I’m lucky to live in the quintessential melting pot of America and, as such, have easy access to many foods that might otherwise be deemed exotic elsewhere. Among these are a dizzying array of fruits and vegetables from around the world, including the rambutan. If you’ve never heard of these you may be wondering what on earth are rambutans and where can you grow rambutans? Keep reading to find out.
What are Rambutans?
A rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a type of fruit which looks much akin to the lychee with a sweet/sour flavor. It is high in iron, vitamin C, copper and antioxidants and while it may be rarely found in your neck of the woods, it is highly prized in Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka and into India as well as eastward through Vietnam, the Phillippines and Indonesia. The name rambutan is derived from the Malay word rambut, which means “hairy” — an apt description for this fruit.
Rambutan fruit trees bear fruit that is indeed hairy in appearance. The fruit, or berry, is oval shaped, with a single seed. The outer peel is reddish or sometimes orange or yellow and covered with malleable, fleshy spines. The interior flesh is white to pale pink with a flavor similar to grapes. The seed can be cooked and eaten or the entire fruit, seed and all consumed.
Rambutan fruit trees are male, female or hermaphrodite. They are evergreens that attain a height of between 50-80 feet in height, with a dense, spreading crown. Foliage is alternate, 2-12 inches long with hairy red rachis when young and one to four pairs of leaflets. These elliptic to oblong leaves are slightly leathery, yellow/green to dark green and dull on the surface with yellow or bluish-green veins underneath.
Where Can You Grow Rambutans?
Assuming you don’t live in any of the countries listed above, you can grow rambutan trees in tropical to semi-tropical environs. They thrive in temps from 71-86 degrees F. (21-30 C.), and even a few days of temps below 50 degrees F. (10 C.) will kill these heat lovers. So, rambutan trees are best grown in warm regions such as Florida or areas of California. Of course, if you have a greenhouse or sunroom, you can give rambutan tree care a whirl by growing them in containers.
Rambutan Growing Tips
Rambutan trees likes to stay moist and you need to ensure this thing. The proper humidity and temperature are the key factors in growing a thriving rambutan.
No matter, you live in the appropriate USDA zone for growing the rambutan tree, you need to be ready for a sudden change in temperature. Our Mother Nature is fickle and it is fully capable of giving a surprise. So, you should be ready to protect your tree from any serious change in temperature.
Rambutan trees can be started with both the seed and seedling. The best way to get a seed or seedling is to visit the nearest nursery or grocery store. In case, you can’t find it in your area, you can order it online as well. While purchasing a seed, you need to ensure that you are purchasing a fresh and less than a week old seed for better results.
If you are opting to grow rambutan from seed, you need to plant it in a small container. Make few holes for better drainage after filling it with organic soil. Cover the seed slightly with dirt.
For germinating, it takes around 10 to 20 days. You will be amazed to know that you need to take care of this plant indoors for two years and then you can plant it outside. After two years, it will be one foot tall. While transplanting, it will be better to repot rather than puting it in the ground. The transplanted tree should be placed in a ceramic, not plastic, pot in soil that is one part each of sand, vermiculite and peat to create good drainage.
Rambutan Tree Care
Further rambutan tree care will include feeding your tree. Fertilize with a food that is 55g potash, 115g phosphate, and 60g urea at six months and again at one year of age. At two years old, fertilize with a food that is 165g potash, 345g phosphate and 180g urea. At the third year, apply 275g potash, 575g phosphate and 300g urea every six months.
Keep the tree damp and humidity at 75-80 percent in a temperature at around 80 degrees F. (26 C.) in partial sun for 13 hours a day. If you live in an area with this climate and want to move the tree into the garden, leave 32 feet between trees and the soil need to be 2-3 yards deep.
The rambutan tree takes a bit of TLC to get a healthy plant going, but is well worth the effort. In four to five years you’ll be rewarded with the unique, tasty fruit.
Read original article here: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/rambutan/rambutan-growing-tips.htm