Also known as pithaya, the dragon fruit plant is native to Mexico and South and Central America. Approximately 25 species of dragon fruit exist, each producing oversized, showy flowers. Because the flowers are night bloomers and not capable of self-pollination, they are highly dependent on bats and moths to do the job. A dragon fruit plant requires the pollen of a second dragon fruit plant -- of a different variety -- in order to set fruit. In lieu of bats and moths, hand pollination is necessary.
Things You'll Need
- Two different varieties of dragon fruit plants
- Jar with lid
- Small artist’s paintbrush
Collect pollen from two different dragon fruit varieties. You will need to do this at night because the dragon fruit flower only blooms between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Shine a flashlight on the flowers so you can see what you are doing. Cut a 1-inch section of anthers from one flower using a sharp pair of scissors and place them in a clean jar. Do the same to the second flower, placing the cut anthers in the jar.
Stir the cut anthers in the jar for a minute or so using the pointed end of a small artist’s paintbrush. The stirring will combine the pollen from both dragon fruit species.
Dip the opposite end of the paintbrush into the jar after mixing, collecting a generous amount of yellow pollen dust on the bristles of the paintbrush. Gently brush all of the pollen dust onto the stigma of one dragon fruit plant. Repeat the process on the second plant.
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