No fruit screams tropical summer paradise like a mango.
Whether it’s the bright yellowy-orange color or the stunning green leaves with a touch of red, these trees are wonderful additions to any garden.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to grow your own mango tree either. By using a mango from your local grocery store, you can grow a fully-fledged tree that may even produce fruit after several years.
Rather than throwing the mango husk in the trash after eating, put your scraps to good use by extracting the seed and growing a gorgeous mango tree that can grace indoor or outdoor tropical gardens.
Can You Grow A Mango From A Store-Bought Seed?
Much like growing avocados from seed or pineapple plants from a pineapple top, part of the appeal of growing mangos from seed is the ability to use store-bought produce, and the part of the fruit that would otherwise go to waste.
Some store-bought produce is not suitable for seed saving. Some are unlikely to germinate due to the processes the fruits go under before transportation, while others will produce fruits far from the original plant, or worse, no fruits at all.
Luckily, that is not the case with mangoes. Store-bought seeds germinate frequently and are known to grow successfully.
However, this comes with a few caveats.
Firstly, mangoes take several years to mature and produce fruits. To get to this stage, you need to plant them in the right climate – tropical or subtropical – with warm temperatures and high humidity.
If you don’t have the right climate, you can keep them indoors. However, they are unlikely to ever produce fruits when planted indoors due to the unfavorable lighting conditions.
Those who can plant their tree outdoors and manage to grow it successfully for several years may come to find the fruits the plant produces don’t exactly match the original fruit. As mangos are grafted, the tree may also be more difficult to care for and prone to pest and disease damage.
Despite these potential problems, growing from seed is still a fun and low-effort gardening experiment. If your tree doesn’t produce fruit, it will still make a great leafy tree that produces stunning foliage indoors and outdoors.
You’d likely throw the seed away anyway – so what’s the harm in germinating?
How To Grow A Mango From Seed
Remove The Flesh
To get to the large seed inside, you’ll need to remove the flesh around the fruit first. For mango lovers, this will be the best part. You can either eat the fleshy fruit fresh as you go or save it for use in desserts or fruit salad later on.
Don’t worry about damaging the seed inside when removing the flesh. It is protected by a hard husk inside the fruit.
Once you’ve exposed the husk, you’ll need to rinse it thoroughly. The flesh will cling to the textured outside, so you may need to use an abrasive sponge to remove it. This makes the seed easier to handle and stops you from hurting yourself when trying to open it.
Alternatively, you can leave the husk to dry out for a day or two until the slimy outside has disappeared.
Remove The Husk
Next, you’ll have to cut the textured husk open. This is harder than it looks and requires sharp scissors or a craft knife.
The area of the husk where the seed sits should be clear by the bulging. Look for the part of the husk that is flat and cut a small hole in the edge, preferably near the natural opening to make removal simpler.
Once opened, remove the rest of the husk with your hands by pulling it apart. Make sure you don’t cut into or damage the seed inside during this removal process.
Wrap Seed In A Moist Paper Towel
This additional germination step is optional, but does speed up the process and can increase your chances of success. It also doesn’t take much extra effort and lets you keep a closer eye on germination progress.
Wet a few layers of paper towel and wring them out so they are not dripping. Then, wrap the paper towel around the seed until it is covered. Place the seed in a plastic bag that’s open on one side to contain moisture and increase heat.
Place the seed in a warm area, or preferably on a heating mat for the best chances of germination. Keep the towel moist but not excessively wet while you wait.
Check the seed frequently for sprouts.
Once the first root and stem are visible, transplant immediately into a pot, ensuring you do not damage this delicate root.
Start by filling a medium-sized pot with a high-quality potting mix amended with additional compost. You can also use a soilless mix, such as a combination of perlite and coconut coir, but you will need to transplant soon after to give the tree enough nutrients to grow successfully.
Premoisten the soil before you plant by watering and letting the excess drain from the bottom of the pot. Plant the seed horizontally in the soil, just below the surface. Cover with more potting mix and firm down to ensure all parts of the seed are in contact with the soil.
Within a few weeks, you should see the first stem emerge from the soil with the first few leaves. Once it is a few inches tall, you can move the pot to a sunnier spot to speed up growth.
Keep the soil moist for the first few weeks, slowing watering once the seedling is established. Don’t leave the soil waterlogged as this can rot the new and vulnerable roots.
When the seedling outgrows its first pot, transplant it into a larger pot if you plan to keep it indoors.
After a year or two, you can move the tree outdoors if you live in USDA Zones 11-12.
How Long Will It Take My Mango Tree To Produce Fruit?
With the right conditions and care, your mango tree will produce fruit in 5-8 years. However, it’s important to remember that fruits are not guaranteed, even after all that time.
Instead, enjoy your mango tree as a tropical foliage plant, adding a touch of summer indoors or outdoors in the right zones.