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Cinderella Plant Selenicereus undatus

Previously known as:

  • Hylocereus undatus
Phonetic Spelling
sel-ee-nih-SER-ee-us un-DAY-tus
Description

Dragon Fruit is native from Mexico to Honduras.  The scientific name comes from Latin words, Selene translating to 'moon', referring to its nocturnal traits.  The species undatus translates to 'wavy edges', akin to the rib-like structure of the stem.  Its common name hails from the hard tentacles (scales) that surround the fruits. Surprisingly, this Dragon-like outside has a sweet, soft and fleshy fruit inside.  The white flesh is speckled with tiny black seeds that have a mild flavor.

Being a part of the Cactaceae family, Pitaya can be grown in containers, but be careful as it has spines.

It is the most cultivated species in the genus. It is harvested as a commercial crop in numerous countries, farmers can expect 5 to 6 harvest cycles each year.  Fruits range in weight from 1/2 lb to up to 3 lbs.  The fruits are also used to color juices and some alcoholic drinks.  In addition to the fruits, the flowers are also edible.  They are used for brewing tea.  

Provide adequate watering in the spring and summer, up until the flowering period ends.  Reduce watering during the winter months, but don't allow the plant to dry out completely.

The nocturnal flowers only bloom for one night.

To achieve optimal growing conditions, remove all yellow or dying leaves using clean tools to ensure that no bacterial or fungal diseases are introduced.  

If growing as a houseplant, humidity should be provided in conditions that have dry heat.  Use lukewarm water when hydrating indoor plants.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Overwatering or too much rainfall can lead to stem and root rot.  An abundance can also lead to the fruit dropping.

Too much sun can lead to sun-scorch and dehydration.  

Locating in full sun can lead to the stems turning brown.

Watch for mealybugs and scale.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#edible flowers#climbing#showy fruits#sweet fruit#creeping#trellises#vines#night-flowering#long lifespan#edible fruits#cactus#fruits#vine#arbor#sweet taste#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#container plants#edible#cacti
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#edible plant#edible flowers#climbing#showy fruits#sweet fruit#creeping#trellises#vines#night-flowering#long lifespan#edible fruits#cactus#fruits#vine#arbor#sweet taste#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical#container plants#edible#cacti
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Selenicereus
    Species:
    undatus
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico to Honduras
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees are attracted to this plant as well as bats, moths and other nocturnal insects.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edible fruit
    Fragrance
    Textural
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    The flowers and fruits are edible.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The oval to oblong fruits are green and pink on the outside and bear hard tentacles.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Size:
    > 6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The rosette-shaped flowers open at night and close during the daytime. They have white petals and yellow stamens, with a prominent style.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Greenish-yellow to white leaves that taper to a point.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Bud Scales:
    Enclosed in more than 2 scales
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The stems can reach a thickness up to 5". They have nodes at various points, from 12" to 48" apart. The nodes have small needle-like spines.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bats
    Bees
    Moths
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought