sprouting lychee seeds

August 27, 2002

just wondering if anyone has ever successfully sprouted lychee seeds? I cannot find any nurseries near my home that sell lychee trees, but I am able to find lychees in our grocers. About 2 months ago, I buried some lychee seeds in a pot & now I'm getting a seedling. I would like to know if this will be a viable tree or if it will bear fruits.

Comments (64)

  • Violet_Z6


    Not sure about the specific variety "Emperor" but I'm sure if you contact the following places, they will try to help you as they are listed by the "California Rare Fruit Growers" as having lychee plants and/or fruit:

    J.D. Andersen Nursery
    2790 Marvinga Lane, Fallbrook, CA 92028
    VOICE: 949-361-3652
    FAX: 949-492-2198
    E-MAIL: jdapalms@cox.net
    WEBSITE: www.jdandersen.com

    Atkins Nursery, Inc.
    3129 Reche Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028
    VOICE: 760-728-1610, 800-928-1610
    FAX: 760-728-8069

    California Tropical Fruit Tree Nursery
    2081 Elvado Road, Vista, CA 92084
    VOICE: 760-434-5085
    WEBSITE: www.tropicalfruittrees.com

    Exotica Nursery Inc.
    2508-B East Vista Way, Vista, CA 92083
    VOICE: 760-724-9093
    FAX: 760-940-0914
    WEBSITE: http://www.bonusweb.com/exotica/

    Green Mart
    400 West Lincoln Avenue, Orange, CA 92665
    VOICE: 714-637-2060 or 714-637-2061

    Laguna Hills Nursery
    25290 Jeronimo Road, El Toro, CA 92630
    VOICE: 949-830-5653
    FAX: 949-830-8526

    Roger & Shirley Meyer
    16531 Mt. Shelly Circle, Fountain Valley, CA 92708
    VOICE: 714-839-0796
    E-MAIL: exoticfruit@95net.com

    Ong Nursery
    2528 Crandall Drive, San Diego, CA 92111
    VOICE: 858-277-8167

    Pacific Tree Farms
    4301 Lynwood Drive, Chula Vista, CA 91910
    VOICE: 818-363-3680
    FAX: 818-363-3628
    WEBSITE: www.kyburg.com/ptf
    Periodic deliveries at nominal charge throughout the West

    Papaya Tree Nursery
    Free catalog
    12422 El Oro Way, Granada Hills, CA 91344
    VOICE: 818-363-3680
    FAX: 818-363-3628

    Ben Poirier
    P.O. Box 222, Fallbrook, CA 92028
    VOICE: 760-751-1605
    E-MAIL: benplant@tfb.com

    Tropical Oasis Farms
    P.O. Box 1011, Cucamonga, CA 91729
    VOICE/FAX: 909-941-1060

  • Gtrine

    thanks a lot violet. I found a person on your list from southern california, although he wont ship his current tress (they are too big) he is going to try and get me a smaller on he can ship. whoooohhooooo thanks again for the help!!

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  • Violet_Z6


    Fabulous! Glad the information was helpful. Which source are you referring to specifically?

  • ashleysf

    Hi Gtrine, in the bay area you can buy lychee trees from South Pacific Orchids in Gilroy. They are located very close to the Gilroy outlet mall. Don't be confused by their name and think they sell only Orchids :) they are a nursery specialising in all Asian plants and trees. Call them and double check if they have what you want in stock. their website
    http://www.southpacificorchid.com/ has their location details.
    They run frequent promotions like 20% off on all fruit trees etc. Good luck!

  • wicky_Aus

    Lychee trees can actually take UP TO 20 years to produce fruit from seed. The chances of producing a quality fruit are indeed slim. Best to try a marcotted (Air layered) variety.

  • LMAster

    Hi, I live NJ and am looking to grow a lychee tree. I know that this is probably nigh impossible. What should I do in the (recently heavily snowy) winter, and is it possible to find a nursery to supply a potted variety of lychee nearby? (i.e. in state)

  • AliKuro

    great topic, perfect timing! just paid an arm and a leg for less than great tasting lychee (frozen!) and was wondering how and where to get tree... thanks to David and always helpful Violet, have got info and sources to look into! very happy. thanks everyone!

  • plantmaster_345

    I heard that all you need is potting soil. Is there anything else to put in so it will speed up germination. How long do lychees usally take to sprout? I know that they can get to cold, can they get to hot?

  • baci

    Lychee will sprout in a paper towel with the baggie method within 1-2 weeks.

  • Marie_969

    I live in the UK and I brought some Lychees from Tescos (local supermarket). I ate them and decided to plant the seeds and I now have a plant that is 12cm tall and growing about a cm a day! they are planted in a pot on my window sill at work and love the sun. The only things I were worried about was that they seem to have "tap root", how much longer will they last? and how can I tell what type of lychee they are? At the moment it is a single stem dark brown in colour which goes into a "V" shape with two leaves sprouting off each one. The leaves are a peachy orangy colour, there is also a tiny sprout coming up from the middle of the "V". I am also worried about what will happen to them when we get into the english winter, I am hoping they will survive where they are living at the moment.

  • msjbean

    Hey all,

    I bought some lychees from HEB (a local grocery store) and threw some seeds in with a bag of free coffee grinds I got from Starbucks. I poured it into a pile by a big tree and a week later as I was watering some plants, I noticed a sprouted one!

    about nine have sprouted but I put the first sprouted one in a small pot. its been 3 weeks now and the plant is about 5 inches tall!

    I bought a 3 foot plant from JRN nursery (wonderful place by the way) but its not doing too good :(
    Its yellowing but is still doing better than my longan :(


  • orchid_addict

    I sowed three lychee seedlings. All sprouted, but two died. So now I have a nice 4 inch seedling. I'm not expecting it to bear fruit so I can eat it, because that will be very hard and requires lots and lots of time and patience. So I'm just growing for fun.

    Now my seedling has two sets of leaves. The leaves are pink with a little green tint. Is this normal? Pink leaves doesn't sound too normal to me.

    My lychee is in a 4 inch pot and on a west windowsill. It is potted in potting soil and I water regularly. I don't see anything else wrong with it except the leaves are pinkish. How weird!

    Thanks for any help!

  • myspace

    At present I have 8 lychee seedlings and some of those also have pink leaves. Most of them are growing at a really fast rate and I was wongering if there is anything you can do to produce smaller trees such as pinch out a growing tip??? If this is any help to anyone lychees are supposed to be lime hating.

  • myspace

    Young lychee leaves are supposed to be pink.

  • Cheechnchong

    Howdy from the Heights!
    I have some Longan fruit- I was thinking I'd plant the ones I couldn't eat or freeze on time... please let me know if you know anything about growing these babies in Houston.
    (I thought we were zone eight... we're zone nine???)

    Laura who's family is from Guangzhou

  • Cheechnchong

    Also... doesn't hak yip translate to 'black leaf'?

    I speak "mountain" dialect of Cantonese... sounded like black leaf to me!

    Would love to hear more stories. I'm a first generation "jook-sing" trying to gain more knowledge of my heritage.

    I've still got family 'over there' who grow their own tea, and they showed me their roasting (very rustic!) facilities too. It was amazing.

  • Eggo

    yep hak yip or hak ip or etc.. does translate out as black leaf. From what I understand its because when the leaves mature on this variety it tends to have a much darker green. Different varieties have different characteristics. For those folks that have little space or must overwinter the tree inside the dwarf variety "Emperor" will grow and fruit well in a pot.

  • windyrr2

    My husbands sister In St. Petersburg, Florida did plant a lychee tree from seed, but it didn't bear fruit for about 10 years. However when it did, it bore alot of fruit. (After she had already moved to CA.) Her brother, my husbands brother, remained in the house and worked late hours, 6 days a week. He was hardly ever home and he had great trouble each year with people sneaking into the yard and picking the fruit while he was away. I mean whole families with several pails and they would even stand on the roof of his house which was near the tree to reach the branches. Even breaking the branches full of Lychees and dropping them to the ground for easier retrieval.
    They would pick it almost clean, I think to eat and also to sell to Asian food markets.
    A neighbor he didn't know that well, had seen it every year, but thought because my husbands brother was Asian and it was always Asians getting the fruit off the trees, she had always thought that it was his relatives picking them. She thought it was authorized, until years later when they were talking for the first time about it.
    By then he had already cut it down.
    They damaged his roof, eaves and gutter and for all his watering and fertilizing, he hardly ever got any.

    He finally had to have it cut down to avoid the hassles and further damage to his roof.
    My husband has 15 Lychees in pots about to break out. He also has a couple Lychees from seeds.
    We're looking for land to plant them on. We live in Lakeland,
    I don't think we'll have much trouble with people sneaking in the yard to pick them. Our big doggy would just love to chase an intruder up the tree and keep them up there,( if they could even make it through the gate in one piece).

  • Reta_CAN

    I am growing 5 lychee seedlings (from seed)that are about 6-8 inches tall and two of them have leaves that are turning brown, starting from the tips.The newest leaves seem okay at first but then they too start to turn brown after a week or two. I have tried adjusting my watering schedule, lighting, etc. I even fed them a multivitamin! I am only fertilizing occasionally with 10-15-10 with trace iron, magnesium and zinc.The other 3 are doing perfectly well.

    Should I fertilize more aggressively? Are they lacking copper? Could salt buildup in the soil be a problem (they drain well). I would appreciate any suggestions!


  • pinktree

    I am a new member and glad to find Lychee fans here. I would like to grow Lychee tree. Can anyone give me opinion which Lychee taste better within these tree kinds: Hak Ip, Sweet Heart, and Emporer.?
    I plan to set up tent around Lychee for winter protection. And maybe place a light in the tent too, to keep it warmer. Last winter, my area has been down to 25F.

  • Eggo

    Reta, seedlings are extremely slow growing for many years. Lychee is known to really hate our tap water with all the chemicals(like chlorine)in them but I don't really know what specifically is causing the brown tips. If available, its best to provide them with rain water, or something similiar.

    Pinktree, tastes is all about preference but I think most would say Hak Ip is the best of them.
    Although Emperor is known to produce much larger fruits. It also is a dwarf and is known to flower and fruit in a pot. Maybe having a potted specimen is better for your area?

    Hope this helps.

  • Calgary_G

    I recently started some longan from seed and now have two small plants in a 8" pot, each with 9 leaves and starting to branch out. Due to my location and the fact I'm living in an apartment, they'll be strictly houseplants and I don't expect fruit. Does anybody have any experience growing these guys in the house? What kind of light and moisture requirements do these plants have?

    Thanks, G.

  • Marie_969

    My lychee is doing really well! it survived the english winter and it is now 14cm tall with 14 leaves! two leaves did turn brown and fall off but i found out that it is because my office is not humid enough so i am now misting it with water each day and hoping no more will turn brown. Still not sure what type of plant it is but not that bothered as happy it survived!

  • jun_

    cover your longans and lychees in the winter, in houston. They should do just fine. MY parents have one of each and they are about 4 years old. the first winter they were in large pots, the trunks were about 1 inch in diameter, and 5 ft tall. they were brought in close to the house under an overhang, and barely had any leaf damage. The following season, were planted in the ground in a semi sheltered area and have survived 3 winters. They are covered with regular burlap on the top during freezes. they were Bought at a vietnamese place called St. Josephs' nursery on 288.

  • Violet_Z6

    If anyone has any extra seedlings, please let me know. ;)

  • Amorata

    I'm not sure what zone I'm in but I live in Sicily and temps are reaching the 100's nearly every day and it's very humid most of the time. Anyway, just to see what would happen I took 4 lychee seeds and placed them in a pot with some potting soil, watered it just a little bit, placed the whole pot inside a ziplock bag and set it outside. Last week, two of them sprouted and then over the weekend the last two sprouted. Trouble is now their all together in the same pot. I didn't plant them with the intention of getting trees; I was just curious to see if they would sow. Now that they have - how do I transport them into their own pots?
    Also the seedlings are right now about 1 inch high with tiny tiny leaves beginning to form...how long should I leave in the 'green house'?

  • Violet_Z6

    Check my exchange page, scroll down to:

    How to Save and Grow all These SEEDS!
    Click on the links for all the information you need on when to transplant.

  • jun_

    oh, and if you have them in pots make sure they receive a little bit of cold weather. I had one in a pot and kept in the house the whole winter. when i planted it the following spring, it didn't flower, even though it had flowered the last couple of years.

  • Amorata

    Just posting an update...My lychee seeds are still growing strong. I gave 3 of them away and kept 2. I have them still in pots and they are now 7 to 8 inches long and the tallest has new leaves forming. I've been keeping them outside just above my dryer vent on the window sill. We're going into our winter season (cooling down to around 60 at night...brrrrr) so I'm keeping an eye on them to make sure they're warm enough.

  • arbguy

    i have used a needle to poke the seeds about 2 mm in, and then i put them in a glass with paper towel, and water inside. i keep the water level just underneath the position of the seeds so that they are not completely under water. i have three lychees that already sprouted, and it also works on longan. (both types are from the grocery)

  • lucy

    Hi, no one has said which end goes up - I planted two seeds with the pointy end upward, but just yesterday - should I turn them around, or sideways, or ?? Thanks!

  • arbman_gmail_com

    hi lucy, the rough end is where the root comes out

  • lucy

    Thank you, now all I can do is wait.

  • danish-boy

    Hi all..

    I have grown a lychee tree from seed. It is about one year old, and doing pretty good. I keep it inside because the winters here in Denmark gets way to cold. I have a slight problem though. The tree which is about 20 cm tall seems to have stopped growing. Could this be hybernation? If so what should i do to make it start growing again?

  • egregius

    Actually, it's normal for lychee trees/plants to stop growing for up to 2 years once they reach 20-25 centimeters. Just have patience, and don't overfertilise them in an attempt to get them growing again, and it should happen all by itself eventually.

  • tasty

    Hi I am going to plant lychees I live in Winnipeg MB will it grow in my house it is 22ºc do I need anything or equipment thanks tasty

  • tasty

    Hi what month do plant it inside

  • arbguy

    Hi tasty, I also live in canada (i'm in ottawa). i guess it doesnt really matter which month you plant it inside, since you'll have to keep it in the house over the winter anyways. i suppose that now is the right time, as the days are getting longer, so by the time it grows leaves it will have enough light exposure. I have planted mine around late january, and it already has eight leaves. the leaves start out red, and then they become progressively greener. currently i have 12 lychee trees growing in my home. they are actually very easy to get started compared to other plants.

    one key piece of advice i can give you is to start them off in a plastic bag. this way, they will be grown in a highly humid microclimate (they seem to dislike dryness).

  • nick_grower

    I live in Tomball,TX (Harris county) believe I am in zone 9a.
    -Does anyone know if I can buy Lychee trees in Houston metropolitan area from a nursery or do I have to put a mail order at one of florida nurseries.
    -How was u guys experience mailordering them from FL. I am curious to know how these plants are shipped in mail and how they arrive(Damaged,wilted)
    -I am deciding between Mauritious and Brewer variety, what would be a good fruit for my zone...

    Appreciate any help

  • got-some-plants

    I have had good luck (improved tree health) using mycorrhizal fungi supplements on my potted trees. See the growing supplies section of lycheesonline.com for product ideas.

  • kaka2007

    Check out JRN Nursery on 4809 Breen Dr. near hwy 249. They have a lot of tropical fruit trees like lychees, longans, mangoes, persimmons, papayas, citrus and jack fruits to name a few. I got carried away and bought one or more varieties of the list above.

  • johnnycc

    I live in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada and I have grown many of my plants from seed or cuttings in my home and at my office, always, with south facing windows.
    I had sprouted two lychee seeds in an eight inch pot...that was mistake number one. I should have realized that once they took off, I would have to repot them in separate pots, as they would have a negative affect on each other.
    As both grew to 12 inches high, with multiple layers of leaves, they were quite nice looking plants. One eventually began to fail, while the other grew taller and fuller. I waited a couple of weeks and found one had reduced itself to a stalk, while the other flourished. I decided to remove the dying one and move the healthy plant towards the middle of the pot...mistake number two. Within a week of moving the plant, the leaves were drying out and becoming very brittle.
    I had kept the plant moist, but not wet, and out of direct sunlight.
    The leaves are presently curling up, and I expect the plant to die.
    I will plant the next seeds in separate pots and not repot until rootbound.
    To repeat one of the folks listed above, the plants does not form an immediate root ball, but does send down a long root that coils down in to the pot.
    good luck folks!

  • clementaria_safe-mail_net

    Wow, I see this thread has a long history back to 2002. I hope some of you folks who started your lychee or longan seeds back then have been successful in raising your plants and perhaps even getting fruit from them? I'm beginning to sprout a bunch of longan seeds after having bought them from a local grocer. Many of them have sprouted and I'm just curious how these will turn out eventually. If any of you have any success stories to share, would love to hear from you.

  • tropicdude

    I have a few Lychee seedlings, just now starting to get brown tips, I'am going to take the advise and transplant them into a bigger pot, or directly into the ground. they are pretty plants and fast growing here. 2 months since i planted from seed and they are 6" already

  • ginaladner_cableone_net

    I live on the mississippi gulf coast (biloxi,gulfport area). Does anyone know if I can grow Lychees here? I am thinking about ordering from Jenes if Fl, but I wonder if it would be a waste of time and money considering my location. Also, can anyone recommend a variety (I see there are a few to choose from). Thanks!!!!

  • sagebrush36


    I am an American living in Nanchang, China and it is VERY hot and humid here. I have just had my first taste of FRESH Lychee and have seeds.

    My question is - what size pot should I start them in and how many seeds to a pot?


  • dragontrainer93

    Hey sagebrush,

    The ideal number of seeds for a pot would be just one as I have read that lychee seedlings(and plants/trees)are very touchy, so you would want to avoid disturbing them as much as possible.

    As for the size, i would go for 4inch pots as once they start to grow, you would eventually need to repot them. If you use a pot which is too big, the seeds may get oversoaked and may not sprout. Just my humble opinion, hopefully some of the more experience would chime in..:P

  • LJCTalman

    Woo hello everyone,

    This thread has been the boost for me to finally succeed at growing one of these seeds indoor (Belgium). I have one now that is nearly a year, I don't know which kind it is, but it's looking beautiful! Will try include some (iPod-) pics here --->

    How I keep atmosphere moist: {{gwi:388583}}

    My precious (in the pot I sprouted the seed in): {{gwi:388585}}


  • HU-904611098

    Hello, since it was in 2002, I am wanting to know how your Lychee tree is doing? By the way my name is Angie. As of now I have 20 Lychee seedlings planted. At different intervals of course. After soaking them in water for 3 days, that includes changing the water daily. I did mine by keeping them wrapped up in a paper towel and keeping them moist. When they started sprouting I planted them. I did it that way so that I knew the roots started growing. I couldn't just plant them, due to the fact I wanted to make sure they started sprouting. I started mine in styrofoam cups. Yes I put holes for drainage. I made a makeshift greenhouse for them. It's working good for keeping it warm and moist in there. I still have 5 more I'm waiting to see if they start germinating. When your seedlings sprouts enough you replant it into a 3 gallon pot with drainage holes of course for all pots. The following year, transplant it into a 7 gallon pot. Again the following year a 15 gallon pot, then a 25 gallon pot after that. Then you'll get a 5 year break from all the yearly transplanting. They say after 5 years in the 25 gallon pot it should be ready to be planted in the ground. Just think, I have a total of 25 to do. I hope I helped a little. Please let me know how your Lychee tree turned out. Thanks Angie

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