Dragon Fruits – Fertilization Recommendations

Fertilization Regimen

Dragon Fruit requires judicious application of fertilizer for better yields. The recommendations for fertilizer rates varies considerably. However, it is generally found that the crop requires frequent fertilization at the early stage of growth. The recommended fertilization application in Taiwan is 4kg of organic manure per pillar every 4 months, supplemented with 100g per plant of NPK 13:13:1. In Hawaiian plantations, NPK 16:16:16 is applied at 180 – 230g per pillar every 4 – 6 months. Calcium and micronutrients are also applied to enhance fruit growth and firmness. Low nitrogen fertilizers mixtures of NPK 0:10:10 & 2:10:10 has also been recommended for Dragon Fruits.

In Vietnam, young (less than 3 years old) plants are fertilized with 10 – 15kg of farmyard manure and 100 g of super phosphate/plant at the time of planting. During the first two years, 300 g of urea and 200 g of NPK (16:16:8) is applied to each plant every year. The fertilizer is applied in three lots, at one month, six months and twelve months after planting, respectively (Ke, 1997). According to Tri et al (2000), mature plants (at least three years old) should be fertilized 4 times a year as follows :

No. Stage Type of fertilizer Application rate per pillar
1 Immediately after harvest N

P2O5

Manure

216g

216 g

20kg

2 Two months later N

P2O5

K2O

162g

144g

45g

3 Just before flowering N

P2O5

K2O

54g

288g

120g

4 When young fruits are developing N

P2O5

K2O

108g

72g

135g

For BINH THUAN Dragon Fruit, the fertilization regimen is as follows :

Stage Type of Fertilizers Application Rate per pillar Frequency
Year 1 NPK 20:20:15 50g Once a month
Year 2 onwards NPK 20:20:15

Manure

100g

2kg

Once a month
Flower bud generating stage (about 25 days) Fertilizers for spraying on foliage e.g. GA3, Antonics NA Spray on the 7th, 14th & 21st day after flower buds appear
Bearing fruits stage (about 30 days) Fertilizers for spraying on foliage e.g. GA3, Antonics NA Spray on the 3rd and 14th day after flowering

The fertilization regimen reportedly practiced by some farmers in Vietnam  is as follows :

Stage Type of fertilizer Application rate per pillar Application Frequency
Year 1 Urea

Super Phosphate

50g

50g

Every 4 months
Fruit bearing stage Urea

Super Phosphate

Potassium

Organic Fertilizer

0.5kg

0.5kg

0.5kg

20kg

Every 4 months
During fruits development Micro elements e.g. foliar fertilizer Once a week
10 days before harvest No fertilizer to be applied - -

The fertilization practice recommended by the Malaysian Department of Agriculture is as follows:

Stage Type of Fertilizer Application Rate per pillar Application Frequency
Young plant (Up to 6 mth) NPK 15:15:15 100g 2 months once
Young plant (7 mths and above) NPK 15:15:15 200g 2 months once
Fruit bearing stage NPK 13:13:21 300g Alternate 1 month fertilization for fruiting and 1 month fertilization for growth
After fruiting NPK 15:15:15 300g Alternate 1 month fertilization for fruiting and 1 month fertilization for growth

The fertilization practice recommended by Department of Agriculture Sarawak is as follows:

Stage Type of fertilizer Application Rate per pillar Application Frequency
Initial (after planting) Rock Phosphate

Dolomite

Manure

0.4kg

0.1kg

5kg

NA

Note : Apply fertilizers at the root, body, branches before planting

Year 1 NPK 15:15:15 0.1kg Once every 2 months
Start flowering NPK 12:12:17.2+TE 0.1kg Once every 2 months
Year 2 and above NPK 12:12:17.2+TE

Organic fertilizer

0.2kg

5kg

Once every 2 months

Once every 4 months

References :

Ke, N.V. (1997). Dragon fruit. Agriculture Publisher, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tri. T.M., Hong, B.T.M. and Chau, N.M. (2000). Effect of N, P and K on yield and quality of Dragon fruit. Annual Report of Fruits Research, 2000, Southern Fruit Research Institute. Agriculture Publisher, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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