Fruit Science

Litchi Cultivation

B.N. – Litchi chinensis

Family – Sapindaceae

Origin – Southern China

Ch. No. – 2n=30

Fruit type – Nut

Inflorescence Panicle (Cymose)

Edible Part Fleshy Aril (Pulp is the outgrowth of the seed)

Important Point

  • Flowers are petalless.
  • red pigment – anthocyanin.
  • Non-climacteric fruit.
  • Bihar has maximum area and production.
  • The largest producer of litchi is China (India ranks second in production.)
  • Seedless due to stimulating parthenocarpy.
  • Entomophilous (insect-pollinated) fruit.
  • Last season’s growth on Litchi terminally bears fruit.
  • Commercially propagated by marcottage or gooty
  • The most suitable time for propagation is from June to October.
  • Rootstock – Litchi philippinensis
  • Vitamin C – 40-90 mg / 100 g.
  • Root – mycorrhizal association (mycorrhizal fungi grow symbiotically)
  • Litchi is generally harvested between May and June.


  • Early seedless (Early Bedana)
  • Rose scented
  • Dehradun
  • Gulabi
  • Purbi
  • Shahi
  • Kasba
  • Bombai
  • Late seedless
  • China
  • Desi
  • Swaran Roopa – early, non-cracking seedless variety.
  • Elachi
  • Bvewster
  • Lath large Red (Muzaffarpur)
  • Maclean


  • The humid subtropical climate is free from frost during winter and dry heat in summer.
  • Grownup to an altitude of 1000 m.
  • Best temperature 300C
  • It is harmful to have a maximum temperature above 40.50C in summer and below freezing point in winter.


  • Deep, well-draining loamy soil rich in organic matter
  • Soil pH 6 to 6.5 is best.


  • Commercially propagated by air layering.
  • Litchi seeds have viability for only 4 to 5 days after removal.
  • The time of layering is the onset of monsoon, which may continue from June-July to September.


  • Pits of size 100cm3 are dug at a distance of 8X8 to 10X10m.
  • Planting is done in the rainy season.
  • Planting can also be done in spring when there is plenty of water available for irrigation.

Manure and fertilizers

  • 200:320:500 g/tree NPK and 40-60 kg FYM/tree should be given to a fully mature tree.
  • FYM, phosphorus, and potassium are applied once a year in autumn.
  • Nitrogen is applied twice a year i.e. once in January-February and again in September-October
  • Zinc deficiency also observed, showing bronzing of leaves
  • Apply 4 kg zinc sulphate and 2 kg hydrated lime per hectare by adding 500 liters of water.


  • In the period from March to May, fruit development takes place which needs regular irrigation.
  • Irrigate crop 7 days intervals in summer and 20-25 days intervals in winter.
  • Lack of irrigation can result in fruit drop and splitting of the fruits.

Interculture and intercropping   

  • Litchi is a shallow root crop, so weeding should be done to keep weeds down.
  • Several crops can be planted between two rows of litchi eg. Radish, carrot, cauliflower, peas, cowpea, etc.

Training and pruning

  • Giving the young plant a balanced shape and supporting the young plant is essential for its straight growth.
  • Tree pruning is generally not done except to remove dead or diseased branches.
  • The terminal shoots are harvested while removing the fruit clusters during harvesting which are themselves in the series of pruning purposes.

Flowering & fruiting

  • The plant propagated by vegetative methods starts flowering at the age of 3-5 years.
  • Flowering starts in the last week of January or the first week of February.
  • Fruits ripen from May to June.


  • Fruits are ready for harvesting in May-June
  • The maturity of the fruit is determined by
    • The flatness of the tubercles
    • The smoothness of the Epicarp
    • The fruit becomes bright in color which changes from green to pink.
    • Fruits become ripe in 105 to 115 days after flowering.
  • The fruits are harvested in bunches with a few twigs and a few leaves.


  • 80-100 kg fruit/tree/year.

Insect Pests

  1. Mites (Aceria litchi)
  • Brown velvety galls develop on the sides of the place where they feed and eventually, the leaves are twisted. Mites suck the sap from the leaves, causing the leaves to dry up.


  • Collect and destroy the affected leaves.
  • Spray Kerthane 0.12%
  • Spray 0.05% of dimethoate


  1. Bark-eating caterpillar (Inderbella tetraonis)
  • The larvae feed on the bark and also make holes in the bark.


  • Plug the pores with fumigants like carbon disulfide, petroleum, and plaster them with clay/mud.

Physiological disorder

Fruit cracking

Fruit cracking is a serious defect and also affects its cultivation greatly which can be due to the following reasons

  • Variety Character
  • Irrigation interval.
  • Due to hot air
  • Endogenous levels of growth regulators, GA3, and high levels of abscisic acid in skin, aryl, and seed

 Remedial measures

  • Irrigation at proper intervals will help in controlling water absorption.
  • Spray 0.4% Boron.
  • Plant a tolerant variety like ‘Hong Kong’
  • Covering the fruit bunches with paper bags causes less fruit splitting.