Mango is a popular fruit consumed in many places around the world. It originated in India around 4,000 years ago but is now grown in many other places as well. Because of its popularity, many people wonder if they can grow their own mango trees, and if so, how long will it take?
The exact time that it will take for a mango tree to mature to the point where it bears fruit will vary. If you’re growing the tree from a seed, it will take anywhere from five to eight years to grow fruit. If you’re growing a nursery sapling, you’re looking at about four years to reach maturity.
Want to know more about growing your own mango tree and how long it will take? Keep reading!
What Conditions Do You Need to Grow a Mango Tree?
Based on their origins on the Indian subcontinent, it’s clear to see that mango trees require a tropical environment to grow and produce fruit. You’ll want to keep them in an environment that is cool and dry in the winter months, with hot, humid summers. In general, mango trees will always need to be kept above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mango trees require as much sunlight as they can get, so you’ll need a space for the tree that gets full sun. This can be a challenge if you’re growing your tree indoors to avoid cold.
Mango trees can also become incredibly tall, so having enough space for them to grow is essential. Full-size mango trees may be impossible to have space for as they can grow up to 100 feet tall. To avoid this, you can get a dwarf mango tree. This variety reaches anywhere from four to eight feet.
Depending on the climate that you live in, some mango varieties may be easier to grow than others. Since the climate is the most influential factor in how well your tree will grow, it’s a good idea to speak to an expert at your local nursery to find out the right type of tree to get.
Growing a Mango Tree from a Seed
Growing a mango tree from seed has both advantages and disadvantages.
- Grows a stronger tree than a nursery sapling
- More durable
- Grows faster than a nursery tree
- Takes longer to produce fruit
- Can grow very large
- Can be unreliable for growing fruit
Growing a mango tree from a seed is not for the faint of heart or for the impatient horticulturist. A mango seed will take anywhere from five to eight years to mature into a fruit-producing tree. The exact timing will be affected by everything from climate to the breed of mango you’re growing.
Growing a mango from seed may seem like the easier option at first glance because mango seeds can be found in any mango you buy from the grocery store. However, it’s important to know that most commercially available mangoes are a grafted blend, which can mean that the seeds will produce sterile trees.
Of course, if you only want to grow a mango tree for aesthetic properties, this won’t be an issue. However, if you want a fruit-bearing tree, you’ll have to source your seed carefully.
Another thing to be careful about when growing a mango tree from a seed is the amount of space you have and how big of a tree you want. Seedling mango trees can grow very large, and very quickly.
How to Grow a Mango Tree from a Seed:
- Plant the seed in a well-irrigated pot about eight inches below the surface. Water daily to encourage growth
- After 4-6 weeks, you should have a small seedling about six inches tall. Keep watering your plant every day or every other day until you have a healthy sapling (this may take 1-2 years)
- Sun-harden your sapling by moving it outdoors into partial sunlight.
- Transplant your sapling into a well-irrigated spot in your yard with plenty of room for it to grow.
- Water the sapling regularly, but don’t fertilize it very often. The tree will take another few years (minimum) to bear fruit.
Growing a Mango Tree from a Nursery Sapling
Mango trees bought from a nursery are more likely to produce fruit than one grown from seed. They also require less care and attention than seeds as their vulnerable early years have already passed.
They can be easily planted outdoors at the start of the wet season. Normally, this means right at the beginning of summer. After that, they can be pretty much left alone to grow other than regular watering.
Just like when you’re growing from a seed, fertilizer should be kept to a minimum. Mulch is more beneficial to mango trees than fertilizer. Especially as the tree gets older an matures, potassium and phosphorus are much more important to a healthy mango tree than nitrogen which is common in most fertilizers.
Caring for a Mature Mango Tree
Technically speaking, you don’t have to prune a mango tree to keep it bearing fruit year after year. However, it’s recommended that you do give it a trim after the harvest season so that the growth doesn’t get out of control.
Mango trees are very resilient, so don’t worry too much about over-pruning. Even when they’re cut down to a stump, many mango trees will be back to producing fruit again after just a few years of regrowth. However, regular pruning after every harvest will keep your tree from skipping a year of flowering and growing fruit.
Depending on what variety of mango tree you’re growing, the harvest time will be slightly different. It will also depend on your exact climate conditions.
When your tree is readying to produce fruit, it will grow flowers first. Mango trees are great at pollinating, and since every tree grows both male and female flowers, you only need one tree to grow fruit. Flowering is most often triggered by nightly cold snaps. For the tropical climates where mangos grow best, this means a night below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The normal harvest season for most mango varieties begins at the start of summer or the wet season. The hotter the weather, the faster the fruits will ripen.
When you’re picking your mangos, it’s important that you avoid the sap of the tree. It can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis if it gets on your skin. If it gets on the fruit, it can cause it to rot.
Pests and Other Problems
Ripe mangos are a tasty snack for many small critters. If you’re having issues with mangos being eaten off the tree, you can pick them when they’re half-ripe and then let them sit on the kitchen counter to ripen over the next few days to a week.
There is one disease that can seriously affect your mango tree: anthracnose. It causes flowers to turn black, die, and fall off. It can be cured by spraying chemicals like copper solutions, but this can damage the surrounding environment.
Mango trees can easily be grown in the right climate, as long as you are willing to wait a few years for the plant to produce fruit.
In tropical climates, a seed will take between five and eight years to mature, while a sapling or grafted tree will produce fruit in as little as four years. The amount of time a mango tree takes to mature is also affected by the variety of mango.