Lychee (Litchi chinensis)


For decades Lychees are regularly available commercially in our country and are widely known. The Lychee is a member of the Soapberry family (Sapindaceae) and originates in South China. The tree is probably for circa 3000 years already in culture.


Lychees can reach a height up to 20 metres. They produce elongated, glossy, leathery and dark green leaves. One Lychee tree can produce annual up to 200 kg of the three to five centimetres long fruits.


Propagation is not difficult. Extract the seed from a Lychee fruit, clean it and let it dry for one day. Then give it into humus soil with a good drainage. The seedling appears after circa three to four weeks. Heretofore it is important to avoid waterlogging, because else the seed would decay within a few days. The plant has after germination a raised water demand. Also a short desiccation will not be tolerated. In addition Lychees are sensible to cold. At temperatures below 20 °C growth will be abandoned.



So far my experiences with Lychees are disillusioning. Propagation is uncomplicated, on the contrary further cultivation challenging. Remarkable is the high water demand. Also a short water lack is punished. The plant casts a part of its leaves quickly and stops its growth for one to two months. My culture attempt this year in summer outdoor was by rather low temperatures also quite unsuccessful. The plant showed almost no growth.

The plant died in winter.

  • Systematics

  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Sapindaceae
  • Subfamily: Sapindoideae
  • Genus: Litchi
  • Propagation

  • generative
  • Culture

  • difficult
  • Fruits

  • almost never
  • USDA – Zone

  • 10b (1,7°C)