This is both a delicious fruit and a nice tree for the landscape. Clusters of bright red fruits ripen in the summer. The flesh is white, juicy and sweet. A tree loaded with ripe fruit is quite pretty; the red stands out against the deep green foliage. Generally, trees form a rounded crown and provide dense shade. In Hawaii, lychee can be grown almost anywhere below about 1400 ft. in elevation. At higher elevations, the yields are often lower. Trees will tolerate moderate frost without damage and can be grown in Southern California and South Florida. Soils need to be slightly acidic but trees will grow and fruit in rocky areas as well. I'm growing in ripped lava with mulch. For best fruiting, a dry and cool period in the winter is best. Also, simply fertilizing the trees with potash (K20) or K-Mag in late December or January will encourage a spring flush with blooms. After fruit set resume fertilizing with a complete balanced garden fertilizer. It is best to prune lightly after harvest since severe pruning may reduce yields the following year. Pruning every year will keep the tree smaller and facilitate harvest. Without pruning, trees can reach 40 ft. to 50 ft. tall.
Lychee originated in South China and there are thousands of cultivars. Propagation is by airlayering. Usually airlayers will begin to fruit at 3 years old. One of the best cultivars for Hawaii is Kaimana which was selected by the University of Hawaii; large sweet fruits with an excellent flavor and a low spreading growth habit. Bosworth III which was selected in Australia and Groft which was selected in Florida perform well in Hawaii. Bosworth III has a large seed but Groft has a tiny seed and small fruit. The photo below is a cluster of ripe Groft lychee.
Botanical Name: Litchi chinensis Family: Sapindaceae