Roll Call to all SoCal lychee lover!

James-hoonJune 2, 2011

I think we should gathering more info on growing lychee in So Cal since I have read a lot of not so productive Lychee when plant in SoCal compare to those in East coast. Even Roger Meyer said that lychee doesn't like our soil Ph and water, also some web site mention about our wind and dry humid or even lack of pollinator. I know some member here success and get fruit but how productive? Please share your lychee info. Pics, how many years planted and how big of the tree, etc.....

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I agree, I am leaning toward the approach of growing the lychee trees in a 45 gal smart pot. Installing drip irrigation and misting emitters with a timer. Using a weekly application of white vinegar, with low dose of fish and kelp fertilizer. Have not decided on the soil mix yet for this setup.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 4:43PM
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I am completely obsessed with lychees and personally feel they can thrive here in SoCal. I believe that many people don't know the intricacies of growing lychees. Many people like myself go to a nursery and purchase a tree due to an impulse buy and slowly watch the tree decline and tell all their friends that Lychees are difficult.

Yes, our soil pH is a little high, our water is hard, the humidity is lower than Florida and the wind can severely damage the new leaves but there are easy ways around all of this.

I live in San Diego and got into tropical fruit trees only several years but my family comes from a Lychee growing district in China and when I went back to China about 10 years ago and ate some fresh lychees, I was hooked.

I am currently growing Sweetheart, Kwa Luk(Famous Hanging Green), two Kaimana trees, Ohia pink and Groff. My Sweetheart is the tree I've had the longest, I think its about 3-4 years old now and I got it as a toothpick. I've had it in a container the entire time and only planted it into the ground about 2 months ago. It is now about 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. You can do a search for Sweetheart Lychee and I have pics of my tree from a couple years ago. It is about the same size because I had it in a pot the entire time and wanted it to stay small until I owned my own house.

After planting my Sweetheart into the ground, it seemed much happier and has lots of new growth buds popping out. To counter our alkaline soil, I incorporated lots of organic matter into the soil including lots of peat moss to make the soil more acidic. At first, I was watering my Lychee trees with Reverse Osmosis water but later switched to normal tap water because I got lazy and did't notice any difference in the health of my tree.

I don't feel humidity is much of an issue because my trees are healthy and my friend Phase001 whom also has a Sweetheart also has a healthy large tree that has fruited without any special added humidity.

Wind damage is the major factor contributing to the slow growth of my trees. The smaller the tree, the more dangerous the wind is. Think of each leaf as a solar cell that collects energy from the sun and converts it into carbohydrates it can use for growth of new leaves and branches or fruits. The smaller the tree, the fewer leaves it has. When a trees leaves gets too old, it will shed the old leaves and sprout new growth from the internodes. If the weather is extremely windy during new growth periods, the new leaves will be wrinkly, tattered, dried and may fall off. Because the tree is small, it has little stored energy for another flush. If you don't protect the next flush, the tree can die or become extremely stunted because the few older leaves it has is not efficient at photosynthesis and it just spent a lot of energy on new growth that got wind damaged and fell off.

Some important considerations when planting Lychees in SoCal are to incorporate lots of organic matter into your soil, innoculate the roots and rhizosphere with Mycorrhizal fungi/beneficial bacteria, innoculate with red/earthworms, use organic fertilizers and time the use of your fertilizers so you don't push too much vegetative growth late in the season. You want the tree to essentially run out of nitrogen well before the dormant period before winter. You also want to withhold water during the winter to depress vegetative growth and stimulate flowering.

If you want to see a nice looking Sweetheart Lychee tree that has fruited in San Diego, do a search for Home Grown Lychees. There, you will find pics of the extremely large, absolutely delicious Sweetheart that Phase001 grew in his backyard. We did have to hand pollinate the flowers although I'm sure the bees did a lot of pollinating too.

If growing in pots, I highly recommend using Smartpots or similar type air pruning containers although you will have to keep an eye for drying out of the soil.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 2:25AM
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Thanks for very helpful info. The location might be another factor since you live closer to the ocean that might help regarding humidity. I am in riverside where pretty dry and get santa Ana wind from time to time which might be alittle bit more difficult, including one in valley and desert area.

Another thing you mention about phase, I believe he got about 50 fruit last year from his sweetheart( also this virity is the most productive in SoCal compare to others), I'm not sure how it is this year. Also another forum member from Huntington beach I believe post pics of his very beautiful lychee trees (three in one hole) and may be he can come in to confirm of how productive his lychee trees.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 7:38AM
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Sound like you have mango fever. You might want to try Plant o Gram. It has online ordering from tropical trees from Florida. They have a large selection of mango trees and a number of others. Ask for Mickey. Their delivery is fast. Some of the trees are already fruit bearing. Mickey will also give you a free small fruit tree with each order.

Top Tropical also have a nice educational web site and a beautiful selection of mango trees along with other tropicals. I have not ordered from them however, they are reliable.

I have grown about twenty mango trees from seeds here in the Inland Valley and they are about a feet tall. Its been fun. I ordered a Lychee and a Valencia Pride from Plant A Gram. I will try to find the VN variety that Sandra mentions earlier. Have Fun. Hope this info help.

P.S. I forgot to mention that you might want to try Mimosa Nursery. They special in plants from Vietnam. They are Online with a nursery in East L.A and several other areas. I am sure that they have that VN mango, however it carries another name. Nam Doc something or another. Plant A Gram carries it also. I

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 5:09PM
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I do love lychee but I've never even thought about getting a tree here in OC. I will have to check over at Laguna Hills nursery since he only stocks cultivars that do well here.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 5:35PM
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Hello guys,
I also love lychees, but have found it extremely hard to grow them, I have a air layered Brewster lychee that has been declining in health.
The reasons I believe are mainly due to the Santa Ana winds, and water.
I was wondering do you guys know what the best place(south,west?) side of the house you plant the tree in. Do you guys also Wind protect your tree, with shade cloth.
And side note, I've seen people successfully growing Logan's in California with areas with lower humidity, and little to no wind protection.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:24PM
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I only have wind protection on my Kwa Luk because it is my smallest Lychee and it is planted in the ground. I've been too lazy to put up wind protection on my larger trees but I hope to very soon. Most my Lychee trees have very badly dessicated leaves due to the wind but occasionally I will get a good growth flush, usually in the Summer.

I believe if we try to push vegetative growth during the Spring and Summer with fertilizers, we may be able to overcome the slow growth of Lychees here in CA. The more leaves we put on the tree when it is not windy, the more energy the tree has for even more root and shoot growth. Once Lychee trees get to a certain size, I say about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide, they seem to do pretty well.

Longan are much easier to grow, for me, than Lychees. Their leaves aren't as sensitive to wind. My Longan seems to be growing about twice as fast as my Lychees of the same size.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 7:26PM
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I have no problems with my lychee tree it gets watered every day and about every 3 weeks I water it for about 2hrs its about 10 ft tall 7 ft wide planted next to my swimming pool I think its a Brewster it has a few fruits left on the tree most of the fruits were removed 3 weeks ago I live on the west end of Simi Valley about 1 mile from Ronald Regan lib. as the crow flies

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 1:58PM
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bertyinoue - where are you located in simi i am amazed at your lychee tree, i to myself have a tree that is doing semi well. reply back please im truly amazed.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 3:14PM
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bertyinoue, Do you do anything special to get your tree ready for winter?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 8:08PM
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