The Lychee fruit tree (Litchi chinensis), also called the Chinese lychee, is a member of the Sapinda family. It is also called foxes, Chinese plum, liji or lycis. There is documentary evidence that such a plant was grown in China in the second century BC. To date, such a plant is cultivated in all countries of Southeast Asia. Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza wrote that this fruit is similar to plum, it does not burden the stomach, and it can be eaten in any volume, which is why he called such a plant “Chinese plum”. The French botanist Pierre Sonner, who traveled to China and Southeast Asia, brought this culture to Europe. It happened in the 18th century.
Lychee fruit is eaten canned or fresh, it is used to make jelly, ice cream and other desserts, and traditional Chinese wine is also prepared from it.
Lychee is an evergreen tree, it has a spreading crown. Such a tree, growing in natural conditions, can reach a height of 10-30 meters. The composition of complex pinnate leaf blades includes from 4 to 8 leaf blades of elongated-ovoid or lanceolate shape with a pointed apex. The front surface of the plates is dark green and shiny, and the wrong side is pale gray. Lush umbrella-shaped inflorescences reach a length of 0.7 m, they consist of flowers that do not have petals, and consisting only of cups of pale yellow or light green color. Inflorescences include a large number of flowers, but no more than 15 ovaries of all develop in the fruits, while the remaining die off. The length of the fruit is covered with a red peel, can vary from 25 to 40 mm, on the surface there are many sharp tubercles. Inside the fruit there is a jelly-like pulp of a light color and a sweet taste, it leaves the peel very easily and has a slightly tangible wine flavor. In the center of the fruit there is a dark brown oval bone. In lychees growing in the tropics, fruit ripening is observed in May or June.
Bone Lychee Growing
In the middle latitudes, lychee is considered an outlandish plant; in this regard, it is quite difficult to buy seedlings of such a culture in the garden pavilion. However, you can try to grow such a tree from a stone in indoor conditions. To do this, purchase a ripe fruit with a strong odor, translucent juicy pulp and red skin. The bone must be removed from the pulp, it is wrapped in moistened gauze or cloth. Over 7 days, you need to ensure that the wrapper is slightly moist all the time.
The swollen bone must be removed tissue, after which it is planted in a pot, at the bottom of which there is a drainage hole. At the bottom of the pot, for starters, you need to lay out a drainage layer of expanded clay, after which it is filled with flower soil mixture. To deepen the bone into the substrate you need only 20 mm. When planting several seeds, the chances of a seedling appearing increase several times. When the seed is planted, the substrate in the container must be moistened with lukewarm water. The seed should germinate at a temperature of 25 to 30 degrees, it is very important to ensure that the substrate in the pot is constantly slightly moist. The first seedlings should appear after about 7-30 days, but this can happen later.
After the first leaf plates of a light red color grow on the seedling that has appeared, the container needs to be rearranged on the sunny windowsill, while the plant should be protected from direct sunlight. A plant is transplanted into a larger pot during the formation of 4 or 5 leaf plates. For the seedlings to develop normally, they will need a long daylight hours, at least 12 hours. The air temperature in the room throughout the year should not drop below 20 degrees.
How to water
Lychee is a tropical hygrophilous plant, in connection with this, the young bush must be moistened twice a day with boiled or filtered water from the sprayer. Water the plant should be moderate and systematic, for this you need to use filtered or settled water for two days, while it should be at room temperature. Experienced flower growers advise to use lower watering, for this you need to regularly add water to the pan.
Water the bush in such a way that it does not suffer from a lack or excess of moisture in the root system. At the same time, the room must constantly have high humidity.
The first feeding of the lychee should be done 3 months after the seedling appears. After this, feeding is stopped until the tree is at least 1 year old. Starting from the second year of life, top dressing is carried out 1 or 2 times in 4 weeks, for this, a solution of complex mineral fertilizers in moderate concentration is used. Also, organic fertilizers can be used to feed the lychee, for example, a mullein solution (1:15) is well suited. Thanks to top dressing, the formation of buds improves, and there is also a stimulation of the bush to bear fruit.
Such a plant is slow-growing, so it needs to be pruned very rarely. During the first 2 years, you need to engage in the formation of the crown of the plant. After this, the form needs only to be maintained, for this purpose systematically shortening excessively long stems. If a lot of time has passed, and there are still no fruits on the tree, then you should not be upset, because anyway such an exotic tree is quite rare.
Lychee has a fairly high resistance to disease. A tree can become ill only if it is improperly looked after. If you water the bush too abundantly, then rot can appear on the root system. If the plant does not have enough water, then it will become sluggish and begin to grow weak. Providing lychee proper care, you can protect it from all diseases.
This culture also has a high resistance to pests. However, spider mites, whiteflies, mealybugs, aphids, thrips, or scale insects can cross the bush from other indoor flowers. In this regard, the plant needs a systematic thorough inspection, if pests or signs of their stay are noticed on it, then try to proceed with their destruction immediately. To do this, the affected plant must be sprayed with acaricide or an insecticide, while the solution must be prepared in accordance with the instructions on the package.
Types and varieties of lychee
Varieties and hybrids of lychee were bred quite a large number, however, such a plant is widespread only in Asia. The following cultivars are most popular:
- Green hanging. The tree is covered with leaf blades of a pale green color. On the surface of the fruit there is a faint strip of green. The fruits remain fresh and do not lose their taste even three days after the peel has been removed from them.
- Sticky rice balls. The dense flesh of such fruits has a sweet honey taste. They are covered with a red peel, on which there are no tubercles. The stone in such fruits is much smaller in comparison with other varieties or it does not exist at all.
- Sweet osmanthus. Sweet fruits have an aroma of osmanthus. They are covered with a strongly tuberous peel of a rich red color.
- Green yatu. On the peel of the fruit there is a speck of dark green color.
- Black sheet. This variety is early ripe. The fruits are fleshy, they are covered with a peel that gives off juice, similar to red ink.
- May red. This variety is the earliest. Fruit harvesting is already in May.
- Concubine smile. This variety is very ancient and early ripening. The fruits and peel with which they are covered give off red juice.
The composition of the lychee fruit includes many substances useful for the human body, for example: vitamins E, K, C, H, PP and group B (B1, B3, B6), magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iodine, manganese, zinc, selenium, iron, calcium, potassium, pectins and organic acids. In eastern medicine, they use such fruits in order to normalize sugar levels in diabetes mellitus, to improve the activity of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and they also help in the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis. In case of cardiovascular diseases, it is also recommended to eat lychee, because the pulp contains potassium. They are also very useful to use with high cholesterol in the blood, with anemia, with disruption of the intestines and with diseases of the pancreas. In Hindu medicine, such fruits are considered an aphrodisiac, which improves male strength and sex drive.
Lychee - what is this plant, a brief description
This culture belongs to the Sapinda family. The plant is a tall evergreen tree, the height of which reaches from 10 to 30 m. The culture is characterized by a spreading lush crown. The leaves of the lychee are pinnate, large. Each of them consists of separate segments of a lanceolate form, pointed to the edge. The upper surface of the plates is dark green in color, glossy, with a bluish coating on the back.
Lychee is also called the "dragon's eye"
The peculiarity of the plant is that its flowers do not have petals, therefore they resemble small cups of a greenish and yellow hue. Ripening occurs after 120-130 days from the end of flowering, in late May - early June. At the same time, the top peel of the lychee acquires a red tint. The size of the fruit is 2-4 cm. The lychee’s flesh is juicy with a pleasant odor, reminds jelly in consistency. The upper surface of the fruit is pimply.
The harm and benefits of lychee fruit
Exotic fruit has a high content of minerals and vitamins. It is useful for cardiovascular diseases, as it lowers the level of bad cholesterol, prevents the formation of plaques, and restores the elasticity of the walls of blood vessels.
Pectins contained in lychee normalize the digestive system, eliminate inflammation and have an enveloping effect. The fetus is considered an aphrodisiac, as it improves sexual function and increases libido.
Important! It is necessary to introduce lychee into the diet gradually, starting from 1 pc. per day, and increasing to 10-20 fruits.
Despite the benefits of lychee fruits, in some cases they can be harmful to health. The fruit is unusual for many people, so it can cause allergies. It is also not recommended to use it with the established diagnosis of diabetes.
Lychee can be consumed fresh and used for conservation.
How to grow lychee fruit in a stone pot at home
Lychee in the middle lane is a rarity, as the culture is thermophilic, and it is impossible to grow it in open ground. Therefore, plant seedlings are difficult to find in nurseries. But if desired, it can be grown at home from the seed. As a houseplant, lychee reaches a height of 2.5 m. At the same time, it forms a beautiful, magnificent crown. In the presence of favorable conditions, the plant even bears fruit. But for this venture to be successful, you need to know how to grow lychee from the bone, and what it will take.
What conditions are needed
For successful cultivation of lychee, it is necessary to provide the plant with warm and humid conditions that are characteristic of the tropics. The plant loves light, so it is important to provide good lighting. Exot also needs regular top dressing, spraying foliage in hot periods of the year and a timely transplant.
Bone preparation, how to sprout
In order to grow lychee from a stone at home, it is necessary to purchase ripe fruit without signs of damage to the skin and dents. The fruit should have a strong smell, translucent juicy pulp and peel of a red tint.
Lychee seed retains germination for a short period of time, so it must be removed from the fruit before planting. Initially, the bone must be separated from the pulp, washed under water and wrapped in a damp cloth. In this form, it should be until the sprout hatch. This usually occurs after 6-7 days. During this period, the fabric must be kept moist.
Sprouted Lychee Bones
A special substrate is required for planting. For its preparation, it is necessary to combine and mix thoroughly the following components:
- 2 parts of turf,
- 1 part humus,
- 1 part sand
- 1 part peat.
In addition, perlite should be added to the soil, which will improve its air and moisture permeability. For disinfection, the substrate must be poured with a saturated solution of potassium permanganate or add 1 tsp. the drug "Fitosporin M" per 1 liter. This will reduce the chance of root decay.
Important! If necessary, the finished substrate can be purchased at the store, choosing the soil marked "For seedlings."
Lychee should be grown in pots 15 cm high with drainage holes. The procedure for landing:
- Lay a layer of expanded clay 1.5 cm thick at the bottom of the container.
- The rest of the volume is filled with a nutrient substrate.
- Water the soil well and wait until the moisture is completely absorbed.
- Plant lychee seeds sprouted to a depth of 2 cm, sprinkle with earth and slightly level the surface.
- Cover the container with foil and put in a bright place with a temperature of + 25 ... +27 degrees.
Lychee seed in the presence of favorable conditions quickly grows
The first shoots should appear in 3-4 weeks. During this period, it is necessary to keep the soil slightly moist, ventilate the container regularly and remove any condensation. When sprouts appear, the lychee pot is rearranged on the windowsill and the content temperature is reduced to +20 degrees, which will slow down the growth of the aerial part, but will increase the development of roots.
Illumination and temperature
When the lychee seedling grows a bit and gets stronger, it needs to be provided with a sufficient amount of light. The best option may be the east or west window, but with shading from direct sunlight. The daylight hours should be 12 hours, so in winter in the evening it is necessary to turn on the lamps.
Note! The temperature of the content, regardless of the season, should not fall below +20 degrees. Otherwise, the plant may die.
Watering rules and humidity
Lychee needs high humidity - about 70-80%, so it is recommended to spray the foliage regularly, once every 2 days. In particularly hot periods, wide containers with water must be placed next to the plant in order to increase the evaporation area.
For the full growth of lychee, it is necessary that the soil is always slightly moist. Therefore, watering should be carried out when the topsoil is dried. To do this, use settled warm water. It is best to carry out humidification through a drip tray.
Important! Lychee does not tolerate stagnation of moisture in the soil, therefore, overflows should not be allowed.
Top dressing and soil quality
Lychee seedlings grow rapidly at the initial stage and reach a height of 20 cm within a few weeks after seed germination. But after such a breakthrough, the seedling growth rate noticeably decreases, and the plant stays below 30 cm in the first 2 years of life, as it actively builds up the root system. During this period, you need to regularly transplant (1 time every six months) and update the substrate in a pot.This will allow lychee to receive the full range of nutrients.
In the future, you need to transplant the plant every spring until its height reaches 1 m. After that, it is recommended to update only the top layer of the substrate.
Lychee needs regular feeding
When grown at home, lychee needs regular feeding. To do this, use fertilizers for decorative flowering plants. You need to make them every 10 days.
Important! In winter, in the absence of additional lighting, top dressing should be reduced to 1 time a month.
Growing problems, diseases and pests
When growing lychee at home in a pot, the plant is often affected by pests and diseases. This occurs when the conditions for development are not consistent, which leads to a decrease in immunity.
- Rotting of the roots. The disease develops with excessive watering and low temperature maintenance. A characteristic feature is frisky withering of the leaves with regular watering.
- Shield. This pest feeds on lychee juice. When a plant is affected, growth slows down, yellow dots appear on the leaves. You can detect the pest on the shoots and on the back of the leaves.
- Aphid. A small insect that feeds on the juice of young leaves of a plant. The pest forms whole colonies. As a result of damage, the leaf plates of the plant are deformed.
At the first sign of pests, treatment must be carried out
How to deal with them
When the roots rot, it is possible to save the plant only at the initial stage. To do this, it must be transplanted, remove all rotted parts of the roots, and pour with the drug "Previkur Energy" or "Maxim".
In case of lychee infestation by pests, it is necessary to spray the foliage twice with the Aktellik or Fitoverm preparation. Re-treatment is carried out after 5-7 days.
Lychee is an exotic plant that can be grown at home. It is able to bloom and form fruits, starting from the age of three. To do this, you only need to follow the basic requirements for caring for the plant.