Lychee or Litchi chinensis is a Chinese evergreen tree with edible fruit. The fruit is easily available in supermarkets all around the world.
The lychee fruit contains 1 big seed that will sprout quite easily. Germination rate is about 75%.
At first, the lychee seed cracks open the next day after sowing but then it takes a few weeks before it really sprouts.
Harvest the seeds:
Extract the seed from the fruit and remove pulp carefully. Don’t hesitate to use a scrub (the kind you use to wash the dishes) and gently rub off the pulp under the running tap.
If you don’t remove the pulp completely, mold will develop that will eventually kill off the seed if left unattended.
For hydroponics, I recommend to sow in vermiculite. Place the seed on top and press down gently in order to get optimal contact with the substrate.
Water so that the substrate is moist but not soaked and no water stagnates at the bottom of the pot.
Use a container with a lid, any plastic pot will do, whether it is a recycled dessert pot or a small Tupperware style container.
Room temperature, about 20-25 °C.
Check the seeds:
The first days, you need to inspect the seeds daily: if you see mold developing, remove the seed, wash it under the tap and scrub the last bits of pulp off. Then place the seed back in the substrate. Some seeds will just not stay clean but continue to develop mold, remove them from the pot and bin them.
After the first 1-2 weeks, there shouldn’t be a problem with mold anymore and you need to check only every few days.
Keep the pot closed but check daily.
1 day after sowing, the seed has already split.
3-4 weeks later the sprout is visible under the cover.
And as I forgot to check the seeds, the sprout has grown all crooked under the cover.
Close-up of the seedling.
A few minutes later, it has already started to get upright.
The lychee sprout is now ready to be transplanted. The 2 other seed have burst but not sprouted yet, they will remain in vermiculite.