Growing Dragon fruit in Northern NSW

I'd like to introduce Gary and Tina

from Coutts Crossing a rural village in the Clarence valley, in Northern NSW.

He has 70 plus dragon fruit varieties growing as well as 60 finger lime bushes, mixed citrus and a variety of native bush tucker trees including 40 midyim berry bushes all under 5yrs old. The midyim berries they have planted on the uphill side between our dragons as an experiment to help use up excess water when we get heavy rains. They also have 2 mature orange trees, 2 mature lemon trees and established lady finger bananas. 

They also have 3 native bee hive to help pollinate our orchard. 

Gary contributes a lot to the Australian dragon fruit grower Facebook page and I have always enjoyed seeing his posts and watched his plants flourish from a far. (hope this doesn't sound weird.)

Thank you for sharing 

Growing dragon fruit in NSW

What suburb and state are you located? 

Coutts Crossing, NSW

How long have you been an avid gardener for?

Grandparents had awesome veggie garden and mixed orchard, my parents always had gardens so I’ve always been a keen gardener

What was your 1st dragon fruit experience growing?We purchased our home on acres about 22yrs ago with a well established jacaranda tree with a white flesh dragon fruit vine up through it. Not knowing when the right time to pick them we never liked any we tasted so most went to the wildlife. After seeing cuttings on offer of red and pink flesh varieties and yellow skin variety we decided to give them a go, if we didn’t like them we could at least feed them to our birds. Not really knowing how to grow dragon fruit the cuttings were just stuck in pots in the backyard with very little looking after, bit of temporary props, then a ring lock wire fence around them that they hung over and eventually produced several spikey fruit that turned yellow 🤤 yum. That lead us to then research dragon fruit on the web and after realising the number of varieties out there we decided 18 was a good number of trellises that quickly became 36 while we’re at it, then 12 months later became 70 trellises in total.The old original white flesh we discovered when picked at the right time is a sweet lemonade flavour and now one of our favourites

What is your Favorite variety and why? The question of which one is my favourite is a very difficult decision, I don’t like eating the bland ones when there are too many with flavour

Best tip for growing dragon fruit. Biggest no, no for growing dragon fruit. When we could get it my go to manure was alpaca, can use fresh without burn and it doesn’t introduce unwanted weed/grass seed. I mix heaps in the hole when planting new cuttings and top dress as needed. Biggest no no has to be let them sit in wet conditions, we mound our rows up mixing in plenty of perlite to help with drainage

dragon fruit cuttings

Biggest challenge Is deciding on variety, we have found them to be very easy to grow. 

How do you fertilize?

We top dress with whatever manure we can get now we can’t get the alpaca anymore as needed (approximately 3 monthly) and spray the branches with a good quality liquid fertiliser once a fortnight during the growing season we add extra potassium

What soil did you pot your cutting in?We grow in the ground on concrete post with reo mesh tops. We use existing soil that we add a lot of well broken down compost and manures, perlite, sand and ash from clean burnt wood fires.

Red and purple dragon fruit

How many varieties do you currently haveWe currently have about 32 mature varieties with about another 38 varieties either planted last year or rooted ready to plant this year.

Dragon fruit trellis and dragon fruit flowers

Established: yellow megalanthus, Scott’s Purple, Aztec Gem, Colombian Red, Dark Star, Pink Panther, Cosmic Charlie, Delight, Colombian Supreme, Sugar Dragon, Natural Mystic, Purple Haze, Hayley’s Comet, Pink Lemonade, Jade Red, Physical Graffiti, American Beauty, Voodoo Child, Neon, Florida Sweet Red, Kathy Van Arum, Rixford, Trish Red, Trisha, Condor, Lemonade, Orange Dwarf and a couple of noid

Dragon fruit purple haze.Next most established: CFA Red, Red Crystal, Red Laverne, Pink Beauty, Edgar’s Baby, purple Megalanthus, Thomson’s G2, Asunta 5, Lisa, White Sapphire, Bruno, Pink Beauty, Sin Espinas, Townsend Pink, San Ignacio, Orange Giant, Black Dragon, Frankie’s Red, Golden, Chameleon, Not S8, Curly Red, Godzilla, Desert KingRooted cuttings ready to be planted out: Supernova. Moroccan Red. Royal Red. Red Majesty. Red Jaina. Pink Tropicana. Thick King. Ax. MPH. Michelle. Mr Woo Thai red. Connie Mayer. QLD redI’ve most likely left something out.