How To Grow Mango From Seed In Simple Steps

After learning how to grow your own banana tree, pineapples and an avocado tree, what comes next? Known as the “king of fruits,” mangoes are a sweet delicacy enjoyed worldwide during the summertime. Although challenging to grow, mango trees bloom flowers from December through March and produce fruit during warmer months. In addition, they grow faster than most fruit-bearing trees; within a short period of four to five years, mango plants grow from saplings into mature trees that can reach up to 30 meters tall

Mango in basket on a wooden table

Mango trees do not only produce delicious fruit but also give back to the planet. The fact is, an average mango plant can absorb harmful carbon emissions which damage the environment. After eating the fruit, you can use the leftover mango seed to grow your own tree at home! Let’s see how you can do this!

Where can you grow mangoes?

Mango growing is only possible in warm places as they are tropical plants. Depending on where you live, colder temperatures below 0 degrees Celcius can severely damage or even kill your trees.

It’s also important to consider that trees that bear fruits often grow very tall. Therefore, growing them as part of indoor houseplants would not be suitable. Mango trees grown indoors are also prone to dying in only a few years and may not mature enough to give you fruit

However, you can start your own tree indoors and then transplant it outdoors when the seed begins to root. Dwarf varieties are an alternative available at local nurseries and are more manageable than trees but may never grow fruit

You can plant your mango seed in large pots, your outdoor deck, or even your garden; the choice is entirely yours. Just make sure to pick a spot where the plant is exposed to sunlight. 

How to grow mango trees from seed step-by-step

After eating through a mango fruit of choice, set aside its seed so you can begin the process of growing your own. Ideally, the seed is from a fleshy, ripe mango that will bear similar fruit. 

1. Preparing the mango seed for rooting

Here’s a list of the steps you need to follow to prepare your mango seed and start your gardening project:

  1. First, you have to clean the mango pit carefully. Then, run it under a faucet, focusing on removing any leftover mango pulp from the hard shell.
  2. Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut around the husk shell carefully. It’s crucial to take your time to ensure you don’t damage the inner seed.
  3. The seed inside will be light in colour, with a thin brown film over it. Peel this layer off, and wash the seed thoroughly. 
  4. Submerge the seed in water. You can use a cup or glass and leave it to soak for a day.
  5. Remove the seed after 24 hours. To encourage sprouting and begin germinating, wrap the seed in a damp paper towel. The paper towel mustn’t be dripping wet but be well moistened all over. 
  6. Place the seed and paper towel in a ziplock or plastic bag. Seal it tightly, removing any air pockets.
  7. Alternatively, you can skip the damp paper towel and place the seed directly in a container with coconut fibres. Sprinkle water inside and cover the container with a tight-fit lid. 
  8. Next, store it in a warm, shaded place. Check your container or bag every few days. 

Young mango tree grows at home in a blue pot

Within a few days of propagation, you should see your mango seedling begin to sprout. The rate of germination depends on how ripe the mango from the parent tree was. The seed will then grow longer roots with a stem at the other end.

Some seeds are polyembryonic and produce several plants that are not like the parent tree. Keep a note of the pace at which the shoots are sprouting as they germinate. The first sprout or the one that looks unlike the rest can be removed so that your tree is the parent’s clone.

2. Moving it into a larger pot

Once your little plant seems ready, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Place your germinated seed into a pot of choice.
  2. Cover it with potting mix and soil, with the bulging side faced upward. 
  3. Place the pot in a warm area away from the full sun

As your tree grows, you will have to replant it in bigger pots as they become root-bound. 

Seeds from grocery store-bought fruits are usually from hybrid plants. These plants are grown through cross-pollination to give fruit with specific qualities, and the seeds inside do not germinate. 

If this is the case with your seed, you can use another method to propagate your tree. It’s crucial to ensure you have a rooted plant with similar characteristics readily available to carry out this process.

3. Grafting your mango tree

  1. From the parent plant, select a mature shoot with prominent buds at the edge. Cut off all the leaves from the shoot using a sharp knife or scissors. Ensure to leave the leaf stems, known as petioles. These will fall off themselves. Try to select a shoot with a diameter close to that of your rooted plant. 
  2. Cut the shoot approximately 8 cm from the end at an angle. 
  3. You can store these scions for up to a week by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and storing them in an air-tight container.
  4. When you are ready to graft, cut the edge of your scion cutting into a small wedge. 
  5. On your rooted plant, cut the top off the rootstock. Then, at the edge of the stock, cut it into two with a 2 cm deep slit.
  6. Place the scion wedge in the slit and line it up so that at least one side of the shoot is aligned where the two meet. 
  7. Wrap the joint with grafting tape, which can be found at most hardware stores and nurseries. 
  8. Bend two leaves from the rooted plant on either side of your graft and place a ziplock back over the top. Seal it around the leaves. 

Hands graft mango tree

Place your grafted plant in shade and water lightly, avoiding soaking the plant. After approximately ten days, you should notice swelling at the graft point. You can remove the ziplock bag as soon as leaves begin to appear.

The grafted tree will grow into a normal mango sapling like a mango seed. A new plant will begin to root from the graft site. You are now ready to grow your own tree and plant the seed or graft. 

How to plant a mango tree

If you germinated your own seed, you could begin by sun hardening your plant to prepare it for its growth journey. This means leaving it out every day for a few hours a time in the sun and slowly increasing the duration. The best time to plant your tree is during late spring or early summer. 

  1. Determine the best spot for your tree and begin by digging a wide hole, at least twice the size of the rootball of the sapling.
  2. Next, use a shovel to ensure any grass is also removed to make room for the tree to grow.
  3. You can now add compost to the soil. This will help encourage healthy and efficient growth.
  4. Carefully remove the seed from its initial potting and place it into the hole.
  5. Replace the soil by filling up the hole, leaving only the tip and a leaf stem exposed above the ground.

Hand care growing mango plant in the soil

Mango tree care

Young mango plants require extra care to help them thrive in fruit trees.

  • The placement of your plant is an important factor to evaluate as the plant requires bright light, but not direct exposure. 
  • When you see growth, top up the soil with fertiliser or plant food to further stimulate the process. Using a weak or non-chemical liquid fertiliser during the growing season supports blooming. 
  • Water your tree thoroughly on alternate days initially, later reducing it to twice a week. If you live in a dry climate, keep a check on your tree to ensure it doesn’t dry out and water accordingly.
  • Most importantly, be patient. It can take up to 8 years for your tree to grow and produce fruit.

Following these tips and tricks will yield better mangoes. 

When is the right time to harvest mangoes

After flowering, they can take up to five months for ripe fruits. You can harvest the tropical fruit while it is still raw. This is often used for pickling. 

You can check if your mango is ready for harvesting by sniffing the fruit up close. If it has a sweet fragrance, it’s ripe! However, if you pick the fruit while it is immature, you can place it inside a paper bag. Over the following days, the fruit will ripen on its own. 

Common mango pests and diseases

Signs of an infested mango plant include small webs, powdery white residue and insects. Common mango pests include mealybugs, aphids and mites which are attracted to fruiting plants. 

Fungal disease is also a regular occurrence. They are susceptible to a fungus called anthracnose, which forms black lesions on the fruit. These are contagious to the plant and can spread, eventually resulting in no fruits. 

You can avoid these problems by regularly keeping a physical check on the mango tree. If you see any visible symptoms, begin treatment with organic and less toxic options. You can proceed to harsher chemical treatments if these do not solve the problem. 

When choosing a seed, opt for a variety that is more resistant to full sun. Extreme moisture caused by humidity causes and festers plant diseases.  

Fungicides are also effective; however, they should not be used during harvesting periods as they could make the fruit toxic

Fresh mango fruit harvest

Mango trees can be an interesting addition to your collection of foliage that rewards you with sweet treats and beautiful flowers. While it can be slightly challenging to grow your own, this guide lays out everything you need to know. Remember, producing your own mango fruit can take several years; be patient and enjoy the process!

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