Anyone know some places in the bay area where I can shop for a lychee tree? The more the better. And if you know the price please post also.
I've been told by friends who live on the Big Island of Hawaii, whose lychees I savored and coveted, that they won't grow in Southern California - so I think you might have even more difficulty in the Bay Area. The place to check is with the Calif. Rare Fruit Grower's Association - if anyone can tell you for sure, they can. A link to their website is below. Good luck!
Here is a link that might be useful: Lychee link
According to the CRFG:
"Lychees require seasonal temperature variations for best flowering and fruiting. Warm, humid summers are best for flowering and fruit development, and a certain amount of winter chilling is necessary for flower bud development. Most varieties need between 100 and 200 hours of standard chilling (32Â° - 45Â° F). Cool winters with low rainfall [!] are ideal for lychees. The trees become more hardy as they age. Mature trees have survived temperatures as low as 25Â° F when fully hardened off. Young trees may be killed by a light frost. Lychees can be successfully grown in frost-free coastal areas of California. There are trees in San Diego, California that are over 90 years old with no sign of decline in sight. It first fruited in Santa Barbara in 1914. They can be grown for a short period in a large container."
Thanks, Joe - I guess I'll try one here in my "frost-free, coastal" garden! The fruit is so wonderful, the tree is worth coddling a bit. "Winters with low rainfall" probably explains why they do well on the dry Kona side of the Big Island.
I want to try to find a Jujube as well - beautiful tree, with interesting, delicious fruit. There's a couple of fine old specimens at the Huntington.
Lychees certainly will grow in most mild Southern California climates, as the CRFG "Fruit Facts" entry indicates. But, from what I understand, the trees are reluctant to flower and fruit in that region -- the climate is not entirely to their liking. But it is certainly worth trying, if you can accept that any plant(s) may not fruit regularly.
Lychees in the S.F. Bay Area are only for envelope-pushing daredevils. I know of a few people who are attempting them, and it is possible to overwinter them in favorable microclimates. I have not encountered widespread accounts of fruiting plants -- although I have heard, anecdotally, of lychees being fruited outdoors in the Santa Clara area.
As for where to get one: Menlo Growers in Gilroy (open by appointment only) does usually carry trees, but they are relatively expensive -- I would guess in the $75 range for a plant in a 15 gallon pot. Regan's Nursery in Fremont might also possibly and occasionally have lychee trees, but, again, they would not come cheap.
Only buy one if you don't mind (potentially) losing an expensive plant in a bad winter cold-snap.
I've got a young Lychee tree that is fully leafed out and vibrant looking right now, in mid January. But it's been mild this year so far.
It flowered well last year but never fruited. A friend told us her dad in Irvine hand pollinates his and gets fruit, so I will try that next flowering.
In South Florida where I used to live, Lychees are a commercial crop and very good. Someone in my family had a whole grove. However, crops are sporadic and 7 years between crops is not unheard of. I believe the problem is getting the right pollinator at the right time. This has a lot to do with the high price of good lychees.
However, I have yet to see or taste a fruiting CA lychee, but I won't be shocked if they turn out to be like the Mexican Lychees I bought at market last year- lousy. The tree can live, maybe it can fruit, but climate can effect fruit quality. I'll find out eventually I guess.
Also most of the CA Lychee trees I see seem to spend a lot of the year with leaves with brown tips, or dropped leaves. Not so attractive.
thanks to patrick, here is what I found from crfg. no listing in the bay area but in ca. thought I should share the info: http://www.crfg.org/nurlist.html (notice you can get others like longan etc.) fruit facts: http://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/lychee.html
ashok, $75 is not bad considering it would cost $50 just to get the trees into ca from fl, say.
thanks everyone for your info. If getting fruit is difficult, may be certain varieties do better than others here in the bay area? I'll have to look into that.