When I told my wife that I wanted to grow durian, she asked why. There are signs banning durians from travel, public transport, hotels and other areas through Asia. In other words, not everyone is a fan.
Known for the smell – um – unpleasant, durian is a polarizing fruit that people either absolutely love or loathe.
Durian is one such unique fruit, and is often sought after by aficionados. There is a huge market for this tricky treatment, and it is surprisingly easy to develop if you have the right environment. It is one of those trees that are laden with fruits, which is a boon whether you eat it or sell it.
What is durian?
Known by fans as the king of fruits, Durian (Durio zibethinus) Is beloved in countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a creamy, sweet taste, although you have to go through the pungent smell to enjoy it.
Inside the durian is a hard outer husk with five oval segments that contain creamy flesh and seeds. Durian is related to breadfruit, and shares his love of sun and heat. It is a truly tropical tree.
Native to Borneo and Sumatra, Durians love extremely hot environments that are also very humid. In the wild, durian trees grow up to 120 feet and survive for a few centuries. Grafted varieties are more compact, but still produce individual fruits that weigh up to 18 pounds. There are hundreds of named varieties.
If you have never tasted or smelled durian, this is quite an experience. People describe it as combined with Limburger cheeses, resin, gym socks, rotten onions and turpentine. It is so pungent that it is banned in public places in some Asian countries.
But taste is a different thing. It is sweet, caramel, savory and almost creamy. Anthony Burden once said that after eating it, “your breath will smell as if you had been kissing your dead grandmother’s French”.
How to plant durian
You need special conditions to thrive. Some places in the United States provide the right conditions, but don’t let that stop you from trying. Only you know the intricacies of your field, so if you think you can do the durian work, then by all means you can complete it.
Durian grows successfully in Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and similar locations, although it has not been grown on a commercial scale anywhere in the US.
For thriving, durian requires a constant temperature between 75ishF and 85 .F. Any temperature below 45 andF, your tree will lose its leaves and possibly die. It goes without saying that Durian cannot handle any frost.
Durian also loves water. Trees require at least 60 inches of rain per year, but do best with up to 150 inches of rain. Failing those levels, you need to provide supplemental irrigation.
Next is moisture. Anywhere from 70 to 90 percent humidity is required.
Based on all of that, you should weigh whether it is worth trying the growing durian or not. I was told that I could not grow pauva in my area, but I planted a tree — and what it is worth — it grows some fruit every year. It also looks great on my property. So never say.
Planted in Ground
You can plant seeds indoors or outdoors. You can remove the seeds from the fruit just to plant them.
You should sow the seeds within a few days of removal from the fruit. Fresh durian seeds do not keep for more than five days, especially if exposed to sunlight. You can buy them online exclusively in seal packs that last longer than a few days.
Dig a pit about one and a half feet deep and deep. Mix soil and compost in equal parts and fill the hole again. Take the seed and place it on the soil and push it about halfway, leaving half of the seed in the sun.
Do this in the hottest and most part of the season, and you should see germination within a few days or a week. Under the right conditions, durian seeds are fast to germinate.
Water the seeds well. Provide shade for the first two years, as if the seed had fallen from a tree in the forest and it is growing on the forest floor.
If the outside environment is not quite right, then you can start the seed inside. Begin by placing on a soaked paper towel, and then seal the towel and seeds inside a clear plastic bag. It provides warmth and condensation – all things durian seed craving. Place on a window that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight each day and make sure the bag stays wet.
When the seeds grow in roots that are longer than the seeds, then plant them in a pot filled with high quality potting mix. Water every day, but make sure that the container you use in the drains is very well. Bury the plant half like the outside seed.
If you know someone with a durian tree, you can take a cutting from it. Choose a branch that is about three feet long and at least two inches in diameter. Rope the severed ends directly into the ground. Drink wells and water daily for four months.
The pH of the soil should be between 5.5 and 6.5. Durian trees require well-enriched, loam soil that drains well. They love water but hate wet feet sitting in moisture.
Use good quality slow-release fertilizer twice a year. Dig it after the fruit is harvested and just before the next time the flowers arrive. It will take a few seasons for you to take time off, especially since the tree typically will not bear fruit in the first four to five years.
Water daily for the first four months, especially if planting a bite. After this, water often, ensuring that the water does not pool at the base of the trunk and roots. The ground should be moist but not wet.
If the weather becomes dry and the humidity falls, straw, grass, or similar and well-wetted with water. Think of a rain forest environment. You want to breed as much as possible.
Durian trees grow so high that pruning should be done in the first one to two years. Prune to shape so that the tree umbrella is open in the middle. Aim for a two-dimensional shape and moving out of the main trunk.
As the tree grows older, diseased and damaged branches are removed. If you already have fruitful trees, treat the durian the same way and when you cut down all the other trees in your garden, cut it down.
If you plant more than one durian tree, keep them at a distance of 30 to 50 feet. The tree is pollinated by fruit bats, birds, and insects, so fruit yields are better if you plant more than one tree.
Partner planting for growing durian
Just a word of warning when it comes to Durian. Despite the height of the tree, their roots are extremely shallow. This makes them susceptible to air. There have been instances when trees have fallen, so I usually avoid planting anything under the durian tree.
It is also worth noting that you should not plant directly under durian trees for any other reason. The fruit is prepared when it falls to the ground and some fruits may weigh up to 18 pounds. The durian is solid with a hard, edgy husk. Anything below could have been smooth.
Common problems and solutions for the growing durian
It is a common disease that affects many different plants. Symptoms vary depending on the type of plant affected. With durian, symptoms appear as root rot, fruit rot, and rot without cause before fully developing.
You usually see chocolate colored spots on the leaves and fruits, then they spread before rotting. Spots often contain a sap or a sticky substance.
There are many fungicides that you can use, so I suggest talking to a professional at your local nursery. This is because to manage this disease effectively, and you sometimes need to use many different fungicides at different times.
As the name suggests, this is where the roots rot, eventually killing the tree. To avoid this, make sure that the soil is well drained, so the roots are not sitting in a pool of water. This is especially important for durians, given how much water they need.
Red or yellow spots appear on the leaves and spread outwards. It often affects juvenile trees and is caused by fungi. Use a fungicide, or if the tree is small enough, you can use your own baking soda spray. Use 1/2 teaspoon in a gallon of water. Mix well and spray on the leaves, covering both the front and back sides.
Shot hole borer
You can see small holes in the branches, gumming mixed with a powdery residue. It may or may not be combined with branch or stem vitting and die.
This destructive beetle sneaks into the durian tree, safely away from our chemical and natural remedies. There are chemical solutions to try but check your local laws and regulations. When they are out of the tree, they have to be planted before they are bored.
There may also be specific ways to destroy and remove infected plants.
In some areas the insect is abundant and needs to be reported to the local authorities.
You will notice these small pests as you work in the garden and brush the durian tree as you walk around it. Small insects will bounce and disintegrate. Sometimes they look like whiteflies, other times they look like a flat, green scale.
These are small sap-sucking insects that are not much of a problem in small numbers. Problems occur when numbers increase to unbearable proportions. If you have an infection, spray with neem oil weekly.
If you are confident that you know it is ready, you can cut an inch above the fruit, but the best way is to leave the fruit from the tree. Some varieties are divided into five pieces instead of falling from the tree. If you have this type, pull the fruits you see dividing.
Most traditional farmers in Durian do this, but you have to get the fruit right away because it has a short shelf life. Most durian lovers eat the fruit directly or after dropping it in the first three to four days. By day five, the quality drops significantly.
If you do not like to eat durian, but can grow it, then you are on to a good thing. Durian lovers go on tours for the fruit, dedicate it to social media sites, and will travel to buy it.
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