How to grow longan?


Longans in Western Australia


There are two varieties currently grown on the Kununurra Research Facility: Kohala and Biew Kiew. These are the two most common varieties in Australia. There are also smaller plantations of Chompoo, Daw, Haew, Homestead and Ponwaii grown in Queensland.

Application of nutrients

The current fertiliser program on the Kununurra Research Facility is:


Rate g/tree



100% December


100% December

Potassium nitrate

60% April, 40% August

Zinc Sulphate

25% February, April, August and December

Ammonium sulphate

50% April, 50% August

Deficiencies will be obvious in the leaves. Common deficiencies in the Kimberley are zinc, iron, boron and sometimes manganese. Micro-nutrients can be applied using foliar sprays or to the soil through the irrigation system (fertigation). Foliar applications need to be applied during vegetative flushes.

High nitrogen (N) levels will reduce flowering. However, adequate N levels are important during fruit fill.

Regular leaf and soil analysis is necessary to monitor the condition of the trees and give them what they need.


Longan’s need regular irrigation. We are applying a total of 960L/tree/week at the Kununurra Research Facility, split into two irrigations per week. The tree has a shallow root system, so you don’t want to push the water too far down. The regular irrigations also increase the humidity in the canopy.


There is a special trick to making longans flower. It can be the difference between no flowers and full flowering.

Apply potassium chlorate (KClO3) to the ground directly under the canopy. Avoid the sprinkler shadow to make sure that it is washed into the soil.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Management Authority (APVMA) have classed KClO3 as a fertiliser with 32%K and as such it does not require a registration to be used on longan.

Kohala is a more vigorous variety, 5g/m2 will induce 85% flowering and 20% leaf drop.

It is recommended that only 2g/m2 be applied to Biew Kiew. This reduces leaf drop to 10%, but still gives 90% flowering.

Flowering occurs 6-8 weeks after application.

On the second and subsequent applications trees become less sensitive to the KClO3 and rates need to be increased to 10-20 g/m2 of the canopy applied to the ground.

Apply KClO3 in June for the best results. Stop watering the trees for three to four weeks before application (pers. comm. Peter Johnson 2017).

Other factors that also affect flowering include leaf nitrogen, the previous flowering/cropping history, level of pruning, flush development and climatic factors (temperature).

In trees with leaf nitrogen levels above 1.7% the flowering response is nearly always poor (0-25% of terminals flowering), suggesting that high leaf nitrogen can over-ride other factors influencing flowering including the rate of KClO3 application. Below 1.2% leaf nitrogen, the flowering response is nearly always good with 40-80% of the terminals flowering.

Fruit thinning

In heavily flowering crops up to 50% of panicles should be removed with a further reduction of fruit numbers if fruit set is high. Even under good management they are only capable of supporting 3-5kg of fruit/m2 of the canopy surface area.

The decline in yield with increasing thinning needs to be weighed against the improvement in fruit size, brix level, earlier maturity and market prices.


Following heavy pruning it can take two years for the vegetative growth to return to normal levels. While trees are actively regrowing following pruning the flowering response is severely reduced even with KClO3 application. This indicates that only parts of the orchard should be heavily pruned at a time so that some production can be maintained.

Foliar paclobutrazol (0.5%) applied every four months reduces the number and length of flushes following heavy pruning.

When skirting the trees trim the canopy back to just above the height of the sprinklers. This keeps the ground shaded and increases the humidity in the canopy.


Netting may be necessary if you are having problems with fruit bats or birds. Netting has been used in Queensland. See the case study on longan in the publication, ‘To net or not to net‘.

Weed control

The canopy is very dense and there will be a thick layer of leaf litter which will suppress weed growth. The best method of weed control under the canopy is hand pulling. Longan’s are very sensitive to herbicides.


Biew Kiew fruit takes between 216 days and 286 days (7-9.5 months) to ripen depending on the date of KClO3 application, compared with 182 – 268 days (6 – 8.5 months) for Kohala.

Harvest can be predicted by using growing degree days (GDD). The GDD is calculated on a daily basis using the maximum and minimum temperature minus a base temperature:

Growing degree days = (daily maximum temperature °C + daily minimum °C)/2 – 12°C (base temperature).

This is added up until the total is reached. Kohala needs about 2900 GDD and Biew Kiew approximately 3430 GDD.

Longan, also called Dragon’s Eye.


Native to South East Asia and has been cultivated in China for millennia. China, Thailand and Taiwan are the major producers worldwide.


It is a sub-tropical tree but will grow well in tropical climates up to 500m with seasonal wet and dry periods. Sufficient rainfall is 1500-3000mm pa. Temperatures of 20-30°C during spring, 27-35°C in summer and <15°C in winter give best production. It favours the cooler months to be dry and the warmer wet. There is no frost tolerance.

Plant Description:

Longan is a symmetrical slow-growing evergreen tree, 8-12m tall, with a dense canopy. It can be semi-deciduous in cooler climates. The shiny leathery alternate dark green leaves, 1-30cm long, are compound paripinnate with 6-9 pairs of leaflets. Growth occurs in several flushes each season.


Sapindaceae Family. Related to litchi, rambutan, pulasan, akee, mamoncillo.


Undemanding, including sandy loams and calcareous or rocky soils, with a preference for pH5-6.5. It does not withstand flooding.


Seeds are recalcitrant, lose viability quickly and do not come true to type, but can be used as rootstocks. Air layering and grafting are the principal methods used, but cuttings are also possible.


The most common in Australia is Kohala, but others are Biew Kiew, Chompoo and Haew. Dwarfing rootstocks have been reported by the Chinese. Some cvs have a high percentage of aborted seeds, similar to ‘chicken tongue’ seeds in litchi.

Flowering and Pollination:

Upright terminal inflorescences, 10-40cm long, widely branched and occur as panicles of numerous cymules. The greenish-yellow to brownish flowers are small with 5-6 sepals and petals, 6-8 stamens and a bi-lobed pistil. There are 3 different flower types – staminate, hermaphrodite functioning as pistillate (20% of total) and hermaphrodite functioning as staminate. The normal flowering sequence is in this order, but can be influenced by management or climatic conditions. Individual panicles flower at different times so there is usually sufficient overlap for pollination, usually by bees. However, there can be significant self-incompatibility. Alternate bearing is very common with longan and is primarily due to insufficient cool Winter temperatures for flower initiation; 15-22°C for 2-3 months is necessary. Poor fruit set occurs above 33°C.


They do best in full sun. The goal with young trees is to maximise appropriate vegetative growth until flowering commences. Water and fertilizer should then be withheld during Winter. NPK with trace elements should be given in 3-4 applications during the warmer months, with amounts increasing depending on tree size. Mulching is beneficial.

Wind Tolerance:

They have marginal tolerance of wind and this is improved with attention to structure and size.


After planting remove branches with narrow crotch angles. Select 3-4 main scaffold branches to contain height and facilitate light penetration throughout the canopy with maturity. They should be maintained at 3-4m height for ease of harvesting. An important operation is the pruning of many flower-bearing twigs; 3/4 of the flower spikes in the cluster being removed. Later, the fruit clusters are also thinned, in order to increase the size and quality of the fruits. Finally, after fruiting is finished, the ends of the branches that produced the fruit should be cut back at least 45cm unless the tree is very small.

The Fruit:

These are spherical-ovoid drupes, 1.5-2cm in diameter and 8-20g. The thin, leathery, rough skin is green when immature and then changes to light brown or tan with maturity, with whitish translucent, sweet and musky flesh with one central shiny brown or black seed which can be easily removed. The flesh is a better source of vitamin C than oranges and contains 15-20% carbohydrate.

Fruit Production and Harvesting:

Vegetatively propagated plants can fruit in 2-3 years from planting. Yields will steadily increase over several years, with 25-75kg/tree possible by year 10. Panicles may have a large number of fruit set (>300), but without thinning the terminal parts they will be small and lacking in flavour. Fruit are harvested when ripe by a taste test and then picked by cutting off the whole panicle. Fruit sweetness does not improve after picking and storage at ambient temperature is short. In a crisper they may last for 5-7 days.

Fruit Uses:

They are normally eaten fresh but can also be frozen, dried or canned.

Pests and Diseases:

These are usually minor, but can include scales, aphids, leaf-eating caterpillars and mealy bugs. Birds might cause trouble.

Many people would grow this plant purely for its aesthetic value. But for fruit production and provided you have a named cv, the main issues will be an appropriate fertilizing regime, water as our wet winters and dry summers are contrary to preferred, and attempting to smooth out any alternate bearing behaviour. Longans are easier to crop than litchis in our climate and have comparable fruit qualities.

Scientific name
Dimocarpus longan Lour.
Common names
English: longan, lungan, dragon eye; Spanish: longán, longana; French: longanier, oeil de dragon; Malaysian and Indonesian: leng keng; Thai: lam yai 1
Euphoria longana, E. longan Steud., Nephelium longana, N. longan Lam.
Lychee, Lichi chinensis; rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum; pulasan, N. mutabile; distant relative of akee, Blighia sapida and of mamoncillo, Spanish lime, Melicocca bijuga 9
Mayanmar (Burma), southern China, southwest India, Sri Lanka, Indochinese peninsula 1
USDA hardiness zones
Fruit; specimen or shade tree in the landscape
30-40 ft (9.1-12.2 m) 1
30-40 ft (9.1-12.1 m)
Tends to be round or oblong 1
Plant habit
Evergreen; symmetrical; dense foliage
Growth rate
Bark is corky; erect to spreading
Pruning requirement
Required to improve tree structure and bearing surface area
Pinnately compound alternate leaves; dark green, shiny, leathery; up to 12 in. (30 cm) long; wavy margins; blunt pointed tips; 6-9 pairs of leaflets per leaf 1
Terminal; erect; 4-18 in. (10–45 cm); widely branched (Fig. 7); Feb./March through April and the beginning of May 1
Globose drupe; ¾-1½ in. (22–36 mm); thin peel, leathery, lightly textured; aril fleshy, translucent; sweet, musky, mildly aromatic; one seed 9
June, July or August 1
USDA Nutrient Content – dry pdf
USDA Nutrient Content – raw pdf
Light requirement
Full sun
Soil tolerances
They do well on sandy loams, sand and calcareous, rocky soils of south Florida
pH preference
Drought tolerance
Flood tolerance
Not tolerant of excessively wet or flooded conditions
Soil/aerosol salt tolerance
Not tolerant of saline wind or soil condition
Wind tolerance
Wind resistant
Cold tolerance
Young trees may be killed at 26-28 °F (-2-3 °C), mature trees tolerant, but branches are injured at 25-26°F (-3-4 °C) with very severe damage or death below 24°F (-4 °C) 1
Plant spacing
22-25 ft (6.7–7.6 m) 1
Invasive potential
None reported
Pest/disease resistance
Scales, lychee webworm
Known hazard
Reading Material
Longan Growing in the Florida Home Landscape, University of Florida pdf 9 pages
Longan, Fruits of Warm Climates
The Longan, Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits
Often considered the poorer cousin of the illustrious lychee, the longan is very popular in its own right. Fruits vary in size, but are usually about the size of a very large grape. The thin yellow-brown skin encloses a translucent white pulp surrounding a single dark seed, hence the name “Dragon’s Eye.” 6
Native to Asia, longan was introduced here in the early 1900s and is grown in Hawai’i, California, and South Florida. There are numerous cultivars of longan; ‘Kohala’ is the variety most planted in Florida. 4
In 1954, rare-fruit pioneer William Whitman introduced the superior ‘Kohala’ cultivar from Hawai’i. 9
The longan is a large evergreen tree that is becoming very popular in South Florida landscapes. Native to southeast Asia, this beautiful tree produces showy clusters of grape-like fruit during the mid-to-late summer. Trees can grow as high as forty feet or more and are well-adapted for a wide variety of soil and moisture conditions. 3

Fig. 25 Fig. 26 Fig. 27 Fig. 28

Fig. 25. Young tree
Fig. 26. Longan ‘Kohala’
Fig. 27. D. longan (Longan, dragon’s eye) Habit at Wailuku, Maui, Hawai’i
Fig. 28. Base of an old tree

Fig. 4 Fig. 5

Fig. 5. D. longan (Longan, dragon’s eye) Habit at Garden of Eden Keanae, Maui, Hawai’i
The inflorescence is commonly called a panicle. Flowers on the panicle are held on numerous cymules on the many branchlets of the panicle. The flowers are small and have 5 to 6 sepals and petals, and are brownish yellow or greenish yellow, with a two-lobed pistil and usually 8 stamens. Panicles may carry a few to more than 350 fruit. There are 3 flower types in longan, staminate (functionally male), pistillate (functionally female) and hermaphroditic (bisexual). Flowering in each panicle occurs in progressive openings of staminate (male) flowers first, then hermaphroditic flowers functioning as females and then hermaphroditic flowers functioning as males. 1
Alternate bearing is a serious problem and is related to the previous winter temperature experienced frmo flower initiation. After a warm winter there is less flower initiation and this limits longan production in some warmer subtropical areas. 10
Longan flowers are of the best food source for honey, so that honey production is related to longan-growing areas in China, Thailand and Taiwan. 10

Fig. 9 Fig. 10 Fig. 11

Fig. 12

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Video: 4:44
Increasing flowering v1

The drupaceous fruit are spherical to ovoid, ¾ to 1 7/16 inches (22–36 mm) in diameter and 0.21 to 0.67 oz (6–19 g) in weight (Fig. 16). The peel is tan or light brown, thin, leathery and smoother than that of the lychee. The pulp is whitish and translucent; thin in large seeded fruits and medium thick to thick in others. Fruit have 1 seed; globular and shiny, brown to dark brown. The pulp does not adhere to the seed and is flavorful and sweet with 12-21% soluble solids. 1

Fig. 17 Fig. 18 Fig. 19
Fig. 20 Fig. 21 Fig. 22

Fig. 18. Longan ‘Kahola’ fruit

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Improve fruit size v2

Bees (Apis and Mellifera spp.) are the major pollinators and comprised 98-99% of the total insect visitors to the flowers. The visits occur mostly during the morning hours, when nectar secretion occurs. Too much rain during anthesis can reduce flower opening and the insect activity needed for pollination. Irrigation after a period of soil water stress is reported to aid in flowering, even though the tree flowers profusely in areas with high water tables. 11
Longan fruit set varies greatly among trees and years. In some years, individual longan panicles set in excess of 300 fruit. However, panicles with 150 or more fruit usually produce small fruit. Removing about 50% of the set fruit during the spring usually results in a large increase in fruit size. Thinning is best done when fruit are ¼ to ½ inches (6-12 mm) in diameter and consists of removing one half to two-thirds of the distal (terminal) end of each panicle. 1

Fig. 29 Fig. 30 Fig. 31

Fig. 29. Dr. Crane, University of Florida TREC, thinning a panicle
Fig. 30. Placement of the thinning cut
Fig. 31. Results of thinning

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Video: 2:29
Thinning for big fruit v3

Varieties Page
Reliable bearing is the major production problem for longan throughout the world. In Florida, 99% of the acreage is planted with ‘Kohala’. Other cultivars have been introduced, some for a long time and others recently. A number of new and re-introductions including ‘Edau’ (‘Daw’), ‘Chompoo’, ‘Haew’, and ‘Biew Kiew’ are evaluation by several institutions and producers. However, nothing superior to ‘Kohala’ has been identified. 1
One of the recently introduced cultivars is named ‘Diamond River’. This cultivar is from Thailand and is reported to fruit every year, be precocious, produce off-season, and produce a sizeable late season crop. However, fruit quality is only fair and the tree is very susceptible to limb breakage. 1
The longan harvest season in south Florida is from the middle of July to early September but is mainly in August. At maturity, the fruit will be an intense tan color. The main ripeness indicator is pulp sweetness; this occurs before removing the fruit from the tree. Fruit that is 1¼ inches (32 mm) or greater in diameter with good flavor is most desirable. Once removed from the tree, the fruit will not increase in sweetness. 1
Time flowering to harvest: 140-190 days. 1
Longan: Postharvest Quality-maintenance Guidelines, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa pdf 3 pages
Trees can be seed-propagated, but seedlings do not come true to type and may take up to six to eight years to start bearing. A more practical way of propagation is by air layering, which takes about eight to ten weeks, or veneer grafting on seedling rootstocks. Air-layered trees generally will bear within one to two years after being planted and grafted trees may bear the next year after being planted. 3 April through August is the best time to perform this task, and roots begin to form within 10 – 12 weeks. No special or improved rootstocks have been reported. 8
At planting or soon afterward, remove limbs with a narrow crotch angle. To force new shoot growth and increase the number of new shoots either bend long upright limbs to a horizontal position by tying or head back upright limbs. Shoot tip removal (removing 1-2 inches of the end of new shoots), once or twice during spring and summer will increase branching and make the tree more compact. As trees mature, most of the pruning is done to control tree size (height and width), and to maintain production of the lower tree canopy and light on all sides of the canopy. If the canopy of the tree becomes too dense, selective removal of some branches will increase air circulation and light penetration. 1
Trees kept 10 to 15 ft high (3.1–4.6 m) and 15 to 30 ft (4.6–9.1 m) wide are easier to care for and pick. They are also less likely to topple during strong winds. If the canopy of the tree becomes too dense, selective removal of some branches will increase air circulation and light penetration. 1

See Longan Growing in the Florida Home Landscape, University of Florida pdf 9 pages
Withholding or reducing watering during the late summer/early fall through winter is recommended to stop or reduce excessive vegetative growth and enhance subsequent flowering during the spring. However, for optimum fruit production and quality, regular irrigation is recommended from flowering through harvest. 1

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Fertilizer, irrigation v4
Video: 1:31
Winter care v5

Pest Page
Longans have a few insect problems in south Florida. The most common pests are the lychee webworm and several scale insects. 1
Disease Page
There are no major disease problems of longan at the present time. Red alga (Cephaleuros virescens) attacks limbs and shoots and is most prevalent during high humidity, warm, rainy weather. Parasitic lichen (Strigula sp.) may parasitize leaves. Please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office for current control recommendations. 1
Food Uses
Longans produced in south Florida are consumed fresh or are frozen for later consumption. 1
In China, the majority are canned in syrup or dried. For drying (Fig. 34), the fruits are first heated to shrink the flesh and facilitate peeling of the rind. Then the seeds are removed and the flesh dried over a slow fire. The dried product is black, leathery and smoky in flavour and is mainly used to prepare an infusion drunk for refreshment. 2

Fig. 34

Longan and Steak Salad, Taste Florida’s Tropics
Florida Food Fare: Longans, University of Florida pdf
Medicinal Uses
The flesh of the fruit is administered as a stomachic, febrifuge and vermifuge, and is regarded as an antidote for poison. A decoction of the dried flesh is taken as a tonic and treatment for insomnia and neurasthenic neurosis. In both North and South Vietnam, the “eye” of the longan seed is pressed against a snakebite in the belief that it will absorb the venom. 2
Other Uses
A liqueur is made by macerating the longan flesh in alcohol. 2
The seeds, because of their saponin content, are used like soapberries (Sapindus saponaria L.) for shampooing the hair. The seeds and the rind are burned for fuel and are part of the payment of the Chinese women who attend to the drying operation. 2
Fusing the Ancient With the Modern
“Longan trees growing near temples in that country (Taiwan),” says Matsumoto, “were found to form flowers and then bear fruit shortly after religious ceremonies in which fireworks were used. This occurred even outside the typical growing season.”
Studies reported in 2000 by Chung-Ruey Yen of the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan suggested that a chemical in the ashes of the firecrackers settled in soil around the trees and triggered flowering. 7
Further Reading
Sample Productivity and Cost Estimates of Producing Longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) in South Florida, University of Florida pdf 6 pages
Florida Growers Like Lychees and Longans, USDA Agriculture Research Service
Longan Production in Asia, Food and Agriculture Orgainzation of the United Nations pdf 21 pages
Longan, Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
Longan, Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia
New Options for Lychees and Longans Fans and Farmers, USDA Agriculture Research Service
Longan Botanical Art
List of Growers and Vendors

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Seeds Description:

Plant Name:Chinese Longan Fruit Tree Seeds

Latin Name:Dimocarpus longan Lour.

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Longan (scientific name: Dimocarpus longan Lour.), Also known as longan, puzzle. Putian local people called three feet of farmnuts; evergreen trees, high usually more than 10 meters; twigs stout, puberulent, scattered pale lenticels. Leaf blade long 15-30 cm or longer; leaflets 4-5 pairs, thinly leathery, oblong-elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, both sides often asymmetric; petiole usually not more than 5 mm. Inflorescences large, more branched; pedicel short; sepals nearly leathery, triangular-ovate; petals milky white, lanceolate, sepals nearly equal, only puberulent outside; filaments shorthard. Fruit is nearly spherical, usually yellowish brown or sometimes grayish yellow, slightly rough outside, or rarely slightly convex small tumor; seed brown, bright, all fleshy fake skin wrapped. Flowering spring and summer, fruit season summer.

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Dragon’s Eye Plant Info: Tips On Growing Dragon’s Eye Plants

One of the close relatives to the lychee is the dragon’s eye. What is dragon’s eye? This temperate China native is used widely for its musky, lightly sweet fruits, both as a food and in medicine. Growing dragon’s eye plants requires warm to mild temperatures where 22 degrees Fahrenheit (-5.6 C.) or lower is a rarity. This semi-hardy tree is also extremely attractive and lends tropical elegance to the landscape.

Dragon’s Eye Plant Info

If you are a gardener who is interested in unique plant specimens and has an adventurous palate, the dragon’s eye tree (Dimocarpus longan) may be of interest. Its name derives from the shelled fruit, which is said to resemble an eyeball. This fruiting tree is a less sweet substitute for the infamous lychee nut. The fruit is easily separated from the aril, just as in lychee, and it is a common food crop that is preserved frozen, canned or dried and also marketed fresh. Some tips on how to grow a dragon’s eye can help you harvest the low calorie, high potassium fruit.

Dragon’s eye is a 30- to 40-foot (9 to 12

m.) tree with rough bark and elegant drooping branches. Plants are also called longan trees and are in the soapberry family. The leaves are pinnately compound, glossy, leather and dark green, growing 12 inches (30 cm.) long. New growth is wine colored. The flowers are pale yellow, borne on racemes and have 6 petals on hairy stalks. The fruits are drupes and arrive in clusters.

Among the economic dragon’s eye plant info is its importance as a crop in Florida. Fruits produce later in the season than lychee, trees grow quickly and thrive in a variety of soil types. However, seedlings can take up to 6 years to bear fruit, and some years, fruit production is erratic.

How to Grow Dragon’s Eye Plants

Site is the first selection when growing dragon’s eye plants. Choose a full sun location away from other large plants and buildings where soil drains freely and no flooding occurs. Trees can tolerate sandy soils, sandy loam, and even calcareous, rocky soils but do prefer an acidic environment.

Young trees are less fussy about climactic conditions than their cousin, the lychee, but should be planted where buffeting winds do not occur. When planting a grove or multiple trees, space longans 15 to 25 feet (4.5 to 7.6 m.) apart, depending upon whether you will be pruning to keep trees smaller and easier to harvest.

Most propagation of dragon’s eye tree is through cloning, as seedlings are unreliable.

Dragon’s Eye Care

Dragon’s eye trees require less water than lychee. Young trees need consistent irrigation as they establish and mature trees should get regular water from flowering to harvest. Some drought stress during fall and winter may promote flowering in spring.

Feed young trees every 6 to 8 weeks with a 6-6-6. Foliar feeds work well on mature plants from spring through fall. Apply 4 to 6 times during the growing season. Mature trees need 2.5 to 5 pounds (1.14 to 2.27 k.) per application.

In California, trees are considered to be pest free, but in Florida they are attacked by scale and lychee webworms. Trees have no major disease issues.


Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Dimocarpus
Species: longan (alternate Nephelium longana)

The longan or dragon’s eye is the more temperate relative of the glamorous lychee. Many Chinese prefer the longan to the lychee since it has a distinctive musky flavor and is not overly sweet. The tree is better adapted to California than the lychee, particularly since it is more frost tolerant (22oF). The round fruit is smaller than the lychee. The outer shell is relatively smooth and dark tan in color. The aril surrounds a single (usually) large brown seed. The fruits are available fresh, frozen, canned and dried. Longans have less finicky fruiting habits than lychee. Propagation is costly since marcottage must be used. A market demand exists in the Asian community for the fresh fruit which is available only in limited quantities, if at all.


The soapberry family, Sapindaceae, includes several thousand tropical and temperate species. The two most commonly eaten species in the Americas are the akee (Blighia sapida) and the Spanish lime (Melicocca bijuga). The akee is the national fruit of Jamaica even though it is poisonous when underripe or overripe. Although Spanish lime or genip is found from Columbia to southern Florida, it has received little horticultural attention because of the size and acidity of the fruit. Both are considered too tender to grow in California.

The longan tree grows 15 to 25 feet in California versus 50 feet under ideal conditions. The tree is heavily foliated and about as wide as it is tall. Its leaves are alternately pinnate, with 4 to 10 opposite, lanceolate, 6 to 8 inch leaflets that are noticeably larger than those of the lychee. The floral clusters of intermixed, creamy white male and female flowers which are larger than the lychee, are followed by round .5 to 1 inch, smooth, brown shelled fruits. In California fruit is borne over a 3 to 4 week period sometime from late July to December depending primarily on the location in which the tree is planted. Although, fruiting is less capricious than the lychee, many of the same techniques are employed to induce fruiting including girdling, withholding fertilization until after fruit sets, withholding water, and other practices that will produce sufficient stress to induce fruiting. The grape-like aril is semisweet with musky overtones that are not present in the lychee and its cousins, the rambutan and pulasan. Once the taste is appreciated the fruit is often preferred to the lychee. Trees started from marcots will bear in 3 to 5 years.

Climatic requirements

The longan is less fussy climate-wise than the lychee. Even so, young trees should be protected from cold and hot, dry winds. Hardened-off mature trees can withstand temperatures as low as 22o F for short periods of time.

Soil Requirements

The longan is adaptable to many different soil conditions, but it does best on rich soils that are well drained and on the acid side.

Cultural Requirements

Since longans have been planted on a very limited scale and no large plantings have been made in California, specific cultural recommendations must all be termed ‘tentative’.

Spacing and training

Since the trees are somewhat smaller than the lychee, closer tree centers would be appropriate (15 to 25 feet).


The longan needs less water than the lychee. In California water requirements should be about equal to those of the lemon.


Data on fertilizer requirements are limited. In New Zealand balanced fertilizers are used; in China night soil is applied after flowering (in California manure could be used).

Pruning requirements are minimal and should be limited to removing dead growth and shaping as desired.

Pests and Diseases

In California the tree should be pest free. In general, most sources agree that the longan is freer from pests than the lychee.


Seedlings are considered too variable to be reliable producers. Clonal reproduction is normally done by marcotting since cuttings, even under well controlled conditions, are fairly difficult to root. Grafting is also not considered reliable enough for common commercial practice; however, inarching is used in China.

Harvesting and Storage

Fruit is harvested in clusters. Individual fruits can clipped off later and packed in polyethylene bags as are lychees. Partially ripe fruits can not be ripened after picking. No data exist for storing longans, however, they should store at least as well as lychees at 30o to 45oF for up to 3 months.


(To be determined)


Fresh longans are seldom if ever available in California. However, a market demand likely exists since canned and frozen longans are popular in Californian Asian communities. In other communities, longans could be a difficult market to establish since they often require an acquired taste, especially when compared to lychees. However, if a lychee market is established, longans may be accepted as an extension of the lychee fresh fruit season since longans bear later.

Some varieties originating in southeast Asia are now becoming available in California. These have not been as well documented and varietal names have sometimes been lost. Three such Thai varieties that are seteemed in their homeland are ‘Baidum’, ‘Biew Kiew’, and ‘Chompoo’.
‘Kohala’ – Large size, sweet, good flavor, often has an abortive small seedk, most widely planted in California and Florida. ‘Wu Yuan’ or ‘Blackball’ – Small size more acidic, vigorous tree planted in Florida. In China it is preferred as a rootstock if approach grafting is to be used
‘Ship’i’ – Very large size, less tasty, late season, planted in Florida.
The longan has the following nutritional content per 1 gram of edible fruit. (Note that analyses vary depending on the fruit ripeness, variety, etc. and the values here are only a relative guide whose accuracy is approximately +/- 20%.)
calories 0.61 calories iron 0.012 milligrams
carbohydrates 0.16 grams thiamin negligible
fats 0.001 grams riboflavin 0.005 milligrams
fiber 0.004 grams niacin negligible
calcium 0.10 milligrams ascorbic acid 0.06 milligrams
phosphorus 0.42 milligrams beta-caritene negligible

Compiled by Robert Vieth, Master Gardener

Longan Tree: How to Grow Longan Fruit Tree

Know about the details on how to grow longan tree and care for longan fruit tree as regards to its planting position, soil requirement, its watering needs, fertilization, pests and diseases and tips for pruning of the tree and harvesting the fruits.

Longan Fruit

The longan tree (Dimocarpus longan, lungan, soapberry family Sapindaceae) is a tropical fruit tree that is believed to have originated in the area between India and Burma or in China. In India it is known as Pichu. Longan is now grown in many parts of the World for longan health benefits. The longan tree, like a lychee tree, is an evergreen tree which reaches a height of more than 15 feet, however, dwarf longan tee and lychee trees grow much smaller. It will reach to a smaller height if grown in a container.

Longan Tree Care and Growing Information

Planting a Longan Tree

Longan tree can be grown from seeds. The procedure for growing a longan tree is given below. You can also grow longan in container following the same procedure.

Propagation of Longan

The longan can be propagated from seeds, air layering, grafting and stem cuttings.
Can you grow a longan tree from seed? The longan seeds lose their viability quickly so fresh seeds should be planted. Also the longan grown from seed will not come true to type of the parent tree.
The fresh longan seeds should be dried in shade for 4 day, they should immediately be planted, otherwise they lose their viability quickly. Sow the seed about 3/4 inch (2 cm) deep. If you sow the seed more deeper, more than one sprout may occur.

The Longan Seedlings

Germination of longan seed takes place in 7- 10 days. Transplant the seedling in a shaded place in the following spring.
Plant the longan seedling after 2-3 years in the final position during winter dormancy period.

Position for Longan Tree: Where to Plant Longan Tree

  1. Select the driest and hottest area of the garden, which does not remain wet for long time.
  2. The tree is not tolerant to excessively wet or flooded soil conditions and it may die due to constantly wet soil conditions.
  3. Plant the longan tree quite away from the lawn because the roots of the mature tree spread beyond the drip-line and heavy lawn fertilization may reduce fruiting and or fruit quality.
  4. Plant away from the lawn as the lawn mower if accidentally damages the trunk of the tree can reduce fruiting or even the tree may die.

Soil for Longan Tree

  1. Longan tree can grow on well drained various soil types including sand, sandy loams, calcareous and rocky soils.
  2. Keep the area around the trunk of the longan tree free from grass and weed.
  3. Apply a 10 cm (4 inch) layer of bark, wood chips or similar mulch material spreading to the drip-line from 12 inch of the trunk. It will protect the trunk from rot and suppress weeds and hold soil moisture.

Watering Longan Plant

  1. Keep the soil of the young tree moist. When the tree starts to produce flowers, water regularly till it bears fruit.
  2. Excessive rains during flowering may cause flower drop and reduce pollination.
  3. Established trees should be irrigated regularly from the signs of blooming appear and until harvest.
  4. The use of sprinklers on a timer may result in over watering, causing root rot and decline.
  5. Warm and rainy winters encourage vegetative growth and reduce flowering.

Fertilization Longan Tree

During the immature stage, a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers may be used. Organic fertilizer such as cow manure can be applied at the rate of about 10 kg/tree/year, applied about 3-4 times in a year.

  1. The longan tree requires equal ratio N:P:K fertilizer (i.e. 6:6:6 or 15:15:15, etc.). Spread the fertilizer on the soil, 10 inches from the trunk, and spread it out 1 foot beyond the drip-line. Water well after applying.
  2. First year of planting: After one month of planting, fertilize with about 110 g (1/4 pound) of 5-5-5 NPK fertilizer every 2 months.
  3. Second Year: Fertilize with about 220 g (1/2 pound) every 3 months.
  4. Third year: Fertilize with about 450 g (1 pound) every 3 months.
  5. Mature Longan Trees: Mature longan trees require 1.5 to 2.25 kg (3.3 – 5 pound) of fertilizer just before the tree blooms in late spring and again before or during the harvest.
  6. If the soil is acid to neutral, apply iron sulfate at 5 to 30 g per tree to the soil 3 to 4 times a year.
  7. If the soil is alkaline soil, mix 14-20 g of iron chelate with 14-20 liter of water and pour on to the soil around tree trunk during winter.&
  8. Do not fertilize your longan tree during the winter, specially nitrogen containing fertilizer as this will encourage growth during the winter and reduce flowering in the spring.
  9. Sprays 4-6 liquid feeds containing magnesium, manganese, zinc, molybdenum and boron during the warm part of the year.

In Australia, for a high yielding five year old longan tree, fertilizer (NPK 4:1:5, exactly 625 g N, 150 g P and 800 g K) has been been recommended to be applied four times during the following crop cycle:
1. panicle emergence,
2. one month before fruit set in September to October,
3. one month after fruit set in December to January
4. two weeks after harvest in March to April.
The above fertilizer can be increased by 20 to 30 percent per year to 1,250 g N, 300 g P and 1,600 g K at year ten.
Thinning and Fruit Size
Removing about half of the fruit when they are of pea size in the early spring will result in larger fruit size. Panicles with 150 or more fruit usually produce smaller fruit so cut half of each panicle in the early spring.

Pruning of Longan Tree

This 5-7 year old
Longan Tree

Pruning Young Longan Tree

  1. Cutting 1 to 2 inches from the tips of new shoots on the young longan tree during the spring and summer will help keep the tree compact.
  2. Only limited numbers of main branches (3-4 main branches) are retained to contain height and obtain the desired tree structure. This will facilitate light penetration in the the canopy on maturity.
  3. In China, one strong branch is retained after every growth flush to form a natural round-shaped crown of 6 to 10 main branches.

Pruning Mature Longan Tree

  1. You can prune the longan tree after harvest to control its height and spread. Trees more than about 10 to 15 ft high (3 – 4.5 m) and 15 to 30 ft (4.5 – 9 m) wide are difficult to care.
  2. A mature tree can be pruned during and immediately after fruit harvest to control its size, making a lower tree canopy. If the tree becomes too dense, removal of some branches will increase air circulation.
  3. Bend long upright branches to a horizontal position by tying to keep the tree at a lower height.
  4. Pruning longan tree in winter will reduce flowering in the spring.
  5. The branches that are dead or infested by pests and diseases should also be removed. Weak branches, which have lost their vitality, are also pruned.
  6. The pruning of many 3/4 th of the flower spikes in the flower clusters should be removed to increase the quality and size of the fruits

The picture shows a 5-7 year old Longan tree which is not growing properly as its roots are competing with lawn and other plants. It has not been properly pruned to make it dense.

Insects and Pests

The most common pests on the longan tree are the lychee webworm and several scale insects. The lychee webworm attacks emerging shoots and panicles, flowers and young fruit and if left uncontrolled drastically reduce fruit set and crop yields.
Scales insects like banana shaped (Coccus acutissimus) and barnacle (Ceroplastes spp.) are other common pests that attack the longan tree, mostly the underside of leaves and the philephedra scale (Phillephedra tuberculosa) attacks leaves and fruit.
Bats or flying foxes can eat up longan fruits during fruiting seasons. A protective net around the perimeter of the tree can be erected.


  1. The longan tree is free from major disease problems.
  2. During high humidity, warm and rainy weather, the limbs, bark and leaves are attacked by Red alga (Cephaleuros virescens), which produce dark gray to reddish-rust colored spots and patches.
  3. In severe infections, leaf drop and stem die back occur.
  4. Parasitic lichen (Strigula sp.) may produce white star-shaped spots on leaves which reduces their photosynthesis ability.

When Longan Tree Will Bear Fruit

Generally, the longan tree does not bear fruits every year and it may produce no fruit or little fruit.
Fruits grown from seeds may take up to 7 years to bear fruit. The longan tree propagated from air layering method may bear fruit 2-3 years after planting.

How To Make A Longan Tree bear fruit?

There are many longan cultivers that are difficult to flower. Some physical and chemicalmethods can be tried to induce flowering in the longan tree.

  1. Physical Treatment: The main stem of the tree can be hammered, wounded or scrapped.
  2. Chemical Treatment: The chemical treatment can be done on trees that are at least 3 year old. The treatment should be done on the old leaves. The chemicals used are oxidizing chemicals such as potassium chlorate, commercially available with names such as Nong Feng, Longan Booster and Vita Longan.

Harvesting Longan Fruits

  1. How long does it take for a longan tree to bear fruit?
    The longan trees do not bear fruit every year.
  2. The fruits can be protected from birds by netting or bagging the fruit in paper bags.
  3. The longan fruit do not continue to ripen after they are removed from tree unlike bananas, guavas and mangoes. So you should be sure that the fruits have ripen before you pick them.
  4. Wait for the fruits to change their color to light brown and size 2 cm or greater with good flavor.
  5. You may pick one fruit and taste for its sweetness before you harvest them.
  6. Caution: During the harvest, too much removal of leaves and wood with the fruit panicles can reduce flowering the next season.
  7. You can refrigerate the fruits in plastic bags for later use.

Watch YouTube Video on Growing Longan

How to grow longan from seed
Growing longan tree from seed
Subscribe to Garden Tricks YouTube Channel

1. Longan Growing in the Florida Home Landscape, Jonathan H. Crane, Carlos F. Balerdi, Steven A. Sargent and Ian Maguire, Fact Sheet HS-49,
2. Longan production in Asia, Wong Kai Choo,part1,part2
3. Menzel, C.M., Watson, B.J. and Simpson, D.R., Longan.
In : T.K. Bose and S.K. Mitra (eds.) Fruits: Tropical and Subtropical. Naya Prokash, Calcutta, India, 522-546 (1990)
4. Longan, Morton, J., 259–262. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL. (1987)
5. Longan

Longan tree | How to grow Longan fruit tree | Growing Longan tree in a container

Longan fruit tree

Longan tree fruit (democropuslongen locker), also known as dragon eyes, longan and mamoncillo chino, which is sweet in taste. It is a tropical fruit tree, whose fruit is oval in which there is a shiny seed inside the musky white fruit. It is believed that it originated in the region between India and Burma or China. Learn Growing Longan tree in a container, How to grow Longan fruit tree, Longan tree Care, Pests and disease longan tree and many more about this plant.

In India, it is known as Pichu. This will grow easily in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 8 to 10, which prefer cold, dry winters. It is now produced in many places in the world. Longan tree is like a litchi tree, which goes up to a height of around 15 feet. However, the height of its dwarf tree is smaller and easily planted in the container.

How to grow Longan fruit tree

Location and soil

To plant this tree, choose the driest and warm area of the garden, where well -drainage and do not stay wet for a long time because this tree is not suitable for wet soil and water-accumulating place. The tree may die due to continuous wet conditions. Longan trees prefer a variety of soils, besides sandy loam clay, calcareous and rocky soil, which are well drained,


Logan young trees prefer moist soil. When flowers begin in these trees it requires water on a regular basis, when they bear fruits. Established trees should be given water regularly during flowering and fruit. During flowering, there may be a decrease in pollination when it rains.


These trees can be given organic and inorganic fertilizers during the immature phase.
Apply compost made from cow dung 3 to 4 times a year. Feed this tree in a balanced fertilizer such as 6: 6: 6 or 15:15: 15 and after adding fertilizer, water well after applies. After 1 month in the first year of planting, feed the balanced fertilizer 5-5-5 in every 2 months. Do not feed your trees during cold weather, especially nitrogen-rich fertilizers. During this, the growth rate of the plant is high and it will encourage the growth of the plant and the flowers will get reduced in the spring. Use liquid fertilizer during warm weather. Read more.

Growing Longan tree in a container

  • Longan trees are propagated by fresh fruit seeds, although they do not produce fruits like the parent tree. Seedlings take approximately 6 years to produce fruit. It is better that you have an air-layered tree or grafted trees brought from the nursery, they start producing fruits in about 3 years.
  • How to grow Longan tree in a container
  • Roll fresh fruit seeds in paper towels, then seal it in a plastic bag and keep it in a hot place for about two weeks.
  • When the seed gets germinated, fill it in a pot with potting mix, compost and perlite mixture and keep the mixture in about 1-inch depth.
  • Sprinkle the peat moss and perlite mixture and leave overnight, then fill it in an alternate pot and plant a seed per inch in depth.
  • Cover this pot with a plastic sheet. Then place this pot in a warm and bright light place.
  • If propagates use mat, keep the temperature at 80 degrees F.
  • When the roots began to appear in the plant, remove the plastic sheet. Transfer the plant to a little mature. Read more.

Longan tree Care

  • Place the tree at least 20 feet away from buildings. Where it can be found the complete sun The soil should be dry and slightly acid.
  • Cut down on the water during the winter, just before the tree blossoms in the spring, and before harvesting the fruit in the late summer, give organic fertilizer to the tree.
  • Do not fertilize trees during fall and winter.
  • Keep the area around the Longan tree free of grass and weed.
  • Apply a layer of bark, wood chips or similar mulch material of 10 centimeters, spreading to the drip-line, it will protect the trunk from rot and will keep the soil moist and weed free. Read more.

Pests and disease longan fruit tree

The most common insect on the tree is the live web warm, there are many other insects, which make it bother. Litchi web warm which attacks emerging shoots and panels, flowers and young fruits, and if not given attention, it reduces crop yield. Scales insects and barnacle are its other common insects, which attack the tall tree. Bats or flying foxes eat its fruit, to protect, the tree can be latticed around.

Langan trees are free from the problem of major diseases. In high humidity, hot and rainy season it can lead to red alga disease, which causes damage to barks and leaves. Leaves and stem die when the infection is high.

Before you see fruits, make sure the fruits are ripped. Let the fruits turn into a light brown color. Wait for when the fruit size is 2 cm or greater. You can taste the fruit before the harvest. Be careful while harvesting fruits, do not cut leaves and wood with fruit panels, otherwise, the flowers will come down in the next season. After taking the fruits, you can keep in the refrigerator in plastic bags for 5-7 days.

Thank you and happy gardening.

For pin:

Longan growing tree of the genus Dimocarpus and also known as Dimocarpus longan, Longan perennial evergreen plant, grow for the edible fruits but also used as ornamental plant, can grow as shade tree or dwarf in a container, can grow in tropic, mediterranean or subtropical climate and growing in hardiness zone 9+.

Leaves color green when the leaves young red, the leaves in elliptic shape.

Flower color are yellow the size 1-2 mm.

Longan fruits

Fruit are cover with think skin color is yellow-brown, that pilled easily the flesh is white with special structure remind little bit onion, some cultivar are easy to take off the seeds, fruits taste remind the Lychee fruits

Longan for sale – Seeds or Plants to Buy

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How to grow Longan growing and care:

Slightly acidity soil, rich soil, organic matter, fertilize 2-4 times a year

What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Seed / Vegetative Reproduction – start by cutting but it’s harder to take care than to start by seeds but then no need to graft, requirements: moist soil, high humidity, peat soil, hormone for root growth.

Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?
Yes, also possible without but the fruit can be too much seeds endless flesh

Difficulties or problems when growing:
Sensitive to salty soil

Planting season:

How to plant:
Planting in sunny location,

Pests and diseases:
Aphids, ants

Pruning season:
Autumn / Winter

How to prune:
Weak branches

Size of the plant?
6-12 m (20-40 feet), grow to the wide can be 8 m (24 feet) and more

Growth speed in optimal condition:
Medium growing

Water requirement:
Average amount of water

Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun

Is it possible to grow as houseplant?

Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:

How to grow Longan in container:
Start with small pot 20-30% bigger than the roots ball, every time that switch the container to bigger switch some of the soil to new soil until arrive to the desirable container size, after that every few years better to switch part of the soil and prune some roots also once a year pruning for the tree, no need to take the plant out just from the side of the container, need to water regularly but don’t let the water site in bottom of the pot and verify that there are enough holes, soil can be used potting mix soil or mixture or peat soil and perlite, need to add fertilizer 2-4 times a year and also to hummus and organic matter, grafting or start by air layering is important, it will ensure that the tree will bear fruits in the container

Blooming information

Bloom season:
Spring / Summer

General information about the flower
Small white-yellow flowers

Thinning the bloom:
The first years recommend to thinning

Pollination is done by:

Edible Fruit

Fruit harvest season:
Summer / Autumn

Fruits pests or diseases:
Aphids, birds, ants

What can be done with big quantities of Longan fruits?
Eaten raw, jelly, juice

Work requirements on the fruit:
Sometime need to cover with net

How long does it take to bear fruit?
2-3 years

Ripening of fruit:
Can be taken little before the fruits ready

How to grow Longan from seed

Sowing requirement:
Better in peat soil with vermiculite possible in other soils, take care that the soil will be well ventilated (better result)

Saving seeds until sowing:
Dry and dark location, keep it room temperature

Sowing season:
Spring will be the best for the tree but possible in summer, and in hardiness zone 12+ possible all year

Planting spacing:
Better in different pots – because need to graft it after and some won’t establish, better to choose the best to transplant to the real location

Depth of Sowing:
3-5cm, (~1-2inches)

How to plant the seeds:
Dig a hole bigger than the seeds cover it lightly better with peat soil or vermiculite

Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist soil, sunny location, water regularly and don’t let it dry

Watering requires for Seeds:
Average amount of water

Germination time:
2-4 weeks

Condition of seedling:
Sunny location, humidity and moist soil

Scientific name:

Dimocarpus longan

Blooming Seasons

  • Spring flowers
  • Summer flowers

Edible Parts

  • Edible Fruit

Culinary Uses

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Dried fruit
  • Eaten raw
  • Fruit
  • Ice pop & Ice cream plants
  • Jams
  • Juice

Flower Colors

  • White flower
  • Yellow flower


  • Mediterranean Climate
  • Subtropics Climate
  • Tropics Climate

Harvest season

  • Autumn Harvest
  • Summer Harvest

Leaf color

  • Red leaves

Ornamental parts

  • Ornamental leaves
  • Ornamental plant

Plant growing speed

  • Average growing plants
  • Fast growing plants

Plant life-form

  • Evergreen
  • Perennial plant
  • Tree

Plant uses

  • Colored leaves
  • Edible plants
  • Ornamental plants

Planting season

  • Autumn Planting
  • Spring Planting
  • Summer planting

Plants sun exposure

  • Full sun Plants

Watering plants

  • Regularly water

Hardiness zone

  • Hardiness zone 10
  • Hardiness zone 11
  • Hardiness zone 12
  • Hardiness zone 13
  • Hardiness zone 9

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