Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they were used as food, medicine or even as aphrodisiacs. Today, it is still considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Mangos are native to tropical regions of South America, but today they are grown all over the world. There are several varieties of mangos such as the Indian mango, the Caribbean mangosteen and others. All these types of mangos have different characteristics: their size, shape, color and taste.
The fruit ripens from greenish yellow to red when ripe. When ripe, it becomes very sweet and juicy like a melon or banana (depending on its variety).
The skin of the mango is edible too. It’s called “mangosteen” because it resembles a small orange. It tastes similar to a cantaloupe, but not quite so sweet.
How To Plant A Mango Seed?
There are two ways to plant a mango seed: planting directly into soil or transplanting them into containers. Let us see which method works best for your needs!
It is the easiest method of planting a mango seed. Here, you do not require any container or special equipment.
However, this method is suitable only if you want to grow only one mango tree. If you want to grow several trees, then transplanting will certainly be better for you.
Choose a sunny spot in your backyard. You can also plant it near a tall building or wall so that it gets reflected sunlight throughout the day.
Make sure the soil is fertile, moist and well-draining. Prepare the soil by plowing, tilling and removing all the stones and other debris.
Then, add manure and compost to enhance the fertility of the soil. You can also use potting mix as long as it is well-draining.
Sow the seed around 1 inch deep. If the soil is dry, then water it.
The seed needs constant moisture in order to germinate. Keep the soil damp but not wet.
Mangoes grow pretty quickly, and they can grow up to be a tree of 10 to 12 feet. However, you can always trim the tree anytime to keep its height manageable.
Also, try to give it proper care and it will reward you with delicious fruits!
Planting in Pots or Containers
If you want to grow several mango trees or just don’t have a garden, then you can use a container to grow the seed. Choose a large container which can later hold the plant when it grows big.
The larger the container, the more stable it will be, and that is always a good thing. Also, the large container will help in optimizing the soil and water retention. Some examples of good containers are: wood boxes, plastic drums, garbage cans, etc.
Prepare the soil in the same way we described above. If you are using a small container, then you will have to transplant the seedling later so choose a big one.
After preparing the soil and the pot, place a layer of coarse sand at the bottom to ensure proper drainage.
Now, prepare the seed by scraping the outer coating. Don’t take off too much because you will lose some of the seed.
However, try to remove the thickest layer because that part is not viable to grow a new plant.
Before sowing, mix compost, manure and sand together in equal parts. Add this into the pot and make a small hole with your finger.
Drop the seed inside and cover it with more of the soil mix. Pat the soil a bit so that there are no air pockets inside. Then, add water to the pot and wait for the seed to germinate.
Once the seed germinates and starts growing leaves, you can remove the seedling from the pot and transplant it into the garden or a bigger pot. Make sure to leave at least 8 inches between two trees when they grow big.
Also, leave at least 2 feet between two large trees just to ensure they get enough sunlight.
If you want to grow several trees, then this is the recommended way to go. Collect several seed pods and prepare the soil as we have described above.
Now, choose a spot in your backyard where you can start planting these trees. Add manure, compost and sand in equal proportions and mix it thoroughly. You can also use topsoil instead of regular soil as long as it is rich and fertile.
Make small holes with your finger and drop the seeds inside. Cover the hole with some soil.
Gently pat the soil so there are no air pockets left inside. Keep doing this until all the holes are full. Now, water the whole area and keep the moist until the seeds start growing. Once you see the seedlings, don’t let the soil dry out. Try keeping it damp but not wet.
Transplanting mango trees require some patience and practice. Go slow and be gentle with them.
If you are planting them far away from the original spot, dig a hole with a shovel and put some soil from there into the hole where you are transplanting the tree. This will help the tree to get adjusted to the new environment.
If you don’t want the tree to get too big, trim its branches after transplanting it. Also, put only one tree per hole because they might share nutrients from the same root.
Mangoes require plenty of water. Make sure the soil stays damp at all times.
Also, make sure that the whole tree gets enough water and not just the top soil. If using a drip irrigation system, keep the emitters off the tree’s root zone so that they don’t get damaged.
Mangoes need plenty of nutrients to grow and develop properly. Use a high quality fertilizer like a 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer.
However, never exceed the recommended dosage on the package because it can damage or even kill your tree. Apply the fertilizer once in every two weeks during the growing season and once per month during winter.
The rule of thumb for pruning mango trees is to never do it while the tree is in active growth. Wait until late winter or early spring when the tree isn’t growing anymore.
Also, do no more than one third of the tree’s total annual growth. This means that if your tree grew up to 8 feet last year, you can prune 1 foot off it this year. Also, do not prune the top of the tree. Prune only the branches that are growing inward or toward the center of the tree. Make sure to sterilize your shears between each cut because an infection can kill your whole tree.
Pests And Diseases
Mangoes are vulnerable to several pests and diseases. Aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs and scale insects can all destroy your mango tree.
Try using a neem-based pesticide or garlic-insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
If the whole plant starts wilting at once, then it could be due to nematodes in the soil that are inhibiting the uptake of nutrients. Remove the tree and start again somewhere else.
Harvesting And Yield
Once the tree starts fruiting (generally after three years), you can either pick the fruit when it is ripe or you can pick it green and let it ripen inside. If you choose the latter, make sure to keep the fruits protected from pests like fruit flies by storing them in a closed paper bag.
Once they start releasing a sweet smell, you can take them out and let them finish ripening on a kitchen counter.
One tree can produce up to 300 fruits in a year. After picking the fruit, you can either let the tree keep growing or start pruning to control its size.
Mangoes grow on everbearing, midsized trees that reach up to 25 feet in height. Their life span is about 40 years and they grow best in subtropical or tropical regions in well-drained soil.
They prefer a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. They need a lot of sunlight and cannot tolerate freezing weather.
Sources & references used in this article:
Revolution of Mango production by B Biswas, L Kumar – Fertilizer Marketing News, 2011 – faidelhi.org
Effects of storage period and mass on seed germination of the Carabao mango. by JA Galli, MB Soares, ALM Martins – Biotemas, 2012 – cabdirect.org
Mango culture in Hawaii by WT Pope – 1929 – books.google.com
… and Azotobacter chroococcum under natural, solarization, chemical sterilization and moisture conservation practices for commercial mango nursery production in … by D Peterson – 2008 – Storey Publishing
Growing mango under organic system by SD Sharma, P Kumar, SK Bhardwaj – Scientia horticulturae, 2011 – Elsevier
Thidiazuron effects on growth initiation and expression in mango (Mangifera indica L.) by CPA Iyer – VII International Mango Symposium 645, 2002 – actahort.org
Vegetable growing by R Nuñez-Elisea, ML Caldeira, TL Davenport – HortScience, 1990 – journals.ashs.org
Mango starch degradation. I. A microscopic view of the granule during ripening by MT Set – 2003 – africasoilhealth.cabi.org
Effect of gibberelin on setting and growth of non-pollinated parthenocarpic fruit in mango by RA Simão, APFB Silva, FHG Peroni… – Journal of agricultural …, 2008 – ACS Publications