Wondering if you can grow a mango plant indoors? Yes, you can. This tropical tree produces delicious fruit and while you may never see fruit production, it makes an attractive house plant and can be a fun project.
Mangoes are native to southern Asia, but were carried by monks and explorers to other subtropical regions throughout the world. Mangoes are a tropical fruit, prized for their fragrant aroma and sweet flavor. The mango fruit are very versatile, used in desserts, such as sorbets and smoothies, or in savory dishes, such as salsas and sauces. The ripe fruit is delicious fresh or dried.
In the tropics, this plant grows 30 to 100 feet high, making it a bit large for an indoor tree for most home growers. But grown in a larger pot and occasionally pruned, a mango plant makes an attractive indoor houseplant with glossy leaves and a bushy, shrub-like appearance. Commercially grown mangoes typically produce fruit within six to seven years, although getting an indoor plant to produce fruit is difficult because of the lack of direct sunlight and warm temperatures. Mango plant flowers produce volatile substances which can cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems in some people.
To grow a mango at home, follow the steps below:
- The first step is to pick a ripe mango from the grocery store. Seeds from fully ripe mangoes germinate more quickly than those from firm, under ripe fruits. A mango plant grown from seed may not resemble the parent tree or produce identical fruit. Buy a nursery propagated mango seedling from your local nursery if you prefer.
- The next step, after you’ve eaten the juicy fruit is to scrape any remaining flesh from the husk of the fruit with a scraper. Pry the outer shell open with a chisel or sharp knife and carefully remove the inner seed pod.
- Insert two small toothpicks 1/8-inch into each side of the seed and set the mango seed in a pint-size jar of water so that half the seed is submerged. Rest the toothpicks on the jar so the top of the pit remains dry.
- Wait a couple of weeks for the seed to germinate, adding more water when the water level falls below the seed.
- Once the seed sprouts, producing small white roots remove the sprouted mango seed from the water and plant it in a 10-gallon pot with good drainage.. Fill the pot with well-draining soil, ideally a lightweight potting mix containing compost. Place the seed 2 inches below the surface with the rooted portions pointing downward. Place the pot in a warm place that gets full sun.
- Water the soil frequently to keep it evenly moist and spray the plant occasionally with a spray bottle filled with water to keep the evergreen leaves clean and increase humidity.
- Feed the mango plant monthly during the summer months with a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer, but withhold fertilizer during the winter and reduce water, as well.
- Pinch the top leaves off the mango plant occasionally to maintain its compact size and improve its appearance.
- Place the mango plant under grow lights during the winter to encourage fruiting.
Similar to growing an avocado tree from avocado seeds, growing an indoor mango tree from seed is an unpredictable, but interesting, experiment. For best results, plant the mango in a large pot and keep the soil moist. Try to simulate the plant’s growth try to simulate its native tropical climate with high temperatures and humid conditions and above all, be patient. Mangoes take several years to develop and may never produce fruit.
CC flickr photo courtesy of Flouride’s Memories