Lychee in PNW

yaslan(8 WA state)January 16, 2010

I was just wondering if there is anyone in the PNW that is just as crazy I am when it comes to growing tropical fruit trees here. Or if anyone in fact has grown a lychee tree or other tropical fruits here and has gotten it to bear fruit. I would be very interested to hear from you and ask a thousand questions on how you accomplished this most admirable feat!

I am painfully aware, that tropical fruit trees might not survive, thrive or fruit here...*sighs* But despite this enormity, I am determined to grow lychees.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Sorry, not a prayer. Description in Sunset Western Garden Book implies it's not completely happy even in southern California.

My great grandmother had one shading part of her yard.

In Honolulu.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 12:20PM
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winsorw(8)

Hi,
bboy is right. It's not going to make it. A couple of years ago I was able to germinate a few seedlings from seeds of the fruits I bought from China town. I was so excited. They grew for about 6 inches or so outside during summer and then died. Just like that. So that's my experience. Perhaps you could do in a temperature/humidity controlled greenhouse?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 4:39PM
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yaslan(8 WA state)

While I respect your opinions I disagree wholeheartedly.

I've seen people in PA grow lychees and they do bear fruit. As long as you create the right conditions they will thrive beautifully.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 6:30PM
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gardengal48

Maybe you should ask the folks in PA....?

I've attached a link for you to review......seems pretty darn thorough to me and Purdue is generally recognized as providing accurate horticultural info. This is a semitropical plant and requires a semitropical climate. I'd direct you specifically to the part that states: There are only a few scattered trees in the West Indies and Central America apart from some groves in Cuba, Honduras and Guatemala. In California, the lychee will grow and fruit only in protected locations and the climate is generally too dry for it. There are a few very old trees and one small commercial grove. emphasis mine

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing lychees

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 7:15PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Frost + Litchi = death.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 8:50PM
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yaslan(8 WA state)

@ gardengal48, thanks for the info.

@ bboy, your assumption is brilliant.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 9:17PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

There are home growers with fruting trees in coastal influenced parts of San Diego and Los Angeles, and I know of a grower in the central valley town of Modesto who has gotten Lychee to fruit and grow, even with the occasional frost and assumed too cold winters. Given a long warm growing season with plenty of heat and enough water to keep humidity up and protect from drying winds, it is possible to grow lychee in areas where it wouldn't seem possible. I don't know of anyone who is successfully growing a fruiting lychee tree in coastal northern California, the lack of heat units in summer probably is a more limiting factor than our less than ideal winters with wet rather than dry c limate as they would prefer and get in habitat.

So, I'd suggest that lychee in the PNW is on par with growing a mango tree and getting it to set fruit. If you want to eat your own lychees, you'll likely need a heated greenhouse and be prepared to do a lot of babying. Or move to Modesto and plant in a tract home in your east facing side yard. The long summer heat with daily temps above 90F and relatively early spring warm-up, and relative frost protection provided by 4 foot side yard setbacks and deep alluvial loamy soils seems to allow the impossible fruiting of lychee in northern California. These sorts of summer temps and humidity provided by extensive irrigated crop lands surrounding Modesto would seem a close approximation of coastal southern China summers. I know the owner of this tree has said he does try to protect it from freeze damage when it is expected to drop below 28F, but it only suffers modest leaf drop at temps above this level for just a night or two, with no attempts at frost protection.

Personally, while I love fresh lychee when traveling in SE Asia, I think the efforts to get it to fruit for me in the SF Bay Area outweigh the rewards, and it would be an awfully expensive exercise for a limited amount of fruit.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:09AM
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larry_gene

I think we were a bit set up here because yaslan did not mention the PA growers in the initial post. Were the "right conditions" in PA indoors or outdoors?

A bit of searching reveals that Tropical Fruit forums' north_tree_man in Pennsylvania takes his trees indoors by October and carefully monitors chill and heat hours.
He is not a casual fruit grower!

Search that forum for "lychee" for more info on success with lychees.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:34AM
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