Lychee tree grow and care – tree of the genus Litchi and also known as Litchi chinensis, Lychee tree perennial evergreen plant, that grown for the fruits but also used as ornamental plant for the leaves, trunk and the fruits, can grow in tropic, mediterranean or subtropical climate and growing in hardiness zone 10+.
Leaves color green and waxy, when start to grow the young leaves are red and become green when mature.
Fruit are cover with rough skin can be yellow, orange and mostly red, that pilled easily the flesh is white with special structure remind little bit onion, some cultivar are easy to take off the seeds and some cultivars are seedless.
How to grow Lychee tree – growing conditions and care:
Slightly acid soil, rich soil, can survive some frost but when the plant young need to protect overwinter
How to care: Fertilizer 3-4 times a year, add organic matter, mulch especially when the tree is young, and protect from wind when the tree young wind can damage the growth speed of the tree and make it grow very slow
What is the best way to start growing? Plant / Seed / Vegetative Reproduction (air layer or cutting)
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction? Yes, possible to graft but it’s harder than air layering, and it’s also grow faster in air layering
Difficulties or problems when growing: Sensitive to wind in the first years
Planting lychee tree: Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball plus extra 40%, put in the hole organic matter, hummus and dried leaves and mix it the “ingredient” with the soil, reduce the hole to size of the roots ball, put the tree and loos little bit the root ball above the hole, plant the tree and cover it and don’t push the soil too much strong but not too much lightly because it won’t be stable, after hummus and cover with mulch to keep moist on soil, put water, for the next two weeks put every day (better in the morning) , better to take care that the tree will be stable, and if not support it with bamboo or a stick that it won’t fall.
Planting season: Spring to summer in growing zone 10, spring to autumn growing zone 11-12a, all year in growing zone 12b+
Pests and diseases: Aphids, ants
Pruning season: Autumn / Winter
How to prune: Dead branches, except this not recommend to prune to much
Size of the plant? 5-20 m, (15-60 feet) outside the tropic the tree smaller
Growth speed in optimal condition: Slow growing
Water requirement: Average amount of water / Big amount of water
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing: Full Sun
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant (indoor)? No
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers: No, it is possible in some ways with huge container but might won’t bear fruits and better to start with air layer
Bloom season: Spring
General information about the flower Small white flower grow in groups on stalk
Thinning the bloom: A lot of pollinators are not really pollinate the flowers cause a lot of problem, if there are not enough fruits and a lot of flowers, should check that the tree big enough to hold the fruits and if yes, need to plant next to lychee plants that attracts pollinator in the same season
Pollination is done by: Bees
Fruit harvest season: Spring, summer
Fruits pests or diseases: Birds, aphids
What can be done with big quantities of Lychee tree fruits? Eat raw, Juice and more
Work requirements on the fruit: Cover with net if there is too much birds
How long does it take to bear fruit? 3-8 years
Ripening of fruit: Possible to pick the fruit before it ready and let it to be ready at home
How to pick lychee: Pick up fruits it depend the cultivars, in cultivars that all the fruits ready in the same moment better to harvest all and cut the branch in the base, keep the fruit for longer time, in cultivars that are not ready in the same time need to cut part of the stems.
How to grow a lychee tree from seed
Sowing requirement: Better in peat soil with vermiculite possible in other soils
Saving seeds until sowing: Dry and dark location, keep it room temperature, be aware that seeds viable for short time
Sowing season: Spring will be the best for the tree but possible in summer and in hardiness zone 12+ possible all year, possible to sow in the summer directly after the fruits and this will ensure the viability of the seeds
Planting spacing: Better in different pots – because need to graft it after and some won’t establish, better to choose the best tree and transplant to the real location
Depth of Sowing: 3-5cm, (~1-2inches)
How to plant lychee tree from seed: make hole bigger than the seeds, cover the soil that will be enough plant for the seed the point when plant it directly it’s to switch some of the soil in peat soil or potting mix, it’s increase the change of germination also to use vermiculite is good for germination
Conditions for seeds germinate: Moist soil, sunny location, water regularly and don’t let it dry
Watering requires for Seeds: Average amount of water
Germination time: 2-4 weeks
Condition of seedling: Sunny location, humidity and moist soil
Sweatheart: one of the finest taste, small inner seed, large fruit. The tree needs full sun. The fruit ripens between May and July.
Brewster: Brewster is originally from China but this is one of the most popular varieties in the United States. Superior fruit. Large fruits with a large seed. The leaves are large, dark green and spear-shaped in the top.
Mauritius: thin wood. Most commercial cultivar in Florida. The fruit ripens early.
Emperor: container lychee because of the slow growing, has a compact structure and doesn’t require as much water as the other lychee varieties. It produces very large fruit with small seeds
Hak ip Medium-red fruit with thin soft skin. The flesh that can be pink is crisp and sweet.
Alternative names: Litchi tree, Lichee tree, Lechee tree