The Longan Tree: A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Dragon’s Eye Fruit in Florida

Longan, also known as Dragon’s Eye fruit, is a delicious tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia.

It has gained popularity in Florida in recent years due to its ability to thrive in the state’s subtropical climate.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about growing longan trees in Florida, including the two popular varieties: Biew Kiew Thai longan and Kohala Hawaiian longan.

Longan Fruit Growing in Florida
Longan fruit tree producing baby fruits in Florida.

Great Products For Growing Longan

Longan Quick Care Guide

Common Name(s) Longan, Poor mans Lychee
Scientific Name Dimocarpus longan
Days to Harvest 4-5 years from seed, with fruit production within the first year for air-layered trees.
Light Full sun to partial shade, with best fruit production in full sun.
Water Water regularly, maintaining consistently moist but not waterlogged soil.
Soil Longan prefers well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.
Fertilizer Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer, such as a Omsocote, Azomite or Florikan, during the growing season.
Pests Aphids, caterpillars, spider mites, and stink bugs
Diseases Fungal diseases such as brown spot, leaf spot, and root rot

Longan Varieties in Florida

There are two primary longan varieties suitable for cultivation in Florida:

  1. Biew Kiew Thai longan: A large Thai variety prized for its high-quality taste, sweet fruit with a small seed, and abundant fruit production.
  2. Kohala Hawaiian longan: Known for its large fruit size, high yield, distinct sweet and floral taste, and being a great producer in South Florida.

How to Plant Longan Trees

  1. Select the location: Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil and enough space for your tree to grow. Learn more about the best types of soils to plant with in Florida.
  2. Dig the hole: Create a hole twice the width and depth of the root ball to provide ample space for the roots to spread.
  3. Prepare the soil: Mix organic matter or compost into the excavated soil to improve drainage and provide nutrients.
  4. Place the tree: Gently place the tree in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
  5. Backfill the hole: Fill the hole with the amended soil, gently tamping it down to eliminate air pockets.
  6. Water: Thoroughly water the tree after planting to help the soil settle around the roots.

Fertilizing Longan Trees

  1. Frequency: Fertilize your longan tree every 3-4 months during the growing season.
  2. Amount: Apply a few hand fulls of 15-9-12 Osmocote + fertilizer per application, increasing the amount as the tree matures.
  3. Method: Scatter the fertilizer evenly under the canopy, avoiding the trunk, and water it in thoroughly. Discover alternative tropical fruit tree fertilizers for your longan tree.

Watering Longan Trees

  1. Newly planted trees: Water every 2-3 days for the first two weeks, then gradually reduce to once a week.
  2. Established trees: Water once a week during the dry season or whenever the soil feels dry 2-3 inches below the surface.
  3. Amount: Apply 1-1.5 inches of water per week, adjusting based on rainfall and soil conditions.

Pruning Longan Trees

  1. When to prune: Prune during the tree’s dormant season, typically between December and February. 
  2. Shape the tree: Begin by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, as well as any that cross or rub against one another.
  3. Maintain the canopy: Trim back branches to maintain an open canopy, allowing sunlight to reach all parts of the tree.
  4. Control height: Limit the height of the tree by pruning the central leader and any overly long branches, making clean cuts at a 45-degree angle.

       5. Fruit thinning: Remove some developing fruit clusters to encourage larger, better-quality fruit.  Learn more about the benefits and techniques of fruit thinning for various fruit trees.

Longan fruits for sale in Florida

By following these planting, fertilizing, watering, and pruning steps, you can provide optimal care for your longan tree. 

In addition, be sure to monitor for pests and diseases, protect your tree from cold temperatures, and keep the 10 must-have tools for Florida fruit tree gardeners on hand to maintain your tree’s health.

Longan fruits are a delightful addition to your diet, with their unique flavor and texture. With translucent white flesh, a sweet, floral taste, and a hint of tartness, they are often compared to their close relative, the lychee. 

Longan fruits can be enjoyed fresh or used in a variety of culinary dishes. Incorporate them into salads, desserts, or simply savor them as a refreshing snack. 

The fruit also boasts numerous health benefits, making it a nutritious and delicious part of your diet. Discover more about the health benefits of longan fruit and how to enjoy it in various dishes.

Longan fruits are setting fruit in mid-April in Florida.

In conclusion, the longan tree is a rewarding fruit tree to grow in Florida, given its ability to thrive in subtropical climate. By choosing the right variety, such as the Biew Kiew Thai longan or Kohala Hawaiian longan, and providing proper care and maintenance, you’ll enjoy an abundant harvest of delectable Dragon’s Eye fruits. Be sure to follow the tips and resources provided in this comprehensive guide, and you’ll be well on your way to cultivating a thriving longan tree in your Florida garden.

Remember to monitor your longan tree for pests and diseases, adjust watering needs, use proper fertilization techniques, and prune regularly to promote healthy growth and fruit production. With the right care, your longan tree will flourish, providing you with a bountiful supply of tasty and nutritious fruit for years. Explore the common pests and diseases affecting fruit trees in Florida and how to manage them effectively.

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