Sunburn on dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is a condition that occurs when the fruit is exposed to excessive sunlight or high-intensity light for prolonged periods.
New cuttings that have not been acclimatised to the sun for a few weeks before being put in full sun.
Dragon fruit is native to tropical regions and prefers warm temperatures, but it can still be susceptible to sunburn if not adequately protected.
Symptoms of sunburn on dragon fruit can include:
Discoloration: The skin of the fruit may turn brown, yellow, or reddish in areas exposed to direct sunlight.
Sunken spots: Affected areas may appear sunken or shriveled compared to the rest of the fruit.
Softening or rot: Sunburned areas can become soft and prone to rotting on the dragon fruit limbs. These need to be cut and removed.
To prevent sunburn on dragon fruit plants, growers can take several measures:
- Harden: Introduce your dragon fruit plant to the sun gradually. 50/50 sunlight week 1, 80/20 sunlight and shade week 2. 100%sunlight week 3, then week 4 plant on post.
Shade cloth: Providing partial shade using shade cloth or other materials can protect the dragon fruit from direct sunlight while still allowing sufficient light for growth.
Plant placement: Ensure the dragon fruit plants are situated in locations that offer some natural shading during peak sun hours.
Mulching: Applying organic mulch around the base of the dragon fruit plant can help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature, which may minimize sunburn risk.
Watering: Proper irrigation is essential to keep the dragon fruit plant hydrated, as well-watered plants are more resistant to sunburn.
- Nutrition: Good dragon plant nutrition can make dragon fruit plants more resilient.
- Pick your day:Transplant your dragon fruit on an overcast day, definitely don't plant if you are experiencing any weather extremes
By taking these preventive measures, growers can reduce the risk of sunburn on dragon fruit and promote healthier fruit production.
If you do get sunburn, watch your dragon fruit plant to see if rot occurs. If so, you can remove damaged branches. A lot of the time your dragon fruit plant will heal itself and scar over.