How to grow lychees from seed

Written by cleveland van cecil
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How to grow lychees from seed
Lychee is often used for flavouring in cocktails. (John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Lychee is a fruit native to southern China. It is a round fruit, grown from a tree with delicate limbs and trunk. The leaves are large and leathery and divide themselves into eight leaflets. The fruit shell is spiky and red, with a white, delicate fruit inside. The seed inside the edible fruit portion varies in size between lychee fruit varieties. After removing a seed from a lychee fruit, it is only suitable to plant immediately. Leaving it out for more than a day will keep it from growing. Growing lychee seeds is difficult however, since many seeds do not grow. The tree will only produce fruit after a 5 to 10 year period as well, making growing lychee a true gardener's task.

Things you need

  • Lychee fruit
  • 8.7 cm (3 1/2 inch) pot
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • Water-soluble fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Remove the pip from the inside a lychee fruit.

  2. 2

    Fill a pot with sterile potting soil. Water the soil so that the water comes out the bottom of the pot.

  3. 3

    Bury four or five lychee seeds in the soil and cover them with about a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) of soil.

  4. 4

    Place a plastic bag over the pot and attach it to the pot with a rubber band.

  5. 5

    Place the pot in a warm, dark place. Inspect the pot daily and moisten the soil if required. The seedling should sprout in two weeks.

  6. 6

    Remove the plastic bag once the plant sprouts and put it on a window sill with indirect sunlight.

  7. 7

    Remove the seedlings from the soil once they sprout three to four leaves, burying them outdoors at the same depth they were in the original pot.

  8. 8

    Move the lychee plant to a brighter area after three to four weeks. Water as soon as the soil looses moisture, adding a water soluble fertiliser to the water, according to the instructions on the package, every two weeks. The seedling will grow quickly until it reaches 17.5 to 20 cm (7 to 8 inches) in height. It will stay at this same height for the next two years with little noticeable growth.

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