SWEET TREATS: Peter Pain with his dragon fruit plants at the Wondai Garden Expo last year.
SWEET TREATS: Peter Pain with his dragon fruit plants at the Wondai Garden Expo last year. Christian Berechree

'As big as rockmelons': New fruit coming to Wondai

THE best way to eat dragon fruit is chilled, with a side of ice cream.

This is according to Peter Pain, who has been breeding dragon fruit plants for the past six years.

"Do yourself a favour, start with the red and put it in the fridge," he said.

"Peel it, dice it into quarter-inch squares and have it with a little ice cream, there's no better way."

Mr Pain, who lives in Maryborough, is heading to Wondai Garden Expo on April 20-21 to release his two new plant varieties.

"These two new ones bear fruit as big as rockmelons," he said.

The two varieties, Thi and Leon, will be released for the first time at the garden expo in April this year.

"I've got people wanting them, but I'm not releasing them until Wondai," he said.

"And they'll be at a reduced price just for the show."

Mr Pain said it takes about two years to cultivate dragon fruit plants to be three foot high - the perfect age and maturity for selling.

He said he wasn't sure how many plants he would have available, and urged customers to get in early to avoid missing out.

"I've just filled a big order for a farmer, but I hope to be taking about 30 each."

Mr Pain also stocks white, red, pink beauty and yellow dragon fruit varieties as well.

"They've all got their own taste, too," he said.

"Don't let anyone ever tell you they all taste the same."

Dragon fruit belongs to the cactus family and Mr Pain said they flower when it starts to rain.

"The moment they start to flower, they need water," he said.

"Give them a little bit of water every one to two days.

"When they're not flowering, water them a little once a week, and fertilise them every three months," he said.

"Make sure they've got good drainage, too."

Mr Pain said within 12 months, they would start to bear fruit.

"They fruit pretty quickly and once they hang, they'll start to fruit," he said.

"A lot goes into it, you'd be surprised about the time and effort it takes to breed them," Mr Pain said.

"Too many people just take cuttings off other people's plants thinking they're going to get a good plant, but it doesn't always work that way.

"I always sell plants with good roots, the moment you take them out of the pots they'll go like anything," he said.

"I won't sell them any other way.

"I always make sure the customers get a good plant."