Opinions differ on lychees: some appreciate the fruit for its fine taste, while others are disgusted with the consistency. But anyone can plant a lychee tree with our instructions. After about five years, you can look forward to litchis from your own lychee tree.
In their subtropical home in southern China, lychee trees can reach heights of up to twelve meters. In our latitudes, however, the soap tree usually reaches a height of two to three meters. With their evergreen leaves and white flowers, lychee trees are attractive ornamental plants for the winter garden. You can count on fruits after five years at the earliest.
To grow a lychee tree yourself, you need patience, care and a particularly green thumb. The exotic lychee is very delicate and demanding.
Waterlogging, cold and direct sunlight should be avoided from the seedling to the adult tree.
Planting the lychee tree: sowing
The best time to grow a lychee tree from seeds is between June and August.
- Use ripe fruit to plant a lychee tree. You can recognize ripe lychees by the fact that the fruits are evenly colored deep pink and do not show any greenish spots on the stem.
- Carefully remove any fruit residue from the core, as the remains in the soil can rot and kill the seeds. Be careful not to scratch or otherwise damage the core.
- Then immediately put the cleaned core in warm water so that it does not dry out.
- Let the core rest in the water for about 24 hours. Then the brown peel should open around the core. Carefully remove this and plant the core.
- Plant the litchi core horizontally and about two centimeters deep. A mixture of potting soil and sand is suitable as a substrate. It is important that the seed is planted in a loose, airy subsoil. The substrate should also not be too rich in nutrients.
- Place the pot with the planted seeds in a bright, warm place that should not be exposed to direct sunlight. At a soil temperature of 25 degrees, the core germinates in seven to 30 days.
- Keep the soil moist, but not wet, and spray the substrate with water instead of watering it.
- You can speed up the germination time by covering the pot with an air- and light-permeable film. You can look forward to a seedling after just 14 days.
Do not fertilize the seedling at first. You can add a little organic fertilizer after ten weeks at the earliest.
Repot the lychee tree
As soon as the litchi plant has developed four to six leaves, it can be moved to a larger pot. Usually it takes about four to eight weeks. Repot the whole lychee tree with the core and roots. A flower pot with drainage is recommended to avoid waterlogging.
Lychee trees are particularly sensitive to incorrect watering and cold. You should therefore absolutely avoid waterlogging and place the lychee tree in a warm place where the temperature is constantly over 12 degrees Celsius.
Maintain the lychee tree
Especially as a young tree, the lychee needs a lot of care and attention. You also need to be patient when planting a lychee tree because the young tree grows very slowly at first.
As subtropical plants, lychee trees like high humidity. Therefore, spray the plant regularly with a spray bottle of water.
Avoid waterlogging even with adult lychee trees, as this can easily lead to root rot. A good method is to pour water about two fingers up the saucer and wait a quarter of an hour. The excess water is then simply poured off.
In summer, the lychee tree feels at home in the bucket in a light and sheltered place. However, the adult tree should not be exposed to direct sunlight either. In winter you can compensate for the missing light with a plant lamp.
Even when the summer weather is nice, the lychee tree should remain in its original location, ideally behind glass, as the sensitive plant is easily damaged.
You can fertilize your lychee tree between April and October with a low-salt fertilizer for tropical plants. Add the fertilizer to the irrigation water every four weeks and water after fertilizing to flush the roots.
A pruning is not necessary with the lychee tree, only dead shoots should be removed continuously.
Planting a lychee tree is not easy.
With the right care, however, you can soon look forward to a small tree and after about five years you can even look forward to your own lychee fruits.