HELP!!! Pitaya / Cerus / Dragon fruit rotting

chris_chico(10A)July 10, 2010

I have had a Pitaya / Cerus / Dragon Fruit for a few years now and have never gotten fruit from it since it always rots within a week or so after bloom. It appears that there are some sort of small beetles going into the flower the night of bloom and laying larvae which then destroy the bud before it can develop and the immature fruit drops. I have included a link to pictures if anyone can tell me what it looks like and offer suggestions. I have thought of the obvious, spray with insecticide but I would have to spray inside the flower which will become the fruit I wish to eat...not sounding like a good plan! THANKS for any help!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: ROTTING FLOWERS/FRUIT

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Axel(12b/Sunset H2)

I don't think there is anything wrong with your pitahaya flowers rotting. That's probably what is supposed to happen when it doesn't get pollinated. The insects are just opportunistic to go and eat the unpollinated fruit.

To get fruit, you will not only need two separate varieties, but you will also need bats or do your own hand pollination at night. See Edgar Valdivia's pitahaya pollination tutorial for details on how to pollinate.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 12:17AM
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thisisme(az9b)

I agree, the flowers of all other fruit bearing plants wither and will rot do to high humidity or rain. Is this one supposed to be different?

By the way thank you for posting those pictures. Man oh many what a beautiful plant.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:53AM
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chris_chico(10A)

Thanks, it is always humid when it blooms in summer here in S FL. I too thought that may be an issue but the flower base is solid and firm on the outside as it is rotting from inside out and filled with larvae within the first week.

This is almost definitely due to the bugs I have shown in the photos laying the larvae into the flower the night of bloom and then they proceed to eat it from the inside out. I was hoping for some bagging advice or some other trick to save the fruit. It is so very frustrating having such a plant and not being able to even taste one fruit!

As far as pollination, they are definitely getting pollinated from the swarm of bugs/beetles plus moths which are so bad I can only look at the flowers for a few minutes once it is dark and they open. For good measure I hand pollinated each flower this time so that is not a concern. This should be a self pollinating variety although I have not been able to confirm that due to the rotting issue prior to fruit formation. Maybe my experiment with removing all of the flower the day after bloom except the stigma and pistil will eliminate the larva's eggs, which I hope are in the web of stamen, while still allowing the pollen to do its thing? I have read and watched all of Edgar's stuff.

Does anyone know the i.d. of my bug/beetle?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:32AM
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chris_chico(10A)

The blooms where I removed all of the flower except the stigma and pistil the day after bloom are still green and maturing a week later. The ones which I did it 2-3 days after bloom all yellowed and dropped. I have 3 more buds which will be blooming this week so I will experiment further and report is this is a way to avoid fruit loss from pests attracted at the flower stage.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:00PM
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thisisme(az9b)

Chris I have never grown Dragon fruit. However I have seen the mature fruit still on the plants. I have never seen any that still have the flowers attached. That leads me to believe the flowers wither and fall off just like all (nearly all) other fruiting plants. As far as pests go I would do what I could to get rid of them without destroying any natural pollinators.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:20PM
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tdcook12

I too have experienced the little beetle. I have been caring for a huge pitaya for several years now, and have gotten more and more fruit. But I have never seen these before. I am asking UF entemology dept. for help. Also I never have fruit with the first bloom as well as the following blooms.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 6:20PM
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