Hylocereus is a genus of cacti in the subfamily Cactoideae. The name derives from the Greek "hyle", meaning "forest".

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The species previously placed in the genus Hylocereus grow hanging, climbing or epiphytic. They are freely branched, shrubby plants that form aerial roots and become very large with a height of 10 m or more. The green, often glaucous shoots are usually terete or triangular. [1]

In the 1994 classification of the International Cactaceae Systematics Group of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study, the genus Hylocereus was one of the six genera of the tribe Hylocereeae. [2] A 2011 study of the molecular phylogeny of the Cactaceae concluded that neither the tribe nor the genus was monophyletic (i.e. neither comprised all the descendants of a common ancestor). Two species of Hylocereus formed a clade with two species of Selenicereus, suggesting that the genera were not distinct. [3] This result was confirmed in a larger study in 2017, and all the species of Hylocereus were transferred to Selenicereus. [4]

Species that were placed in the genus in 2012 that are now placed in Selenicereus include the following. [5] [4]

Hylocereus Species, Dragon Fruit, Strawberry Pear, Night Blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hylocereus (hy-loh-KER-ee-us) (Info)
Species: undatus (un-DAY-tus) (Info)
Synonym:Cereus undatus
Synonym:Hylocereus tricostatus
Synonym:Cereus tricostatus
» View all varieties of Orchid Cactus


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Pacific Palisades, California

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

Gardeners' Notes:

On Sep 4, 2015, jojogarden from Lakeland, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

My dragon fruit showed three blooms about a week ago, and it opened it's first bloom tonight! Gorgeous. I don't know which specific plant I have yet, until the fruit ripens and I can compare all the details to the descriptions I have read here.

I received 1 long segment from my daughter 2-3 years ago and it has been potted since. I haven't trimmed or fertilized at all I keep it in bright sunshine and let Mother Nature water it (unless we go several weeks with no appreciable rain, then I water).

On Jul 4, 2015, Mark_B from Garden Grove, CA wrote:

This plant requires full sun, but will tolerate bright shade. It loves summer humidity. I fertilize every other week with 15-30-15 liquid fertilizer during the warm months to help form flowers and fruits. It also likes fish-based liquid fertilizer to help it grow. Don't let the soil become dry for long. The soil should be fast-draining, with at least half of it being pumice or similar substate. The flower opens at night, for only one night. If you want fruits, but don't have moths that pollinate the flowers, use a small 1/8" paintbrush to apply pollen. The fruits are nearly identical to those from Cereus Peruvianus and Cereus Hildmannianus. The fruits will be ready to pick, when they are about to burst open.

On Jun 24, 2013, minpin3165 from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have plants that are very similar. I love the beautiful blooms at night and it attracts beautiful nightime pollinators. ie bats, moths.

On Mar 24, 2012, eliasastro from Athens,
Greece (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant gets so unbelievably huge that it can be annoying.
In a pot it can be more controlled, but flowers are few and fruits rare.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum may not have interesting fruit, but it's far more delicate as a plant. Also, it blooms better in a pot.

On Apr 13, 2011, Noel37_ from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

I have been growing hylocereus undatus for 40 years and its has been in the last 3 years that it has fruited with 5 x 4 inch red fruits & flesh white with small black seeds and I believe that this plant does not set fruit without another variety growing nearby and this is now the case as we have many asian immigrants growing many cactus cultivers near my residence in the last 3 years and they grow theirs on an upright 5ft post with 2 cross bars 4ft long flat on top and their plants are red or yellow fruiting. The fruits ripen in about 9 weeks after the night blooming flowers are pollinated by hawk moths or flying fox`s also named fruit bats.The fruits sell here in Australia for $4 each.

On Sep 29, 2009, formula350 from Kansas City, KS (Zone 6a) wrote:

I inherieted this plant when my mother-in-law died about 5 years ago. I re-potted it 4 years ago because it was very root bound. It did not bloom for 3 years. But now it is getting big enough for the pot and is blooming it's head off!! I had never seen another plant like it. I'm so glad to see that others are enjoying this very strange plant. I wish the smell of the blooms could be bottled, if you have never smelled one blooming, it's very hard to explain other than . heavenly! I have mine in a very large pot and bring it in to my un-heated garage for the winter. I have a very shady yard and it sits next to my deck, so it does not get a lot of direct sunlight. It has bloomed 4 times this year with a minimum of 13 blooms per. Today, for the first time ever, it is blooming in the. read more daylight!!

Thank You! Reading your comments and seeing the pictures has given me hope that mine will bloom soon. I've had it for about 12 years and have started others from cuttings, which take really well. I have moved two into a sunnier spot by a trellis. Maybe they will reward me with some first blooms. I have other orchid cactus that have bloomed on a regular basis, but these have never bloomed, thanks again!

On Oct 8, 2008, pawpawbill from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a plant that is wintered indoor. It has one fruit starting to turn red. How do I know when the fruit is fully ripe?

On Dec 16, 2006, wtliftr from Wilson's Mills, NC wrote:

I have a question- does anyone know if the seeds of a Hylocereus can be frozen and remain viable?? I've been looking all over for the answer to this question.

On Aug 26, 2006, mutant from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this plant..it took few years to show off the flowers, but wow! once it did I was pleased. finally I found out what it was (thanks to you all) and now I know it's a climber. for a while I thought i had some weird climbing cactus . The flowers are huge! and it's thriving here in the Houston area.

On Jun 9, 2006, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant also goes by the common names of: Dragon Fruit Chak-wob Chacam Junco Tapatнo Pitahaya Pitahaya Orejona Zacamb Tasajo Reina de la Noche & Queen of the Night.
It is documented to reach 16ft long.

On Apr 18, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have mine on the southeast wall of my house. Produces delicious dragonfruit. now being made into drinks.

Nativeplantfan9 if it grows wild in Polk County (zone 9a) surely it would grow wild in Orange(9b/10a) and Osceola (9b)counties . doesn't it?

On Jan 22, 2005, bernd from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

3 weeks ago I visited the 'rare plant nursery' in Northern New South Wales. There I accquired amongst other tropical fruit a 'red deagon fruit'. At home. I ate half of it, found it delicious, and scooped out the other half with its numerous pinhead sized black seeds. Just for the heck of it I mixed that pulp with a cupful of fine sand to distibute it evenly and then spread it into a tray of seed raising soil. One week later I noticed the seeds to be sprouting and by now the little plants are about 1//2 in, still only bilobate. I am curious, what next.
Regards Bernd

On Nov 16, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This snake-like, night-blooming cactus is a climber that can reach as high as 50 or even 60 feet in the wild or in the U.S. from zones 9 southward, and especially in my zone 10 area. Here in south Florida, I regularily see it climbing up people's trees in their yard and even in the wild such as on trees as high as 50 feet - up to the very top of the tree - with many blooms - many open, many closed - and many green, snake-like stems, climbing up and hanging from the tree - around abandoned buildings or on vacant land in trees, from the ground up, sometimes even totally in the tree, climbing downwards or upwards at the top. There is one I saw in Lake Worth, zone 10a, also in southeast Florida, that was climbing into a tall slash pine on a parcel of vacant land, seeming to smother the tree - . read more it was possibly as long as 40 ft. up in that tree! This species may be considered invasive for that reason from zones 9 in the U.S., notably Florida, southward, and should possibly be kept under control as it is often a rapid grower that may climb and smother even tall trees as high as 50 feet. However, the white flowers are very beautiful - especiallly when they bloom at night. This cactus has lots of new, closed, large flowers at the same time and is a profilic bloomer at night - it may get as many as 20 flowers or more possibly all at the same time! The flowers are large and attractive and look just like the pictures for this plant shows. It is a very interesting but possibly invasive cactus - however, it is great to grow and fast-growing, but should be kept under control if grown in south and central Florida!

MORE FACTS - Grows well in zones 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11 and below. It is established in many counties in central and southern Florida (including the Keys), including Hillsborough, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Seminole, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and the Keys (Monroe County). This viney, treelike-thicket-forming, nightblooming cactus also grows in the Bahamas, Caribbean, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Oct 20, 2004, amiey from Gautier, MS (Zone 9b) wrote:

I grow this plant in a pot. i'd love to try it in the ground but as of yet move it close in on the porch during the winter's coldest time.

On Oct 6, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This cactus grows in zone 10a and b quite well, too. Some excellent examples in Southern California which doesn't have any zone 11.

On Apr 21, 2003, Leo92129 from San Diego, CA wrote:

The term 'Red Pitaya' is a bit misleading. 'Red' applies only to the skin color, as opposed to the red flesh that is in Hylocereus polyrhizus, Hylocereus ocamponis, H. guatemalensis, and several others. 'Yellow Pitaya' Selenicereus megalanthus is another example where 'Yellow' applies to the color of the skin, only. Israel has done much research on growing various pitaya (aka 'Dragon Fruit' and pitahaya) in the Negev Desert.

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There are three species of dragon fruit in the genus Hylocereus and one species in the genus Selenicereus. Varieties of Hylocereus guatemalensis, Hylocereus polyrhizus, and Hylocereus undatus as well as hybrids of these three species are grown commercially worldwide. Selenicereus megalanthus is grown commercially on smaller scales in South America and is especially popular in Columbia.

Related genera: Cereus, Acanthocereus, Echinocereus, Selenicereus, Stenocereus, Escontria, Myrthillocactus.

This climbing cactus is one of the most beautiful and wide spread members of the Cactaceae family. It is a highly prized, vining, fruit bearing cactus is terrestrial/epiphytic plant which is extremely unusual. It's fleshy stems reach up to 30ft. long, climbing onto walls or over trees using aerial roots. Magnificent flowers, stunningly beautiful fruit with an intense color, curious shape, and a delicious taste.

The night blooming white flowers can be up to 14 inches in length. Flowers are vibrant and beautiful and many related species are propagated as ornamentals. They generally bloom only at night, and usually last just one night where pollination is necessary to set fruit.

The fruit is most often eaten chilled and cut in half so the flesh may be spooned out. The juice is used in frozen drinks and it is in a new Tropicana Twister flavor. It is a must have for any collector or gardener with the flair for the unusual. The plants aren't usually too picky as to soil type, but because of their epiphytic nature, it is recommended to grow them in soil that is supplemented with high amounts of organic material. It can be grown successfully in sandy soils, providing shade is sometimes recommended in hot climates. In full production, these plants can have up to 4-6 fruiting cycles per year. Season: May-September.

The dragon fruit flesh can be white, red, or magenta. The red fleshed varieties contain lycopene which is a natural antioxidant known to fight cancer, heart disease, and lower blood pressure. Despite the health benefits and its spectacular appearance, the fruit has gone virtually unnoticed for centuries.

According to the legend the fruit was created thousands of years ago by fire breathing dragons. During a battle when the dragon would breathe fire the last thing to come out would be the fruit. After the dragon is slain the fruit is collected and presented to the Emperor as a coveted treasure and indication of victory. The soldiers would then butcher the dragon and eat the flesh. It was believed that those who feasted on the flesh would be endowed with the strength and ferocity of the dragon and that they too would be coveted by the Emperor. It is written that the dragons flame originates deep within its body near the base of its tail. The meat from this part of the dragon was the most desirable and most sought after portion. Only the officers of each division would be privy to this cut of meat. The ancient Chinese called this cut the jaina, which translates literally to the sweetest and best tasting. The jaina was treasured by all who were privileged enough to taste it, and it is believed that man’s thirst for the jaina is what led to the destruction and eventual extinction of all of the dragons.

The mild and juicy fruit is easily cut in half and eaten with a spoon.

Today it is the leading fruit export of Vietnam. It has even caught the attention of Snapple, Tropicana, and Sobe which are just a few of the major labels that have incorporated dragon fruit into their bottled fruit drinks.

Watch the video: Dragon Fruit Pruning Stem