The Soapberry family is a genus of shrubs and small trees that are native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of Asia, where the fruit pulp has been used to make soap for washing. The most well known member of the family is the Lychee (or Litchi), which is a handsome, dense, round topped tree with smooth, grey brittle trunk and limbs with reddish coloured leaves when young, which turn bright green and shiny as the plant matures. The soapberry fruit is a drupe that has a pinkish red, round to heart shaped, roughly textured rind, which once peeled exposes a sweet, distinctively fragrant, translucent whitish pulp.

  • Plant & Growing Tips:

    Enjoys a full sun location. Although, young plants should be protected from the summer heat.

    Plants thrive when in rich, well drained soils with lots of organic mulch.

    For best flowering and fruiting, soapberries require warm, humid summers.

    Cool winters with low rainfall and a certain amount of winter chilling (15 - 20°C) is ideal for flower bud development.

    However, trees may need to be protected as they can be killed by light frosts.

    Soapberry plants require moist soils and are able to withstand brief flooding, but will not tolerate standing water.

    Trees are very sensitive towards salty soils or water.

    Keep plants protected from strong winds as it can stunt shoot growth and encourage stem dieback. Lychees in particular can be difficult to establish in windy areas.

    Soapberry trees in the home landscape should be placed in a position that is 7 - 9m away from any other structure. For growers, spreading cultivars should be spaced 12m x 6m, and 6m x 6m spacing is recommended for upright or low vigour cultivars.

    The objective to pruning is to establish a strong, permanent structure for easy harvest.

    Planting preparations for soapberries is the same as avocados.

    To allow plants to settle in before winter, plant in early to mid summer.

    Cover fruiting trees with nets as birds and bats are often attracted.

  • Fertiliser Applications:

    Stage: Pre Plant

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 5-10 cups (1-2kg)

    Commercial Use: Up to 2.5kg

    Comments: Apply 2-3 months prior to planting to an area 1m across to each site and incorporate to about 10cm deep. Plant your lychee in late summer to early autumn.


    Stage: 1 - 5 Years

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 2½ cups (500g)

    Commercial Use: 500g

    Comments: Apply fertiliser at 100g per application for the first year of growth, increasing by 100g each following year until you reach the 500g maximum (for 5yrs). Ensure that your lychee receives 4 applications per year, October, December, February and April.

    If trees are well grown (>1.5m high) and vigorously flushing, all fertilising should be stopped until leaf colour falls and/or fruiting begins. If this approach is not adopted trees may not bear until year 6 and even then, control of regular cropping may be difficult. Where there is vigorous growth, cincturing helps to bring trees under control.


    Stage: Fruit Bearing

    Product: Dinofert Organic Fertiliser, Dinofert Standard Pellets

    Gardener Use: 3 cups (600g)

    Commercial Use: 0.6 - 3kg

    Comments: These amounts are to be increased by a further 200g for each year of age until the maximum 3kg is reached. Apply 4 weeks before harvesting and repeat 2 weeks after harvest. Trees should not be allowed to flush between late summer and following spring.


Please note that the above information and recommendations are provided in good faith and are given without liability for loss or damage suffered as a result of their application. Optimum response to fertilisers will only be achieved when weeds, insect pests and diseases are controlled and adequate soil water is available.

Fertiliser use recommendations are presented as a practical guide to good agronomic practice under most situations. Local soil, climatic and other conditions should also be taken into account as these could affect plant response to fertiliser rates and applications.

For further information we recommend you seek advice from your local agronomist.