Longans are subtropical trees that are also included in the list of evergreen trees. They have green foliage and corky bark. Freshly harvested fruit from the longan plant is small and looks like a dragon eye. That’s the reason why longan is also known as the dragon eye plant. The pulp in the fruit is semi-transparent, with a shiny brown seed in the center. The outer part of the fruit is bark-like and thin. The fruit is juicy, has a sweet taste, and grow in clusters. The most longan producing country is China. By 2015-2017, china produced 1900 thousand tons of longan.
Longan trees bloom from March, and the fruit harvest season is June, July, or August. It is an attractive plant because of its dark green-colored foliage and corky bark. Longan tree needs cold temperature and sandy soil. The tree can grow up to 100 feet in height.
What are Longans?
Longans are also known as the Dimocarpuslongans, which means dragon eye because the longan fruit looks like a dragon eye. It is a tropical tree of the soapberry family; lychee and rambutan are also from the same family. Longan resembles lychee, but the difference is the taste of longan fruit is less-aromatic. Longan originated from mountain ranges between Myanmar and southern China.
Logan fruit is used for multi-purposes. It can be consumed raw as fruit or used in soups, desserts, and sweet and sour foods. It also has a number of health benefits. The regions where longan is commonly found are Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China. It mainly grows in Asian countries. The longan fruit is new to this world, and its demand is increasing day by day. The majority of the demand for this plant comes from North America, Europe, and Australia.
How to Grow Longan?
Longan trees need some proper care for their growth. Here is an ultimate guide to how to grow longan.
Selecting a Suitable Site
Plant a longan tree in a place with full sunlight as it needs proper sunlight for its growth. Plant it in well-drained soil and away from other trees and plants because the tree can go to 20 feet in height. The distance should be at least 25 feet. If the winters in your region are wet, then plant the tree in the mound. If you want to grow it in a container, make sure there are equal parts of sand, peat moss, and bark.
Longan trees prefer well-drained and sandy soil. The soil should be slightly acidic. It can survive in rocky soil or calcareous soil. Fruiting is perfect if it is grown in organic muck soil. The soil in which you have planted the seed makes sure that no flooding occurs.
The longan plant needs cold temperature and grows in higher latitudes, mainly on mountains. It grows at higher altitudes than lychee, but slightly low temperatures than the average can be hazardous. Small longan trees can die if few temperatures fall few degrees from -0.5 to -1 degree Celsius, and for larger trees, temperatures below -2.78 degrees Celsius can be killing.
Longan trees need proper irrigation. Make sure to water the longan plant when it is small and reach its bearing age (around 3-4 years after planting). Also, water regularly in spring and summer, and add some mulch.
Select around two to three shots and cut the shoots a few inches from the back. Using weight, force the shoots in a horizontal position if required. Prune off the shoots on each branch. Do pruning after three years of planting.
Before the tree blooms, use 5 pounds of organic fertilizer in spring and do the same in late spring. After this, add fertilizer just before harvesting in summer.
The following are the disease problems for longan tree:
- Webworm lychee
- Many scale insects
The harvesting season is in August. An indicator that the fruit is ready to harvest is when its pulp tastes sweet, and the peel turns brown/tan. Longan fruits grow in the form of clusters. Harvesting should not be done mechanically as it can damage the surface of the fruit. Harvesters should remove the branches carefully. Fruits are harvested with branches because they remain fresh as long as they are attached to branches. Sharp tools like knives must be used to cut the branch from the tree.
After harvesting, fruit should be placed in the refrigerator as it has a very short shelf life.
Longan fruit is beneficial for human health as it is rich in vitamin C (it contains about 40 percent of the total amount of vitamin C a person needs in a day). According to the USDA, the nutritional content of 100 grams of longans is:
- 75g water
- 31g protein
- 60 calories
- 14g carbohydrates
- 1g fiber
- 84mg Vitamin C
Maintains Bowel Health
Longan contains a high amount of fiber that helps in maintaining bowel health. It controls blood pressure in people who have diabetes and also lowers cholesterol levels.
Helps Fight Free-Radicals
Longan is rich in antioxidants that help in fighting free radicals. Free radicals damage body cells and also expose your body to other diseases.
Maintains Tissue Health
Longan is a source of vitamin C that helps maintain the health of body tissues. Moreover, it also contributes to collagen formation, which is part of almost all body parts such as bone, muscle, and skin.
Good for a Healthy Diet
Longan has healthy fat content, and calories are very low. Half a bowl of longans contains 35 calories; hence, the addition of these fruits is an excellent choice for a healthy diet.
A Good Supplier of Energy to the Body
Despite having low fat and calories, longan contains complex carbohydrates that can supply energy and increase stamina.
Helps in Maintaining Blood Pressure
Longan contains potassium that can help in maintaining blood pressure in the body. High blood pressure can even cause a heart attack.
Helps Prevent Cardiovascular Problems
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and longan contains a relatively high amount of vitamin C. Therefore, by eating longans, you will be protecting yourself from various heart problems. Vitamin C helps in reducing the stiffness of arteries, preventing heart problems.
Helps the Heart and Spleen
By reducing stress and fatigue, longans lighten the work of the heart and spleen. These fruits can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Accelerates Healing and Prolong Life Expectancy
Together with polyphenols, longan can fight free radicals in the body and prevent cell damage. Longan also can reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer.
Now, you must know how to grow longans if you have a big backyard. Moreover, one can consume these delicious fruits for the several health benefits of amazing taste.