Growing lychee trees can be a tricky process. The tree needs the right kind of soil and must be planted in the right place to grow properly. But want you to know their unique requirements and take care of them as you should, the tree will no doubt reward you with the most delicious fruits.
In this article, we will go over how to plant your lychee tree so that you can enjoy its sweet fruit for years to come.
What Is Lychee Tree?
Lychee is a tropical fruit that grows on the evergreen lychee tree, also known as Litchi chinensis, native to Southern China. Lychee fruits have a bright red, fibrous, and scaly outer shell, which you can easily peel away to reveal a soft, lightly tart fruit surrounding a single large seed.
Lychees grow in clusters, with anywhere from three to fifty fruits per bunch. You can find fresh lychees in most Asia markets and some grocery stores. The most notable of the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, lychee trees bloom in the late winter to early spring. So, if you’re looking for early spring blooming flowers for your garden, this is one of them.
The resulting fruits are drupes, borne in clusters of from 3-50. The fruit is round to oval and 1-1.5 inches across and a bumpy textured pink to red in color. Once peeled, the interior of the fruit is whitish, semi-transparent, and juicy. Each drupe contains one shiny, dark brown seed.
How to Grow Lychee Tree from Seed
Save the Seed
If you are growing lychee trees, there is a good chance that the reason may be to harvest fruit or seed for planting more. The best way to ensure that you have a viable seed for propagation is to save the seed from your first crop of lychees.
Soak the Seed for Three Days
Immediately after the fruit is harvested, remove it from the tree and split it open with a knife. Scoop out the seed with a spoon and wash off any unwanted pulp. Then place the seed in a bowl of water to soak for at least three days.
Plant the Lychee Seedling
Get a container with drainage holes almost a foot tall and fill it with potting soil. The soil should be slightly acidic. Burry the seed fully, about an inch into the soil. You'll want to mimic a subtropical environment for growing lychee trees, wet and warm.
Keep the pot in a warm room that stays in the seventies, but keep your growing lychee plant away from direct sunlight. Shade is best in the early stages of growth.
Water and Relocate Your Plant
Lychee trees need more water than the average houseplant. Give it water every other day, checking the soil to see how moist it is. After the first year, repot your plant, giving it a larger home. As it gets bigger, it will need more sunlight.
So plant your lychee tree in a full sun location that's protected from the wind because this tree is susceptible to wind damage. As evergreen trees are accustomed to tropical climates, lychees grow best in hardiness zones ten and eleven.
Lychee Tree Care
Lychee trees are tender and require care to grow very similar to how to grow and care for autumn blaze maple trees. very similar to how to grow and care for autumn blaze maple trees. . Here are the tips to keep your lychee tree in good health:
Keep the Tree in Areas with Little Wind
The wind will damage the delicate branches. Wind can inhibit growth, so keep your trees in areas that are shielded from the wind.
Lychee thrives in full sun, but be aware that the plant needs to be acclimated. Young plants that are not used to full sun will suffer from sudden exposure to bright light, but they'll perform better once acclimated.
Lychee doesn't like alkaline soils, so amending garden soil with pine bark or pine needles will help keep the pH levels low. If you're trying to grow it as a potted plant, use slightly acidic potting soil. Make sure you test the soil pH before growing your plant.
Lychees need regular watering during the growing season. Lychee doesn't have a natural winter resting period, so it will not benefit from the suspension of watering as do some other fruit trees. Soils with too much salt, especially in the Southwest, require regular watering to prevent salt build-up.
Lychees shouldn't be in standing water, as it will stunt their growth. Newly planted trees should be watered 2 to 3 times a week during the first weeks of planting but can be reduced once the tree is established.
Fertilize established trees 1 to 2 times during the growing season from spring to the end of summer. Use a weak liquid fertilizer to feed your plant and you're good to go.
Temperatures and Humidity
Lychee is surprisingly tolerant of cold and can cope with short blasts of almost freezing weather, but it prefers warmer temperatures. To be brought to bloom, lychee needs to be exposed to cold temperatures for at least a hundred hours in the winter. They'll then bloom early in the spring and bear fruit in the early summer. Lychee trees love high humidity.
Pruning Lychee Tree
Prune mature trees to help control their size and shape. The University of Florida Extension recommends not cutting branches that are 1 inch, or you risk having less fruit production.
Varieties of Lychee
Litchi Chinensis Mauritius
This variety has an excellent fleshy fruit with just one large seed. If fruit production is your main goal, this is a great choice.
This vigorous growing tree bears more fruit than Litchi Chinensis Mauritius. The fruits yield two to three seeds each. It's well suited for areas that get a lot of moisture.
This is considered one of the best container varieties, as it's a slow-growing tree with a compact growth habit. It requires less water than other varieties.
Lychee is typically propagated commercially by air layering. This sophisticated technique where growers cut into a thin branch and then surround it with a pocket of moist moss or soil. A home grower is more likely to start lychee from seed.
To sprout seeds, cover them with potting soil, keep warm and moist, and wait for sprouts to emerge. Once they've sprouted, move to a sunnier spot after a few weeks.
Common Pests and Diseases
Although lychee trees are hardy and low-maintenance, they can suffer from a few pests or diseases. Keep a lookout for mealybugs, aphids, and mites. Signs of infestation include tiny webs on plants, clumps of white powdery residue, or visible insects on the plant.
A product like pyrethrum is made to control aphids and pests that flock to fruit trees. Spray it on the lychee per the product descriptions, and it should kill the pests on contact. To eradicate them, you can also spray mites with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
How to Use Lychee Tree
This fresh fruit is versatile in the kitchen. You can lychee to smoothies or fruit salads or use it topping for sorbets and ice creams. You can also use lychee fruit to make a lychee martini. Lychees are high in Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants.
FAQs on How to Grow Lychee Trees
What conditions do lychees need to grow?
They grow best in subtropical climates where temperatures are cold and dry for a short time in the winter months. Lychees do not like wet feet, so be sure to plant your tree in well drained soil. Trees can also be planted on a mound to ensure proper drainage.
How long do lychee trees bear fruit?
Marcotted and grafted plants from this variety bear fruits. The tree flowers are from December to January, and the fruits are harvested from April to May.
Final Verdict on How to Grow Lychee T
As you can see, lychee plant care is relatively easy to do. You can either purchase a tree at a nursery or start from seeds. What are you waiting for? Grow this beautiful plant and enjoy the benefits that it brings.