Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waiting - the hardest part

Longan flower panicleLitchi flower panicle

For me the hardest thing, is waiting. When I planted my litchi and longan trees, I knew I was in for a long wait. These two trees are closely related and belong to the Sapindaceae family.

It was almost as if I didn't want to look at the trees because I knew they would take at least 3 - 5 years to bear. The wait was unbearable.

Last spring, the litchi tree produced what looked like a single flower panicle. I suspect that this years flowering has all to do with our record-breaking cold winter. Very often litchi (and longan) trees will bear profusely after a pro-longed cold and dry period. Lithci (and longan) farmers sometimes girdle entire limbs in order to induce flowering. Longan trees are slightly better and more consistent producers than litchis. Litchi's are well known for their unreliably fruiting.

The lithchi tree has numerous panicles all opening up now. During bright sunshine days, I see a hive of activity with bees pollinating them.

The longan however, produced a single panicle this year. I suspect the tree is still too small to do much more. I'm still excited to see it though. Last year I bought some longans from our local fruit market and they were not very good. I certainly hope this is not a foretaste of what my tree will deliver. The longan tree is beautiful. Left to its own devices, it could probably grow 40 feet tall and wide and cover most of the backyard, so I'm going to have to keep a close watch on it and do some judicious pruning to keep its size in check - same as the Valencia Pride Mango tree and litchi tree for that matter.

Nevertheless, I am so thrilled to see my hard work come to fruition, literally.

Apart from the litchi and longa, I have a couple more exotic fruits that I am waiting for. If I had to put them in order it would have to be:

1. Jaboticaba - I suspect I might have to wait another 3 - 5 years. The plant i bought at the fruit and spice park last year, was supposedly 5 years old. If you are lucky they might bear in the 8Th year, but typically it takes 10-12 years !

2. Pitomba (Eugenia luschnathiana)- last spring it produced a single flower and no fruit. In addition the main stem and several others died back with no apparent reason. This year, its sporting tonnes of new growth and looks very healthy overall. I'm hopeful for a couple of fruit this year. No flowers or sings thereof yet.

Tell me what you're growing and waiting impatiently for to fruit or flower.

1 comment:

  1. Of all the litchi panicles only 2 single fruit formed.

    The longan did better, the one panicle has about 15 fruit on it.