Hak Ip Lychee Grow Guide

3 Freshly Harvested Hak IP Lychees.
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

If you are looking for an incredibly sweet lychee with a strong flavor to match, look no further than Hak Ip. 😍

With a flavor profile similar to that of Sweetheart (but with slightly better production), Hak Ip has been growing in popularity among those who had a chance to try this deliciously sweet lychee cultivar.

That said, this grow guide will cover everything that you need to know about Hak Ip Lychee:

Table of Contents

Hak Ip Lychee Tree Growth Habit & Fruit Production

The Hak Ip Lychee is considered a medium to large-sized fruit tree

Similar to Sweetheart, Hak Ip Lychees have a moderately vigorous, upright and spreading growth habit that produces a very lanky and spaced out canopy. As a result, Hak Ip Lychee Trees can realistically be kept between 15 – 25 feet with annual pruning.

Additionally, due to the tree’s natural vigor, Hak Ip cannot be grown in a container over the long-term.

Speaking of the tree’s canopy, I do have a fun fact regarding the Hak Ip Lychee Tree’s leaves! ‘HAK IP’ translates to ‘Black Leaf’ in Chinese, denoting the deep green to black foliage. Seriously, the leaves look the tree just got a chelated iron drench, all the time!

A Hak Ip Lychee Tree in a container
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

Let’s now talk fruit production.

For those new to growing lychees, lychee tree’s fruit production can vary wildly from year to year (that’s partially why they are so expensive!). So while it’s true that one can reasonably expect fruit every year, the overall yield is very cyclical i.e. good year, bad year, good year, bad year.

Hak Ip Lychee’s fruit production consistently ranges from regular to irregular. In other words, one can expect a Hak Ip Lychee Tree to produce reasonably well (have a ‘good year’) every 1 – 2 years. However, when Hak Ip does produce, it can provide a very good amount of fruit to homeowners.

However, if consistent production is a top priority for you, then I would highly consider planting Mauritius, which is the top-producing commercial lychee cultivar in Florida.

A recently planted Hak Ip Lychee Tree
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

Finally, similar to EmperorSweetheartMauritius, and Kaimana, Hak Ip is considered a ‘Mountain Type’ lychee.

Generally speaking, ‘Mountain Type’ lychee trees have:

  • Fruit with a rougher skin texture
  • Improved cold tolerance
  • Improved drought resistance
  • Relatively smaller canopies
A Hak Ip Lychee Tree Flushing New Leaf Growth
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Hak Ip Lychee Flavor Profile

Hak Ip Lychees generally weigh between 30 – 40 grams per fruit.

And while Hak Ip is not quite as large as Emperorthe heart-shaped fruit’s size is still above average relative to other lychee cultivars, which tend to average around 15 – 25 grams per fruit.

Between the fruit’s larger size and high probability of developing chicken tongue seeds, Hak Ip Lychees have a very desirable flesh-to-seed ratio.

Side Note: A “chicken tongue” seed in lychees refers to an underdeveloped or partially formed seed that is small, thin, and often shriveled, resembling a chicken’s tongue, which leaves more edible fruit flesh.

A Mature and Ripe Hak Ip Lychee hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Alex Curtis-Slep

Upon cracking open the bumpy purplish-red skin, one will find the incredibly juicy, white pulp inside.

The texture is quite soft, much like Sweetheart, especially when compared to the firmer varieties like Kaimana and Brewster. However, if you’re someone who prefers a firmer bite, Hak Ip might feel a bit too tender.

Personally, I adore Hak Ip’s exceptionally juicy and succulent texture, even if it makes for a slightly messy treat. 😊

The inner flesh of a Hak Ip Lychee
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

From a flavor perspective, Hak Ip boasts a strong lychee flavor with a delightful rose aroma that blends seamlessly into the overall taste profile. Not only is Hak Ip extremely sweet, with brix levels averaging between 18% – 20%, but the fruit also has a honey-like fragrance and taste, delivering a burst of floral flavor with each bite.

However, unlike Sweetheart, Hak Ip can occasionally have a distinct ‘medicinal’ aftertaste that may be off-putting for some. Fortunately, I have found that this aftertaste is not always present.

Relative to other lychee cultivars that I’ve had the chance to taste, I would say Hak Ip’s flavor is most similar to Sweetheart, though I definitely find Sweetheart’s flavor to be deeper and more complex.

That being said, if you like strong-tasting and sweet lychees, I guarantee that you’ll love Hak Ip!

A cross section of a Hak Ip Lychee with the small seed intact
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Hak Ip Lychee Season (And When To Pick)

Hak Ip Lychees are considered an early season fruit, typically harvested from Mid-May to Mid-June.

In central and southern Florida, Hak Ip and Mauritius tend to ripen alongside one another, almost immediately after Sweetheart.

After these early varieties, Kaimana and Brewster begin to ripen. Emperor Lychees are the last to mature, rounding out the season. This ripening sequence is consistent in both central and southern Florida.

Immature and unripe Hak Ip Lychees that have been bagged on the tree
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

In terms of what to look for to determine whether the fruit is ready to be picked, Hak Ip Lychees are best picked when the majority of the fruit is purple-red with just a touch of green towards the top of the fruit (to avoid overripeness). This will give you the sweetest fruit! 

Additionally, do not harvest the fruit when they are half red and half green. This will make the fruit taste very tangy/sour!

The seed of a Hak Ip Lychee
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Similar to avocados, I like to harvest one or two small clusters at a time and taste the fruit. If the fruit doesn’t taste as it should, then I’ll give the rest of the fruit some more time to ripen properly on the tree.

When harvesting, cut the main stem bearing the fruit clusters several inches behind the clusters. You can either detach the fruit from the clusters before storage or leave them on.

Hak Ip Lychee Disease Resistance

The main disease that impacts lychee fruit production is anthracnose. According to the University of Florida, Hak Ip Lychee’s susceptibility rating to anthracnose is ‘Resistant’.

That said, I would still generally avoid planting Hak Ip in areas with very humid conditions. 

Additionally, practices such as ensuring good air circulation around the tree via proper pruning and avoiding overhead watering can reduce the risk of an anthracnose infection.

3 Freshly Harvested Hak IP Lychees.
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Hak Ip Lychee Tree For Sale

Because Hak Ip is a well-established and popular variety, they are typically found for sale at most local garden nurseries. Even if they aren’t in stock, most nurseries can procure them relatively quickly!


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If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this grow guide, please comment them below! This way, others can also benefit from the answer to the same question. For any other questions or growing tips that you think may be helpful, feel free to use the contact form and drop me a line.

Thank you for reading! 🙂


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Matthew Rowlings

I have an Associates Degree in Biology from the University of Florida and am also an active Florida Master Gardener. I am located in Central Florida (Zone 10A) and have 6+ years of experience with growing 20+ types of tropical trees. You can learn more about me and why I started Tropical Tree Guide on my about page.

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