About two years ago, my Mom gave me a plant that she could no longer keep. It was growing too big and climbing up the walls of her apartment complex. I accepted the plant and brought it home. It was planted in a 12” green planter. It was an ugly cactus type plant with large limbs that looked like tentacles which attached themselves to whatever they got a hold of. I placed the plant at the very back of our yard out of my sight.
One day, while working in the yard. I looked at the plant and thought of throwing it away (see photos below). It was so ugly and the limbs were just dangling everywhere. I did not know what to do with the plant. I figured that the decent thing to do was let my Mom know I didn’t want the plant, so I left it where it was until I spoke with Mom. However, later that day while browsing through Facebook, I came across an article on a Dragon Fruit plant. The article caught my attention because the plant on the photo looked a lot like my ugly plant with tentacles.
The plant on the article was called a Dragon Fruit Tree. Dragon Fruit is an exotic fruit very hard to find and quite expensive. Ancient Chinese legends says, “The Dragon Fruit was created thousands of years ago by a dragon in battle. During the battle a dragon blew a burst of fire containing the fruit. The Chinese believed that those who consumed the pulp of the dragon fruit were given the strength, and immortality of the dragon. The health benefits and delicious flavor of this exotic fruit is legendary. Dragon Fruit plants are easy to grow in containers as long as you provide a strong support structure! Dragon Fruit offers excellent nutritional and health benefits. Dragon fruit is packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that boost the immune system.” (http://dragonfruitplants.com/index.html).
After reading about the Dragon Fruit plant I decided to keep it and change its container. I re-potted the plant in a larger 22” pot and had my husband build a trellis for it. From that moment on I began caring for it in a different way. I was curious to try the fruit. I had never seen the fruit before, nonetheless tasted it until my trip to Spain. While in Barcelona we visited La Boquería market which is known as one of the best markets in the world. While strolling through the aisles of fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruits, there it was, fresh-cut Dragon Fruit ready to eat! Of course I had to taste this exotic fruit that I had the privilege to own in my back yard. I was so glad I kept the plant. The fruit was delicious and refreshing. What a delight.
Fast forward ten months now and just a few weeks ago I saw that my Dragon Fruit tree was blooming. I anxiously waited for the flower to open and every morning walked outside to check on it. Then one night I happened to glance towards the Dragon Fruit tree and it had the most beautiful huge white flower. It turns out that the Dragon Fruit tree will open its flower during the night. I only saw it open for two nights though. I’m not sure if it had been opening prior to when I first saw it. Right above the flower was a bump where the fruit began to grow. Every day it grew bigger and began ripening from a beautiful green to a bright pinkish-red. And, every day I checked to see if it was ready to harvest.
The day finally arrived, Sunday, August 14, 2016, when the Dragon Fruit was ready to be picked. It was soft to the touch so I tucked on it a few times and it came right off. I rinsed it out and carved into to it. Its rubbery red skin peeled off easily. Its soft white flesh was full of tiny black seeds and it was just as I expected – a delicious sweet taste that melts in your mouth. It was well worth the wait. Lucky me there were four more on the plant ready to blossom and ripen.
My little ugly-looking plant with tentacles turned out to be a beautiful Dragon Fruit tree which I am proud to own.