Lychee trees originally come from sub-tropical areas of southern China. The fruits are sold on the fruit shelves in local supermarkets and are suitable for growing your own litchi plant. In this way, the fruit can be used and eaten, and the core is then used to grow a lychee. With the right preparation and care, a decorative and exotic lychee tree can be grown for your own living room or winter garden.


  • Plant family: Soap tree
  • Botanischer Name: Litchi chinensis
  • Growth: grows as a small tree, also as a shrub
  • Height: between two and three meters
  • Foliage leaves: Leaves pinnate, evergreen, bronze-colored when shoots
  • Blossom: white flowers on rust- or gold-colored shoots
  • Fruit: Fruits form from the fifth year

Gaining seeds

The exotic lychee fruits are often offered at the fruit counter in the supermarket. From this the seeds can be obtained for your own cultivation. The most important thing is that it is fresh lychees. These can usually be found from January, during the main fruit season. After the fruit has been used in the kitchen, the stone should not be thrown away, but simply used for cultivation. The lychee fruit consists of red skin, white pulp and the two centimeter long, dark core in the middle. Only ripe fruits are suitable for growing, they look like this:

  • recognizable by the color of the shell
  • deep red to dark
  • no green spots
Tip: In summer, the fruits grown in Israel are offered in local supermarkets. The kernels are particularly suitable for growing because they can sprout in a warm, natural climate.

Clean the core

The core must be prepared for cultivation so that a new plant can also develop from the seed. So this should be thoroughly freed from the pulp before cultivation, because if any remains of the fruit remain on the seeds and are also put into the soil, rot can quickly occur and the core can no longer be used for growing a new litchi plant. Therefore, cleaning should be done very carefully and as follows:

  • Remove the core of the fruit
  • remove any fruit residue
  • let it dry for several hours
  • then just peel it off
  • Wash thoroughly with lukewarm water


Before the now cleaned kernel can be sown, it must be prepared for germination. To do this, the skin of the core must open. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • Soak the kernels
  • Use lukewarm water
  • keep warm
  • via heating or in the sun
  • Water is allowed to cool down
  • wait until the nuclear envelope bursts
  • ready for sowing


The first substrate is important so that the lychee plant can be grown successfully. The potting soil can be purchased from retailers or mixed yourself. The procedure is as follows:

  • Coconut fiber
  • Sand
  • Perlite
  • Mix with garden soil
Tip: The substrate for cultivation should above all be loose and permeable and should not condense. The pH value must not be too high, the soil should be poor in nutrients.

Prepare the pot

The pot chosen for cultivation should not be too big. Ideally, a separate growing pot can be used for each individual core. A drainage system is recommended above the drainage hole. To do this, lay out gravel over the hole and only then fill in the prepared soil. So no waterlogging can occur.


For sowing, the kernels are placed individually in the pots and about one centimeter covered with soil. The earth must be kept moist for the near future. For this purpose, it is also advisable to pull a transparent film over the pot so that the moisture remains in the container. Regular ventilation is also important here so that mold does not form on the earth. You should also proceed as follows when sowing:

  • place light and warm
  • constant temperature of 20 ° Celsius
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • otherwise the young seedling can burn
  • Keep the substrate moist
  • better to spray instead of pour
  • Use lukewarm water without lime
  • Seedling does not need fertilization
  • first visible shoot after four weeks
Tip: Instead of pulling foil over the pot, the seed container can also be placed in a mini greenhouse. This has the advantage that it is easier to ventilate. It also looks more decorative in an apartment.


If the first leaves appear on the shoot of the new plant, the small lychee tree can be repotted for the first time. It is important that the lychee receives a new, fresh substrate. When repotting, the following should be observed:

  • possibly choose a larger pot
  • also create drainage here
  • carefully remove the plant
  • the new roots are very delicate
  • Use new substrate with a pH value of 7
  • fill in part of the earth
  • Carefully insert the lychee tree
  • Fill in the rest of the soil and press down firmly
  • pour and avoid waterlogging
Tip: For more nutrients, which the lychee tree now needs, a large part of compost is mixed into the garden soil. This also results in the required loosening of the substrate. However, perlite and sand can also be added for this purpose.

Care after cultivation

After the small lychee tree has grown, it needs a lot of care. Young trees in particular grow very slowly and therefore need a little patience in further cultivation. However, if the plant is given the right attention, it will develop into a decorative eye-catcher over time.


The exotic lychee plant needs a warm and sunny place. Nevertheless, the tree should not be placed outdoors on a balcony or terrace, even in summer, but should remain in its year-round location. So the ideal place for the litchi looks like this:

  • behind glass is ideal
  • a heated winter garden
  • in the living room on an east or west window
  • Avoid blazing midday sun
  • not directly above a heater
  • Humidity of at least 60%
  • constant temperatures of 25 ° Celsius

Watering and fertilizing

The soil for the lychee tree should always be kept moist, whereby waterlogging should be avoided. Nevertheless, the root ball should always be slightly damp, both in summer and in winter. If the substrate is slightly dried on the surface, the litchi plant needs water again. However, this must be able to drain off easily via a drainage in the pot. When fertilizing, the following should be observed in particular:

  • fertilize from April to October
  • Use low-salt liquid fertilizer
  • for tropical plants from the trade
  • add every four weeks with the irrigation water
  • Pour clean water before and after fertilizing
  • washes and protects the roots
Tip: Only rainwater should be used for watering, if this is not possible, the tap water should be stale and ideally filtered. Because the lychee does not tolerate lime. Cold water should also be avoided, lukewarm water is better.

To cut

The lychee tree grows very slowly, so it is usually not necessary to cut it. Only dead shoots should be removed so that new shoots can find a place. For better branching, shoots can also be cut back in spring. Always cut over a bud that is facing outwards.


The lychee tree is an evergreen plant. This means that the lychee plant needs enough light even in winter at cooler temperatures. If the plant is grown in a winter garden, it should not be heated. If the lychee is standing by a window or patio / balcony door in the living room over the summer, then it should move to a less heated room for the winter months. When wintering, the following should therefore be observed:

  • bright, cool room
  • Bedroom or stairwell
  • Entrance area of ​​a house
  • Temperatures between 12 ° and 15 ° Celsius
  • continue to pour enough
  • do not fertilize between November and March
  • pay attention to high humidity
Tip: It can happen that the actually evergreen plant sheds some of its leaves in a cool location in winter. However, these are usually formed again immediately in the warmer location in spring.


If the lychee tree has received the right care in terms of watering, fertilization and location, the first fruits can be expected after about five years. But not every lychee tree that was cultivated in the local latitudes shows its white flowers at all, from which the tasty fruits later emerge. If fruit does develop nonetheless, in contrast to the fruits harvested in Africa, these are usually ripe for harvest in late summer to autumn. The following should also be noted:

  • the darker the skin, the more mature it is
  • green lychees are ready to be harvested
  • ripen while lying down

However, their own fruits are not as tasty as those bought in the supermarket. But this is mainly due to the fact that the lychee trees in the local latitudes are not directly exposed to sunlight, as is the case with their relatives on the plantations in South Africa or Madagascar, from which the fruits come from the supermarket.

Tip: In the supermarkets, the fruits are in season especially in winter, here mainly in January. But that’s because they come from Madagascar or South Africa. Here, however, the seasons are the opposite of those in Europe.

Growing a litchi plant is quite easy. All you need is the core from a fresh fruit from the supermarket. With the right care, a small seedling will quickly emerge. Further care, however, can be quite demanding, because the lychee tree, which originally comes from the Chinese tropics, needs a lot of attention in terms of constant temperatures as well as air and soil moisture. However, if you stick to the rules, you can look forward to an exotic and decorative plant for a long time, which after about five years will also form tasty fruits that can be harvested.

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