Mangoes are a delicious tropical fruit that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. India is the largest producer of mangoes, and Florida is the main producer of mangoes in the U.S. Hawaii and Southern California also grow mangoes. Mango trees can grow quite large, from 30 to 100 feet tall, with leathery, dark green foliage arranges in a rounded canopy. It produces clusters of white, mildly sweet-smelling flowers. The flesh of the mango is juicy and very sweet and it is used in a variety of desserts, juices, jellies and preserves. The seed of the mango is a hard, flattened shell that sticks to the middle of the fruit.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Mango seed
Get a mango seed. You can take the seed directly from a supermarket-purchased mango, but be aware that fruits are often subjected to conditions that can damage the seed. If possible, get the seed from a grower.
Remove the pulp from the seed and wash carefully. According to the California Rare Fruit Growers, you should remove the hard seed shell from the seed. You will be able to tell the seeds that are damaged from supermarket handling by the grey colour.
Plant the seed before it dries out with its hump just above the soil line. Keep soil moist. Seeds will germinate in four to six weeks. You can grow mango trees in containers or outdoors. They prefer full sun and soil in the pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. They are tolerant of soil alkalinity. Free air movement is important to prevent disease. Keep young saplings moist and away from chills. Provide a windbreak for the plants, if in an exposed area.
Water every other day for the first week, then one to two times per week as they grow, according to the University of Florida Extension's website. Mangoes like moist but not waterlogged soil. Stake plants as needed as they grow taller. Mature mango trees need little additional watering.
Fertilise seedlings in three or four applications over the growing season with 1-1-1 NPK fertiliizer or 1-2-2 fertiliser, according to the University of Hawaii Extension Service's website. Additional nitrogen will help encourage good foliage and fruiting. Organic fertilisers are best as mango trees can experience burning.
Check seedlings regularly for garden pests and diseases. Apply a sulphur and copper fungicide to prevent anthracnose and powdery mildew. Consult with your agricultural extension office for the best pesticide to use for your area.
Tips and warnings
- Seedling trees will bloom and bear fruit in three to six years. Fruit matures 100 to 150 after flowering. Allow fruit to ripen on tree for best flavour.
- Avoid transplanting. Mango trees have delicate roots that dislike transplanting. Trees can go into shock.
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