Back in the 1980s, you'd have struggled to find a mango in Britain outside of a few inner city areas with large migrant populations. Nowadays, large supermarkets throughout the country stock them, making the growing of bonsai mango trees from seed feasible for anyone with basic plant-growing skills. Mangos will not grow outdoors in the UK because they require a minimum temperature of 16 centigrade (60 F), so you'll need to grow your bonsai mango indoors or in a heated greenhouse.
Buy a mango, the riper the better. Remove all the flesh from the large seed in the middle of the fruit with a sharp knife. Wash the seed.
Score the seed with a chisel to aid germination. Place the seed in a jar of water, so that it is entirely covered. Put the jar in a warm place and replace the water every day.
Remove the seed from the jar when you see a shoot or shoots emerging from it. If no shoots are appearing after two weeks, remove the seed from the jar and plant the seed in a 10-centimetre (4 inch) pot in potting compost and place it in a plastic bag. Put it back in its warm position and leave it for up to two months. If nothing has happened after that, it's time to start again with a new seed.
Plant the sprouted seed in a 10-centimetre (4 inch) pot in potting compost with the shoots protruding from the soil, if it has germinated in the jar. If it has germinated in the pot, leave it there. Put the mango somewhere light and sheltered such as indoors on a window sill or in a green house. Keep the plant damp and give it a liquid feed during the summer months, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Start to prepare the plant as a bonsai specimen in the spring of its second year. Carefully remove the mango from its pot and trim the roots no more than 2 1/2 centimetres (1 inch) with sharp scissors. Re-pot the plant with fresh potting compost in the container you want for your specimen. Trim the growing branches by about an inch with scissors.
Increase your chances of success with germination by going through the process with multiple mango seeds.
You can put your mango bonsai outdoors on warm days, but bring it in at night.
Although your mango likes plenty of light, don't leave it close to the window in bright direct sunshine as this may scorch the leaves.
Tips and warnings
- Increase your chances of success with germination by going through the process with multiple mango seeds.
- You can put your mango bonsai outdoors on warm days, but bring it in at night.
- Although your mango likes plenty of light, don't leave it close to the window in bright direct sunshine as this may scorch the leaves.