I am attempting to sprout some lychee pits using the moist paper towel in a ziplock method. So far it has resulted in mold on the towel and tops of the seeds. Is there a better method?


Information overload!

Sometimes it does not matter if a seed grown fruit tree bears fruit, sometimes it's just nice to experience with new seeds or enjoy the foliage of plants nurseries usual do not carry.

The steps:

-Remove/brush all pulp from seeds - pulp=mold
-Wash the seeds with warm water, add a few drops of dish liquid
-Rinse seeds well
-Wrap seed in a clean paper towel or coffee filter
-Moisten with distilled water, rain water will do also,
(adding a few drops of H2O2/Hyrdogen peroxide assists with fungus control, but it's not a requirement)
-Keep at 70-75F in a zip lock bag.
-Change the dressing every other day, moisten
-Keep damp but not wet - too much water=rot
-Germination in 2-6 weeks

Good luck!

  • Out of 7 seeds 4 have definitely broken through their shell despite my non-ideal set up. I planted them yesterday and we will see if they turn into trees. Thanks for the steps. I will definitely use these next time I try to sprout. (I'm pretty sure my seeds sprouted within a week of retrieving them from the fruit)
    – dwightk
    Jun 26 '14 at 15:18
  • I've tried the same method in the fridge. Nothing happening after about 2 weeks time (I've read that a few days was sufficient). No mold on mine though. I'll keep waiting!
    – Fatmajk
    Sep 2 '19 at 13:49

I'm no expert on Lychee, but mold is usually a bad thing and indicates too much moisture or not enough fresh air getting to your germinating medium.

This paper has some results on Lychee seed germination that you might be interested in.


I did mine in moist paper towels. I didn't put in a ziploc bag. I put mine in a plastic container with lid. I checked them daily for moisture. It sounds like the ziploc bag isn't the way to go. They do need air also. I've done a total of 25 Lychee seeds with moist paper towels and never had a mold problem. They were done at different intervals of course. Did you soak them in water for 3 days changing the water daily? I now have my first 2 I did sprouting up out of the soil. Good luck an I hope this helped.


Lychee doesn’t grow true to seed kinda like apple slices. You need to start the tree with a branch from the mother. If you want the same fruit and taste. If you’re growing it from seed skip paper towels start it right in a pot. Should sprout in a week or three. If it takes more than a month it’s bad. Try to plant the seed within a week of taking it from the fruit. And in about 10-25 years you’ll have some fruit.

Edit: if you bought just the seeds don’t worry about the mother plant.

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