Litchi Plant

A lychee with the skin peeled back to reveal the flesh of the fruit

Lychee may be a tropical broadleaf evergreen tree native to China, where it grows during a warm, wet climate. Although grown commercially for its fruit, in landscapes it’s often used as a tree or a specimen angiospermous tree .

The tree bears small, dimpled, fleshy fruit with a light-weight , perfumed flavor. the surface of the fruit features a rough, pink-red skin that’s inedible and therefore the inside flesh is obvious to white and sweet. The brown seed inside the fruit is poisonous and will be discarded (or planted). The fruit is typically eaten fresh or frozen and may be made into sauces, jam, puree, or preserves.

Like many other tropical fruits, like avocado, lychee isn’t a natural choice for indoor gardeners. It’s more of a novelty plant and can be unlikely to ever bear fruit or grow to maturity (unless you’ve got a greenhouse). Still, it are often fun to sprout these seeds in an effort to grow a beautiful plant. If you are doing manage to supply a harvest, remember that it can take around five years before this slow-growing tree will bear fruit.

Because it needs tropical conditions, it’s not a tree which will be grown across wide areas of North America. It are often successfully grown in warm states like Florida and sheltered locations in California. Planting is usually wiped out the spring after the danger of frost has passed.

How to Plant Lychee Trees

Lychee trees are best planted a minimum of 30 feet faraway from your home, other major structures, or other trees in your home landscape. Planting them too close can impact their growth and fruit harvest, particularly if they’re shaded.

If you’re in a neighborhood susceptible to flooding, planting the tree on a mound of soil can help to make sure water runoff.

Plant a lychee tree during a full sun location that’s shielded from wind, because this tree are often vulnerable to wind damage. Spring planting, after any frosts have passed is best.


Lychee thrives fully sun, but remember that the plants got to be acclimated. Young plants that aren’t wont to full sun will suffer from sudden exposure to bright light, but once acclimated, they’re going to definitely perform better.


Lychee doesn’t like alkaline soils, so amending garden soil with pine bark or pine needles could also be necessary. If you’re trying to grow it as a potted plant, use slightly acidic potting soil.


These plants prefer ample and regular water throughout the year. Lychee doesn’t have a natural winter resting period, so it’ll not enjoy a suspension of watering as do another fruit trees.

Temperature and Humidity

Lychee is surprisingly tolerant of cold and may deal with short blasts of just about freezing weather, but is basically prefers warmer temperatures. To be delivered to bloom, lychee must be exposed to cold temperatures (32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit) for a minimum of 100 hours within the winter. they’re going to then bloom early within the spring and bear fruit within the early summer. These trees love high humidity.


Unripe lychee hanging on the tree

Feed with a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the season . Cut fertilizer back to once a month approximately within the winter.

A lychee with the skin peeled back to reveal the flesh of the fruit

Are Lychees Toxic?

Outbreaks of great sickness in undernourished children in India are reported during lychee harvest . This has been linked to a chemical within the unripe fruit flesh and seeds called methylene cyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG). 1

When combined with low blood glucose levels, this will cause a cerebrospinal meningitis mentioned as Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). It can cause fever, vomiting, seizures, and loss of consciousness and is problematic for young, malnourished children.

However, providing children only eat ripe lychee carefully and that they aren’t affected by being undernourished, this could not be a cause for concern.

Varieties of Lychee

Many different cultivars of lychee are utilized in different areas of the planet . These are the foremost popular cultivars within the U.S.:

  • Litchi chinensis ‘Mauritius‘ has excellent fleshy fruit with only one large seed. it’s an honest choice if fruit production is your main goal.
  • L. chinensis ‘Brewster‘ may be a vigorous growing tree with a spreading upright habit. it’s compatible for areas that get tons of moisture. it’s also an honest cultivar for fruit production.
  • L. chinensis ‘Emperor‘ is taken into account one among the simplest container varieties, because it may be a slow-growing tree with a compact growth habit. It requires less water than other varieties.


Lychee trees will take a minimum of five years to mature before bearing any fruit. you would like to expose the tree to cold temperatures for a minimum of 100 hours within the winter if you want it to bloom then bear fruit, and therefore the female flowers need to be pollinated. In an orchard, pollination is completed by insects, except for indoor trees, you’ll need to hand-pollinate.

The fruits of the lychee grow in bunches. Allow them to ripen on the tree to a pink-red color. you’ll test one fruit during a bunch to ascertain if it’s sweet enough. Cut the whole bunch of fruit on the brink of the branch to reap .

How to Grow Lychee Trees in Pots

Lychee are often maintained as small patio trees in warmer climes or grown into 35- or 40-foot trees within the ground.

In pots, the plants should be repotted every spring until they reach your maximum growing size. to assist keep the plant smaller, aggressively prune the most growing trunks annually to encourage a smaller, bushier plant.

Propagating Lychee

Lychee is usually propagated commercially by air-layering. This a classy technique where growers make a dig a skinny branch then surround it with a packet of moist moss or soil. Roots will form within the cut area, allowing the grower to chop off the entire branch and plant it as alittle tree.

A home grower is more likely to start out lychee from seed. To sprout seeds, cover them with potting soil, keep warm and moist, and await sprouts to emerge (which can take weeks). Once they’ve sprouted, move to a sunnier spot after a couple of weeks.

Common Pests/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 formed to regulate aphids and pests that flock to fruit trees. Spray it on the lychee per the merchandise directions and it should kill the pests on contact. Treat infestations as soon as possible to stop them from spreading to the remainder of your collection.

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