Improvement of production and fruit quality of pitayas with potassium fertilization

ABSTRACT. Pitaya is a fruit that is becoming promising for cultivation around the world due to the quality of its fruits in terms of taste and their peculiar external shape. Because it is a recenttly cultivated crop, information about fertilization is essential to enable its production. In this sense, this study was performed aiming to evaluate different doses of K2O for pitaya cultivation. Hylocereus undatus and Hylocereus polyrhizus were studied under field conditions. Pitayas were cultivated at a 3 × 3m spacing, and four doses of K2O were tested: 0, 50, 100, and 200 g plant-1, with a 2 × 4 factorial arrangement distributed in a randomized block design. The production per plant (kg and number of fruits) was evaluated in the production cycles of 2013/2014, 2014/2015, and 2015/2016. The fruit quality was also evaluated: longitudinal diameter, transverse diameter, mass, soluble solids content, titratable acidity and soluble solids/titratable acidity ratio. Potassium fertilization increased production and provided a better quality of pitaya fruits.K2O fertilization should be from 106.0 to 133.3 g K2O in the first year and 200 g K2O in the second and third years after planting.