Plant mango from seed

Growing Mangoes (Mangifera Indica)

How To Grow Mango Trees From Seeds (Or From The Nursery)

I know more about growing mangoes than I’d like to. I live in a mango growing region… All my friends grow mango trees commercially!
Whether I like it or not, I do get suckered into helping out when extra hands are needed on deck.

Actually, it’s not that bad. The reason so many people I know grow mangoes is that mango trees are extremely easy to grow and manage.

In the right climate growing mangoes takes no effort or attention at all.

Through my friends I can get all the mangoes I want for free, and then some. But I still grow mango in my own garden, about a dozen different varieties.

Mangoes come in different colours and sizes, have different flavours, and they ripen at slightly different times.

Growing different mango tree varieties keeps things interesting, but most importantly it stretches out the harvest time of this feast or famine fruit. You can eat fresh mango for a few months instead of only a few weeks!

What Do Mango Trees Look Like?

The mango is a very attractive, evergreen tree with glossy, dense foliage.

The new shoots are reddish, the mature leaves a dark green.

Depending on the variety mango trees can grow huge, to 35 m/over 100 feet high and 15 m/45 feet across for seedling trees of older varieties. But you can (and should!) keep a mango tree small by pruning it regularly.

A mango tree in full flower is a sight to behold. The large pink panicles are at the ends of the branches and cover the whole tree. Oh, and they smell good, too!

Where Can You Grow Mangoes?

Mangoes are a strictly tropical fruit. They love the tropics. The best climate to grow mangoes is frost free with cool, dry winters and steamy, hot summers.

You can get many different varieties of mangoes suited to different climatic conditions. If you live in a less than ideal climate (you know your climate is ideal when mangoes are growing everywhere), speak to other growers or speak to competent staff in a nursery to make sure you use varieties suited to your climate.

Mangoes like growing in light and free draining soils, they don’t need rich soil. You actually get the best crops on soils of somewhat lower fertility.

Getting Started With Growing Mangoes

There are two ways to get started: you can buy mango trees at a nursery or you can grow your own from seed. The seed grown trees will take a lot longer to bear fruit. (Unless you know how to graft them or know someone who does.)

Mango trees that were grown in a nursery are usually grafted and should fruit within three to four years. Seedling trees may take five to eight years. Though here again variety selection makes a difference.
Polyembryonic varieties (see below) will fruit sooner.
Trees that are kept small will also fruit sooner.

Seedling mango trees grow much faster and stronger than the nursery trees and have a seemingly indestructible root system.

Grafted trees are generally of a more manageable size, but grafted or grown from seed, with pruning you can manage them all.

A more important advantage of grafted trees is that you know you will get a reliably bearing tree. If you grow mango from seed you need to know exactly which tree your mango seed came from or you won’t know for sure what kind of fruit you are getting until years later…

If you buy mango trees in a nursery don’t look just for size and colour. Have you ever tasted the variety you are about to buy? Mangoes vary widely in taste! True. And we all have different likes and dislikes.
Some of the commercial varieties are bred for shelf life, size and looks, but are barely edible. (Yes, I am totally spoiled when it comes to mangoes.) So, know the variety you buy!

Secondly, if you plan to grow more than one mango tree, find out if it is an early or late fruiting variety. Don’t buy three trees that all fruit at the same time.

Thirdly, if you live in a cooler, subtropical area, make sure you get a variety that flowers well in those conditions. All mangoes will grow if your climate is frost free, but flowering habits depend on temperature and vary. And without flowers there will be little fruit.

And last but not least, especially if you live in an area where it may rain during the cooler time of the year, you should also look for a variety that shows good resistance to the mango disease anthracnose. (More on that below.)

If you buy your mango trees you can skip the next section:

Growing Mango Trees From Seed

Growing mangoes from seed is actually quite easy.
(All the seeds of the mangoes I eat, dry or freeze are thrown out in the garden as mulch, and they all grow…)

The most important step is the seed selection! If you take any old shop bought seed it may not grow true to type. The seed needs to come from what is called a “polyembryonic” variety.

What that means is that the seed contains more than one plant embryo. It will sprout several identical trees. And those seedling trees will be identical to the parent tree. They are clones.

Ideally you know the parent tree, it’s from your area, grows really well and gets a bumper crop every year! If not, oh well. Get seed from a polyembryonic variety and at least you know that the fruit you harvest will taste the same.

The most common commercial variety in Australia, the Kensington Pride — also known as Bowen — is polyembryonic. It’s also a vigorous tree and usually fruits reliably, so it is well suited for seed growing.
The R2E2 is poly embryonic, too, but who wants to eat those… That is one of the mangoes I mentioned above that are bred for export, for their shipping and storage qualities, not for their juiciness and flavour.
Nam Doc Mai on the other hand is a nice one.
Here is a list of countless other polyembryonic varieties.

The best time to grow mangoes from seed is the beginning of the wet season (beginning of summer).

Eat a nice mango, remove as much flesh from the seed as possible and then let it dry for a day or two.

To germinate the mango seed you could just put the whole thing in a warm, moist place (for example a compost pile) and wait for it to sprout.
Then cut off all the seedlings except for one. The smallest supposedly gives you the best fruit.

Or, if you want quicker germination, or if you have only one seed but want half a dozen trees, or if you simply enjoy fussing over them, then you can carefully cut a corner of the fibrous big seed. Cut only just deep enough so you can see the two halves of the seed, and then break it open.

Inside you find several small bean shaped seeds. Those contain the individual embryos. Hopefully they are white and not all grey or brown and shrivelled…

You can plant those mango seeds individually. They should take about ten days to sprout.

I like to sprout my seeds right where they are to grow. That way I don’t need to worry about hardening them off (getting a shade grown seedling used to full sun) or about transplanting shock. If you are worried about the little thing getting eaten, uprooted or trampled you can always put a barrier around it.

If you prefer to first grow your mango tree in a pot, follow the instructions for nursery trees when it comes to planting time:

Planting A Mango Tree

You plant a mango tree just like you plant any other fruit tree, so I won’t go into specifics here.

The best time to plant your mango tree is the beginning of the wet season (summer).

Make sure you select a place in full sun. And make triple sure you really want a big tree there!

The tree needs to be sun hardened. If your mango tree was grown in a shade house, gradually get it used to the sun first. Then dig a big enough hole. Carefully separate tree and pot without disturbing the roots.

Put tree in hole, fill in, water.

Caring For A Mango Tree

I mentioned at the beginning that mangoes need little care. It’s true.

Young mango trees do benefit from regular watering and a little fertilizing until they are established. But don’t love your mango tree to death. Overwatering can kill it, especially if your soil is a bit heavy. And too much nitrogen fertilizer will make it weak and sappy, all leaves and little fruit, susceptible to bugs and diseases.

The older the tree gets, the less nitrogen it needs. Phosphorus and potassium are more important.

Mulch your mango tree heavily and spread a bit of compost every now and then. If your soil is reasonable that should be all the tree needs.

If the compost is made with wood ash, all the better. Wood ash supplies potassium which will encourage fruiting and make the fruit taste better. For mulch use only rough stuff like hay or lucerne, nothing that may mat down and become all soggy like grass clippings.

Fertilize mango trees in spring and summer only, and only a little at a time.

A good way of helping the tree is foliar spraying with fish fertilizer or seaweed solution. It provides trace elements and avoids deficiencies, but it doesn’t overfeed.

But your best bet, even on very poor soil, remains topdressing with lots of organic matter by way of compost and mulch.

When the tree is one metre high, cut it back by a third so it branches.
When those branches get to a metre, cut the tips off again.
That should give you a nice shaped tree.

Pruning A Mango Tree

Mangoes respond very well to pruning. And they are forgiving. Whatever you mess up, it will grow back.

Mangoes grow terminal flowers (they flower at the tip of a branch), so the more branches you have the better the crop. You can encourage lateral branching with tip pruning (only taking off the tips of branches).

You should also aim for an open crown, taking out whole branches if the centre becomes too crowded, so that air and light can penetrate.

You can use pruning to keep your tree a manageable size and a nice shape.
Mango tree growing too tall? Cut it down. Too wide? Cut it back. Don’t hesitate to prune your mango tree!

Pruning mangoes is not a science. In fact, the commercial growers here hire a big, scary machine with a long arm with three huge rotating blades.

The machine drives along the rows and gives the trees a good hair cut so they all end up exactly the same height and width…

You can do something similar by hand if you want to keep your tree a certain size.

Usually mango pruning is done after harvest, though in some cooler areas the preferred time is just before flowering.

Ideally you prune only a little bit every year. If you let a mango tree grow much too big first, and then cut it back to a third of its size, the tree will likely skip the next crop.
Cut it back to a stump and it will take two years or more to fruit again. But amazingly they will grow back even from that!

Having said all that, after the initial cuts to encourage branching as mentioned in the previous section, you don’t HAVE to prune a mango tree. If you don’t mind having a really, REALLY big tree, mangoes grow and fruit very well without pruning.

If was you, I’d prune it.

Flowering, Fruit Set And Harvesting Mangoes

Mangoes flower profusely and self pollinate very well.

The flowering is triggered by cool nights. In the true tropics a severe cold snap will bring out masses of flowers. For us a severe cold snap is a night below 15°C/60F. In years where it doesn’t get so cold we end up with poor crops.

But there are mango varieties that flower well even when it doesn’t get so cold. That’s why I grow a dozen different ones. And that’s why you should do your research before selecting a variety. Or plant a dozen different ones.

In colder climates it can easily be too cold for mango flowers to be viable. Selecting cold hardier varieties is important for you. (Nam Doc Mai would be a suitable variety in Australia.)

Initially you may see masses of tiny mangoes on your flower panicles, but the tree will shed a lot of them and keep only what it can handle. So don’t worry if you see a lot of them drop off.

The mangoes will grow bigger and plumper, and eventually they will start to change colour. How long that takes depends on your climate. The hotter the weather the faster the mangoes ripen.

Usually your mangoes will be ready by the beginning of the wet season (late spring/early summer).
Some mangoes don’t change colour when ripening. Your best bet for all of them is to squeeze them ever so gently. Once they give a bit they are ready. Don’t worry, you will be able to tell the difference between a green, rock hard mango and a ripe one.

Be careful when harvesting mangoes, don’t get any of the sap on you. The sap can spurt from the fruit stem when it snaps off and can cause burns, allergies and dermatitis.
It also burns the skin of the mango, which will go rotten at that spot.
(That won’t matter if you eat it straight away, but it does when you pick them half green.)

The best way to harvest mangoes is to cut them off with a long section of stem still attached, and to handle them carfully so that the stem does not snap off.

Mango Pests And Diseases

The most serious mango disease is anthracnose, a fungus that can cause the flowers to go black and fall off. It also causes black spots on stem and small fruit, leaves may go brown.

Some varieties are more susceptible to it then others and it’s worse in wet weather. It is worst in areas where it rains during flowering and fruit set. In areas with dry winters anthracnose can often be seen only once the fruit ripens. It develops black patches that go rotten.

Unless you want to spray nasty stuff, like copper solution or fungicides, you may have to live with anthracnose and accept some losses. A healthy tree with strong cell walls will show less infections than a weak one. So keep piling on that compost and spraying that seaweed.

There are many newer mango varieties that show good resistance to anthracnose. Get one of those if you live in a climate with winter rains!

Any other mango pests and diseases, like fruit spotting bugs and borers and whatever else is around, should be kept in check if you have a diverse permaculture garden that encourages beneficial insects.

One more hint is to forsake neatness and leave your lower mango tree branches drooping onto the ground. When everything else has been stung, sucked and eaten, there are usually still mangoes hiding under there.

Can You Grow Mangoes Indoors?

Nope. But you can grow mangoes in pots. So if it is just a little bit too cold in winter where you are, you can buy a dwarf variety and grow it in a tub and bring it inside during the coldest time of the year.

However, even a mango tree growing in a pot still needs lots and lots of heat and sun in summer. Growing mangoes indoors won’t do!

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How to Plant a Mango Seed

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Today we’ll show you how to plant a mango seed. Growing a mango from seed one of the easiest tropical fruit trees to plant, and they’ll yield delicious mango fruits year after year for you to enjoy! Before you begin planting, make sure you pick a variety of mango that YOU enjoy!

There are hundreds of different mango varieties, so make sure you taste different mangos and pick one you like! Once you’ve chosen your mango, eat it, and save the seed!

So how to grow a mango from seed? It’s actually quite easy provided you follow the gardening guide below! Growing mango from seed will ensure that you get the variety of mango you like, and that you’re involved in the entire process, from start to finish.

Head to your local grocery store or an international store to choose the variety of mango you want. Once you’ve gotten your mango, simply save the seed.

Climate:

The mango tree needs to be in a warm, tropical climate with plenty of sun and warmth. A mango tree will successfully grow in USDA zones 10 through 13 OR in a warm or humid greenhouse. A mango tree can also grow indoors provided is has enough warmth and sun!

Germination Time:

Your mango tree should start germinating and producing seedlings within 4-6 weeks. Your seedling will be about 100-200mm in height.

Germinating the Mango Seed

Choosing a Seed

The best way to make sure your mango seed will actually grow is to grow it next to an existing mango tree. This is called a parent tree and will ensure that your mango tree will grow big and healthy. If you don’t have another mango tree nearby, you can order your seeds online, or try to grow it directly from a store-bought mango (the seed), but you run the risk of it not growing depending on where it came from!

Checking the Seed

Cut the mango’s flesh away to reveal the seed. A healthy mango seed will look tan and fresh. If the seed looks grey and/or shriveled up, you can no longer use it. Make sure to wear gloves while removing the flesh, as the mango fruit can be quite slippery!

Preparing the Seed

There are two different ways you can prepare your seed: the drying method or the soaking method:

The Drying Method:

  1. Dry the seed with a paper towel and place it in a sunny and dry place for about 3 weeks. After the 3 weeks have elapsed, try to break open the seed in half without actually breaking it in half. The halves just need to slightly separate. Once you’ve achieved that, leave it out for another week.
  2. In a container, place fertile soil. Dig a small hole about 8 inches deep, and plant your mango seed with the belly button of the seed face down. Then, push the seed in.
  3. Depending on the soil, water every day or every other day.
  4. Within 4-6 weeks, you should have a 100-200mm high seedling.
  5. Depending on the variety you consumed or purchased, your tree might be a deep purple, a vibrant green, or almost black!
  6. Once your seedling has grown enough where it has establish a strong, healthy root system, you may move it to a bigger pot or outdoors.

The Soaking Method:

  1. Break the outer skin of the seed just a little bit with sandpaper OR make a small cut into the mango seed.
  2. Place the seed in a jar with water and store in a warm place for 24 hours.
  3. Remove your seed from the jar and wrap it in damp paper towels. Place the seed wrapped in paper towel in a plastic bag and cut one corner off the bag.
  4. Keep the towel moist by regularly watering and your mango seed should sprout within 1-2 weeks. Keep the seed in a warm, moist place.

Planting the Mango Seed

  1. Start by preparing a pot for the seedling. Make sure it is a mixture of potting soil and compost for best results. Also, make sure your pot is big enough to accommodate what will be a fairly large tree!
  2. Place your pot in partial sun so that your seedling gets used to the sun. Once it’s ready to be transplanted, it will need full sun!

Planting the Seedling

  1. You can transplant your seedling once it has developed strong, healthy roots. The thickness at the base of the trunk should be about 5cm or 2.5 inches.
  2. Place your seedling in a warm, sunny spot.
  3. Make sure it has plenty of room to grow, and that there are no other structures or trees too close to it – it will get big!
  4. If you wish, you can leave it in the pot, but make sure to transplant to a bigger pot when needed.
  5. If you’re planting directly into the ground, dig a hole that is three times the size of the root’s ball.
  6. Add 1/3 of good quality potting mix, 1/3 garden sand, and the rest will be soil from the earth you just dug up!
  7. Place the seedling into the hole, pat it, and water well.
  8. Water your mango tree regularly, depending on the weather and/or soil, and make sure not to over-fertilize – twice a year should be just enough!
  9. Your mango tree will start bearing fruit within 4-5 years.

No other maintenance is required other than making sure your tree gets plenty of sunlight, water, and fertilizer! So now that you know how to plant a mango seed, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!

Happy Planting!

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How to Grow Your Own Mango Tree

Mango Board April 27, 2018

Do you live in a warmer climate where temperatures rarely go below 40°F? If the answer is “yes,” then you might be the perfect candidate to grow your own mango tree!

Most local gardening or home improvement stores in these types of climates sell small mango trees that you can plant in your backyard. In the late winter or early spring, dig a hole twice as big as the root in an area that receives full sun exposure. You should check that water drains well in the space, since mango trees don’t love to be flooded. Plant your tree, water it frequently and wait for fruit! A new mango tree can take up to three years to form fruit.

If you’re more interested in growing a tree from scratch, buy a fresh mango and save the seed. After splitting the seed, plant it in a large pot about ¼ inch from the surface. Keep your pot warm and moist, and you should have sprouts in about two weeks. For more tips, check out GardeningKnowHow.com.

Most areas in the United States aren’t suitable environments to grow a mango tree, but luckily, with the many different varieties of mango, you can still enjoy the super fruit year-round from your grocery store.

Varieties

There are over 500 different cultivars of mango varying in colour shape and flavour, with Kensington Pride (or Bowen) being the most common amongst Australian growers. Check with your local nursery to find out which ones grow best in your area. Trees are mostly sold as grafted saplings but some varieties can be grown from the seed. Mango seeds usually take around eight years to produce fruit while grafted saplings take three to five.

Climate

Mangoes prefer tropical and subtropical climates with humid, hot summers and cool, dry, frost-free winters.

Aspect

Choose an open, sunny position, sheltered from strong winds. If you’re growing a mango tree in cooler climate, plant your tree need a north-facing brick wall to utilise the heat radiating off it.

Soil

Mango trees will grow in almost any soil whether sandy, loam or clay, but they require good depth and drainage.

Planting

You can plant mango trees year-round, but the best time time to plant a mango tree is in autumn. Start by digging a hole and incorporating added organic matter such as compost or rotted cow manure. After planting the sapling to the same depth as its original container, form a mound around it to improve drainage and encourage establishment. Water it well and mulch with hay.

“Many mango trees grow quite large (10 metres tall or more) so it is important to consider their sheer size when deciding where to plant it within your backyard,” Yates Horticulture Consultant Angie Thomas says.

Water

While your mango tree is young it will require regular watering, depending on its growth and your climate. Start by watering it every other day before gradually increasing the time between irrigation to once or twice a week for the first year.

It’s important to keep mango trees well-watered from spring to autumn but water sparingly in late winter, before the onset of flowering. Established trees don’t require much watering.

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Fertiliser

“Give them a good feed with a potassium enriched complete fertiliser during the warmer months to encourage healthy stem and leaf growth, as well as promote flowering and fruiting,” Angie says.

Sandy soils require more fertiliser than loam or clay but keep in mind that young trees are sensitive to over-fertilising. Mulch the base of the tree with pea straw each spring.

Problems

Mango trees often attract fruit flies so cover each fruit with a fruit fly bag after they form.

They’re also susceptible to Anthracnose – a fungal disease causing black spots on leaves and fruit. Plant where there is good air circulation and avoid wetting the foliage. Prune off affected parts, bag them and put them in the garbage bin to prevent the spread of the fungal spores.

Garden Clinic says that a common complaint is a lack of fruit.

“Mango fruit set depends on several factors,” Greg Daley from Daley’s Fruit Tree Nursery says. “Temperatures below 10 deg when flowering (October) in the spring will reduce fruit set. Also wet weather during flowering can result in anthracnose infection which will cause fruit not to set.”

Pruning

No pruning is usually needed. Train the tree to have a single main stem, with side branching within its first years of growth. Remove dead, damaged or diseased wood as seen.

Harvest

Mangoes are ready to be harvested when the colour of the skin turns from green to yellow, orange or red. Fruit are usually ripe around 100 to 150 days after flowering.

Propagation

Propagation by seed is only recommended for poly-embryonic mango varieties such as Kensington Pride. To do so, carefully slit the husk of the mango, remove the seed and plant it in a large pot with seed starter mix with the seed slightly protruding from above the soil surface. It’s important that it remains at a consistent temperature of at least 21 degrees. Sprouting will usually occur within three weeks.

Mango trees can also be propagated by grafting, in which part of the parent tree (scion) is joined with a rooted plant (rootstock).

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Planting A Mango Pit – Learn About Mango Seed Sprouting

Growing mangoes from seed can be a fun and enjoyable project for kids and seasoned gardeners alike. Though mangoes are extremely easy to grow, there are a few issues that you may encounter when attempting to plant seeds from grocery store mangoes.

Can You Grow a Mango Pit?

First and foremost, mangoes are only produced from mature trees. At maturity, mango trees can reach heights over 60 feet (18 meters) tall. Unless you live in a climate suitable for growth of mangoes outdoors, tropical and sub-tropical areas, it’s unlikely that your plants will ever produce fruit.

Additionally, fruits produced from plants will not be like those from which the seed came. This is due to the fact that commercial mangoes are often produced by grafted trees for better disease resistance.

Despite these facts,

mango pits are still grown by gardeners in more temperate climates, and are often admired for their foliage.

Planting a Mango Pit

Seeds from grocery store mangoes are one of the most common places to start. First, you’ll need to check to ensure that the mango pit is actually viable. Sometimes, fruits have been chilled or treated. This results in a mango seed which will not grow. Ideally, the seed should be a tan color.

Since mango seeds contain a latex sap, which causes skin irritation, gloves are required. With gloved hands, carefully remove the pit from the mango. Use a pair of scissors to remove the outer husk from the seed. Be certain to plant the seed immediately, as it should not be allowed to dry out.

Plant into a container filled with moist potting mix. Plant the seed deep enough so that the top of the seed is just below soil level. Keep well watered, and in a warm location. Use of a heat mat will help expedite the process of the mango seed sprouting. Keep in mind that mango pit germination may take several weeks.

Mango Seedling Care

Once the seed has germinated, make sure to water it two to three times a week for the first 3-4 weeks. Mango trees will require full sun and warm temperatures for continued growth. Overwintering plants indoors will be mandatory for many growing regions.

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