Dragon Fruit Season: When is Dragon Fruit in Season?

Seasonal dragon fruit varieties cut in half to show the colourful seeds

Is Dragon Fruit in Season in May?

Dragon fruit is in season in Australia in summer and autumn. During the summer most Australian pitaya are still developing but white flesh varieties will become available from October. During winter and spring most dragon fruit is likely to be imported.

When is Dragon Fruit Season?

Dragon fruit season in Australia is in summer and autumn. The peak supply is usually in autumn, after the long summer days allow pitaya plants to fruit. Early season supply of white dragon rfuit comes from the Northern Territory, while red dragon fruit comes later in the season from Queensland. Up to 80% of dragon fruit in Australia is imported so make sure you check the labels.

The pitaya season in Australia yields between 900 to 1,000 tonnes based on a wholesale price of $8 per kg and an estimated production value around $7-8 million (ADFGA). This is an increase from the last official estimates in 2017 of around 740 tonnes (DAFF). In contrast Vietnam produced around 1,400,000 tonnes in 2021.

In 2023 Australia imported an estimated 3,400 tonnes of dragon fruit, with 60% of that from Vietnam. Vietnam’s dragon fruit season is in April/May so if you buy dragon fruit after that it may be imported. Only yellow dragon fruit is sure to be Australian-grown.

Dragon fruit is a summer fruit that requires long warm days to promote flowering. They are part of the cactus family and are extremely adaptable and resilient. The plants should be treated like a cactus, they can endure drought, heat and cold but need good drainage to avoid waterlogged soil.

Dragon fruit is a perennial crop and is usually propagated from cuttings which can enable crops to fruit within one year. They are climbing plants and require supporting structures to grow. Red flesh varieties prefer to spread along a trellis or fence while white flesh plants can grow around a single post. Some varieties can be productive for up to 30 years (AGMRC).

White Dragon Fruit Season

White flesh dragon fruit is the most common variety. This variety has the famous pink or red skin and white flesh with black seeds. In Australia it is grown mostly in the Northern Territory. White dragon fruit season generally extends from September to May, peaking in in early Autumn.

Red Dragon Fruit Season

Red dragon fruit has the famous red skin but additionally has red flesh and black seeds. This variety does not require as much sunlight as white dragon fruit so can bear fruit almost year round. Red dragon fruit season is targeted around January to June to offset the white dragon fruit season. It is mostly grown in Queensland.

Yellow Dragon Fruit Season

Yellow dragon fruit have a yellow skin with white flesh and black seeds. They can only be stored for around 4 weeks so are harder to import and export. They are only grown in small quantities in Australia so are more expensive. Yellow dragon fruit season is very short, with only a few weeks from the NT and Queensland growing seasons.

Where does Dragon Fruit Come From in Australia?

Most dragon fruit varieties we consume in Australia originated in Central and South America. As part of the cactus family their cuttings can survive for months, which may have contributed to their transport outside the Americas.

In it’s native countries the fruit is known as pitaya, but more commonly in Australia we call it dragon fruit, a name which it acquired in Asia thanks to it’s scaly skin. Today more than 50% of global dragon fruit crops are grown in Vietnam. The plant was likely introduced by the French colonies and it has thrived since.

Commercial growing of dragon fruit started in the Northern Territory but the industry has expanded to Queensland with most newer crops being cultivated outside of NT.