Growing Things: Lychee (From Seeds)

Photo by Héctor de la Torre from Pexels

Ever since I grew avocado and mango plants from seed, I’ve been hooked on it. I have a pile of other seeds, including lemon, grapefruit, jalapeño, and habanero that I’ll be trying to sprout, too. My most recent attempt was with lychee seeds, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that some actually did germinate!

The avocado and mango seeds that sprouted have been outside on the patio, enjoying the tropical weather (humidity and sunshine). Unfortunately, aphids found one of the mangoes and went to town on the leaves. Other sprouts suffered the indignity of being dug up by some kind of animal, possibly a squirrel or raccoon. The animal ate the germinating lychee seeds I planted the first time, and also tore off half of an avocado seed (which didn’t seem to harm the growing plant). It also ate a sunflower sprout that I had hoped to plant elsewhere when it was large enough.

The first round of lovely sprouts…later eaten 🙁

I’ve brought the avocado and mango plants back inside for their safety.

The 3 tall plants are avocados, the shorter one is the foreground is a mango

Since the lychee seeds were a total loss, I decided to try again with some that I had let dry out, which isn’t particularly good for them. I began by soaking the seeds for several days in filtered water, replacing it daily. Over time, the seeds rehydrated. After about 5 days, I moved the seeds onto a paper towel.

Using the same technique as I did to encourage the avocado and mango seeds to sprout, I placed the lychee seeds on the damp paper towel and into an open (clean, repurposed) plastic sandwich bag. The bag went into a dark cupboard. I checked on the seeds every couple of days.

The first time I checked on the seeds, nothing had happened except that there was a bloom of white mold on them. This had occurred with the first set of seeds (eaten by the squirrel), too, so it wasn’t a big concern. I simply washed the mold off and placed the seeds on a clean, damp paper towel. Back in to the cupboard they went.

Egads!

This process occurred several more times until I noticed that some of the seeds had small roots sprouting from the top.

Second try

With seeds now sprouted, I rinsed and wiped them to remove the mold and planted them in a small container with good drainage. They’ll remain inside until the plant emerges. 🤞

So, the next time you eat fruit with a seed/pit/stone inside, try sprouting it – though the plant may not have the right conditions where you live to fruit (e.g., avocados in a cold climate), it can still grow into a lovely, oxygen-producing indoor plant. Just keep it safe from outdoor creatures that like to dig in pots and eat seeds!