Have you ever thought of growing mangoes as a hobby or as an enthusiast? Well, if yes, this article about how to grow mango from seed will give you the necessary information on mango growing.
If not, the tips here will make you develop the passion. There are two ways of growing/propagating mangoes. These are asexual and sexual methods. Asexual propagation is the growing of a mango without using seeds.
In this article, we are going to look at how to grow mango from seed (sexual propagation).
Growing a mango from seed produces a vigorous plant. This vigor helps the plants withstand some growing conditions, unlike asexually propagated plants that tend to grow slower. Buying a mango to grow the seed is highly cost-effective compared to grafting where you spend lots of money.
To grow a mango tree from seed, there are several steps that you need to follow for successful growth.
What You’ll Require
1. Mango seed
4. Potting mix
5. Washcloth/paper towel
6. Plastic bag
7. Planting pot
Step by Step Guide on How to Grow Mango from Seed
Step 1- Get a ripe mango
The reason why you need a ripe mango is that you are sure of seed maturity. A seed from an unripe mango is likely not to be fully mature. Walk into your area grocery and buy one.
Step 2- Peel the fruit to access the husk
Remove the mango peels to remain with the husk. You can either eat the fruit or cut it into pieces and set them aside to blend them into a smoothie.
Using a sharp knife, scrub off the string-like pieces on the husk so that the husk dries faster. Alternatively, hold the husk under running water and use a smooth scrubber to remove the stringy pieces.
Set the husk aside to dry for at most two days.
Step 3- Cut open the husk
After two days the husk is usually dry enough for seed removal.
Using firm scissors, gently cut the edges of the husk to remove the seed without damaging it.
Step 4- Clean the mango seed
As you can see, the seed looks like a huge bean seed. Ensure that the seed is healthy. If it looks rotten and/or shrunken, start the process again using another mango fruit. Carefully clean the seed to remove any layers around it and avoid breaking it.
Note that mango seeds can either be monoembryonic or polyembryonic. Monoembryonic varieties have one embryo that is formed from cross-pollination. This means that the final product will not resemble the parent plant fully.
There is a likelihood of getting poor quality produce or good produce so, it can be either a hit or a miss.
On the other hand, polyembryonic varieties have two or more embryos formed from cross-pollination. Therefore, the chances of getting the exact parent tree traits from one of the seeds are high.
Step 5- Sprout the seed
When sprouting the seed, I recommend that you wrap the mango seed in a damp towel and place it in a plastic bag. This helps you know if the mango seed is viable or not before proceeding.
If you plan to grow many seeds, use different towels for each seed, just to make sure the roots do not entangle.
Keep the plastic bag in a warm area, like kitchen counters, to speed up the germination rate.
Frequently check the progress (maybe after two or three days) and take photos (if interested) to keep track of the progress.
Step 6- Check the sprouted seed
After approximately 3 to 5 weeks, you will notice a red sprout with roots on the seed. At this stage, the seed is ready to be planted into the potting mix.
Germination depends on the surrounding temperature and how ripe the mango was when you extracted the seed.
Don’t worry if the sprout appears pale, it might be because the area is poorly lit. Once you expose it to sunlight, it will turn green.
Step 7- Plant the seed
Mangoes are tropical plants thus you have to mimic tropical conditions in your home as close as you can.
It’s obvious that at the planting stage, you won’t be able to tell which is the root and which is the shoot so, plant the seed flat. Each of them will take its position in its own time.
Ensure the pot is wide and deep enough to provide enough room for roots to grow. A 6 to 8-inch-deep pot works well.
The pot should also have drainage holes at the bottom and a drip saucer to avoid flooding the mango plant.
Fill the pot with the potting mix suitable for growing mangoes, leaving two inches.
Water the potting mix thoroughly and allow it to settle. Then place the sprouted seed on top of the potting medium.
Cover the seed with one inch of the mix and water it lightly. You notice that you are left with one inch between the top mix and the pot lip. This helps avoid overflow when watering.
Step 8- Watch the plant grow
Shoots will emerge and leaves will start forming. With the right humidity and warmth, be assured to get the best yield. Ensure the plant is located in a sunny spot but away from the direct sun so that the plant doesn’t get burned. Also, keep the potting mix moist but not damp.
You may notice limp leaves in the first leaves - this is normal and you should not worry about them provided that you practice good watering habits.
Voila! You have your mango tree with you.
Maintenance of mango trees
Provide enough sunlight but be extra careful not to scorch the plants in direct sunlight. Keep the plants indoors from fall to spring then place them outdoors for maximum warmth in summer.
The ideal temperatures for growing mangoes range from 21℃ to 24℃. They can tolerate up to 48℃ but cannot survive below 5℃.
The growing medium should be good-draining to prevent issues that arise from waterlogging.
Approximately 60% until flowering. From there, you can lower it.
I wouldn’t recommend a particular fertilizer for indoor-grown mangoes but, you can feed your mango plant every month during summer with a balanced water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Withhold fertilizer application in the winter.
Apart from this, use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potassium and phosphorus during the blooming season.
Common Problems in Growing Mango
Pests and Diseases
Anthracnose is a fungal infection caused by Colletotrichum gleosporioides. This disease is characterized by small dark spots on flowers that coalesce and cover the entire panicle leading to flower drop.
The disease also shows symptoms of dark and irregular sunken lesions on the fruits and this makes the fruits drop from the tree before they ripen.
To control anthracnose in mangoes, apply an appropriate fungicide during flowering and fruiting stages.
Powdery mildew is a fungal infection characterized by greyish-white powdery growth on the flowers, leaves, and sometimes on the fruits. This disease occasionally affects mangoes in all growing regions and can be severe if not controlled.
Apply an appropriate fungicide at the first sign of the disease for effective control of powdery mildew.
This is a fungal infection that leaves the twigs, leaves, fruits, and the inflorescence covered with a sticky and shiny black growth of fungal mycelium.
Sooty mold doesn’t cause infections directly but, it may affect photosynthesis which in turn causes stunted growth and premature aging, and the death of leaves.
Getting rid of these bugs, therefore, is a great step to controlling sooty mold in mangoes.
Bacterial Canker/ Bacterial black spot
Bacterial canker is a bacterial infection that is mostly found in subtropical and tropical mango growing regions. The infection is characterized by water-soaked angular spots on the leaves, black lesions on the fruits, and black cankerous lesions on stems.
Manage bacterial canker by pruning the infected plants and/or plant parts, providing windbreaks for your mango plants and, spraying the plants with copper sprays during wet weather.
Mealybugs cause damage to mangoes by sacking sap from the tender leaves, shoots, and inflorescence. The damages cause the plants to wilt and the infected inflorescence affects fruit set and may lead to fruit drop.
To manage mealybugs in mangoes, flood the ground with water to kill any eggs present in the soil, or deep plough the ground during hot summers to expose the eggs to sunlight. Also, collect and burn the fallen twigs and leaves from the affected plants.
If the insects are already on the tree, spray with neem products or apply a suitable insecticidal soap spray.
The emergence of mango hoppers is favored by humid and shady conditions. These insects produce a sticky substance that coats the leaf surface.
This coating leads to the growth of sooty mold which in turn curly and dry leaves in mango plants. The overall effect of mango hoppers is reduced plant vigor.
Use neem oil to control mango hoppers.
White Mango Scale
The white mango scales suck sap from the leaves, fruits, and branches leading to defoliation, poor blossoms, dried twigs, and pink blemishes on the fruits. Also, these insects secrete honeydew which favors the development of sooty mold.
The infestation also leads to retarded growth in young plants, and fruit fall coupled with small-sized mature fruits under severe infestation.
The first step to white scale management is to remove and burn the affected plants and/or parts. Then spray the plants with suitable insecticides at recommended rates for control.
Blacktips in mangoes are a common problem in mango orchards near a brick kiln. Fumes from the brick kiln such as Sulphur dioxide, ethylene, and carbon monoxide cause damage to the growing fruit tips, and the tips turn black.
The severity of this disorder can be accelerated by poor watering and general management practices.
Minimize the occurrence of black tips in mangoes by spraying with borax and grow your mangoes away from kiln sites.
Premature Fruit Drop
The main causes of fruit drop in mangoes include; lack of pollination, inadequate soil moisture, ovule abortion, weather changes, and weather changes.
In addition to this, over-fertilization and severe disease attacks can also lead to premature fruit fall.
Also known as insidious fruit rot, jelly seed, tip pulp, stem end cavity, and yeasty fruit rot. It is a physiological disorder in mangoes caused by calcium deficiency.
Understanding the environmental requirements for growing mangoes and using resistant cultivars helps in alleviating problems with the soft nose.
Fruit pitting is a disorder in mangoes characterized by sunken pits on the fruit peel. It is caused by a deficiency of calcium and boron.
To control fruit pitting, you should provide your plants with the required trace elements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do mango trees take to mature when grown from seeds?
Mango trees take relatively a long time to get fully mature. On average, they may take up to ten years to bear fruits.
When should you plant a mango seed?
Summer is the best time to plant your mango seeds since there is adequate sunlight for faster growth.
Can you grow mango trees indoors?
Yes! You can start your mango tree indoors and transfer it outdoors later if you are looking to produce fruits. However, you can retain it indoors if you are growing it for fun.
With this ton of information, I’m pretty sure you now know how to grow mango from seed. Maybe you are or know someone who is challenged to try out growing mangoes from seeds. The secret is ‘Don’t throw away the mango husk as you’ve always been doing.
I have played my part it is now your turn.
I dare you to try out growing mangoes at home and you will surely love it. It will also save you a penny spent on buying mangoes every time you visit the grocery.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions in the comment section below. Also, you can suggest any successes for growing a mango from seeds.