The lychee tree is a medium-sized evergreen tree with glossy leaves and clusters of small, round fruits. The fruits have a rough, reddish skin and sweet, juicy flesh. The lychee tree, scientifically known as Litchi chinensis, is a tropical and subtropical fruit tree that belongs to the soapberry family (Sapindaceae). Originating from Southeast Asia, particularly China, it is now cultivated in various parts of the world, including the Mediterranean region, in countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece. It does not grow well in the tropics, because it needs cool winters, with temperatures below 12 C in order to induce flowering.
The Kwai Mai Pink lychee cultivar has several distinctive characteristics that set it apart from other lychee cultivars:
- Color: One of the most notable features of the Kwai Mai Pink lychee is its vibrant pink skin. While most lychee cultivars have a reddish or reddish-brown skin, the Kwai Mai Pink stands out with its intense pink hue. This unique coloration makes it visually striking and easily distinguishable from other varieties.
- Climate: Kwai Mai Pink is a cold-hardy variety of lychee tree. It is known for its ability to tolerate colder temperatures compared to other lychee cultivars. While most lychee trees are sensitive to frost and require a warm climate, “Kwai Mai Pink” can withstand temperatures as low as -4°C without significant damage to the tree or fruit.
- Flavor: The flavor profile of Kwai Mai Pink lychee is highly regarded and often considered exceptional. It is known for its exceptional sweetness, balanced acidity, and complex blend of floral, tropical, and fruity notes. The taste is often described as refreshing, with hints of rosewater and a medley of tropical fruits.
- Texture: The flesh of Kwai Mai Pink lychee is delicate, juicy, and has a satisfying texture. It is tender yet firm, allowing for a pleasant eating experience.
- Aroma: The Kwai Mai Pink lychee emits a captivating aroma that is both fragrant and enticing. The sweet and floral scent adds to the overall sensory experience when enjoying the fruit.
- Fruiting: The Kwai Mai Pink tree can be grown in a pot and starts fruiting already within 1 or 2 years. It fruits late in season, at the end of summer.
This cold-hardy variety offers the opportunity for lychee enthusiasts in cooler climates to successfully grow and enjoy fresh lychees, provided they provide suitable protection during extreme cold spells.
This plant was propagated by air layering and comes in a 6 liter pot.
How to take care of a Lychee tree?
- Climate and location: Lychee trees thrive in warm conditions. They require full sun exposure and protection from strong winds.
- Watering: Lychee trees prefer moist soil but can be sensitive to overwatering. Water regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Adjust the frequency based on the weather and the moisture needs of the tree.
- Fertilization: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for fruit trees during the growing season. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and frequency. Additionally, supplement with micronutrients like iron, zinc, and manganese, as deficiencies in these nutrients can affect fruit production.
- Pruning: Prune your lychee tree to maintain its shape, promote airflow, and remove dead or damaged branches. Pruning is typically done during the dormant season to minimize stress on the tree.
- Pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for common lychee pests such as aphids, fruit flies, and mites. Apply appropriate insecticides if necessary, following the instructions and considering the stage of growth. Implement good sanitation practices and remove fallen leaves and fruits to reduce the risk of diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew.
- Pollination: Lychee trees are typically self-pollinating, but cross-pollination can increase fruit production. Having multiple lychee trees or attracting pollinators like bees can enhance fruit set.
- Harvesting: Harvest lychees when the skin turns bright red or pink and the fruit is firm but slightly soft to the touch. Carefully twist or cut the fruit from the branch to avoid damaging it.
- Fruiting Lychee in a Pot: choose a pot with drainaige holes that is at least 40cm wide by the same depth.
The lychee tree can be propagated through its seeds, grafting, cuttings and air layering. Lychee trees do not come true from seed (characteristics will be different from mother plant), and seedling trees may take 10 or more years to bear fruit.