Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees



Lychee - Litchi Chinensis

The Lychee is definitely an exotic that will not grow outside in the U.K. unless we start to have frost free Winters. Nor can the Lychee be grown to maturity under glass by the average gardener, because the evergreen tree will reach 40 feet in height. However, as the fruit is readily available from just about any greengrocer in this country and the seeds will germinate easily in a small pot on a warm windowsill, it is a fun plant for children to grow.

The seeds are of course the large brown pip, bigger than a broad bean seed, in the centre of the fruit, that is normally discarded with the rough, papery case that encloses the fruit. After germination, the young tree seedlings need plenty of water and to be potted in good compost. However, as the plants do not need to be particularly warm, it should be safe to grow them on, outside for the Summer, after all danger of frost has finished. Of course they will have to be brought in before the Winter and placed in a greenhouse/conservatory until the following Spring.

A full grown Lychee tree is quite spectacular with its large, glossy, leathery leaves and its multiple flowers hanging on one foot long display stems, but this is something that we are unlikely to see in this country unless a hardier variety is bred.

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