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.
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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.