Have you ever eaten a mango and wondered if you could grow a tree from the seed? The answer is yes – you can absolutely get a mango plant from that big husk. If you want to grow a mango tree in your garden, save the seed next time for planting.
Growing mango trees from seed is relatively straightforward. Take the mango seed and run it under some water, then gently scrub or scrape off any leftover pulp. Carefully cut the mango seed husk open and peel it off. Wrap the seed in a damp paper towel or cloth to test its viability. If you see sprouting, that means the mango seed is good to go!
We all love the different mango varieties – they’re the king of summer food. Of course, whether you have ripe mango fruit in the summer depends on your climate. But having a mango tree grow in your garden is still beneficial – they’re great as ornamentals, too.
Want to man-go and grow a mango tree? Here’s how to plant a mango from seed (and care for it, too).
The Mangifera indica is a tropical fruit tree native to Asia. Many consider it the “king of fruits”, and it’s a staple food during summertime. Here down under, there are several Australian mango varieties, such as the ever-popular Kensington Pride or the Honey Gold.
If you want to grow mangoes, know that they thrive in tropical or subtropical climates that are frost-free. They prefer hot summers with high humidity, while winters should be cool and dry. Plant your tree somewhere it gets full sun, with shelter from strong winds.
Mango trees aren’t picky about soil, but make sure it drains well. As a rooted plant, mango trees also need plenty of room for their roots to grow.
Plant your mango trees in autumn, so they have time to germinate and mature. You may want to consult a gardening service on soil prep and space – your mango tree will get big.
Caveats to Planting Mango Seeds
While your seedling might appear after a few weeks, it will take between five and eight years for it to grow into a full-fledged tree. Keep caring for your plant, and you’ll see your efforts rewarded.
It’s easy enough to germinate a mango seedling, but will it produce fruit? Unless you live in a warm place where mango trees grow naturally, most likely not. A mango tree needs perfect tropical conditions over many years to trigger flowering and fruit.
Grafted trees, however, can produce fruit if grown properly. Growing mangoes via grafting is also easy, and mature trees can yield plenty.
Growing Mango from Seed
There are three common methods to propagating mango from seed. You can sprout the seed in a paper towel, under the soil, or in water.
Germinating mango seeds in a paper towel
This is one of the most popular methods to grow mango from seed, with a good success rate. Just try not to unwrap your seed too often – patience is key!
- Separate the mango seed from the fruit and set it aside.
- Run the seed under warm water and scrub the outer husk to remove the flesh. You can also use a knife to scrape as much flesh as possible.
- Cut a small opening at the top of the mango seed husk and submerge the seed inside a glass of water for 24 hours.
- After a day, remove the mango pit from the water.
- Either peel off the husk (cut along the edge and pry it open with a knife) or widen the opening.
- Wrap the seed in a damp paper towel.
- Place the paper towel in a plastic bag with air holes poked in.
- Keep the seed moist and warm to help it germinate. In a few weeks (or sometimes even days), you should start to see it sprout.
- Once the seed has both a root and a shoot, plant the seed in a pot with compost and water well.
Note that it’s best to germinate several seeds for a higher success rate. Try not to have the paper towels be soaking wet, though – you might cause the seed to rot.
Germinating mango seed in the soil surface
This is a more low-maintenance way of germinating seeds since there’s no need to transfer the plant once it’s started to sprout. You will, however, eventually need to repot the plant until it’s large enough to move to an outdoor setting.
- Prepare the seed as stated above by scrubbing off any remaining fruit pulp.
- Peel and separate the husk to expose the seed.
- Soak the seed overnight in water.
- Fill your chosen pot with compost that drains well – over-wet soil will cause the seed to rot. Leave a few centimetres free at the top.
- Press the seed sideways into the compost, then fill it up the rest of the way.
- Keep the pot somewhere warm and dark, and regularly check so the soil doesn’t dry out.
- When a shoot breaks the surface, move the pot somewhere sunny so the mango seedling can grow.
Your mango plant will need repotting after several months, or after the roots start to overcrowd the pot. Transfer to a larger pot as required.
Germinating mango seed in water
The most low-effort way to germinate a mango seed is in water. It’s the same method as growing an avocado from a stone, or growing a pineapple.
Once you’ve removed the pulp and the outer husk, insert two toothpicks into the sides of the seed, about halfway up. Fill a large glass with water and dip the bottom half of the seed. The toothpicks will prevent the whole thing from submerging.
Change the water every week. After about one to three weeks, you’ll start seeing signs of growth.
Once your mango seed has a second set of shoots or leaves, it’s time to transfer into a compost pot!
Mango Tree Care
Pruning mangoes is a necessity to keep the tree at a manageable size and encourage fruit production. Trim well in its first 2-3 years to keep it small – once it reaches over 1.0m in height, cut it down to 0.6-0.7m. Do the same with the horizontal branches.
Mulch your mango tree in the spring to encourage branching and fruiting. They don’t necessarily need fertiliser, but you can use one that’s rich in potassium.
Harvest mangoes when they’re mature but not quite ripe – check if the nose and cheeks have filled out. (Yes, really.) It should feel nice and firm but not squishy. The colour will be a green-turning-yellow, sometimes with an orange or red blush.
Once picked, ripen your mangoes with care. Then you can enjoy them as a smoothie or an icypole – or if you grew your mango from seed, enjoy the nice, leafy view outside.