Rambutan Growing Tips: How to Care for Rambutan Trees

How to Care for Rambutan Trees

Rambutans: What are they?

Rambutan, a fruit with a sweet and sour taste and resembling lychee in appearance, holds high value in Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka. It is found across Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India. Rambutan is rich in iron, vitamin C, copper, and antioxidants. Its name “rambutan” derives from the Malay word “rambut,” meaning “hairy.” The fruit itself is an oval-shaped berry with a single seed and a soft, pliable outer peel that can be crimson, orange, or yellow in color.


Rambutan trees, available in hermaphrodite, male, or female varieties, have a dense, spreading crown and can reach heights of 50 to 80 feet. Additionally, their fruit has a grape-like flavor and can be cooked, eaten, or consumed with the seed. Moreover, the leaves are elliptic to oblong, slightly leathery, and have a dull surface with yellow or bluish-green veins.

Where Are Rambutans Grown?

You can plant rambutan trees in tropical to semi-tropical environments, if you don’t reside in any of the aforementioned nations. They thrive at temperatures between 71 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (21 and 30 degrees Celsius), and they will perish in barely a few days at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Thus, warm climates like those in Florida or parts of California are ideal for growing rambutan trees. Naturally, you can try your hand at caring for rambutan trees by growing them in containers if you have a greenhouse or conservatory.

Growing Tips

Carefully protect Rambutan tree growth from extreme temperatures and humidity. Even in USDA zones suitable for Rambutan tree growth, maintaining a healthy balance is crucial. If fresh fruit is unavailable, consider harvesting seeds yourself or obtaining seedlings from online sources. Ensure seeds are less than a week old and have had all pulp removed. Both methods involve managing specific temperature and humidity conditions.

Growing Rambutan from Seed

Plant the seed flat in a pot with drainage holes and organic soil enriched with sand and compost. Gently cover it after planting. The seed typically germinates in ten to 21 days. Repot the seedling when it reaches a foot in height and is still delicate, a process that takes around two years. For optimal drainage, transplant the tree into a ceramic pot with soil containing sand, vermiculite, and peat.

Care of Rambutan Trees

Feeding your rambutan tree is a further aspect of tree care. Fertilize at six months and one year of age with a diet of 55g potash, 115g phosphate, and 60g urea. Fertilize with a diet of 180g urea, 345g phosphate, and 165g potash when the plant is two years old. Apply 275g potash, 575g phosphate, and 300g urea every six months starting in the third year. Maintain the tree at 75 to 80 percent humidity, 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), and 13 hours of partial sun exposure per day.


If you choose to move the tree into your garden and live in an area with this climate, you must leave 32 feet (10 m) between trees and ensure that the soil is two to three yards (2-3 m) deep. It takes some care to establish a healthy rambutan tree, but the effort is well worth it. You will be rewarded with the unusual and delicious fruit in four to five years.

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