2 Durian Saplings are Thriving in Bristol

Durian Sapling in Bristol

3 year old Durian Sapling in a Bristol Flat

Thank you Chris for sending us a photo of your durian sapling (btw, definition: sapling = young tree) which is absolutely beautiful.

Notice that its grown very tall (would you say 1 ft a year Chris?) and the leaves are very well formed and lush green.

A note from Chris on his Stinky Spike:

“This Durian sapling is about 3 years old. I planted the seeds from a fruit I bought in China Town, London. Because I am in the UK and winters here are cold, I germinated the seeds on a heated pad, like the ones they use for reptiles and amphibians. I now keep the growing tree near a radiator (which other plants seem to hate because it dries them out!), but I water it often with luke warm water from the kettle. I also planted it in ericaeous compost (I think normal potting compost is too rich for durian plants). All in all, it seems to tolerate my drafty flat in Bristol much better than expected!”


Chris, I have a few questions for you (hope you don’t mind!):

1. Did you start off growing this tree in the same pot as you have now or did you transplant it from a smaller pot?

2. I notice that the leaf tips turn brown, mine does too, any idea why? (is it natural?)

3. When your plant grew, did it lose any of its initial leaves along the way?

4. Did your plant grow from the base and is there a rough-ish texture along the initial stem?

5. Why is there a mirror beside the pot? Is this to reflect more light onto the leaves?

6. How long do you intend to keep it in your flat before you think it needs to be planted outdoors?

7. Do you intend to attempt at making a durian bonsai?

8. Do you love Durian fruit?

I am really looking forward to seeing Chris’s photos on his Durian Sapling’s sibling, which he donated to the botanic gardens of Bristol. Apparently, it is thriving in a heated greenhouse and is in better shape!

It would be pretty amazing if suddenly Bristol could become a European durian hub. But its going to be tough to beat the variety we have here in Malaysia 🙂

6 thoughts on “2 Durian Saplings are Thriving in Bristol

      • Hey Sone!
        I live in the southern part of Germany and so far, the plant is doing fine. I took the seed out of a fruit I bought in Bangkok and brought it back home. Germination was no problem next to a radiator 🙂
        As suggested by Chris, I used ericaceous compost (like for rhododendrons), but mixed it with sand. The first leaves of the durian turned brown and dried out, so I used a transparent plastic bag and covered the plant with that, to increase humidity. The durian liked it and got a lot of new leaves! So far, it’s 7 months old and about 30 cm high. The leaf tips also turn brown, but so far, no leaf fell off. I keep the plant now in a small greenhouse that I’ve made of a thick, tranparent foil. I could send you some pictures, if you’re interested – just tell me an address!
        I couldn’t find so much information on what fertilizer should be used, any ideas?
        Greetings to Malaysia!

      • Hi Tobi!

        Thanks for sharing. I’m so happy to hear that your plant is doing well, it must be all the TLC you are providing in addition to the environmental conditions.
        You might find these sites listed below useful, although most advice address plantations and trees rather than young saplings.

        Keep in touch!
        Sone 🙂


        and from this site, http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/durian_ars.html#Soil


        Durian seeds lose viability quickly, especially if exposed even briefly to sunlight. Even in cool storage they can be kept only 7 days. Viability can be maintained for as long as 32 days if the seeds are surface-sterilized and placed in air-tight containers and held at 68º F (20º C).

        They have been successfully shipped to tropical America packed in a barely moist mixture of coconut husk fiber and charcoal. Ideally, they should be planted fresh, flat-side down, and they will then germinate in 3 to 8 days. Seeds washed, dried for 1 or 2 days and planted have shown 77-80% germination. It is reported that, in some countries, seedling durian trees have borne fruit at 5 years of age. In India, generally, they come into bearing 9 to 12 years after planting, but in South India they will not produce fruit until they are 13 to 21 years old. In Malaya, seedlings will bloom in 7 years; grafted trees in 4 years or earlier.

        Neither air-layers nor cuttings will root satisfactorily. Inarching can be accomplished with 50% success but is not a popular method because the grafts must be left on the trees for many months. Selected cultivars are propagated by patch-budding (a modified Forkert method) onto rootstocks 2 months old and pencil-thick, and the union should be permanent within 25 to 30 days. The plants can be set out in the field within 14 to 16 months. Grafted trees never grow as tall as seedlings; they are usually between 26 to 32 ft (8-10 m) tall; rarely 40 ft (12 m).


        Generally, durian trees receive little or no horticultural attention in the Far East. Young grafted plants, however, need good care. They should be staked, irrigated daily in the dry season, given monthly feedings of about 1/5 oz (5 g) of a 6-6-6 fertilizer formula, and the rootstock should be pruned gradually as leaves develop on the scion. When set out in the field, the trees should be 30 to 40 ft (9 to 12 m) apart each way.

        Studies in Malaya have shown that a harvest of 6,000 lbs of fruits from an acre (6,720 kg from a hectare) removes the following nutrients from the soil: N, 16.1 lbs/acre (roughly equal kg/ha); P, 2.72 lbs/acre (roughly equal kg/ha); K, 27.9 lbs/acre (roughly equal kg/ha); Ca, 1.99 lbs/acre (roughly equal kg/ha); Mg, 3.26 lbs/ acre (roughly equal kg/ha).

        And from this site, some information on planting your sapling. http://letsplantsomething.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/durian-cultural-management/

        Use basal fertilization. Use 40 grams of basal fertilizer (18-46-0) per tree. Every 2 months use 10 grams, 4th month (20 grams), 6th months (30 grams), 8th month (40 grams), 10th month (50 grams), 1 year (60 grams).

        When the Durian trees become 2 years old, apply fertilizer at the rate of 70 grams (14-14-14) per tree in 14th months, 16th months (1oo grams), 18 months (130 grams), 20th month (170 grams), 22th months (210 grams) and 2 years (250 grams).

        Plant the tree seedlings by removing the plastic bags. Ensure that the ball of soil is intact in order not to be disturb the root system. Fill half the hole with the basal fertilizer of 18-46-0) along with the seedling. Put the seedling in the hole where the upper part of the ball of soil is at the same level to that of the ground. Start putting top soil to the hole and press the soil gently.

        To protect the seedlings from the heat of the sun, use coconut leaves as shade in the duration of 3 months, If there is no rain during the time of your planting, water it thoroughly and daily to ensure the health condition of the plants.

        Use foliar fertilizer (complete) to spray the plants every week during first year. Spray monthly on the 2nd year of growth.

        Use fungicides to spray the plants to control fungal disease. Use insecticides to control plant’s pests. Spraying should be done every 15 days when it started to have a new leaves.

  1. Thanks for the links! I’ll try to find some basal fertilizer, and I’ll keep you updated about the plant 🙂
    Cheers, Tobi

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