The lychee originated in southern China and produces small, oval or heart-shaped edible fruits. This tree grows up to 40 feet tall in ideal climates, but is usually much smaller in the United States. Lychees prefer climates with winter temperatures between 32 and 45 degrees F. Young trees will die with frost, but mature trees can withstand light frosts and temperatures down to 25 degrees F. Knowledge of how to plant lychees will give you an unusual addition to your landscape.
Obtain a lychee seedling from a reputable nursery. Make sure it is vigorous and healthy.
Choose an area to plant your lychee tree with full sun and sandy or loamy, acidic, well-drained soil. Make sure this area is away from buildings, power lines and other trees. Dig the soil to a depth of 12 to 14 inches and mix in lime to bring the pH down to between 6.0 and 7.0, and add 1 inch of organic compost. This will provide extra nutrients for the tree.
Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and at a depth the same height as the root ball. Place the lychee tree in the hole, making sure it stands up straight. Backfill half the soil around the tree's roots.
Water deeply, settling the soil and eliminating any air pockets. Fill the rest of the soil into the hole and tamp down firmly. Water again, ensuring that there are no air pockets and providing moisture for the tree.
Place a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around the lychee tree to keep down weeds and help the soil stay evenly moist. Keep the lychee moist through the growing season, especially around harvest.