Mangoes are one of the most delicious and versatile fruits around. Who wouldn’t want to grow their own mango tree and enjoy fresh mangoes right from their backyard? Growing a mango tree from a seed is an easy and rewarding endeavour for both experienced and novice gardeners alike. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about planting and caring for a mango seedling to grow into a fruit-bearing tree.
An Overview of Mangoes
Native to Southeast Asia and India, mangoes are now widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. Mangoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors. Some common mango varieties include:
- Haden – Bright red skin, aromatic flavor, fiberless flesh. Good for drying.
- Kent – Green/yellow skin, sweet and tangy flavor. Dense meaty flesh.
- Ataulfo – Small, bright yellow, very sweet and creamy.
- Francine – Bright yellow, slightly oval. Rich and creamy flavor.
- Keitt – Large green/yellow, low fiber flesh. Sweet and fruity flavor.
When planting a mango seed, try to select an organic mango variety that is sweet, ripe, and appealing to your own palate. This will give you the best chance at growing a flavorful mango tree.
Mangoes are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, from smoothies, chutneys, salads, salsa, curry, ceviche, and more. Having your own homegrown mango tree allows you to reap the benefits of fresh mangoes at their peak ripeness.
Supplies Needed for Planting Mango Seeds
Growing a mango from seed is easy once you have gathered the necessary supplies. Here is what you’ll need:
- Mango Seed – The most essential supply is a good quality mango seed. Select a seed from a ripe, organic mango that tasted delicious. It should be firm and white inside once sliced open.
- Pot or Container – Choose a 3-5 gallon plastic or terracotta container with drainage holes. Terracotta helps absorb extra moisture while plastic is lighter.
- Potting Soil – Use a good quality potting mix meant for containers and indoor plants. Look for a loose, well-draining soil.
- Fertilizer – Organic fertilizers like worm castings, compost, fish emulsion, or seaweed extract work great.
- Water – Rainwater or distilled water is ideal. Tap water will also suffice if filtered.
- Sunlight – Mango trees need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. A south or west facing window is best. Outdoors full sun is preferred.
- Gardening Tools – Hand pruners, gardening gloves, and a trowel or shovel will be useful as the mango grows.
Step-by-Step Guide to Planting a Mango Seed
Follow this simple step-by-step guide for how to sprout and plant a mango seed:
1. Dry and Store the Mango Seed
After enjoying your mango, rinse the seed under water to remove any remaining flesh and residue. Gently pat dry with a paper towel or air dry. Storing the seed in an air-tight bag or container in the fridge for up to a week helps preserve freshness until you are ready to plant. Letting the seed dry out helps prevent mold growth.
If you want to plant right away, simply dry the seed thoroughly before moving onto soaking in step 2.
2. Soak the Mango Seed
To kickstart germination, soak the mango seed in room temperature filtered or distilled water for 24-48 hours. Use a bowl or container large enough to submerge the seed. This hydrates the seed, allowing the embryo inside to swell and grow.
Check on the seed while soaking. A small white root tip may emerge by the end signalling it is ready for planting.
3. Prepare the Pot or Container
Fill your pot about 3/4 of the way full with your potting mix soil. Water thoroughly until excess drains from the bottom. Allow any excess water to drain out before planting.
4. Plant the Soaked Mango Seed
Plant the soaked mango seed pointy side up, laying flat just beneath the soil surface. Gently cover with 1-2 inches of soil and pat down. The wider, flatter side should face downward in the pot.
5. Water and Wait for Germination
Water the potted seed immediately after planting, then water regularly whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry. Be sure not to overwater. Place in a warm sunny location. Germination can take 1-3 weeks on average. Check for a sprout emerging from the soil. If no sprout appears after 4 weeks, the seed may not be viable.
6. Care for the Seedling
Once your mango seed sprouts, continue caring for the growing seedling. Water whenever the top few inches of soil become dry. Fertilize monthly with a dilute organic fertilizer. Prune any dead or damaged leaves or branches. Slow growth can indicate a need for more sunlight or nutrients.
Turn the pot frequently to encourage even, upright growth. As the seedling grows, repot it into progressively larger containers. Aim for a container size about 2 inches wider than the root ball.
7. Transplant Outdoors
When your mango houseplant reaches around 2-4 feet tall with an established trunk after 6-12 months, it’s time to transition it outdoors if your climate allows. Choose a sheltered, warm spot that gets 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Dig a hole the same depth as the root ball and 2x as wide. Carefully remove from pot and plant into the ground at the same depth. Water and mulch well. Fertilize and prune regularly.
Continue reading for more helpful frequently asked questions about sprouting mango seeds and growing mango trees.
Frequently Asked Questions About Planting Mango Seeds
Here are answers to some common questions when it comes to planting a mango pit and raising mango trees:
How do I know if a mango seed is still good for planting?
Inspect the seed for mold, fungus, cracks, or dark blemishes which may indicate rot. Sniff the mango seed – discard any with a fermented or rotten odor. A good seed will be hard, white, and odorless inside once sliced open.
How long does it take for a mango seed to sprout?
Given proper soaking, warmth, moisture and planting, germination usually occurs within 1-3 weeks. Check for a green stem and leaves emerging from the soil. If no sprout after 4 weeks, the seed is likely not viable.
What are the ideal conditions for growing mango seedlings?
Mango trees thrive in full sunlight (6+ hours daily), warm temperatures between 60-85°F, regular moisture, good drainage, and monthly fertilizer. They also need ample space for their large canopy size.
How fast does a mango tree grow from seed?
The first year, the mango seedling focuses energy on root development and leafy growth, reaching 1-2 feet tall. In later years, vigorous varieties can grow 3 feet or more annually. Homegrown mangoes take 3-6 years to bear fruit.
When should I repot my mango into a larger container?
Start in a 3-5 gallon nursery pot. Repot into the next size up once the roots fill the container. Aim to keep the plant slightly rootbound for fruiting. Outdoors planting is best once the mango plant reaches 4 feet tall.
What causes yellowing leaves on a young mango tree?
Yellow leaves often indicate overwatering and soggy soil leading to root rot. Allow the plant to dry out between waterings. Insufficient sunlight can also cause yellowing. Fertilize regularly and prune off any dead leaves.
How can I get my potted mango to produce fruit?
Mangoes need cross-pollination to set fruit. Plant multiple mango varieties close together to allow wind/insect pollination once they bloom. Hand pollination also works using a small brush. Provide ample sunlight, water, drainage, and fertilizer for fruiting.
What are some common mango pests and diseases?
Watch for aphids, mealybugs, fruit flies, powdery mildew, anthracnose, and bacterial black spot. Maintain clean pruning practices and use organic sprays like neem oil to prevent and treat infestations.
Is it possible to grow a mango tree indoors year round?
While young mangoes can be grown indoors, most varieties will eventually outgrow a house. Dwarf cultivars in greenhouses or conservatories may work. For fruiting, mangoes need to be outdoors during warmer months.
Transplanting Outdoors and Ensuring Fruit Production
Once your potted mango plant is around 2-4 feet tall, with a sturdy trunk, you can transition it outdoors if your climate is suitable. Here are some tips for outdoor planting and encouraging fruiting:
Choosing Location – Select a sunny, sheltered spot protected from strong winds. South or west facing with a sunny exposure of at least 6 hours daily is best.
Digging a Hole – First amend the soil with compost. Dig a hole the same depth as the pot and 2x as wide. This gives the roots ample room to spread out.
Planting – Carefully remove the plant from its container without disturbing the root ball. Place into the hole, backfilling with native soil. Plant at the same depth as before. Water and mulch well.
Caring For – Continue fertilizing monthly, watering, and pruning the young mango outdoors. Stake the trunk if needed for support. Weed and protect against pests.
Pollination for Fruit – Mango trees are cross-pollinated by wind, insects, or hand pollination. Plant another mango variety nearby or hand pollinate for fruit.
Pruning for Fruiting – Once established, prune the mango annually to stimulate growth, enhance airflow and light for fruit production. Remove any dead or crossing branches.
Harvesting – Homegrown mangoes take 3-6 years from seed to reach maturity and bear fruit. Harvest mangoes when plump, aromatic, and show blush of color. Enjoy immediately or let ripen off the tree.
With the right growing conditions and care, your mango seed will transform into a majestic, fruit-bearing tree. There’s no greater reward than plucking fresh mangoes straight from your own backyard tree!
Growing a productive mango tree from the seed of your favorite mango is an incredibly rewarding endeavor. With the proper supplies, planting techniques, patience and care – you can enjoy homegrown mangoes from your own garden. Follow this guide’s step-by-step instructions for sprouting a mango pit and nurturing the seedling both indoors and out. In a few years, your tropical tree will provide a bountiful harvest of sweet, juicy mangoes. Don’t forget to share this delicious homegrown produce with family and friends!
Do you have any tips or tricks for planting mango seeds successfully? Share your experiences in the comments below to help other mango-loving gardeners!