How To Grow A Mango Tree From Seed

Mangoes can be grown from seeds and grafting. Mango plants from the garden nursery are usually grafted and will fruit within 3-4 years. Mango tree grown from seeds may take larger, 5-7 years. However mango grown from a polyembryonic variety like Kensington Pride can produce fruits in 2 years!

Continuing reading below for detailed step-by-step guide on growing a mango tree starting from a seed. You can grow the mango tree in a pot.

The seedling mango trees have stronger root system and grows vigorously than the grafted trees. But they do not grow true to seed, even if you have planted the seed of a good tasting mango until the tree is 7-10 years old, when it produces fruits.

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Step-by-Step Guide For Growing A Mango Tree From A Seed

Selection of Mango Seed
Growing mangoes from seed is extremely easy. However, the selection of seed is very important. I grew my first mango tree from a seed about 20 years ago, but that did not produce any fruit for the next 12 years. At that time, I was not knowing at that time that the seed should come from an polyembryonic variety.

Mangoes are of monoembryonic or polyembryonic seed varieties. Mono-embryonic mango type produces one seedling per seed, but the fruit they produce are not true to the parent type, so they need to be grafted.

If you want to grow a mango tree from a seed, the seed should come from poly-embryonic variety. A polyembryonic seed is one which develops two or more embryos from a single fertilized egg. Such a seed produces a number of shoots, which are clones of the mother tree.

One year old mango tree grown from a seed.
One year old mango tree grown from a seed.
The picture shows the growing mango tree in a pot

There are many mango varieties which are polyembryonic type. Some of these varieties in Asia and Australia are Kensington Pride or Bowen, R2E2, Bullocks Heart, Bundaberg Late, Kasturi, Champagne, Honey, Altaufo, Manila, Chandrakaran, Cathamia, Baramasia, MA 173, etc. which you can buy from your grocery store. The mangoes grown from the seeds of theses mangoes will be true to type.

The suitable varieties of polyembryonic type in USA are Florigon, Laris, Mekong, Ono, Orange, Samini, Simmonds, Torbet. Wester, etc. The Newsletter of Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Queensland gives a detailed list of polyembryonic type of mangoes in various countries.

I grew a Bowen (Kensington Pride - KP) mango tree, which is well suited for seed growing because it produces a vigorous tree, and fruits reliably similar to the parent tree. It took 5 years for the tree planted from seed to bear fruit. The R2E2 mango variety produces off types when grafted or seed propagated.
The detailed steps are given below. Whatever seed type you choose to grow, the steps are the same.
  1. The best time to grow mangoes from seed is the beginning of summer. The mango seed is best germinated when the temperature is 25 to 35 °C (75 to 95°F) 
  2. Preparation of mango seed: The most important step is the seed selection. Buy a good quality ripe mango from your grocery store and eat it, remove as much flesh as you can.
  3. You can directly sow the seed in ground in a sunny place. I like to sow the seed in a pot and then transplant the seedling to a larger pot or into the ground.
  4. Fill a pot, about 10 inch diameter with good quality potting mix. Sow the seed about 3 inch deep and water well. Place the pot in a warm sunny place, keep moist.
  5. Germinated mango seed
    Germinated mango seed

    Many baby shoots from the germinated Kensigton mango seed
    Baby mango tree: Many shoots from the germinated
    Kensigton mango seed
  6. The seed will germinate in a few weeks. You will see that the seed will sprout into several seedlings, all identical to each other (except one) and to the parent tree. They are actually the clones. Usually the centrally-located shoot which is the most vigorous shoot than all the other shoots is different and should be removed.
  7. When the seedlings are about 4-5 inch tall, cut all but one of the seedlings to grow to a mango tree.
  8. You could gently separate each seedling and grow them all to have many mango trees.
  9. Or, you can carefully split open a mango seed and take out small bean shaped seeds. You can plant them individually to get many trees.
  10. Germinating Seed in Water: 
    1. Rub the outside of the mango seed with sandpaper or knife to break the outer skin of the seed.
    2. Put the seed in water in a bowl and place it in a warm place for 24 hours. 
    3. Remove the seed wrap it in damp paper towels. Place the wrapped seed inside a plastic bag or zip lock bag, keeping some opening for air. 
    4. Place the bag in a warm place, keep the bag damp. The seed will sprout in 1 to 3 weeks.

Transplanting

Transfer the seedling when the thickness at its base of the trunk becomes the size of about 2 inch diameter and about 10 inch high. At this size, the baby mango tree will have established a good healthy root system.

If you want a small tree, transfer it in a large pot. The advantage of growing mango tree in the pot is that it can be managed easily and can moved in a sunny place or indoors when the temperature drops.


Transplanting in Ground

  1. Dig a hole about three times the size of the root ball. Add potting mix and some garden in the hole. Place the seedling (baby mango tree) in the hole, add the soil to fill the hole and water it thoroughly.
  2. Water your mango plant regularly.
  3. Do not over fertilize, otherwise there will be more leaves and less fruit produce. Take care of your mango tree.

References

1. Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Qld Inc.: Mangoes – Polyembryonic
2. Y. Aron, H. Czosnek, and S. Gazit. Polyembryony in Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Is Controlled by a Single Dominant Gene. Horticultural Science. 1998. 33(7):1241-1242
3. Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Qld. Inc Newsletter February – March 2007
4. Francoise Corbineau, et al., Seed germination and seedling development in the mango

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