Nephelium Litchi - 0.5 Kg Seeds
The Lychee tree is a native of Southern China and Southeastern Asia and has been widely cultivated for its prized fruits for more than two millennia. The Lychee is a long-lived tree related to the Nephelium lappaceum (Rambutan), Dimocarpus longan (Longan) , Nephelium mutabile (Pulusan) and Nephelium malaiense (Mata Kuching) fruit trees, but it seldom fruits under local conditions.
Common name: Lychee, Litchi, Leechee, Lichee, Lichi.
Color: tiny petalless, yellowish-green flowers.
Bloom time: Panicle in litchi appear from February to end March. The flowers start opening from end February onward and continue for more than 20 days in a cultivar.
Height: It is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 12–20 m.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Soil: The tree needs a well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 is acceptable, but plants grow much better in soils with a pH at the low end of this range. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to the soil after planting.
Water: The lychee will not tolerate standing water, but requires very moist soil, so water the tree regularly when it is growing actively. The trees are very sensitive to damage from salts in the soil or in water.
Fertilizer: Litchi plants require sufficient organic matter for their roots to spread and make good growth of the foliage. The early profuse growth is required to reduce the juvenile period and for getting high early fruit yield. To obtain and maintain this growth sufficient N, P and K is required as nutrition.
Nitrogen deficient plants grow slowly and have light green foliage which may turn yellow soon. Old leaves show yellowing earlier than the new ones. Phosphorus and potassium deficient plants show stunting of plant and scorching of old leaves. A healthy litchi plant should take 3-4 flushes in a year. Following fertilizer schedule is being recommended.
- Rambutan trees can be grown from seed or seedling, both of which will no doubt need to be obtained from an online source unless you have access to fresh fruit in your area, in which case you can try harvesting the seed yourself.
- Seed must be very fresh, less than a week old, to be viable and all the pulp should be cleaned from it.
- To grow rambutan from seed, plant the seed flat in a small pot with drainage holes and filled with organic soil amended with sand and organic compost.
- Place the seed in the dirt and lightly cover with soil.
- It takes between 10-21 days for the seed to germinate.
- It will take about 2 years for the tree to be big enough to transplant outdoors; the tree will be about a foot tall and still fragile, so it is better to repot it than actually put it in the ground.
- The transplanted tree should be placed in a ceramic, not plastic, pot in soil that is one part each of sand, vermiculite and peat to create good drainage.
Harvesting: The litchi plants start bearing after fifth year of planting and the yield continue to increase with the increase in tree size up to 20 years of age. Litchi cultivars start ripening of fruit as early as June as in Dehradun and continue up to July as in Calcutta. The fully mature and ripe fruits should be harvested since no improvement in fruit quality take place after the fruit: is harvested. The fruit should be harvested when a representative colour on the epicarp (Skin) characteristic of the cultivar has developed and finely pointed tubercles on the skin have flattened/smoothened.While harvesting whole of the cluster along with 15-20cm of leafy branch should be cut with a sharp secateurs. The presence of foliage will help the fruit to escape wilting. Three to four pickings are made per tree to fully harvest the trees since all the clusters do not ripen at one time. The harvested fruit is kept in shade to maintain freshness.
- Training and Pruning:No pruning is done for the first two years.
- Remove only the lower most branches upto height of 50 cm.
- The removal of branches should be staggered through out for 3-4 years after planting.
- Keep sufficient number of leaves in the first year so that plants have profuse growth.
- Do not allow any branch to criss-cross or to grow inward.
- Litchi plants take the shape of an umbrella of its own but very slowly.
- Training should be done on modified leads system of training which is completed after 3 or year of planting.
- Trees come into bearing in year of planting depending on the cultivar and plant vigour.
- New growth automatically take place when a small part of shoot bearing fruit pancile is also removed during fruit harvesting.
- Rejuvenation:When trees become too old and branches start intermingling, the yield decreases due to over crowding and lack of aeration and sun shine.
- At this stage the trees should be rejuvenated.
- The main scaffolds are headed back to keep 30cm of stubs during January just like in mango and pear.
- Keep only 5-6 scaffold stubs per tree.
- Top most scaffolds should be removed to bring the height of the rejuvenated tree down.
- Many sprouts come up on the stubs.
- Select 2-3 out growing shoots per stub.
- Thus there will be 10-12 branches per tree.
- The profuse growth in the first year it self-produces healthy trees again within 2-3 years of rejuvenation.
- These trees can yield good crop for a number of years again.
- Litchi fruit is mostly eaten fresh.
- Litchi squash is a refreshing drink prepared from litchi juice.
- Litchi juice is preserved for using it as such.
- Sun dried or oven dried fruits are known as litchi nut these are popular with Chinese.
- The whole fruit can be frozen for later use.
Litchi is a rich source of sugars and minerals like Calcium, Phosphorus and vitamins particularly riboflain (Vit B2).
- The TSS may range between 15 to 20 percent.