Growing your own mango tree may seem a little over-the-top but when the price of mangoes hits the stratosphere, or their availability dries up, you’ll be glad you did. If you follow the planting and care instructions below, then your mango tree will reward you with bountiful mangoes year after year.
Getting to Know Mango Trees
One of the most exotic – and in my humble opinion the most delicious – fruits available is the mango. Its fleshy pulp wraps itself around a ginormous, hairy pip that challenges you to suck it dry. This, of course, then becomes a challenge to keep those fine hairs out from between your teeth.
If you have ever experienced the delight of eating a mango you will understand the description. Not a fruit to be digested in front of a potential spouse – certainly not on your first date anyway – the mango has no close cousins.
If you tried explaining it to someone who had never seen or heard of this fruit the nearest example would be a ripe peach crossed with an avocado. But of course, like most things in life, all good things must come to an end. However, with a mango the end is just the beginning.
The hairy pip that gave your teeth a natural flossing is the seed for a brand-new mango tree.
How to Grow a Mango Tree from Seed
- Let the mango seed dry out in a cool location. I find that a bench in the kitchen on top of some paper towel is probably the best place.
- With a sharp knife open the pip, as you would a mussel or an oyster, taking care not to cut too deep into the flesh. Prise the casing open and you will find a white, fleshy pip inside that resembles an oversized lima bean.
- Place the mango pip vertically into a pot that has been prepared with a good seed-raising mix. Dampen the soil and then place a plastic bottle over top to act as a mini-greenhouse. Leave in a warm shaded spot until the mango pip germinates.
- Once the mango pip has germinated it will begin to produce a few leaves at the top of its green stalk.This is the sign that it is growing well, and a mango tree is not that far away.
Caring for Your Mango Tree
At this point you can remove the plastic bottle provided you have somewhere warm to store it. Mango trees originate and grow well as a tropical fruit tree so if you plan to grow them out of the tropics you may want to keep them as a container plant. This may be helpful as a mango tree can grow up to 40 m making fruit picking an arduous task.
The benefit of keeping a mango tree in a container is that you can move it indoors or into a greenhouse during winter and bring it out again in the summer months. It will take approximately 5 years to reap any fruit from your mango tree but if planted in the ground a mature 20+ year old tree will produce thousands of fruits per annum.