower should be reasonably simple.
- Never over water as it can rot the roots.
- Don’t water for a couple of weeks, from late spring to early summer.
- Ensure the temperature is above 65°F. Bring inside if necessary.
- If things are too hot (over 100°), this will also affect flowering and fruiting, so provide some light shade or set up a mister.
- If daylight hours are short, provide an additional couple of hours with artificial lighting.
- Feed an appropriate fertilizer.
- Try tipping your plant to promote bud growth.