Do you want to grow spiky lychee? Before we discuss everything about it, let’s define it first. Truly, lychee is a tropical broadleaf evergreen tree native to China. Lychee is a fruit tree growing in a warm and wet climate.
Like many other tropical fruits, lychee needs tropical conditions to grow well and properly. In other words, it cannot grow across wide areas of North America. Instead, it grows successfully in warm states like Florida and California.
In this article, we would like to show you everything about growing lychee, from planting to caring, propagating, and even harvesting. So let’s have a look at the comprehensive review as follows.
There are three popular varieties of lychees around the world. They are Litchi chinensis Mauritus, L. chinensis Brewster, and L. chinensis Emperor.
Mauritus variety has fleshy fruit with one large seed. It is a good option if you want a lychee tree that bears plenty of fruits. Brewster is a lychee variety that can grow in an area with moisture. Like Mauritus, it is also a good choice for fruit production.
Emperor is another lychee of variety that needs less water than any other variety. It grows slowly along with a compact growth habit.
Where To Plant Lychee Tree
Do you know a fact about where the lychee tree will be best to plant? Based on our sources, lychee trees are best to plant at least 30 feet away from home or other trees in your home environment. That is since planting them too close to home will impact their growth and fruit harvest, especially if they are shaded.
If you are living in an area that is prone to flooding, you had better plant it on a mound of soil to help ensure the water flow.
It is highly recommended that you plant lychee trees in a full sun place yet it is protected from the wind. In this case, wind can cause the tree to get damaged.
How To Grow Lychee in A Pot
Lychee trees can be well-grown even on a small patio in warmer climes. It can also grow into 35 or 40-foot trees in the ground.
If you want to grow spiky lychee in a pot, you need to report the plants every spring until they reach their maximum growing size. Regularly prune the tree to keep it smaller and bushier.
There are several things you need to keep in mind dealing with how to grow lychee in a pot or container.
- Lots of water
Lychee plants need lots of sunlight to thrive well. There is no winter dormant period, so you need to keep watering it regularly.
- Ample sunlight
Make sure you place the potted lychee plants in a sunny location to receive more sunlight. This way, you can even rotate the pot or container so all plant parts will receive sunlight.
- Occasional fertilizer
For growing well, the lychee plants require weekly liquid fertilizer.
- Acidic soil
Lychee tree loves acidic soil with a pH of between 5.0 and 5.5 for the best results.
Make sure your potted lychee plants are kept warm. Place the lychee plants there for colder months if you already have a greenhouse. If not, find a warm spot to place in the house.
How To Grow Lychee from The Cutting
Due to the scant seed viability and unreliable grafting budding techniques, the best way to grow lychee is through cutting. This will encourage the root form on a portion of a lychee tree branch.
First, soak a few handfuls of sphagnum moss for each layer for an hour in warm water. Next, select a branch between ½ and ¾ inches. Remove the leaves and twigs from 4 inches below and above the selected area.
Later, cut and peel off a bark ring around 1-2 inches wide. Scrape the thin and white cambium layer off the exposed spot. Dust a little rooting hormone onto the newly exposed wood and wrap it with a thick layer of damp moss around the branch section.
Then, hold the moss in place using some twine wrapped around it. Wrap the moist moss using the polyethylene film and secure it using tape or twine.
How To Propagate Lychee
Typically, lychee is commercially propagated by air-layering. This is considered the best technique where growers should cut the tree into a thin branch and surround it with a packet of moist moss or soil. The cut area will let the roots form a whole branch and plant a small tree.
However, a home grower prefers growing lychee from seeds. Seeds will sprout and require you to cover them using potting soil, keep them warm and moist and wait for the sprouts to emerge. This usually takes about two weeks. If you see the seeds sprout, move them to a sunnier place just after a few weeks.
How To Care For Lychee Tree
Once you successfully grow spiky lychee, care for it is a must. In this regard, caring for the lychee tree includes providing enough light, the best soil, adequate water, temperature, and humidity, and give fertilizer.
Though the lychee tree needs lots of suns, the plant needs to be acclimated. Young plants are not good to receive full sun. For planting, use amended garden soil instead of alkaline soils. If you decide to plant the tree indoors in a pot, choose acidic potting soil.
Regular watering is important to care for lychee trees. These plants do not have a resting period in the winter. However, when it comes to cold weather, lychee trees can cope with it though it prefers warm temperatures.
To stimulate the blooming time, the plants need to be exposed to cold temperatures for at least 100 hours in the winter. This will let them bloom early in the spring and produce fruits in the summer. These plants love humidity.
Fertilizing is another thing to do to care for the lychee tree. So give the plants a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing times. Later, give fertilizer to the plants monthly.
When to Harvest Spiky Lychee
Harvesting is the last thing to know about growing spiky lychee. Believe it or not, these plants need at least 5 years to mature before being able to produce fruits. As we have mentioned, you need to condition the tree in the cold temperature for 100 hours in the winter to allow it to bear fruits. This way, the female flowers usually need pollination.
Lychee fruits grow in bunches. Let them ripen on the tree. If you see them turning to pink-red color, that’s the best time to pick them.
Test one fruit to check if it is sweet enough. Cut the whole bunch of fruit that is close to the branch. This is considered the best way of harvesting lychee.
Spiky Lychee Pests
For most plants, pests are unavoidable. They attack the plants by either taking juices from the leaf and fruits or even causing the plants to die. In this case, mealybugs, aphids, and mites are the common pests for lychee. They create such tiny webs on the plants and clumps of white powdery residue.
How To Get Rid of Pests on Lychee
In order to get rid of the pests attacking the plants, as we have mentioned, a product like pyrethrum is particularly formulated to control aphids and pests.
All you need to do is to spray the formula on the plants based on the product directions. This product should kill the pests which are in contact.
In short, treat this infestation as soon as you notice the pests on your lychee. It will surely prevent them from spreading to the entire of your plants.
Spiky Lychee Diseases
Besides pests, lychee also suffers from certain diseases, including anthracnose, red algae, and root rot. Most of these diseases are caused by improper watering (either too little or too much) or excessive fertilizer use.
For this problem, you can have a consultation with your local cooperative extension office for more information.
How to Avoid Lychee Disease
Lychee trees tolerate drought, but young trees should be watered regularly until they establish well. Thus, proper watering is necessary to keep the plants growing well. This way, you can withhold water from the mature lychee trees bloom.
Also, plant lychee trees two or three trees close to the proximity to help pollination and increase fruit production. Don’t forget to allow 20 to 30 feet between each tree. This is aimed to let the trees grow without obstruction.
Finally, we have completely shared with you all about how to grow spiky lychee in your home. Make sure you follow the instructions as well as the tips well without missing any single step.
Further, you need also to notice the problems if there is any. So you know what action to take.