Sweetheart Lychee observations
Hello everyone, I have been growing my Sweetheart lychee for several years now, I bought it as a 1 gallon whip, and it is flowering for the first time this year. You can see on my older posts (just search Sweetheart Lychee) that I gave it a lot of TLC and even hung rocks on the trifurcated main branches in order to avoid weak V shaped crotches, which it still has although not as bad as it could have been.
I tried to do everything by the book and by this, I mean I tried to follow all the advice offered on Lycheeonline and other sources including from all my second family on this forum :) When selecting the plant, I tried to select a young plant that had about 2-3 ft of trunk before the trifurcation. The first year, I just let it grow out and up potted it with all organic potting soil ensuring that the soil was on the acidic side and also innoculating it with beneficial mycorhizzal fungi and bacteria. The second year was shaping the tree and making sure that I didn't fertilize it too late in the season and also making sure that it got a little bit of drought several months before I expected it to flower. Now in its 3rd year it is still potted and looks the same as my last update except that it has about 15 large bloom spike on it now.
As with others on this forum, I noticed that the first flowers to open were all females. Later, all the males started to open but there are hardly any females left. The tree now has almost all the flowers (maybe 90%) opened and about 99% of the flowers are male. I have to look very hard to find a female to hand pollinate but I did notice some observations.
For this specific Sweetheart in San Diego, the females tend to form on the bottom 10% of the flower pannicle and tend to grow in small clusters of up to 25 females. Now at the end of flowering, most of the males are drying up and falling off and small clusters of females are finally showing up again. There are still enough males around for pollination so I should get at least a couple fruits to maturity.
I'll try to post some pictures soon! After hearing about all the fruit drop, I hope my tree will hold some fruit. Phase had a really good harvest last year but his tree was planted into the ground. I have noticed from reading the recent posts than many of the members whose lychee plants dropped all their fruit had their trees in pots, which makes me nervous.