How to Grow Durian Fruit from Seed to Harvest: How this Guide Helps Beginners

Durian fruit is commonly grown in the tropics. You can grow your Durian tree if the environment is right. To grow Durian, you will often have to water the tree and keep the temperature high. Durian has a hard outer husk with five oval parts that contain creamy flesh and seeds.

How to Grow Durian Fruit from Seed to Harvest
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Durian love extremely hot environments that are also extremely humid. Durian trees grow up to 120 feet in the wild and survive for a few centuries. Durian is a unique fruit; it’s surprisingly easy if you have the right environment. It’s also one of those trees full of fruit, which is a blessing whether you eat it or sell it.  

How to grow Durian fruit from seed to harvest

How long does Durian take to fruit from seed? 

Seed-grown Durian trees begin bearing fruit at 8 to 10 years old. Grafted trees begin to produce at the age of 4 to 6 years. It takes about 110 to 120 days from flowering to harvesting. Durian fruit can hang from any branch and matures about three months after pollination. The fruit can grow up to 12 inches long and 6 inches in diameter and usually weighs one to three kilograms. Between five and seven years after planting, Durian trees reach maturity and produce fruit twice a year. 

Germination of Durian seeds

  • You can plant seeds either indoors or outdoors. You can remove the seeds from the fruit to plant them. You should plant the seeds within a few days after removing them from the fruit. Fresh Durian seeds do not last more than five days, especially if exposed to sunlight. You can buy them online, especially in sealed packs that last longer than a few days.  
  • Dig holes about 1.5 feet and deeper. Mix the soil and the compost in equal parts and refill the hole. Take the seed, place it on top of the soil, and push it about halfway, making half of the seed exposed to sunlight. Do this in the hottest and wettest part of the season, and you should see germination within a few days or a week at most. Under the right conditions, Durian seeds are meant to germinate faster. Water the seeds well. 

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Can a single Durian tree bear fruit?

Even if female and male parts of Durian flowers were active simultaneously, most Durian trees have a high degree of self-incompatibility. In other words, flowers should be cross-pollinated from other trees to set fruit. Durian flowers are hermaphrodites, each with a stamen and pistil in the same flower. However, self-pollination is rare, as when flowers are open, usually from 3 p.m. to midnight, pistils and stamens don’t appear simultaneously.

Climate requirement for growing Durian

Durian likes very hot and humid tropical environments. It doesn’t like cold temperatures or low humidity. Durian requires deep, well-drained, and fertile soil rich in nutrients and organic matter. To thrive, Durian requires a constant temperature between 24°C to 29°C. At any temperature below 8°C, your tree will lose its leaves and potentially die. Durian also loves water. You need to provide additional irrigation if they don’t get rain. Anywhere between 70 and 90% moisture is needed.

Water requirement for growing Durian tree

  • Enough water is required for about 6 to 8 liters per plant during fruit development. Excess water encourages vegetative growth, which can result in premature fruit drop. Most Durian clones bear fruit on primary and secondary branches. If the weather dries and humidity drops, you should mulch with straw, grass, or similar and water well. 
  • However, some farmers use the method of drawing hoses and placing them at the base of Durian trees. Most farmers supply Durian trees with water 1 to 4 times per day in the growing stage of Durian fruits. 

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Durian Fruit Harvesting
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How many fruit does a Durian tree produce?

  • Trees that have just started producing fruit can produce only 10 to 60 Durian fruits each. With the age of 10 years, fruit volume can increase to 50 to 100 Durian fruits per tree, and more trees of 20 years and older can produce up to 100 to 200 Durian fruits.
  • With some trees, there is a tendency to bear only every other year, even in areas where it is possible to bear fruit twice a year. However, well-grown, high-yielding cultivars can produce 10 to 15 tons per hectare of Durian fruit each year after 10 to 15 years of planting. 

How deep do Durian roots grow?

  • Durian is unique because it doesn’t have root hairs. Instead, roots that absorb water and nutrients are called fungus roots that originate from secondary or tertiary roots. They are shallow roots and grow within only 45 to 50 centimeters of the soil surface. In addition, about 85% of the roots are present within the radius of the tree canopy. Therefore, it is very useful in developing ideal fertilizing and irrigation strategies for Durian.
  • Durian roots have different formations depending on whether grown from seeds or grafted plant material. The seed-grown Durian tree has a tap root that goes straight down from the stem. This tap root produces secondary roots following tertiary roots. 

The best fertilizer for Durian tree

  • Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the best fertilizers for growing Durian trees. However, don’t over-fertilize your Durian tree, as it can damage the roots. Too much nitrogen will burn tree leaves and prevent fruiting. The best fertilizer for Durian trees is the muriate of potash, which is also cheaper. It has trace elements and micronutrients that improve the quality of fruits. Muriate of potash is the most effective fertilizer for Durian trees.
  • Organic fertilizers such as chicken or cow dung are given annually at 15 to 30 kg per plant. Upon maturity, Durian requires high potassium fertilization for fruit growth. Under normal conditions, the fertilizer is circulated in the canopy, slightly away from the canopy radius. 
  • The amount or rate of fertilizer (usually 2 to 3 kg per tree) depends on the tree’s vigor. Use good quality slow-release fertilizer twice a year. Apply after harvesting the fruit and the next just before the flower appears. It’ll take a few seasons to work on the timings, especially since the tree won’t usually produce fruit in the first four to five years.  

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Durian Fruit Seed
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Soil requirement for growing Durian tree

  • Durian prefers deep, well-drained loamy soil no less than 1.5 meters deep. Soil pH is about 5.0 to 6.5. It grows very well on slowly sloping ground and at the foothills. The root system of the Durian tree is very sensitive to standing water, and good drainage is necessary, which is well taken care of by such sloping conditions. Durian trees grow best in rich, deep, well-drained sandy soil or clay loam, high in organic matter, with a pH range of 5 to 6.5.
  • Heavy clay soils do not support the growth and health of good Durian trees because they do not drain well. Seedlings develop more vigorously when planted in lighter and sandier media than with high clay content. Dig the soil where you want to plant your Durian seed at least 1.5 feet down and across it. Combine 1 part soil with 1-part organic compost and refill the hole with the mixture. This will ensure that you have well-organic soil to grow Durian trees.

Why is my Durian not fruiting?

Too much pruning on a young tree can delay fruiting by up to 1 or 2 years. The branch structure of Durian trees will vary with the type of Durian. Some branches will develop on the tree trunk’s desired spacing and angle. Tropical crops such as Durian require water stress to induce flowers. Durian plants have a drier period in August than in previous months, so applying paclobutrazol in August induces flowering faster.

Spacing between Durian trees

  • The appropriate distance is 12 × 12 meters for the area where rainfall is more than six months per year. The high rain rate helps the branch spread for a long time, so there is not enough distance between the trees, and the fruit at the tip of the bough will be fruited difficulty.
  • The planting distance is 10 × 10 meters per year for an area with a rainfall and drought period of 4 months that exceeds three consecutive months. Due to low rainfall, the branch will spread less than 5 meters from the tree because the canopy area is limited. 
  • Planting less than 10 meters requires canopy management or branching to control the height. Leaf production should be in the set and restored after pruning the branch. An attached canopy causes disease, fungus, and moss to cover, so the bark is wet and eaten by insects. As a result, it prevents flowering.

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Durian Fruit Plant
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What is the season of Durian?

Maturity can occur 90 to 130 days after flower opening, depending on the cultivar. Durians are usually harvested between July and August and October to November. During its harvesting season, Durians ripen and fall more at night. This is because the temperature is higher at noon, so when it comes to nighttime, a sudden temperature change will increase the chances of Durian dropping. About eighty percent of Durians fell during the night, while the remaining 20 percent fell during the day.

How do you prune a Durian tree?

Cut wood around the trunk area and near the ground, giving you the best exposure to the tree. Remove all branches that hang too close or touch the ground. Cut them off on the supporting limb. Remove crowded scaffold branches growing vertically and too close to each other due to heavy shade. The specific limbs you remove are usually not as important as those removed to increase light penetration into the tree’s central parts. Durian trees grow so tall that they should be pruned in the first two years. As the tree grows larger, cut down the sick and damaged branches. 

Ways to check if Durian is ripe

The easiest way to tell if Durian is ripe is to hold it by your ear and shake it. If the seed moves around without any resistance, chances are that Durian is overripe. If the flesh feels tender and soft, then the fruit is ready. If it feels difficult to touch, that part of the fruit is unripe. If the scent is fresh, it signifies that Durian flesh is sweet. If a Durian doesn’t emit the smell, it means it’s unripe. If the scent is too intense, it is a sign that the fruit is overripe. 

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Durian Fruit Farming
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Growing Durians in pots

  • If your area doesn’t get 60 to 150 inches of rain or a constant temperature greater than 7°C per year, consider planting your Durian inside a 19-liter pot. Be sure to layer the bottom of the pot with pebbles to allow for better drainage. When planting indoors, mix 1 part potting soil and 1-part organic compost. This will ensure that your soil drains out so fast that Durian trees don’t drown or rot in standing water. 
  • Start your seeds with a paper towel soaked in a plastic bag. Place your seeds in a plastic bag with a soaked paper towel and seal the bag. This will allow the bag to produce condensation, keeping the seeds moist and more likely to germinate. The point is to get the heat in the bag so that the water in the paper towel evaporates, creating a water cycle that will nourish the seed. If you can’t place your seeds on or out of the window, try placing them under grow light.     
  • After 4 to 5 days, Durian seeds should grow the roots. Look for small yellow or brown tendrils from the seeds and plant them when the roots are longer than the seed. Slowly push the seeds down on the soil, but don’t push them all the way. Durian plants root themselves by standing on top of the soil, so make sure you leave most of the seeds above the soil line. Once your Durian tree produces fruit, you should give 6 to 8 liters of water. Remember that Durian plants can wilt and die in temperatures lower than 7°C.

Conclusion

You need specific conditions for Durian to thrive. Under optimal conditions, a Durian tree can eventually be tall, large, and majestic. Young trees starting from seeds can eventually reach up to 50 meters in height, with a trunk diameter of 120 centimeters. Fruit production decreases in very old trees, although the quality of fruits increases significantly with age. If you provide all the needs of the Durian tree, you will get a bountiful harvest.

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