We planted our first 5 acre lychee, longan and carambola grove in 1987. Interested in discovering other varieties of lychee, we found a farm in Austrailia, bought 18 air layers (6 different varieties, 3 of each variety), potted them up and hoped for the best. As things turned out, after a few years, most of those airlayers had survived and grew alongside hundreds of our Mauritius lychees, also in 3 gal. containers.
USDA would visit annually to check on those newly imported trees. Required to "leave them in pots for a few years", we had hoped to plant them out one day and see which varieties thrived and had the best fruiting characteristics. As it turned out, Hurricane Andrew had other plans for those trees. The storm hit in August of 1992 and many of our 3 gal. lychee trees in pots were scattered and destroyed. We were sure those Australian lychee airlayers were gone.
After the storm we found lychee trees in pots lying underneath the neighbor's pine trees that had fallen. Amazingly, many of those potted trees had been spared destruction by the large branches of pines that had fallen on them. The pines had sheltered and protected them from strong winds and the sun's heat. With the surviving trees, we replanted our 5 acre lychee grove, again.
Years passed and one day, during fruit season, while surveying our newly planted grove, we noticed one tree that seemed so much bigger than the rest and found that every piece of fruit on that tree had a small seed and was exceptionally sweet. Chalking it up to some botanical phenomenon, didn't think much much about it until the following year, when we received a phone call from a grower who bought some of our post hurricane trees. "Oddly enough," he told us "out of all the trees you sold me, two of the trees seemed very hearty, much bigger than the others, and every piece of fruit was a very small seed.....". Then it dawned on us, "He has two.... and we have one..... and that makes three. One of the six different varieties we brought from Australia must have been hearty enough to survive..
Well, now the Austrailian tree was out in the world and other growers wanted to know just what that variety was (We couldn't be exactly sure, so we called it a 'SweetHeart', because the fruit was large, heart shaped almost and exceptionaslly sweet. To purchase those trees, you can reach us at 786-255-2528