Grow a Mango Tree





Introduction: Grow a Mango Tree

I've been interested lately in growing fruit trees, but my local nursery didn't have any mango trees for sale.  Later, while enjoying mango, inspiration struck and after a little internet research, I was convinced that I could start a tree from a mango seed/pit/stone.  I don't know of this new tree will ever bear fruit, but it's been fun to start.

My ultimate plan is to keep the tree small (6-8 feet) by regular pruning and keep it in a container that I can bring indoors over the cold winter months.  With any luck, it will eventually bear fruit...we'll see.

Step 1: Eat Your Mango

I'm sure there are a hundred ways to cut a mango - The pictures show my own preferred method - but anything that gets the pit from the middle works for now.  One the pit is out, get as much of the mango flesh off as possible.  I find it easiest to gently scrape it with a knife and rinse regularly.

Step 2: Cut Open the Pit

The pit is a protective shell around the actual seed, and you want to get the seed out without damaging it.  If you look at the side of the pit, you can see in the pictures that the pit is significantly thicker where the seed is, and should be quite thin at the end where the stem originally connected the fruit to the tree.

I used a heavy chefs knife to cut the stem end off the pit.  Please be careful!  It takes a fair bit of force to cut through.

Step 3: Pry the Pit Apart

Carefully pry the pit halves apart to reveal the seed inside.

Step 4: Prepare Your Pot

You want to have a large enough pot with good drainage to plant the seed in.  I cleaned an old pot that used to have some herbs growing in it, added a bunch of rocks in the bottom to encourage good drainage, and then filled it partially with soil.  The tree won't stay in this pot long past sprouting, so I only have about 4 inches of soil depth below the seed.

Place the seed on the soil, and cover with another 2-3 inches then water well to fully saturate the soil.

Step 5: Wait and Wait

This seems to take forever.  Keep the soil moist with regular watering, but not flooded.  I left this in full sun on the south side of my house and watered it 4-5 times a week as needed.  I didn't keep track of the dates like I should have, but it took roughly 8 weeks before I saw the seedling had sprouted.  I decided to name him Fredrich, and think of him as male.

Once Fredrich had sprouted, I transplanted him to a larger container.  While I did that, I gently removed some soil and you can see that the trunk is growing out of one end of the seed and the root is growing out of the other.  I can't see the original stem, so I'm not sure which end is which.



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    Just prune out the main growing branch from the middle and tip regularly to keep it under 25'. You can plant some more up and when they get big enough try your hand at grafting from other peoples mature wood mango. There's lots of info about this online , I have around 100 mangoes about 25 different cultivars. And tasting different, I have one that tastes just like coconut cream, and one that tastes like lemon, orange, melon, and even peach cobbler! seriously!

    1 reply

    do I just get the seed and put it in some soil or do I need to germinate it first

    Really really nice and helpful. Good work.

    Excellent instructable! I wish I seen this sooner, My mango is only an inch tall, and has never seen soil. Its healthy green leaved, and has a 2 inch root. I'm sure its ready to transplant. What type of soil do you recommend, Or should i just take a shovel to the yard? :D

    I just took the see out of the pit, folded it in napkin and placed it in a side salad bowl with lid from mcd's and watered enough to saturate the napkin, but no standing water at all. I'm too impatient for the wait and wait :D a clear lid is fast viewable result. My first (green) grew stem first, second (tan like yours) grew root first.

    You can do all of this by hand if you feel like it. There is a rounded side of the mango pit opposite of that its pretty thin. You can extract the seed without any need for a knife in this part or the last. If you pull the hairs out along that thin side, It can be tough.. Paper towel will prevent slipping. When thats done squeeze the ends together and the seed will drop out.

    After you trim the meat off, A stiff bristle brush will take off whats left pretty easy.

    Not to be a simple buzzkill, but mango trees are not like apple trees.  The come with a few warnings:

    Look at the images of mango trees at Google Images. Note that they might have over 1,000 pounds of fruit all ripening at the same time. When I say same time, I mean the same hour of one day.  If you do not get them all picked in time, they will all fall on the ground at once. If your tree overhangs a driveway and they drop overnight (yes, all at one time), you will be shoveling fruit for a few hours before work.

    When you pick a mango off the tree, be very careful not to get any of the sap on you.  Like many tropical fruits, the sap will burn your skin and make black spots on your clothes.  Many people are allergic to the sap and will develop a rash.  It is best to cut a branch with many fruits on it and be careful that you don't break the fruits off.  The sap seems to squirt from the fruits.  If the sap from one fruit gets on the other fruits, it will rot the fruits it touches. 

    2 replies

    dchall8 - I had to laugh...I spend time on the Honduran island of Roatan, where there are LOTS of mango trees. The locals don't do much with the fruit for the very reasons you mention. In fact, the local saying is, "It is wonderful if your neighbor has a mango tree and you don't!" And you are very right - the tree produces a LOT of mangoes, and they all seem to ripen at the same time. If anyone successfully grows a tree following these steps, be sure to search Instructables for some recipes and be ready to work!

    I hope that by keeping the tree small I won't have to deal with too much fruit at once. I plan to permanently keep the tree in a container and prune it to maintain a size of 6-8 feet. This may prevent the tree from ever fruiting, I'm not sure, but it should definitely keep the total fruit volume under control.

    Thanks for the information about the sap...i didn't know that. I'll definitely be careful if I ever get a chance to harvest anything.

    We have lots of Mango trees here in Asia and they don't have to be so big to have fruits. Hope Fredrich is doing well?

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    Good to hear that the trees don't have to be too big to bear fruit! I'm planning on two new trees next season to encourage cross pollination and we'll have to see how it goes.

    He was doing quite well, actually, until we brought him in to the house for the winter. He probably would have been fine if our new dog hadn't eaten him. A sad day for me. I do plan to give this another go once mango's are back in season and available.

    i've sprouted 3 mango trees within the last year, and somehow they all die after they have about 4 leaves..... it might be because i forgot to water the first 2 plants..... but the third one just died....

    What I envy the most is you have your own fruit tfee,I want one too...

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    Yeah...I'm pretty excited about it myself. Thanks!

    We are giving birth here right?

    I will have to do this too! Who doesn't want their own mango tree??

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    Thanks. I actually planted a second in hopes that they could cross pollinate and encourage fruiting. Here's hoping.

    here (france), during a beautiful spring day, we had a surprise finding a mango "tree" and few avocado trees in the pile of compost since that day we have a few still living, however they didn't grew more than fifty centimeter in two years :)