Mango trees are native to south-east Asia, growing up to 18 metres (60 feet) in height, featuring evergreen foliage and edible fruit. Most mangoes found in supermarkets throughout the UK come from tropical and sub-tropical areas, such as South America, Haiti, Caribbean and Mexico. Inside the mango fruit is its pit or husk. This husk is where the mango seeds reside. Gardeners can extract this centre pit and begin their own mango tree. In the UK's temperate climate, you'll need to grow the mango under glass in a warm conservatory or greenhouse.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sharp paring knife
- Pea gravel
- Peat moss
- Clean sand
- 4.5 litre (1 gallon) plastic milk bottle
- Sharp scissors
- Protective gloves
Cut a ripe mango fruit in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. The seeds germinate proportionately better when extracted from ripe fruit, having a slight give to the flesh when pressed. Scoop the edible flesh from around the mango pit with a spoon and eat or store in the refrigerator.
Insert a sharp paring knife into the edge of the outer mango pit, taking great care not to nick the interior seed. Pry the hard husk open by wiggling the knife, as you would when shucking oysters. Remove the mango seed when the two husk halves have opened. The mango seeds look similar to kidney beans.
Soak the mango seeds in a bowl of water for 24 hours. The water soak aids germination of the mango seeds by softening the hard outer shell. Remove the mango seeds from the water.
Apply a light coating of fungicide, by either spray or dusting, over the mango seeds. With so many fungicide options to choose from, directions vary. Always read all directions before applying fungicide to the mango seeds.
Prepare the soil for the mango seed. Work the soil 30 cm (12 inches) wide and 60 cm (24 inches) deep with a shovel. Add a 7.5 cm (3 inch) layer each of pea gravel, peat moss and clean sand to the worked soil. Use the shovel to blend the organic material equally into the soil. By preparing such a wide and deep planting hole when the mango is only a seed, you are eliminating work later on, as well as providing an ideal growing condition for the plant.
Sink the mango seed into the prepared soil, with its hump facing up and level with the soil line. Drizzle water over it until the soil is damp. Continue to give the mango plant water to maintain a damp, but not soaked, soil.
Cut the bottom quarter off a cleaned and empty milk container, using sharp scissors. Push the milk container into the soil, over the mango seed, 7.5 cm (3 inches) deep. Remove the bottle top to allow proper air circulation. Keep the milk container over the mango seed until it grows to 10 cm (4 inches) in height.
Tips and warnings
- Wear protective gloves when pruning and harvesting the ripe mango fruits from your mango tree. The fruit stem can emit sap that can transfer to your skin and cause allergic reactions, dermatitis and/or burns.
- Prepare and plant the mango seed in early summer.
- Mango trees grown from seed can take 20 years to produce fruit.
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