Growing Mango Trees From Seed

Mangifera indica

If all you want is a pretty tree, growing mango from seed might be the way to go. But, if you want delicious fruit, you might be better off buying a grafted selection of Mangifera indica.

Mango tree growing on the island of St. Croix.

In the East Indies and Malaysia from whence it hails, the mango tree can grow to the stunning height of 60 feet.

They tend to stop at 40 feet when grown in the open ground in the United States.

They can be kept much smaller than this by restricting the roots in a pot or a greenhouse border. In most areas of the U.S. a greenhouse will be necessary as mango trees cannot endure frost.

Most people growing mango are after the sweet juicy fruit but the plant can be grown as an ornamental.

Mangos on the tree.

The long, 2 inch wide, droopy leaves emerge from the stems a pinkish color and mature to a shiny green. They dangle in groups from the tips of the stems.

Mangifera indica leaves curl a bit, like ribbons, and may be as long as a foot at maturity. Each one has a noticeable midrib and horizontal veins.

When a mango tree blooms, it puts on quite a show. A single tree may bear as many as several thousand small yellowish flowers on erect, branched stalks up to 15 inches tall.

The size, shape , color and flavor of the fruit varies widely.

Mainly they are oval shaped and ripen to some combination of red and orange. There are some varieties that remain green when ripe. Some turn yellow. Ripe mangos can weigh from several ounces to 4 pounds.

Mangos snap off the tree easily when ripe. The fruit will begin to soften when it is ready to eat.

Growing Mango Trees from Seed

Mango Man
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If you want good fruit, this is not recommended. Seedling trees will not always fruit at all. When they do, the fruit may be excessively stringy or have a turpentine aftertaste. Some collectors in South Florida plant the seed knowing this. They enjoy growing the plants from seed and have enough land to grow many trees. If a few fail to produce quality fruit, it's no big deal to them.

If you only have room for one plant, you may feel differently.

To plant the seed:

  • Clean away as much of the fiber as possible and insert the pod into a pot of soil so that the tip is just buried.

    Another way is to cut the convex edge of the husk away with a paring knife. Slip the seed inside out and plant it without the husk for faster germination.

    If you do it this way, either spray the seed with a fungicide or dust it with a little cinnamon. In any case, the seed needs to be planted while fresh.
  • The seed will sprout in 1-3 weeks depending on how warm it is kept.

When growing mango trees from seed, expect fruit in 6 years.


Growing a Mango Plant


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Mangos love heat and humidity. The leaf tips will turn brown if the air is too dry. They stop growing at temperatures below 55 degrees F.

Trees are deeply tap rooted and this long root should be trimmed to 12 inches a few weeks before the trees are planted out. This will encourage feeder roots to develop.

Plant Mangifera indica in composted soil 35 feet from any other large tree. Prune the top back by three quarters at this time. After this, prune only to control the size and form. The trees will take any amount of pruning or none at all.

Use a high nitrogen feed until the trees begin to bear. Then switch to something higher in phosphorous and potash. Apply the fertilizer 3 times per season.

When growing mango trees on sandy soils it may be necessary to add calcium.

Water the young trees regularly until they develop a taproot long enough to reach the water table. This usually takes 4 years.


Other Tropical Trees:

The Tropical Guava Tree

The Sweet-scented Ylang Ylang

Architectural Aloe Trees

Banana Tree Growing Tips

The Long-haired Elephant's Foot Palm

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