The Rambutan Tree
Rambutan tree care should see your tree produce fruit with a red spiky exterior and flesh that tastes a little like grapes with a slight strawberry flavour.
The rambutan tree (Nephelium lappacium) is closely related to the lychee and longan. Rambutan trees produce red spiky fruit that have lychee like flesh.
The rambutan originated from the Malaysian−Indonesian region. They were then widely cultivated in other southeast Asia countries, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. They have since spread across the globe.
Rambutan Tree Care
Location and Soil
The rambutan loves the heat and high humidity of the tropics.
Trees can grow up to 20m tall, so keep that in mind. However, regular pruning can keep the plant manageable and help to maximise yields.
Plant in rich well-drained soil with heaps of organic matter. Clay soils are fine as long as the tree is in a location that drains well.
Seedling rambutans are not true to type. Indeed most seedlings develop into male flowering trees. Hence, they do not produce fruit. For this reason we do not grow from seed.
Time needed: 4 minutes.
How to grow rambutan trees by marcot
- Select the branch you world like to marcot
Choose a healthy branch you would like to grow your new tree from.
- Ringbark the branch where you would like your root ball to form
Select a spot approximately 30cm from the tip of the branch and remove the bark or outer layer from the branch for a length or 2 to 3 cm.
- Completely support the cut area with your growing medium
Get your peat or potting mix and wrap it around the cut or ringbarked area. make sure the area you cut is completely covered with a healthy amount of your medium. Secure a small sheet of clear plastic around the medium. Use an electrical tie at each end, pulled tight to stop and peat or potting mix from falling out.
- Watch new roots emerge
After a few weeks you will see new roots emerge from where you made your original cut. You will see them through the plastic without needing to open your plastic.
- Pot your new tree
When you see heaps of roots, cut the branch off (the trunk side of the root ball) and transplant your new tree with new roots into a pot. Water regularly. Congratulations, you have now turned what was a mature branch into a new tree!
Rambutan Tree Care
Fertilise trees at 6 months old and again at 12 months. After that, annual fertilising is satisfactory.
Prune just before the end of the dry season.
Growing in a Pot
Yes you can. However, they are a big tree and in the tropics, most people transplant them out of a pot into their garden when they get bigger. However, if you want to grow yours in a pot, make sure you select a pot at least 500mm wide. Position in at least partial sun and fill with a premium potting mix. Water regularly. While in a pot small regular watering is much preferable to deep soakings.
Watering is an important part of rambutan tree care. The rambutan likes a lot of water. Keep the soil moist and mulch around the tree.
Pests and Diseases
A number of insects will like the fruit and leaves of your trees. These include beetles, moths and caterpillars, mites, mealy bug and scale.
However, regular application of ‘white oil’ can help address some of these pests. White oil is an effective organic pesticide that you can make at home.
The plant can also be susceptible to powdery mildew. However, this can be best treated by spraying with wettable sulphur or the appropriate approved fungicides.
Eating the Fruit
Rambutan is quite low in fat, with less than 1/2 of a gram per cup.
They fruit contains dietary fibre in both soluble and insoluble form. Consequently, this fibre can reduce constipation by adding bulk to stools.
The vitamin c in the fruit will boost your immunity. In addition, studies have shown certain extracts from rambutan fruit can help your body fight infections. Consequently, these extracts may help resistance to some viruses, helping your immune system fight germs.
Rambutans contain antioxidants, including Vitamin C which help to fight free-radicals that can cause damage to your cells.
The rambutan is high in prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your gut. So this fruit is good for gut health.
Other Tropical Fruits
- Black Sapote
- Custard Apple
- Dragon Fruit
- Guava Tree
- Kumquat Tree
- Mamey Sapote
- Natal Plum
- Passion Fruit
- Paw Paw Tree
- Star Apple