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I’m a little concerned about my dragonfruit plant (at least I think that’s what it is-bought it as a “cactus”). It has always had a little of this scaling, but it has gotten worse recently. I’m just wondering if anyone knows what it actually is/ what I can do to prevent it? My plant is still growing so is relatively happy, it’s just getting this hard outer “skin” on it.

Any advice greatly appreciated! Thank you’enter image description here

3 Answers 3


I believe this plant is a Hylocereus, which is a genus of epiphytic jungle cactus. The brown patches you see look like corking which is the hardening/thickening of the skin/flesh in older parts of cactus plants. It's not a bad thing, but too much can indicate potential insect or disease problems.

Check yours carefully for any small insects or fine webbing and address if present.

Your plant looks like it doesn't get enough sun. New growth should be thick and robust.


It looks like an epiphyllum (or orchid cactus).

I guess it is OK for this plant to develop hard skin on older stems. If the young stems are green and happy, it should be good.

You can prune it to look more young, however. Or wait until it grows into a tree :)


That's a lovely Pitaya you got there.

The so called "scaling" of the stem is natural, it happens as the stems mature and become more woody.

Pitaya is a climber, it needs something to climb on - if you provide it with proper support, over time the older, lower stems become thicker and can provide better support for the growing plant.

Also bare in mind that Pitaya is a succulent - it requires soil with very good drainage and little organic material, as it is extremely susceptible to bacterial and fungal activity that may result in root rot.

  • In the spirit of accuracy, Pitaya is what the fruit of various cactus are called, not the cactus themselves. This plant appears to be a Hylocereus which is a jungle cactus, not a desert cactus.
    – Tim Nevins
    Feb 12, 2020 at 14:10

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