Dragonfruit/Hylocereus/Pitaya as a houseplant?

A little background: I was going through all the fruits I plan on growing with my fruit-loving two year old to see if she “approved” of each one (always yes), and the two she suggested I add were kiwi and dragonfruit. It didn’t take much to convince me.

Now, I know I should be able to manage some kiwi if I can find a space for it, but I’m less sure about dragonfruit. I don’t have a hothouse, nor do I plan to add one. I do have a sunny dining room (faces mostly south, windows on 3 sides) that the potted citrus and other tropicals seem to like. I could probably fit one in there, if I can keep it small enough.

My questions are:

  1. How small can I keep a Hylocereus? I’ve seen some pictures of 2’ long sections “bundled” upright in pots, but I mostly see 5-6’ wide sprawlers.
  2. How likely is it that I’ll actually get fruit growing it as a houseplant (summering outdoors, of course)?
  3. Assuming I can get things working for items 1 and 2, are there any particular varieties or sources folks would recommend?

I’ve seen some info about growing these as houseplants, but none from a super reliable source. My preference would be to be able to grow one container, and limit the spread to no more than 2.5’. Giving it license to climb would probably be a non-starter with the better half, but I’m not sure. I’d be happy if it averaged 6-12 fruits a year. Is this realistic?


Dragonfruit is a vining cactus.

I had 3 in pots and eventually got one of them to bloom, though I didn’t get fruit off of it. I was doing what you are suggesting. Growing them as houseplants. I had them in smaller pots, but they really didn’t seem to mind that.

They were easy to root from calloused cuttings. They were also a PITA (pain in the a$$) with regard to moving and re-potting because of their extremely tiny but quite effective needles. Even wrapping the plant with newspaper (which I would rubber band into place) I almost always ended up having to remove too many of these needles each time I moved the plants. (remember vining, so there were always stems moving as I carried them into the house and into the basement where I overwinter my plants)

I hope you get more promising responses from others here, but I fear since we are in not too dissimilar climates that you will find this plant as difficult to fruit as I did. Going into winter 2018-2019 I made the decision that they were too much trouble and I got rid of them rather than moving them once again.



You need a pretty sturdy support structure for DF as they will flop about without a support structure, this will add weight. You could probably get away with a 5-10 gal pot, but you will have issues with it being top-heavy if you are not careful. They use aerial roots to attach themselves to trees so that they can climb. I do not recall how big they have to grow to produce fruit, but they need to be a decent size before they will fruit. If kept small, you will be lucky to get one or two fruit. They also like sun, so getting them enough will be an issue as well.

Make sure to get a variety that is self-fruitful - many of the reds are self-fruitful.


I use a quilt and hemp rope for moving cactus, you need two people but you wrap the blanket around the cactus and then lightly secure the hemp rope in a Z tie (like you do when moving trees with paper). This lets you drive them as it protects from wind burn or just take say a 10’er and let you move it so you can redo your floors and you can keep the cactus suspended with the rope or tied against a wall until your ready to move.

I had a dragonfruit that i kept indoors, it needed a lot of sun and was happier when moved outside, during this time we developed a yellowjacket wasp that lived over 2 months drinking the fermented sap from one of its angled branches. We moved it inside at night and he would stay faithfully attached to his cactus clearly inebriated drinking his fermented sap. Sometimes it could fly but not far and would always come right back to the cactus, it was very entertaining and we were going to make videos about him. It would walk around looking kind of drunk and he hung out from june to the first of september so i feel it was a decent food source (maybe he ate bugs you could not see with the naked eye). While i never got any fruit of that plant (Gave it away) i did get a good amount of entertainment.

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I have 4 large Dragon fruit plants.
In 5gal. Steel pots , concrete wire cages. Padded at the top so as to protect the vine as it comes out of the top of cage.
I have had spectacular huge blooms , but no fruit yet, 4-5yrs.
They are large plants , one may never again be moved, as it has taken over a room.
It tends to grow away from the light, as many young rain forest vines do, in search of a dark tree trunk to climb on.
They live on tree trunks in Central America , as vines.
I like the aerial roots , and it’s wild ,unruly growth.
But that may only last so long here.
I really want some fruit !
I have heard that they need to achieve like 35lbs of weight to the plant to fruit ? Some are self fruitful , some not.
Bloom times have not overlapped , have hand pollinated,
No fruit !
They are a pain to move, top heavy, a real project.
A very unruly house plant.
Hopping some one chimes in here with a success story, from a northern zone. Otherwise I may leave them outside for the winter soon.
I think if you really want good dragon fruit ,visit Central America in like July or so !


For more information on DF, you can try the Tropical Fruit Forum, they have a huge 100++ thread on growing DF. Lots of smart people there, but I do not recall seeing too much about growing DF indoors.


Thanks for all the replies! I’m gathering that it’s theoretically possible, but probably not a good fit for the space I have available. Anyone want to work on a dwarf? :smile:

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