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Hylocereus undatus (Dragon Fruit)


Scientific Name

Hylocereus undatus (Haw.) Britton & Rose

Common Names

Belle of the Night, Conderella Plant, Dragon Fruit, Honolulu Queen, Moonlight Cactus, Night-blooming Cereus, Pitaya, Queen of the Night, Red Pitaya, Strawberry Pear, White-fleshed Pitahaya


Cereus tricostatus, Cereus trigonus var. guatemalensis, Cereus undatus (basionym), Hylocereus tricostatus, Hylocereus guatemalensis

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Hylocereeae
Genus: Hylocereus


Hylocereus undatus is a lithophytic or hemiepiphytic cactus with creeping, sprawling, or clambering stems. It branches profusely. The stems are green, with generally three ribs and up to 4 feet (1.2 m) long joints. They grow up to 33 feet (10 m) long and climb by aerial roots. Margins are horny and undulate with wings that are up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide. This cactus has 1 to 3 conical spines per areole. They are grayish-brown to black and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long. The scented, nocturnal flowers are white with green outer tepals and bracts, up to 14 inches (35 cm) long and up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. They appear in late spring to early summer. Fruits are oblong to oval, up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long, and up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) in diameter.

Hylocereus undatus (Dragon Fruit)

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Like most cacti, Cereus are fairly low-maintenance and hardy. Ensure they receive enough water without becoming waterlogged, especially during the summer, and fertilize them for the best results. If the roots have become black or overly soft, the cactus could be experiencing root rot. Cutaway the affected parts and replant. Most gardeners interested in cacti should be able to cultivate these without much problem.

It may become necessary to repot your Cereus if it outgrows its container. If so, make sure the soil is dry, and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill it with fresh soil. Make sure not to overwater cacti planted in new pots, as this can lead to root rot. It should be left dry for about a week and then watered lightly.

These cacti propagate quite easily from cuttings. Simply sever a branch and replant in moist, well-drained soil.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cereus.


The precise origin of Hylocereus undatus is uncertain, and it may be a hybrid.


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