How to Grow and Care Rambutan Tree

Want to grow a Rambutan tree in your garden? This guide will definitely help you learn how to grow a Rambutan tree explaining all the growing and caring tips. Have a look!

The greatest thing about garden areas is you get plenty of choices to grow in small spaces. From flowers to fruits and vegetative plants, you can grow anything if you do care properly. But if you genuinely want to try something unique not so popular plant, then Rambutan is an ideal choice to grow.

This is a species that definitely enhance the look of your garden areas. Though this plant doesn’t count as a fruiting plant in the USA, if you once try it then you truly love to try this exceptional fruit.

Nowadays, the plant is gaining popularity in a warmer growing region. So, if you’re ready to grow a Rambutan tree in your area, here is the simplest guide for you.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with details about how to plant this Rambutan, how to care for it, harvesting, pest and disease control, etc. 

Let’s have a look and read it in detail starting with an overview of a Rambutan tree that will help you learn more about this kind of species and why you should grow them?

All About Rambutan Tree

Nephelium lappaceum

Rambutan is quite similar to lychee and has a sour and sweet taste. The fruit is rich in Vitamin C, iron, copper, and many other antioxidants.

The plant is rarely found in the neck wood. But is well known in the regions of Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri-lanka and in some parts of India. The name of this is derived from Malay. The word is Rambut which means the fruit with a hair.

Rambutan tree bear spike-like fruits that are oval in shape and has a single seed. The outer cover of the fruit is reddish in color.

But the color may vary from yellow to orange and has fleshy spines. Also, the inner fleshy fruit of the plant has a plane pinkish color which is similar to the texture of grapes. The seed of the fruit can be cooked as you can consume it directly also. 

This is a hermaphrodite plant which means the same plant has male and female. The plant is evergreen and can attain a height between 15-24 meters.

Rambutan has a spreading crown with dense leaves. The foliage or leaves are alternatives. It has 2-12 inches long hairy red rachis at a young age. The elliptic present oblong leaves are yellow to dark green and have a leathery texture.

There’s one more guide we published a few days before that lets you grow passion fruit with ease. Do not forget to check the article. 

Best Varieties of Rambutan

Rambutans often have red or yellow skin, however, they can have other colors as well. Medium-sized red types often mature earliest.

The yellow types are often smaller and mature later. The meat of red rambutans is a little rougher than the juicier, golden fruits. 

There are far more than 200 types, so see what’s available in your area and, if so many than one, pick the one with the qualities you value most.

Here are a few of the most well-known varieties of the plant which you can grow in your garden spaces. 

1. Santo Tomas

The Santo Tomas species produce yellow to pinkish skin and thicker fleshy fruits. It bears small seeds and yields a moderate quantity of fruits.

2. Jitlee

Jitlee produces fruits in high quantities. The fruits are red crimson in color. The flesh inside the fruit is free.

It’s a smaller cultivator plant and makes sure to keep at least ten feet of space between the plants. 

grow a rambutan tree

3. Ponderosa  Ferreras

The fruit of the plant has red-skinned with soft spines and large flesh. It has extremely thick flesh and a sweeter taste.

It can yield a moderate to the high amount of fruits. 

4. Kaimana

The species is extremely popular in the Hawai’i region because the flowers don’t suffer from pollination problems. 

grow a rambutan tree

5. Princes Caroline

This is one of the heavy harvesting plants having dark reddish color fruits.

It has thick flesh and the seeds are very small in size. 

6. Queen Zaida

This variety produces medium size fruits having dark red skin. It has a sweet white color with fleshy fruit inside it.

It yields moderately in your location.

7. Quirino

The plan fruit has yellowish skin with pink spines and reddish color spines. The species produce juicy and sweet fruits.

Moreover, the tree can bear a cluster of 80 fruits. 

8. Quezon

Quezon species produce small to medium size fruits. It has a sweet and sour taste. The tree can be grown moderately. 

9. Jitlee

Jitlee produces fruits in high quantities. The fruits are red crimson in color. The flesh inside the fruit is free.

It’s a smaller cultivator plant and makes sure to keep at least ten feet of space between the plants. 

10. Governor Infantada

The cultivator has an acidic and sour taste with thicker flesh. However, the fruits don’t store well.

So, you have to consume the fresh fruits within one week after harvesting them. It produces a moderate quantity of fruits. 

11. Silengkeng

The species can also be spelled as Seelenkeng. It has a weeping growth habit and the fruit of the plant has a sour taste.

This species of the plant is highly popular in Hawai’I’. This species is moderately clinging. 

12. Binjai

The cultivar produces fruits that are orange-red in color along with a clinging testa. The tree can grow up to 10 feet in height.

They can be planted at a distance of ten feet apart from each other. 

These are some of the varieties of Rambutan trees that you can grow easily in your backyard or in your garden.

Well, with this, there are many benefits as well of growing a Rambutan tree which we will discuss in the next section. Keep reading! 

Also Read: A Step-by-step Guide to Grow Passion Fruit from Seeds

Benefits of Rambutan

The Rambutan plant is known for its medicinal value as it is rich in antioxidants, copper, Vitamin C, and other elements.

It plays a crucial role in the growth of the cells and improves the functioning of the brain, bones, and heart.

It’s an excellent source of insoluble and soluble fibers which is helpful to get relief from constipation.

Moreover, it is also helpful to improve digestion and helps to deal with gut disorders. 

Above this, the plant is extremely low in calories but rich in fiber and water. Eating this fruit can help to keep you away from overeating and give you a feeling of fuller for a long time.

It would be an excellent fruit to consume during the weight loss journey. 

Other benefits of the plant that will help you surely grow a Rambutan tree are as follows: 

1. Protect Against Diabetes

Various reports suggest that the Rambutan is perfect to control diabetes.

The peel extract is helpful to increase the sensitivity to insulin and reduce the blood sugar level as well as insulin resistance. 

2. Reduce Risk of Cancer

Few studies show that Rambutan fruits have anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory property which is helpful to prevent the growth of cancerous cells and also helpful to control the spreading. 

For reducing the risk of cancer, you should also try to start microgreens gardening at home as well. 

3. Protection Against Heart Disease

Studies show that the Rambutan peel extract can reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in diabetic patients. Growing permissions also helps in protection against heart disease.

Climate and Soil Conditions to Grow Rambutan

Rambutan can be grown in clayey or sandy loam soil which is rich in organic matter. The soil has to be well drained so you can add soil to maintain its drainage.

Also, the tree can be grown properly in tropical climates and high humid regions under favorable environmental conditions. 

It only requires around 150 cm of well-drained annual rainfall. It can grow at 800 meters above the level of the sea.

The ideal temperature to grow this plant is 22 to 35⁰C. However, due to climatic variation, it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

Also, ensure that the soil is well-drained and has good organic content. The pH of the soil must be 4.5 to 6.5 as it can tolerate an acidic and alkaline nature.

Make sure to avoid water logging conditions as it may damage the roots of the plant. 

Ideal Pots for the Rambutan

There is a different kind of potting mix available to grow the Rambutan tree. Each potting mix has its own benefits and disadvantages.

The wood dries quicker and clay pots can be best for growing this plant. There are some plastic and metal available which can be heavy and available in the market. 

These can be used as pots for the Rambutan plants. The pot must have holes to maintain drainage. Also, with tropical plants, drainage is essential for the plants. 

When you purchase the pot, be sure to keep a mesh in the pot so that it can hold the soil properly. You can place the plant inside the new pot by filling the pot with soil. 

You should also check out how to prepare the soil for planting in pots if you like to grow plants in the pots. 

How to Grow a Rambutan

Excited enough to know how to grow a Rambutan tree from seeds? Well, follow the below step-by-step guide and learn to grow a Rambutan tree from seeds. 

  • Rambutan trees can be grown with the seeds that are collected from either fresh fruit or purchased from the market.
  • But make sure that the seeds are fresh and old no longer than a week. The seed should be vial and ensure to remove all the pulp from the seed. 
  • Plant the seed into the small pot that has a drainage hole in it. Fill the pot with organic manure-rich soil.
  • Now, place the seed into the soil by digging a hole into the soil. Cover the seed with soil and ensure to water properly. 
  • Let the seed germinate for more than 21 days. 
  • The plant may take up to 2 years to be ready for transplanting.
  • At the time of transplanting, the plant will be only a foot long and fragile so you have to take care while transplanting. 
  •  Always transfer the plant into a ceramic pot instead of a plastic pot. Instead, you can also plant them directly into the open ground.

Planting Medium to Grow a Rambutan Tree

  • The plant can grow well in all forms of soil that are rich in fertilizers and have a crumbly texture. You can add sand and produce soil organic matter to enrich the soil.
  • Make sure to water your plant at the depth of 100-150 cm of the soil surface.
  • The plant doesn’t require any special tropical climate, location, or soil, all you have to do is provide the fertilized soil and provide proper care.
  • It can thrive in any condition and lowland but make sure to grow at the height of 30-500 meters above the level of the sea.

Related: How to Plant a Mango Tree

How to Plant Rambutan

If you want to grow the Rambutan successfully, then loam soil is an ideal option to grow this plant. You can use grafted saplings to grow the plant.

To plant this, dig holes into the soil at least 3 feet deep in width and length.

Plant these grafted saplings and try to maintain a distance of at least 40 feet between two rows of the trees.

Also, fill one-third part of the hole with compost, bone manure, neem cake, and cow dung powder.

For the initial three years of growth, this tree requires shades but after three years it requires enough sunlight to grow.

The tree is not for multiple cropping. So, the more light it receives, the more it grows.

Moreover, it does require proper irrigation, and do not forget to add fertilizer timely.

How to Care for Rambutan Plant

It is easy to plant but making sure it grows fast and healthy is sometimes a daunting task.

But, you need not worry, here are the best Rambutan plant caring tips that you need to follow once you plant them. 

  • Give Rambutan a fertilizer created especially for fruit trees. Just before blooming and again after harvest, use the recommended amount as specified by the manufacturer.
  • If your winters are dry, water thoroughly all year round. If it doesn’t rain, make sure to water the soil regularly since rambutan trees require at least an inch of water every week.
  • Rambutans can endure drought, but only for a brief time.
grow a rambutan tree
  • If your plants would be in a pot, be sure to add water into it until the water begins to drip from the bottom. When the soil is dry to the touch, re-water.
  • Rambutan branches should be cut off to improve form and prevent further damage. When the tree is completely developed, it won’t need any trimming.

How to Apply Fertilizer to Growing Rambutan

The Rambutan plant is a heavy feeder plant. It needs fertilizer to grow properly. You can add fertilizer when the new leaves emerge from the plant and mature.

Ideally, you can add around 5 kg of compost into the soil. You can add cow dung and mix it into the soil. 

Mulching the plant would be an excellent choice to conserve the moisture within the plant during the winter season.

Also, you can spray a little amount of jeevamritham which can stimulate the growth of microorganisms to support the growth of plants.

The microorganism supplies nitrogen to the plant. 

grow a rambutan tree

How to Control Pest in Rambutan Tree

Generally, the plant doesn’t affect the pest if you’ve nurtured your pant properly.

If the plant attains the height of 40 feet spacing adequately in your garden spaces, then it doesn’t affect by the pest attack.

Sometimes, the mealy bugs, leaf-eating caterpillars, and beetles may attack the plant.

If you notice such bites, then make sure to burn the affected branches to protect the plant from other pest attacks.

You can also apply neem-based formula or oil and spray it on your plant to protect it from leaf-eating caterpillars.

How to Harvest Rambutan Fruits

The harvesting time of the fruit may vary from location to location. Suppose, you’re growing this plant in the tropical climate of Hawaii, then harvesting time will be from later summer to winter.

The fruits are ready for harvesting when the hair of the fruits becomes bright in color. Be sure to check if the fruit is plumpy and feel nice when you try to squeeze them.

The fruit of this plant is usually eaten fresh because it requires a lot of storage space. Moreover, they last only for two weeks in your refrigerator.

Besides this, they can be used in making ice creams, jams, sorbets, and baking anything. Though the spikes on the fruit look hard they are soft and you can easily peel the skin easily.

grow a rambutan tree

However, you’ve to be careful while peeling them because the fruit may slip from your hand. 

Gently make a cut on the outer skin of the fruit with the help of a knife and open the fruit. Now, pull the two halves of the fruit apart.

Be sure that the flesh remains intact within the cover. Once, the cover is removed you can cut the flesh part.


  1. How much time does it take for the Rambutan tree to bear fruits?

    Anywhere around four to five years are taken by Rambutan tree before it started giving fruits. But to have an exotic fruit, you should take care of all the growing and caring needs of the Rambutan plant.

  2. Is the Rambutan self-pollinating plant?

    No, for the fertilization, the Rambutan tree requires cross-pollination. Rambutan trees that you grow from seeds produce around 50% male flowering trees that never bear fruits. And the rest have 50% female functional flowers that will bear fruits after four to five years.

  3. Can I grow Rambutan in pots?

    Yes, you can plant the seeds in a pot. Make sure the pot has some drainage holes in the bottom. Ensure that you filled the pot with organic soil with sand and some compost. Put the seed in the dirt first and then cover it with the soil. Just put a layer of soil above the seeds. It will take around 15-20 for the seeds to germinate. Later you can transfer them to the garden area.

  4. How do I know that Rambutan Plant is a male?

    There are many Rambutan varieties that have male panicles. They don’t bear any fruits if you grow them. To know which ones are male plants, you need to check if they have yellow nectaries and 5-7 stamens.

  5. What is the English name of Rambutan?

    Nephelium lappaceum is the English name for Rambutan. You mostly found this tree in South-East Asia. The fruits that the tree beers is called Rambutan and it is from the Lychee family.

Grow Rambutan Tree with Ease!

So, here you go! Rambutan is the nicest plant to grow in your garden. But it requires a lot of water to grow ideally.

Since the plant grows in a tropical and warm environment, it can be attacked by pests so you have to follow the above-mentioned tips to take care of the plant.

In addition, the plant loves warm and humid climates so be sure to provide them with enough sunlight during the daytime or grow them in those areas where the plant can receive adequate light. Last but not least, it has great medicinal value as well so growing this plant in your garden spaces is worthier.

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