Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sad and sorry fellow

SP has this book, This Little Nose, by Jan Ormerod. She's a bit obsessed with it. It's about a baby with a cold, and I could practically read out the whole thing from memory because I've had to read it to her approximately 3107 times over the last couple of months: this little nose is a very little nose... who's a poor, little, grumpy person? Who's a nosey, furry fellow? Anyway, I've developed this odd thing now where every time I look at the plant below, I mix up Ormerod's words in my head: Who's a sad and sorry fellow?

I can hear you now, "um, what is that? Some sort of cactus?"

Well, yes it is, it's a Dragonfruit cactus, or Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus). Dragonfruits are quite nice. We eat them all the time when we are travelling and I think they taste a little like a bland kiwifruit. We don't eat them often at home because they are too expensive to buy regularly.

I bought this plant online. I figured if I even got just a couple of fruit off it it would have paid for itself. I had visions of piles of lurid pink fruits, even though I knew our climate down here in SA is not the greatest for this plant. It's a tropical species, so I thought it would be OK during summer and would just suffer a little in winter.

So my plant arrived. It looked fantastic! And then I left it outside for a few weeks. In Adelaide. In June. Turns out dragonfruit don't like the cold at all.

One stem promptly rotted right off.

Another couple have developed these rusty spots. I won't even show you close ups of the browned off, dried out stems.

Oops. I'm sorry, poor little plant! I brought it inside a week ago and it's sitting by the sink in the warm and dry, and I'm happy to say that at least it doesn't look any worse now. Serves me right for buying plants I know aren't suitable. I've done a bit of reading about dragonfruit since then too. I need to plant it in a smallish pot with potting mix and have some sort of climbing support for it (that part I already knew, having seen them growing in Vietnam), but I've also learnt that the plant needs to be at least 10 pounds before it will fruit, and that some need to be cross-pollinated, at midnight like some kind of vampire plant, by bats/moths/hand. Eep! The flowers are really lovely though. I wonder if I need to buy him a friend? Maybe I should get a second one right away to save time if I find out that this one will not self-pollinate? But then I might not kill one plant, but two! Decisions, decisions.

[A bit off topic, but have you noticed how often I refer to my plants as male? Even though they're for fruit so must be female or at least bisexual? Just one of my oddities!]

1 comment:

The Sage Butterfly said...

It looks like it will make it. It is a very pretty plant.