Dog Tail Cactus vs Dragon Fruit Cactus: Learn to Recognize

Dog Tail Cactus vs Dragon Fruit Cactus: Learn to Recognize

When you compare Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit cactus, there are high chances of mistakes as they have so many features in common. However, are they really so similar?

Let’s take a closer look at both these plants and find out more about the specific features of Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit! 1
Image credit:

Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit cactus: what are they?

In the initial stage of growth, Dog Tail cacti and Dragon Fruit plants have a similar look. Thus, when getting a new air plant at this stage, it can be so easy to mistakes. However, as both these plants start growing, you can easily differentiate Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit plant.

Now, it’s high time to learn more about the Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit key differences! 6
Image credit:

#1. Name and appearance

Both these plants belong to the Cactaceae family, and both are climbing or vining plants. However, when you regard them in detail, you can see the obvious differences – Dog Trail is not the same plant as Dragon Fruit.

Dog Tail plants receive their name from their stems’ shape and fuzzy appearance that looks like a dog’s tail. Long climbing stems bear thin spikes that make them look like dogs’ fur.

The Dragon Fruit plant got its telling name from the dragonish-looking fruits. Typically, a Dragon Fruit’s shape reminds a large egg. They are covered with bright-red skin, having green scales that remind dragon skin. This magical appearance makes dragon fruit a wanted plant in many houses and gardens.

When young, Dragon Fruit plants feature multiple tiny spines covering their stems. That’s why you can think that Dog Tails and dragon fruits look similar.

However, as it is growing, Dragon Fruit loses this feature and starts looking smoothly.

The Dragon Fruit has long stems as well, but they are not as spiked as the Dog Tail’s ones. Generally, dragon fruit is safe to grow at any spot as it doesn’t have those hazardous spikes.

Dog Tail cactus can be also known as Pitaya de Tortuga, while Dragon Fruit plants have a whole list of different names:

  • Pitahaya (or even Pitaya)
  • Night-blooming Cereus
  • Belle of the night
  • Queen of the Night
  • Honolulu Queen
  • Moonlight cactus
  • Strawberry pear 2
Image credit:

#2. Flowering

Both these plants are nocturnal bloomers. However, their flowers look differently so you can’t take a Dog Tail’s flower as a Dragon Fruit’s one.

Dog Tail flowers are white (or pinky-white) with lots of narrow petals. A flower is fragrant, with a yellow inside. The flower looks quite bushy because of these multiple narrow petals.

These flowers open to the evening and stay blooming the whole night.

Dragon Fruit flowers also produce white petals and yellow insides. However, their petals are wider, and the whole flower has a bowl-like shape. During the daytime, the flowers stay as closed buds with plenty of long sepals growing around them.

#3. Fruit production

Dragon Fruit cacti produce unique fruits that have a dragonish scaly appearance. The fruit has a shape of an egg that is covered with bright red skin and large green scales. Under the skin, there is a white pulpy flesh with multiple black seeds.

If you are interested in the Dragon Fruit’s taste, it can be described as similar to pear, watermelon, or kiwi fruit.

Dragon fruit is consumed similarly to a kiwi fruit, by peeling the fruit and consuming the delicious flesh.

It is absolutely okay to eat Dragon Fruit if you don’t have any allergic reactions to it. These fruits are full of health benefits: you can strengthen your immune system, lower the blood sugar level, provide weight loss, get the natural prebiotics contained in the fruits, etc.

Dog Tail cactus produce another type of fruit. These are round fruits with glossy black skin. However, these fruits are not edible.

#4. Average size

The sizes can vary depending on where you are growing your cacti. Keep in mind that outdoor plants always grow taller and wider than indoor ones.

On average, an outdoor Dog Tail cactus reaches about 8–20 feet tall and 3–10 feet wide. For an outdoor Dragon Fruit, these indicators are more constant, up to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

#5. Native countries

The natural growing areas are quite different for both of them.

You can meet Dragon Fruit in South America, while Dog Tails can be found in North, Central, and South America as well. 3
Image credit:

Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit cactus: growing tips

Since cacti are not demanding plants, they are mostly easy to grow and maintain. However, if you don’t follow all the growing tips correctly, the growing process may be quite tricky.

There are some different growing tips when talking about different species. As for the Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit plant, these tips are quite similar but with a few differences.

Dog Tail cactus growing tips

Growing dog-tail cactus plants is not a science. When following the growing tips, it is quite easy to maintain.

Tip #1: provide enough sunlight. Dog Tail cactus grows best in full sun so you can leave it in direct sunlight for a very long time. Dog Tail cacti can spend days and even weeks or months in full sun spots, but growing in partial shade is also okay.

Tip #2: choose the right place. Dog Tail cactus can be grown both as an indoor and outdoor plant. However, its thorny nature can be a real hazard, especially if you have pets or kids at home.

Choose the right place for your dog’s tail where no one can reach it and injure themselves with the prickly thorns.

The natural habitat of these cacti is the higher trees, where they cling to the bark.

Tip #3: water moderately. Like other cacti, the Dog Tail cactus is a drought-tolerant plant. However, in the hot summer season, it needs more moisture. Water your Dog Tail cactus more while the weather is hot, but avoid over-watering! Excess moisture in the soil can cause root rot and development of fungal diseases.

Tip #4: opt for the right type of soil. Dog Tail cactus plant prefers slightly acidic or neutral soil that is well-drained and retains just enough moisture for the plant to consume.

Tip #5: growing support. As an epiphytic plant with aerial roots, Dog Tail cactus need support to grow. Naturally, Dog Tail grows on rocks and large trees. At home, you can grow in on the special structures where your dog tail cactus can cling, e.g. in hanging baskets that are similar to their natural habitat.

Keep in mind that overgrown aerial roots are the exact sign of the lack of water or free space to grow. To deal with this problem, give your Dog Tail cactus more moisture, or re-pot it to provide more space. 4
Image credit:

Dragon Fruit cactus growing tips

Dragon Fruit cacti are not tricky to grow.

The growing tips are almost similar to the Dog Tail’s ones. There are just a few differences:

  • Dragon Fruit needs more watering than most other cacti (about once in 2 weeks).
  • Along with the sandy, well-drained soil, you can use some amendments such as manures and composts.
  • Naturally, Dragon Fruit is an epiphytic plant with clingy aerial roots that are prone to hold onto the rocks or trees and other plants to grow on. When growing at home, you can organize special structures for your dragon fruit cacti to support. 5
Image credit:


Are Dog Tail cactus and Dragon Fruit the same?

As you already know, these are different cacti species. You can recognize them even by their different appearance:

Dog Tail cactus have long and thorny stems of fuzzy appearance looking like a dog’s tail. It can produce fruit that is not edible, and its thorny nature can make it hazardous. When growing a Dog Tail cactus, take care of the safest location.
Dragon Fruit cactus has flat green foliage with just a few spikes on the segment. It has edible fruits that are not only delicious but also full of health benefits.

Are Dragon Fruit and cactus fruit the same?

No, they aren’t. These two fruits differ a lot not only by appearance but also by genus.

Cactus fruit is also known as a Сactus pear, Prickly pear, and Tuna fruit. Their skin color usually varies a lot, including many different possible colors. They have a bit of prickly skin covered with tiny spikes that are easy to remove while peeling the fruit.

Dragon Fruit has scaly, bright-red skin. The prickly scales are usually big and green (hence the name). Sometimes you can meet a yellow variety with prominent spines.

While cactus fruit belongs to the Opuntia genus, Dragon Fruit is related to the Selenicereus genus.

What plant is similar to a Dog Tail cactus?

You can find a cactus plant with similar stems that look almost like the Dog Tail cactus. However, the stems are much thinner and longer. Due to the stem’s shape, this cactus is called rat tails.

What is difference between cactus and Dragon Fruit?

An actual Dragon Fruit is also named pitahaya, as well as a cactus plant that produces these delicious scaled fruits. Sometimes the term “Dragon Fruit” is used as a general name for many cacti species from the Hylocereus genus and Stenocereus genus.

Final thoughts

Now you can clearly see the obvious differences between Dog Tail cactus vs Dragon Fruit cactus. We hope that our guide was useful to you!

Read Also: Succulents That Like Full Sun and Heat

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *