Rambutan

Diary of Rambutan Bonsai 

It is possible to grow these in containers, as long as the right environment is provided.  Rambutan is similar to Longan and Lychee.  They all have a hard exterior with a firm, white grape flesh type of interior, revealing a single pit type of seed at the center.  Rambutan, however, is covered with curly spikes on the exterior.  "[T]he tender, fleshy, delicious fruit is revealed. Its taste is described as sweet and sour, much like a grape." I agree on the flavor - it is very grape-like. Rambutans grown from seed can produce fruit in 4 or 5 years in optimal conditions following a spring/summer blooming season.  Rambutans enjoy acid soils (pH 5.5 to 6.5) with high organic matter.. But most important is a good supply of suitable water and protection from wind. USDA Zone 10-11.


Nephelium Lappaceum - Red Rambutan

August 5, 2017 - 2032 Days To Fresh Fruit


It has been a few months and the older leaves became ragged looking, much like the cacao tree leaves do.  There was a flush of new growth with a bunch of leaves.  

The leaves came out with some brown edges, so a slow release low nitrogen fertilizer was applied to help resolve that issue.  It seems to have worked - the new bright chartreuse leaves look really healthy.






April 28, 2017 - 2132 Days To Fresh Fruit
Nephelium Lappaceum - Red Rambutan


Along with many other plants, the rambutan was repotted to give more room for root growth.

The rambutan hasn't had much above ground activity either,but the below ground activity is going strong. I neglected to grab a photo of the root growth.

Perhaps repotting will stimulate the plant to do more above ground than below ground.

The leaves look great.  The coloring looks great.  The roots look great.  So, we can only assume the plant is doing well and will grow more some time soon.





March 5, 2017 - Macro Shot, 2181 Days To Fresh Fruit!

The rambutan seems to be doing well with nice, dark leaves and a leaf bud starting at the tip of one of the branches.  Nothing remarkable to report, health is great, growth is happening and that's about it.


February 24, 2017 - Seedling Arrived, 2190 Days To Fresh Fruit!
Nephelium Lappaceum - Red Rambutan - Lisbeth


I had no luck growing rambutan from seed, so I purchased a grafted red rambutan listed on Etsy.  The listing states the plant is grafted and will produce fruit in two or three years.

The seller is on Etsy (sc00bySnacks69) and provided great support to all questions about the plant and care.  Seller also shipped the plants very securely.

Red Rambutan graft
After breaking out the macro lens and looking hard, I was able to find what looks like a graft on the trunk/stem.

Starting Rambutan From Seed


To grow a rambutan from seed, first get some small pots or cups. They must have adequate drainage holes in the bottom so the tree roots don't start to rot. Fill the pots with organic soil that is amended with sand and organic compost so it is loamy.

The most important things to remember with planting rambutan seeds are:

Seeds must be put in flat. If you put them in with the long side going down, then they will almost surely die. Don't bury seeds too deep. Just push them into the dirt and brush a bit of soil on top of them. Soil must be kept loose. Unlike with some tree seeds, the soil should be very loose and not packed. Soil must be loamy. This is necessary for improving drainage. It will take about 10-21 days for the rambutan seed to germinate.

Rambutan seedlings bear fruit in 5-6 years but the ratio of female to male trees is 4-5 to 7. Vegetative propagation is essential. Budding is the preferred method with budded trees flowering after three years.

Remember to water Rambutan very often. Use Zone 10 - Zone 11 as your guideline for the appropriate climate for this plant. Rambutan needs a loamy soil with a ph of 5.5 to 6.5 (weakly acidic soil). Rambutan is generally regarded as a tender plant, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside. https://www.quora.com/What-are-tips-for-growing-rambutan


2016-09-18 No Seedlings


I tried the method above, and achieved no sprouts. I pulled the seeds from the soil and replaced them with seeds that appeared to be getting nubs for germination. The remaining seeds were rolled up in a damp paper towel and put into a zip lock baggie for sprouting.