How to Get Lychee Tree to Give Fruit?

newbiegardner(Z10 S. Florida)May 10, 2008


I purchased two (2) Lychee trees from different nurseries about 3-4 years ago.

The trees grew beautifully and are now almost 8-10 feet tall. See picture of one of them below:

The problem is that the trees have NEVER given fruit. Now I am a real novice at fruit trees and gardening in general and have never given any fertilizer to this tree. We have mango trees and guava trees and Sugar Apple trees with similar fertilizer care (or lack of care) and have tons of fruit.

Are lychee trees a difficult tree for a novice? Could the lack of fertilizer be the cause of no fruit? Could we have somehow purchased two "male" or two "female" trees and they can't breed? Is this even a consideration with Lychee trees? Are the trees too "young" for fruit?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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tony_k_orlando(Z9 Fl)

WOW what a GREAT looking tree that is.

My Litchi has to be the most difficult to keep looking good of all the trees I have.

Its just about 5ft tall and does have fruit

Does your tree EVER flower? That would be the first step required to have fruit.

If it flowers and they drop off, that could be nutrient related OR a fungal situation.

I hope these few fruit make it to maturity, I would like to be able to try them and determine if this tree is worthy of staying or not.

Unreal how great your tree looks!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 5:57PM
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That is an excellent looking tree, probably cause you didnt fertilize it. My understanding is the Lychee's get root burn easily with granular fertilizers. I have a couple of trees about half the size of yours and they also should be fruiting, but nothing yet this spring. I believe that the trigger for flowering and fruiting is a specific temperature range in the winter and since we had a warm winter in South Florida I think we'll get nothing this year on our small trees, maybe larger trees will bloom, who knows... Notice that the tree with fruit picture is in zone 9 (colder winter)

The grower that I bought my trees from swears by extensive mulching as the only fertilizer these trees need. I'm talking 5-6 inches from drip line to near trunk area, and replenished at least a couple of times per year.

I have the brewster and mauritius varieties. BTW this web site will provide ALL the info about lychee's that you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 9:00PM
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ch3rri(z6 PA)


Are these airlayer or grafted trees? Also, they need chilling in order to trigger flowers. Most varieties need between 100 and 200 hours of standard chilling (32° - 45° F). Air-layered or grafted trees begin to bear fruit in 3 to 5 years.

Young trees (less than 4 years old) should be fertilized with 0.25 to 0.50 lbs (0.11 to 0.22 kg) of a complete fertilizer every 8 weeks. Fertilizer mixtures containing 6 to 8% nitrogen, 2 to 4% available phosphorus, 6 to 8% potash, and 3 to 4% magnesium are satisfactory. Twenty to 50% of the nitrogen should be in organic form.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 11:16PM
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floridajane(Bonita Springs z10)

I saw a map of Florida that showed a very limited sliver of area along the southwest coast where lychee is supposed to thrive. My friends have had a great-looking lychee for years. They live a mile east of 41 and the darn thing only fruited once with an end count of 40 lychees. We bought a house west of 41, two blocks from the water, and the big lychee tree in our yard is packed with fruit, and I've seen two others in the neighborhood that look the same. From what I can gather, the one factor that everyone has in common is that all the trees have been neglected, which leads me to believe that the lychee is finicky and really only does its stuff within a small geographical range.

That being said, I'm sure there are proper ways to force fruiting but I'm clueless about them! I can only share my expertise from the brown thumb of negligent gardening! :)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

I am in Sarasota and acquired two huge lychees on this property (maybe 30 feet each). They are both largely in the shade of old oaks, but on sun- exposed areas get a modest amount of fruit about every other year. I never really fertilize them, but they have a lot of mulch under their canopy. Irrigation once weekly. Unfortunately, the fruit is so high, and we have soooooo many squirrels, that we rarely get to taste the fruit. The squirrels go crazy for them, even when green. One bite, of course, then to the ground they drop. The young leaves are very susceptible to wind burn. We use these trees mostly for shade and wildlife habitat.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 3:02PM
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You might want to look on the ECHO website. They have good info on lychee and they actually talk about "girdling" the tree (a few branches, I guess?) to induce fruiting. Sounds kind of drastic to me, but if you're really desperate it might be worth a try. I've pasted a link to where it talks about girdling (because it's hard to find), but also look on the site under general tropical fruit plant descriptions for lychee and you'll find a lot more info. Their website has tons of good info on unusual tropical edibles. I was at ECHO on Saturday and got some cool things. They have beautiful plants, good prices, and proceeds go to a really good cause.

Here is a link that might be useful: lychee girdling

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 3:54PM
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dghays(Z10A FL Brevard)

Many lychee varieties are notoriously difficult to make flower, Mauritius is an exception. Not fertilizing after mid fall will help, along with only very modest watering (or less) during winter. What varieties are yours?


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 4:16PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)


Wow!! That is an absolutely beautiful Lychee tree. I can't wait to get mine to look like that. I have two but were only planted 12 and 13 months ago. You are obviously doing something very right, the tree is very healthy. What variety is it? Also the tree requires x amount of chilling hours. Might have affected it if your winter was too mild.According to the article below you have to do this no later than July 15, so you still have a few weeks, if you want to try it. Good luck!

Tony, great looking fruits, you are so lucky!! Enjoy them!

Check out the link from Great article on tips on getting lychee trees to bloom/fruit

Here is a link that might be useful: (Tips on Getting Fruit)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 9:38AM
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My big tree 30ft gave fruit four years ago. Afrer that the leaves turned brown on the outer edges and many fell off. This year the leaves look great and no brown on them. It is starting to add new growth. What could I do to get it to fruit again?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:50AM
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