Mauritius Lychee Grow Guide

5 Freshly Harvested Mauritius Lychees on a bed of Mauritius Lychee Leaves.
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Named after the African island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, the Mauritius Lychee has earned a reputation as being one of the best all around lychee trees to plant.

That is because not only is the fruit delicious and offers a flavor complexity that isn’t found in many other cultivars, but Mauritius is also known to have highly reliable fruit production! For these reasons, Mauritius is the number one commercial cultivar of lychee grown in Florida.

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

Table of Contents

Mauritius Lychee Tree Growth Habit & Fruit Production

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

Mauritius Lychees have a highly vigorous and spreading growth habit that produces a dense and well-rounded canopy. As a result, Mauritius Lychee Trees can realistically be kept between 15 – 25 feet with annual pruning. 

Unlike slower growing varieties like EmperorMauritius cannot be grown in a container over the long-term.

A Mauritius Lychee Tree Canopy full of clusters of fruit
Image Credit: Naga Gardens

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.

Mauritius Lychee’s fruit production consistently ranges from regular to irregular. In other words, one can expect a Mauritius Lychee Tree to produce reasonably well (have a ‘good year’) every 1 – 2 years. 

A Mauritius Lychee Tree Canopy full of clusters of fruit
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

So while Mauritius does have a more vigorous growth rate, it makes up for this fact by being a much more consistent producer. In fact, if consistent production is a top priority for you, then I would highly consider planting either a Mauritius or a Brewster, both of which are the top-producing commercial cultivars in Florida.

In my opinion, Mauritius offers the ideal balance of quality, yield, and ease of care for the majority of homeowners seeking to plant a lychee tree.

A cluster of unripe and immature Mauritius Lychee fruit on the tree
Image Credit: Naga Gardens

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

In a nutshell, ‘Mountain Type’ lychee trees have:

  • Fruit with a rougher skin texture
  • Improved cold tolerance
  • Improved drought resistance
  • Relatively smaller canopies
A single cluster of unripe and immature Mauritius Lychee fruit on the tree
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Mauritius Lychee Flavor Profile

Mauritius Lychees generally weigh between 15 – 25 grams per fruit.

Between the fruit’s smaller size and low probability of developing chicken tongue seeds, Mauritius Lychees have an OK flesh-to-seed ratio. You are definitely not getting as much fruit as an Emperor or Sweetheart.

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 cluster of ripe and mature Mauritius Lychees on the tree
Image Credit: Serendib Farms

Additionally, it might just be me being a klutz, but I have also found that the seed from Mauritius doesn’t pop out as easily compared to other lychee cultivars.

Upon cracking open the bumpy pinkish-red skin of a Mauritius Lychee, you’ll discover juicy, white pulp inside.

A beautiful cluster of fully mature and ripe Mauritius Lychees that are pinkish-red
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

The fruit’s flesh has a distinct subacid quality that adds a delightful complexity when perfectly ripe. It should be noted that if the fruit is picked on the earlier side, then it will develop a slight tart kick. That said, when the fruit is allowed to tree-ripen, this tartness mellows out, leaving a balanced sweetness with just a hint of acidity.

I personally enjoy this flavor complexity. The fruit is not just pure sweetness overload; it has an extra layer of complexity (particularly the slight tartness) that makes each bite interesting.

A Freshly harvested cluster of Mauritius Lychees with one fruit open to show a cross section of the fruit and seed size
Image Credit: Serendib Farms

Now, if you’re a fan of Brewster Lychee, you might notice some subtle differences.

For example, one of the big draws for Brewster is that it boasts a wonderful lychee/rose aroma and incredibly sweet flesh. And as silly as it sounds, Brewster has always had a slight edge over Mauritius in my book because of its wonderful fragrance that amplifies the eating experience (in addition to the pure, sweet taste).

5 Freshly Harvested Mauritius Lychees on a bed of Mauritius Lychee Leaves.
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Ultimately, the choice between Mauritius and Brewster comes down to personal preference.

If you enjoy a lychee with a bit of tartness to balance a mild sweetness, Mauritius is your go-to. However, if you prefer an intensely sweet and fragrant lychee, Brewster might be more up your alley.

But just remember, the best lychee is the one in hand 😜

The inside fruit of a Mauritius Lychee
Image Credit: Miami Fruit

Mauritius Lychee Season (And When To Pick)

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

In both central and south Florida, Mauritius is one of the earliest to ripen, right alongside Hak Ip and Sweetheart.

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

Two clusters of Mauritius Lychees that have been bagged to prevent squirrels and birds
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

In terms of what to look for to determine whether the fruit is ready to be picked, Mauritius Lychees are best picked when the majority of the fruit is pinkish-red and has just touch of green on them.

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

Many clusters of unripe and immature Mauritius Lychees still connected to the tree
Image Credit: Naga Gardens

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.

A pile of freshly harvested, ripe and mature Mauritius Lychees
Image Credit: Sulcata Grove

Mauritius Lychee Disease Resistance

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

A cluster of Mauritius Lychee that was freshly harvested
Image Credit: Wandered Food Trips

As a result, I would generally avoid planting Mauritius 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.

A single ripe and mature Mauritius Lychee
Image Credit: Miami Fruit

Mauritius Lychee Tree For Sale

Because Mauritius 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!

Conclusion

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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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