Mango Tree Care: Rising Tropical Treats

For many of us, mangoes are considered an occasional luxury treat because of the price and availability of fruit. Fortunately, it's not impossible to grow a mango tree at home. It's time you stopped depriving yourself of this delicious tropical treat and started growing your own mangoes! Although these are tropical trees, mangoes can be grown in the ground in Zones 9-11 or in containers in Zones 4-11.

Mangoes are incredibly delicious to eat on their own, but growing your own fruit can get creative and enjoy them in a number of different ways. The mango can be used in smoothies, salsas, ice cream, and much more. They can even be frozen or dehydrated so that they can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Whether you have a large room or a small patio, there is a variety of mango that is right for you. There are hundreds of varieties of mango in different parts of the world. Local nurseries stock types that are well suited to your growing conditions. This guide covers all of the basics of growing a mango tree and provides some information on great strains.

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Brief instructions for care

A mango tree is not only beautiful, it also produces delicious tropical fruits. Source: sapienssolutions

Common name (s)mango
Scientific nameMangifera indica
Days to harvestYearly; 3-5 months after flowering
BrightFull sun
floorWell-drained sandy loam
fertilizer3x per year; low nitrogen mixture
PestsMealybugs, aphids, mites
DiseasesAnthracnose, powdery mildew

Everything about the mango tree

Mangifera indica, commonly known as the mango tree, is native to India and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. Different parts of the tree and fruit are used to treat hair loss, stomach pain, skin conditions, and wounds.

This large tropical evergreen tree is known to grow up to 30 meters tall. The leaves are elliptical to lanceolate and spirally arranged on the branches. New leaves are coppery in color and turn a glossy green when ripe. Mangifera indica produces small white flowers that grow in flower clusters. The flowers are either male or hermaphrodite and both types can be found in a single cluster. The products vary in size, shape and color depending on the variety. The average mango fruit is between 3-5 inches long and ovoid or kidney shaped. Their colors include green, yellow, red, and orange, with many varieties carrying multi-colored products.

Mangifera indica flowers from winter to spring and is self-fertile. The fruits are ready in spring and summer around 3-5 months after flowering. The tree size varies quite a lot depending on the variety and growing environment. Some trees can get up to 100 feet tall, while containers grown trees can be kept at 6-8 feet.

Researchers are studying how mango trees can help curb climate change. Mango trees have an incredible ability to store carbon. Although the United States grows mangoes commercially in Florida, Hawaii, California, and Puerto Rico, more than 80% of its supply comes from Mexico. Fortunately, studies have shown that mango plantations sequester 2 to 2.5 times the carbon produced by growing, harvesting, and transporting mangoes from Mexico to the United States.

Types of mango

Unripe mangoesMost mangoes are a beautiful green color when unripe. Source: Robert and Fabienne

Sweetheart & # 39; or & # 39;Ataulfo ​​’ is a yellow mango tree with a sweet and sour taste. Mangoes of this variety are firm without fibers and can be harvested and enjoyed between March and July.

& # 39; Francis & # 39; is a green-yellow mango with a sweet and fruity taste. It ripens between May and June. The fruit is soft and fibrous.

Haden ’ has a sweet and sour taste. This mango is red with accents of green and yellow. Mangoes from this tree are firm with fine fibers and can be harvested between March and May.

Keitt ’ is a green-pink mango with a sweet and fruity taste. It has a firm texture with limited fibers. A 'Keitt' tree has two harvest windows: March-April and a late second window from August-September.

Kent ’ has a sweet and sour taste. These mangoes are dark green with red accents. The texture is soft with limited fibers.

"Tommy Atkins" has a tart taste with sweet notes. The food produced by this tree is red with accents of green and yellow. The texture is firm and fibrous. The harvest window is March-July.

Ice & # 39; and "Zahnhall" are two excellent strains for growing in containers. These two are dwarf tree species without fibers. "Ice Cream" has a mango sorbet flavor while "Cogshall" has a rich sweet taste.


The first step in growing a healthy mango tree is choosing an optimal planting location. Mangoes can be planted in the ground or in pots. Regardless of whether you plant in the ground or in containers, mango trees need a warm, sunny location and good drainage. The best time to plant is in the fall or spring when the temperatures are cooler. Do not bury the graft joint; It is best to keep the graft joint at least a few inches above the surface of the soil.

For planting in the ground, choose a location that is at least 15 feet away from any structures or other trees to allow enough room for a full-grown mango fruit tree. Dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the root ball, untangle any overlapping roots, and set the mango tree in the ground. Cover with loose soil and incorporate organic material (optional).

Use good quality potting soil and at least a 20 gallon container for container planting. Young mango trees can be planted in smaller containers and later transplanted into a 20 gallon container.


View of the mango treeA look up into a mango tree. Source: el_finco

Mango trees have specific requirements in order to grow healthily and produce high quality fruit. Follow the guide below to give your mango fruit tree everything it needs to thrive.

Sun and temperature

A mango tree needs full sun. The absolute minimum requirement is 6 hours of direct sunlight. However, 8-10 hours of direct sun are optimal.

Mangoes are used to tropical climates, so they thrive in the heat but don't like temperatures below 40 ° F. Trees can be grown in USDA Zones 9-11. Ideal locations in the continental USA are warm, frost-free parts of Florida or California. Frost protection is required when temperatures drop below freezing. A potted mango tree can be grown in zones 4-11 if brought indoors and placed near a sunny window when temperatures drop below freezing. Most strains can tolerate temperatures as high as 30 ° F for short periods of time, but the foliage and flowers can be damaged. The ideal temperature in summer is between 80-100 ° F.

Water and moisture

Mango trees grow best when watered on a wet-dry cycle. This means you water until the soil is completely saturated and then wait until the soil is relatively dry before watering again. Mangoes do not tolerate constantly wet conditions, so drying out the soil will keep the mango tree healthy. The best way to check that the soil is dry enough is to dig a few inches into the soil to check for moisture. The soil should be dry before the next watering. Watering in winter may not be necessary unless the soil dries out.

Because mango trees thrive in a moist environment, watering during the day is beneficial in drier climates to increase the humidity around the fruit tree. Since trees should be fully saturated each time they water, it is best to use watering hoses, micro-sprinklers, or drip irrigation to prevent excessive drainage.


Mango trees prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soils with a high content of organic matter. The pH should stay between 5.5 and 7.5. Trees will generally survive without the addition of organic material, but additional addition will be very beneficial to the tree.


Fertilizing mango trees can be a little tricky. Young trees need nitrogen, but are sensitive to excess nitrogen and tend to burn. Mixtures of tropical trees and citrus fruits work well for mangoes, but do not use a mixture containing more than 6% nitrogen. Give a balanced fertilizer in spring, summer and autumn for the first few years until the mango tree has established itself.

An established fruit-bearing mango tree requires little to no additional nitrogen. Applying too much nitrogen leads to more vegetative growth and decreased quality. When choosing a fertilizer, choose a mixture with a higher phosphorus and potassium ratio to improve flower production and fruiting, as well as healthy root development. Fertilize every 2-3 months from the beginning of the flower until the end of the harvest.


Mango trees need pruning to remove dead or diseased wood, maintain an open canopy, and control the size of the tree. In the first few years after planting, pruning is required twice a year in winter (before flowering) and in summer (after harvest). If you can create a good tree structure in the first few years, you won't have to prune every year.

Removing dead or diseased branches is critical to reducing the likelihood that disease problems will carry over into the next season. Old fruits must also be removed to prevent diseases and pests. When removing diseased material, it is important to remove all infected tissues and remove them from the mango tree. Do not leave sick or fallen material lying on the floor.

To create an open canopy, select 3-4 main branches of the scaffolding to provide the basic structure of the mango tree. Scaffold branches must not overlap and should have an angle of at least 45 ° to the main trunk. Remove any vertical wood branches in the center of the canopy. Maintaining an open canopy allows for optimal sun exposure and air circulation throughout the mango tree. Proper airflow is critical to preventing disease and pest problems.

In general, to control the size of the tree, it is best to let the mango tree spread more horizontally. A broadly scattered mango tree is much easier to care for and harvest. Cut all the vertical branches to the desired height of the tree. It is also important to prune any low-hanging branches so that all leaves and fruit do not touch the ground.


Mango trees can be propagated by seeds or by grafting.

Seed propagation is not recommended as it takes about 5-8 years to bear fruit and the mango tree may or may not have the desired properties of the mother tree. For the patient home gardener, however, germinating a mango seed is relatively easy. The first step is to remove the seed from the core or peel in the center of the fruit. The seed can germinate by wrapping it in a damp paper towel and placing it in a plastic bag with a snap closure. Keep the bag in a warm place above 70 ° F until the seed germinates. After germinating, plant the growing seedling in a pot.

Grafting is the best way to propagate a mango tree. Grafted trees allow home gardeners to choose the variety they want with the added benefit of an extensive root system provided by the rhizome. Grafted mango trees produce fruit within 2-3 years, which significantly shortens the waiting time. Rhizomes are grown from seeds while the shoots are removed from the mother plant. Grafting must be done in warm weather, and the trees are actively growing. Before grafting, the cuttings are cut to a length of a few centimeters and all the leaves are removed. The cuttings are grafted onto the rootstock using the cleft graft method.

Harvest and storage

Ripe mangoesThese ripe mangoes are ready to be picked and consumed. Source: Prof. Mortel

Mangoes are incredibly easy to harvest as they can be ripened on or on the mango tree. There are also many ways to store mangoes for short and long term consumption.


Mangoes can be eaten unripe or ripe. To harvest ripe, check the size and color development. Another tip is to cut into a piece of fruit and check for yellow pulp. If the flesh is green, then they are not ripe. When the flesh is partially yellow, the fruit can be picked and ripened at room temperature. Remove fruit by peeling or cutting the tree. Ripe fruits are easier to pull from the mango tree.


Unripe fruits should be stored at room temperature until ripe. Ripened fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Long-term storage options include freezing, dehydrating, freeze-drying, and canning. Fruits can be stored for up to a year using these methods.


Tree full of mangoesA mango tree can produce anywhere from 100-200 mangoes per year. Source: nutrilover

Occasionally, mango trees have some minor growth problems. The following are the most common problems and how to fix them.

Growing problems

Cold temperatures are a big problem when growing a mango tree. Cold temperatures can be too Flower abortion, Fruit drop, and Tree damage. In extreme cases, cold temperatures can cause the mango tree to die. In winter and early spring, it is extremely important to check the weather forecast and be prepared to protect the mango tree with frost material or to bring the mango tree indoors overnight.

Mango trees that can be brought indoors in winter Fruit production problems or can produce very little fruit due to lack of sunlight. It is important to place the tree near a sunny window, but it still cannot get enough sunlight. If weather permits, put the mango tree outside during the day or add extra lighting.

Mangoes are sensitive to too much fertilizer. Young trees tend to burn manure if overfed. Excessive nitrogen in mature trees results in abundant vegetative growth and low fruit yield. Reduce the amount of fertilizer or change the mix if you suspect your mango tree is being overfed.


Mealybug are soft insects covered with white wax. They are often found in groups in the crevices of branches and leaves. Mealybugs feed on the sap and produce sugary excrement called honeydew. The presence of honeydew encourages the development of soot mold, which covers the foliage and inhibits photosynthesis. Extreme cases lead to reduced plant vitality. Although it is uncommon for mealybugs to get out of hand, horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps can be used to knock down populations.

Aphids are soft insects that feed on the sap of delicate plant tissue. They come in a number of colors like yellow, orange, green, and black. Aphids can cause some deformation of the leaves. They also produce honeydew, which can lead to other problems like soot mold. Aphids are usually controlled by natural predators; However, populations can still get out of whack and harm. Aphids can be controlled by manually removing heavily infested leaves and spraying them with water. Horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps are also effective in controlling aphids.

Mites are arachnids that feed on foliage and cause stain damage. Heavy infestation leads to leaf fall. Mites are extremely small and difficult to spot. Generally, the damage is noticed before the mites. All adult mites have eight legs and tend to stay in clusters on the underside of the leaves. Some mites form tissue, while others do not. The colors range from creamy yellow to dark red. Mites are attracted to water-stressed or over-fertilized plants. Maintaining a healthy mango tree is the primary defense against mites as they often have a good balance between pest mites and predatory insects to keep populations under control. If the mite population gets out of hand, use horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps to help control heavy infestations.


Anthracnose is a common fungal disease that occurs in rainy and humid conditions. This disease causes black and brown spots on branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Infections often kill flowers and cause early fruit shedding, effectively reducing the amount of harvestable fruit. This pathogen survives between seasons on infected branches and mature foliage, so pruning infected areas annually is critical to prevent future infection. Copper sprays can be used to prevent and treat infections.

Powdery mildew is a fungal pathogen that affects flowers, young fruits, and tender new growth. Infected areas become covered in white powdery spores that eventually turn brown and die. Powdery mildew is most common in warm, humid environments. A severe infection leads to a significant reduction in yield. Powdery mildew can be prevented by appropriate pruning to encourage airflow and avoid wet leaves. When cultural practices aren't enough, copper sprays can be used preventively if conditions are conducive to disease development.

frequently asked Questions

Mango fruitMangoes are easy to harvest when they are ripe. Source: Andy Howell

Q: How long does it take for a mango tree to bear fruit?

A: Grafted trees take 2-3 years to bear fruit, while trees propagated from seeds take 5-8 years.

Q: Where do mango trees grow best?

A: Mangoes grow best in tropical and subtropical climates. They love warm temperatures and a humidity of over 50%.

Q: Do you need two mango trees to produce fruit?

A: No, mango trees are self-fertile.

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