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Mango seeds

How to Plant a Mango Seed

This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

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Mango trees are one of the easiest trees to start from a seed and care for. The size and flavor of the fruit depends on the variety you choose, so taste-test them first if you can. Depending on climate, mango trees can grow 30 to 65 ft (9 to 20 m) tall and survive for centuries. [1] X Research source If you plan to keep your mango tree in a container, you can keep it around until it outgrows the pot, then start again from a new seed.

How To Grow a Mango Seed

I recently learnt that mango seeds are edible. I had no idea! It also turns out the hard part in the middle of the fruit is not the seed, it’s a pocket that holds a large seed. I’ve experimented with germinating a few random seeds including avocados and peaches (never got further than sprouting a root) but mangos are a new adventure. Here’s how I did it…

Opening the mango

I used a mango from the supermarket, nothing special or optimised for home growing

Most tutorials made opening the husk sound easy. It was not. They are extremely tough! Scraping off the excess pulp was the first hurdle. The second was actually opening it — the seed sat close to both sides and that didn’t leave much cutting room or margin of error.

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It was also positioned more towards one end (creating a longer flappy bit) so I made a one inch horizontal cut with kitchen scissors, then tore the husk open with my hands. It ripped relatively easy once the initial cut has been made and any stubborn bits just needed cutting with scissors.

Mango seed in husk

The splayed husk looks a bit like a set of lungs with an oyster inside!

Soak the mango seed

I peeled off the brown papery membrane and soaked the seed in water for 24 hours. It swelled a little but came out looking pretty much the same.

Wrap in kitchen paper

I wrapped the seed inside damp kitchen roll and stored it in a clear plastic bag. The trick is keeping the paper moist enough to create humidity and stop the seed drying out, but dry enough to prevent mould growth. If you squeeze the kitchen roll and water comes out, it’s too wet. You want to aim for a quiet spongey sound with no dripping water.

Bag and wait for germination

The bagged seed was stored somewhere warm and out of direct sunlight. I checked mositure levels every couple of days and only needed to add more water once.

Root growth

The seed turned green, a small split appeared and a root formed. I continued as before, checking moisture levels and keeping the bag sealed.

Leaf shoot

A leaf shoot emerged around one week later and root growth continued at an impressive 1cm+ a day.

The first true leaves grew within a few days of the shoot emerging. I then had what looked like a mini palm tree.

Root growth Damp paper towel wrapping

The seed was wrapped back up in its kitchen roll sleeping bag and I left the leaf shoot poking out of the end so it could grow towards the light.

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Potting

I potted the sapling when the root developed these small white root hairs. They signal the seed is ready to actually root, soak up nutrients and begin the next growth phase.

Mango root hairs Mango sapling

These two photos were taken only 24 hours apart. I was amazed how much it grew overnight. The sapling got stronger and seemed to be growing well so I transferred it to a nicer pot.

Something to note here is that the leaves are floppy and sit downwards — similar to how some plants look and feel when they are under watered (like our avocado). I think this appearance could lead to over watering so that’s something to bear in mind if you decide to grow a mango. I’m expecting them rise and toughen up as the plant matures.

Ta-dah!

And here is Monty the mango in his new home…

I have no idea which variety of mango this or if it’ll end up producing fruit one day, but it makes a nice houseplant. Swedish Winter may be a challenge but fingers crossed he’ll find a way to pull through.

How to Plant a Mango Seed

Mangos have been called the, “king of fruits,” because they are luscious, juicy, delicious and sweet. They’re widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical climates. The best time to plant a mango tree is in the summer when it’s warm, as they like lots of sun [source: California Rare Fruit Growers]. It helps to start growing the mango tree indoors and to re-plant it outdoors after it begins to sprout. That’s what we will do.

  1. Take a very ripe mango, and cut the fruit away from the husk at the center of the mango without cutting through the husk. Remove any leftover fruit from the husk.
  2. Cut the husk open with a sharp knife. Do this carefully, as you don’t want to damage the seed that is inside.
  3. Remove the seed and throw the husk away. The seed will be in the shape of a lima bean with a lighter area on top called the eye.
  4. Fill a planting pot with potting soil. Be sure to use a pot with drainage holes.
  5. Wet the soil a bit.
  6. Make a small hole and place the seed inside the hole with its eye facing up.
  7. Cover the seed with half an inch (1.27 centimeters) of soil. The seed should sprout within a few weeks.
  8. Water your plant with lukewarm water whenever you see the soil is a bit dry. Mangos don’t need a lot of water.
  9. Replant the plant outdoors when it’s strong enough [sources: Which, Morton].
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Originally Published: May 23, 2011

Mango Seed FAQ

Can you grow a mango from seed?

Yes, you can grow a mango tree from a seed, found inside the fruit. However, it takes quite a bit of work and patience.

How long do mango trees take to grow?

Mango trees require quite a bit of attention and on average, take 10 years to bear any fruit if started from seed. If grafted from another tree, you may start seeing fruit within three to four years.

What is the best time to plant a mango seed?

Mango seeds are best planted in the summer, as there are many hours of sunlight, helping the tree grow.

How do you prepare a mango seed for planting?

You can prepare a mango seed for planting by clearing all the fruit away from the husk and then cutting open the husk. Remove the seed inside and throw away or compost the husk.