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Q. Suitable varieties of litchi for Bihar

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Varieties of Litchi

Ans. Shahi, Rose scented, China, Kasba, Purbi, Early Bedana, late Bedana

other litchi varieties

pusa bedana, culcutta, dehradun laxmi-52

Can litchi be grown in Thane, Maharashtra,

I have a litchi plant in my farm Badlapur (Thane) which I broght all the way from Muzzafarpur. When is it likely to fruit, afyter how many years of planting? What care should I take that it grows well? Please answer the queries.

Fruit bearing time of litchi and cultivation practices

Fruit bearing time of litchi

Fruits mature in 80–112 days, depending on climate, location, and cultivar. Fruits reach up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long and 4 cm (1.6 in) wide, varying in shape from round, to ovoid, to heart-shaped. The thin, tough inedible skin is green when immature, ripening to red or pink-red, and is smooth or covered with small sharp protuberances. The skin turns brown and dry when left out after harvesting. The fleshy, edible portion of the fruit is an aril, surrounding one dark brown inedible seed that is 1 to 3.3 cm (0.39 to 1.3 in) long and .6 to 1.2 cm (0.24 to 0.47 in) wide.

Cultivation practices


Before planting, the land should be cleared and levelled with gentle slope on one side of the plot, on the opposite direction of irrigation source. Then pits of 1 m x 1 m x 1 m size should be dug at the desired places a few weeks before the actual planting.  These are kept open for 15- 20 days and then refilled with a mixture of well rotted farmyard manure, leaf mould and canal silt. A mixture of farmyard manure (20-25 kg), bone meal (2kg) and sulphate of potash (400g) is also recommended to be mixed with a basket full soil in a pit from a litchi orchard, containing mycorrhizal fungi.  It is helpful in establishment and quick growth of newly planted plants.  The pits are watered to set this mixture with the earth.  Planting is done after a week.  Water is applied immediately after planting. Litchi trees are usually planted square system, 10 m apart.  The distance can be reduced to 7.5 m apart each way where litchi plants need protection either from frost or from the desiccating winds. 

          For quick establishment and less mortality, healthy 6-9 months old, true to type plants, with fine roots should be selected.  It is advisable to inoculate all the new plants with mycorrhizal fungi.  After planting, the land should not be allowed to dry completely.  Hence the new plantation is recommended during early monsoon season.  Planting can also be done in the spring, if irrigation facilities are available.  Planting is not advisable when the weather is either too dry or too wet. 

Training and pruning

      Training young litchi plants for making a good framework is necessary.  Once the desired shape and a strong framework is achieved, pruning is not required, except removing dead or diseased branches and damaged shoots.  In India, this occurs indirectly when a part of the shoot bearing the cluster of fruits is removed during harvesting.  However, heavy pruning of tree causes profuse vegetative growth resulting in poor fruiting.  If trees become too old and produce small sized fruits, pruning heavily improves the yield and quality of fruits. 

Manuring and fertilization

In India, litchi is grown mostly in natural fertile soil. A little of no manure is given.  The acute shortage of N, P and K seems to stunt all forms of litchi growth, including floral initiation.  The fertilizer schedule recommended for litchi for north Indian plains is given in tables 1 and 2. 

Table 1. Fertilizer schedule for litchi in north India 

Age of plant

Fertilizers /plant /year (kg)

Farmyard manure

Calcium ammonium nitrate


Muriate of potash



7-10 years

Above 10 years

















Fertilizer should be applied just after harvesting during the rainy season. If fertilizers are applied late, there is more vegetative growth and less fruiting. Method of Manuring is similar to that of other fruit crops.  The plants grown under deficiency of NPK can flower but do not set fruits.  The plants grown under Mg deficiency do not even bloom. 


      Maintenance of good sanitary conditions is must to keep litchi orchards healthy and disease free.  Litchi is a deep rooted tree with most of its feeding roots occurring 20-30 cm deep.  Therefore, deep tillage is harmful for its plant since it may cause injury to its roots.  Tillage operations should be limited up to upper 7-10cm soil layers, whereas deep tillage up to 15 cm during inactive growth phase is advised. 

      Weeds are controlled mainly by hand weeding or hoeing which is very laborious and expensive.  Applying pre-emergence herbicides diuron or atrazine @ 2 kg /acre at one month interval keeps weeds under control.  Use of  black polythene mulch also controls weeds more effectively than organic mulch.

Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.