Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Lychee
Litchi chinensis

Family: Sapindaceae (sap-in-DAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Litchi (LEE-chee) (Info)
Species: chinensis (chi-NEN-sis) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

25 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts

Unknown - Tell us

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By grafting
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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7 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive timrann On Mar 1, 2009, timrann from Other
Mauritius wrote:

Here in Mauritius we have many of these. Also there is cultivar named Mauritius. Easily grown from seed or air-layering or even grafted. The easiest way is from air-layering that takes about 45 days to 70 days to roots on the mother plant. In Mauritius , the fruits ripe in summer which is nov - jan.

Positive vossner On Jan 16, 2009, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Delicious fruit, tree will not survive in my area w/o a whole lot of winter TLC or a greenhouse.

Positive tmccullo On Aug 14, 2006, tmccullo from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

We love Lychee. My wife buys them by the pounds at the grocery store. We literally throw the seeds out into our garden and they grow. I have transplanted quite of few of them in pots. we are finding out that the love shade when they are still young. I can't wait until we get one big enough to put into the ground. Anyone know how long they take to get 3-4' tall? How log before they produce fruit?

Neutral greyyhawkk On Jul 15, 2006, greyyhawkk from Seattle, WA wrote:

The dictionaries ( list the pronunciation as lee-chee like the davesgarden listing at the top of the page does, vs. lie-chee.

Positive stressbaby On Jun 29, 2006, stressbaby from Fulton, MO wrote:

I grow smaller lychees in a zone 5 greenhouse. I thought I would add my "lessons learned" under the species, but I grow 'Brewster' and 'Sweetheart.'

The lychee is tricky to grow here. I grow them in raised beds, not in containers, upon the recommendation of the Florida nursery from which I purchased them. They are in loam well-amended with peat and compost. Lychees in my greenhouse go through several growth flushes per year. During these growth flushes, adequate moisture is essential; they do best with a thorough watering daily. They are salt sensitive, and so rainwater or treated water should be used. They are sensitive to overfertilization; with too much fert, the leaves will brown from the edges. And finally, the new, emerging leaves are wind-sensitive. Even an oscillating fan blowing through the tree is enough to wreck leaves.

If you live in a northern climate and grow tropicals, this one will test your green thumb.The plant has a light chill requirement, but it is possible to get flowering and fruit set from the tree in this setting.

Positive punaheledp On Jul 9, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

if all you've ever tasted is canned lychee (yuck), you haven't tasted the bit of heaven fresh lychee is. When lucky I get a box from my brother on the Big Is. Like them chilled, will try frozen, sounds good. I've always heard the tree is temperamental and will go a few years without bearing if it doesn't like conditions. Nice looking tree. My neighbor had one but it stopped producing no matter what he did to encourage it so took it down.

Positive foodiesleuth On Jun 6, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Lychee are pronounced Lie-chee, not Lee-chee........It grows very well in Hawaii. This year the crops seem to be especially large and the fruit bigger, plumper and juicier.

Love the perfumey taste.

The fruit reminds me somewhat of the "mamomcillo" I grew up with in Cuba, though the taste and shell are not the same at all.

Neutral Thaumaturgist On Jun 5, 2004, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

If you search for Litchi chinensis, you would find that there are postings already for the top 6 varieties of Lychee,

Kwai Mai Pink
Sweet Cliff
Hak Ip

Positive Jamespayne On Jun 5, 2004, Jamespayne from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I can not believe no one has posted a positive note on this tree and it's World renowed fruit, that bestows an addictive flavor that makes them impossible to stop eating!! They become ripe the second week of June and must be picked before they quickly drop onto the ground. In growing zone 9a-9b, they do well as long as the Winter cold snaps do not stay below freezing for over 3-4 hours. In 1982, a severe cold snap killed many Lychee Trees in our area. Now the area is full once again with Lychee Trees, and most if not all are for personal use, and not grown in central Florida for market sales. In south Florida they do grow them to sell and they bring a very hefty price. They can not be compared to the canned lychees. The canned are much too sweet and have the can taste, unlike the fresh off of the tree taste, that is just this side of Heaven! The best way to obtain a lychee tree besides buying one from a nursery, is to air layer a limb, and after about 6-8 weeks, roots will have formed and you can cut the branch you have air layered and plant the Lychee Tree. If grown from seed they reach 18" inches for 18 months before growing any taller. Between my Dad and myself we must have air layered over 30 trees, and we are more than happy to share our harvest with friends and family. My favorite way to eat them is to freeze them and eat them while I watch television. The taste is so good it will make your tongue "slap-your-brains-out"!! LOL!! :-)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fresno, California
Upland, California
Kissimmee, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida (2 reports)
Miami, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Venice, Florida
Snellville, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Houston, Texas

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