Hylocereus Cacti: A Visual Journey through 13 Varieties and Care Tips

If you’ve ever come across the term “night-blooming cacti,” you might be amazed at the wonders of Hylocereus. These unique plants are not only fascinating but also produce delicious fruits known as pitayas, pitahayas, or dragonfruits. Interestingly, back in 2017, scientific studies showed that the Hylocereus cacti actually belong to the Selenicereus genus. In simpler terms, they belong to a larger family of cacti called Selenicereus. So, get ready to delve into the world of these extraordinary cacti and discover all there is to know about their magical fruits and captivating nature.

types of hylocereus cacti

Related Post:
1,000 Types Of Cacti [With Pictures]

Types Of Hylocereus Cacti

Hylocereus calcaratus (Selenicereus calcaratus)

Hylocereus costaricensis (Selenicereus costaricensis)

Hylocereus costaricensis is also known as the Red-Fleshed Dragonfruit.

Hylocereus extensus (Selenicereus extensus)

Hylocereus guatemalensis (Selenicereus guatemalensis)

Native to tropical and subtropical regions, the Hylocereus guatemalensis is grown extensively in Australia, South America, Asia, Mexico, and certain regions in the United States. The fruits from these climbing cactus vines are deemed quite exotic.

Hylocereus megalanthus (Selenicereus megalanthus)

Hylocereus megalanthus is also known as the Yellow Dragonfruit.

Hylocereus monacanthus (Selenicereus monacanthus)

Hylocereus monacanthus has its origins in various places in Central and South America, some of which include Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

Hylocereus ocamponis (Selenicereus ocamponis )

Hylocereus ocamponis is a cactus plant that is mainly native to parts of California and Florida in the United States. This plant grows in the form of a columnar trunk that then branches out into various stems. The stems all have ribs or ridges that then give rise to central and radial white spines.

Hylocereus polyrhizus (Selenicereus polyrhizus)

Hylocereus polyrhizus is a plant that bears another variety of edible and fleshy dragon fruit. It is mainly found in Panama and Colombia. This plant grows in the form of multiple green cylindrical stems that usually curve and grow in a downward direction.

Hylocereus setaceus (Selenicereus setaceus)

Hylocereus setaceus is native to parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. You can generally find them in dry forested regions and shores.

Hylocereus stenopterus (Selenicereus stenopterus)

Hylocereus stenopterus bears white and pink flowers that tend to bloom during the nights and close up once it brightens up. It is also referred to as the “orchid cactus” due to its distinct flowers.

Hylocereus triangularis (Selenicereus triangularis)

Hylocereus triangularis is also known as the Strawberry Pear.

Hylocereus tricae (Selenicereus tricae)

Hylocereus undatus (Selenicereus undatus)

Hylocereus undatus is more commonly known as the Night-Blooming Cereus.

Taking Care of Hylocereus Cacti

Hylocereus cacti are popular among plant enthusiasts worldwide because they thrive in controlled conditions. If you’re planning to grow them at home, here’s what you need to know.


These cacti love sunlight, especially when they bloom. Make sure they receive full sunlight, except when temperatures exceed 80°F. In high temperatures, provide partial shade (50-60% shade) to prevent damage. Remember, at least 40% direct sunlight is crucial for healthy growth and fruitful results.


Like other cacti, Hylocereus doesn’t need much water. Ensure the soil drains well, allowing water to pass through instead of pooling on the surface or in the pot. Water the plant only when the soil feels dry to the touch, moistening it without over-soaking. During the flowering and fruiting season, water every 3-7 days to keep the soil moist. In non-flowering and winter months, once a month is sufficient.


Sandy soil with a slightly acidic pH (6.1 to 7.5) is ideal for Hylocereus cacti. If you don’t have sandy soil, any well-draining soil mix will work. Avoid alkaline soil, which may cause nutrient deficiencies. Salty soil is generally tolerated well.


Only fertilize during the active growing season using organic fertilizers with moderate nitrogen content. Avoid fertilizing during the blossoming season or cold winter months. To protect the roots and conserve moisture, apply organic mulch over the root zone.


Hylocereus cacti require temperatures above 40°F to avoid damage. The best temperatures for growth are between 65 and 80°F, making tropical and subtropical climates ideal.

Pests and Diseases

Watch out for aphids, mealybugs, mites, thrips, and ants. These pests can harm the plant and its sap. Fungal infections can cause brown spots on the stems, while bacterial infections lead to soft stem rot. Overwatering can cause root rot, and excessive sun exposure can result in sunburn.


As climbing cacti, Hylocereus requires support during growth. Remove side branches until the plant is tall enough to reach a trellis. Support it with a thick rope until it can support itself. Prune any dead, diseased, or damaged parts. Cut stems that crowd or interfere with harvesting.

Potting and Repotting

Plant Hylocereus cacti in well-draining, enriched soil with shade as mentioned earlier. Use a post-and-top frame for support. Repot only if the plant outgrows its pot or if root rot is suspected. A large pot (at least 15 gallons) that drains well is ideal.

Propagation of Hylocereus Cacti

Hylocereus cacti can be propagated using seeds or cuttings. Follow these step-by-step instructions to successfully propagate your own Hylocereus cacti:

Using Seeds

  1. Obtain the seeds: Cut a ripe Hylocereus fruit in half and scoop out the seeds. Separate the seeds from the flesh by washing them thoroughly.
  2. Dry the seeds: After washing, leave the seeds to dry overnight. This step is important to ensure better germination.
  3. Prepare the soil: Fill a small container or seed tray with well-draining soil mix. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Plant the seeds: Plant the seeds in the soil, pushing them gently to a depth of approximately 1/4 inch. Space the seeds apart to allow room for growth.
  5. Cover the container: Use plastic wrap or a clear plastic lid to cover the container and create a mini greenhouse effect. This helps to retain moisture and create a favorable environment for germination.
  6. Provide optimal conditions: Place the container in a warm and bright location, such as near a window with indirect sunlight. Ensure the temperature remains around 75-85°F.
  7. Monitor and water: Check the soil moisture regularly and water gently whenever it feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as excess moisture can cause rotting.
  8. Wait for germination: Germination typically occurs within 15 days, but it may take longer in some cases. Be patient and keep providing the optimal conditions.
  9. Transplant the seedlings: Once the seedlings have two to three sets of true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted. Carefully remove them from the container, maintaining the soil around their roots, and transfer them to individual pots with well-draining soil.

Using Cuttings

  1. Select a healthy cutting: Choose a mature and healthy stem from the Hylocereus cactus. Ensure that the cutting is at least one foot long.
  2. Prepare the cutting: Using a sharp, sterilized knife or pruners, cut the stem at a 45-degree angle. Allow the cutting to dry and cure for about 2-5 days. During this time, the cut end will develop a callus, which helps prevent moisture loss and promote root growth.
  3. Prepare the potting soil: Fill a pot with well-draining soil mix. Make a hole in the soil with a pencil or your finger to accommodate the cutting.
  4. Plant the cutting: Insert the bottom end of the cutting into the prepared hole in the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to provide stability.
  5. Provide optimal conditions: Place the potted cutting in a warm and brightly lit location, preferably with indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, as it may scorch the cutting.
  6. Water sparingly: Water the cutting sparingly to keep the soil lightly moist. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rotting.
  7. Monitor growth: Within a few weeks, new roots will begin to form from the base of the cutting. Monitor the growth progress of the cutting, which may take several months to establish itself fully.
  8. Transplant the rooted cutting: Once the cutting has established a robust root system, it is ready to be transplanted into a larger pot or planted directly in the garden.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can successfully propagate Hylocereus cacti and enjoy their beautiful flowers and delicious fruits for years to come!