How to Grow a Mango Tree in a cool climate or when you don’t have space? Well, Growing Mango Tree in a Pot or container is the answer!
Mango fruits are tart, spicy, aromatic, and sweet in FLAVOR, so unique that no other fruits can offer. Also called the king of fruits, the mango tree grows in the warm tropical climate, not winter hardy and dies in the temperature below 30 F (-1). Usually, it requires a lot of space to grow. But if you’re short of space or living in a colder zone where growing a mango tree on the ground is impossible–Growing a mango tree in a container can be an option.
USDA Zones — 9b – 11, can be grown in zone 8 with care
Difficulty — Moderate to Hard
Botanical Name — Mangifera Indica
A Mango tree grown on its native place can grow huge. Some cultivars can grow up to 32 meters tall. And there are more than 500+ varieties of mangoes grown widely. A typical mango tree, if cared carefully can live up to 100 of years.
Propagating it from seed is a bad idea because it may take up to 8 years to produce fruit and even after that there’s no guarantee that if it’ll ever produce a fruit or not and of which variety. The smart idea is to buy a grafted plant. Many mango cultivars are available these days, so it’s best to ask at the local nursery for the dwarf variety that does well in the container.
A grafted mango plant takes at least 3 years to fruit. In its first 3 to 5 years it grows larger and produces fewer flowers and fruits. More productive fruiting starts after the fifth year of planting.
Choosing a Right Variety
A dwarf mango tree grows up to 2 – 4 m. tall and can be tried in containers. There’re some specific dwarf varieties of the mango tree that you can grow in a container— Irwin and Nam Doc Mai are best. Some other varieties you may try are King Thai, Carrie, Cogshall, Glenn, Neelam, and Palmer.
Plant it in a planter according to the current size of the plant and update the planter as the plant gets bigger every year or whenever it’s required.
The Best Time for Planting
The best time for planting mango tree is in spring. However, in their native habitat like India, mangoes are planted before the beginning of the rainy season (July, August) or after the rainy season.
Requirements for Growing Mango Trees in Containers
It needs light, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter, or pH level around 5.5 – 7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral). Instead of using regular soil from the garden, use a high-quality potting mix.
Mango tree needs a lot of sun and heat to thrive. Almost 8-10 hours of exposure to the full sun is required for optimum growth and productivity of the plant. Place container in South facing spot of your garden.
Mango trees grown on the ground don’t require much watering but container grown plants are different. You need to water your mango plant regularly in its first year. After that, start to water it when the top 1 – 2 inches of soil becomes dry.
Mango Tree Care
Feed it with the balanced fertilizer when actively growing. At the beginning of blooming season decrease the amount of nitrogen and feed your mango tree with high in potassium and phosphorus fertilizer.
Pinching and Pruning
Continuous pinching encourages bushier growth. The mango tree doesn’t require a lot of pruning however it’s necessary to remove dead and diseased branches to control its shape. Heavy pruning can decrease the number of fruits in the following year.
Common pests that attack a mango tree are Hoppers, Mealybugs, Scale, and Spider Mites. They reduce the vigor of the tree, which causes fewer fruits. These must be controlled as early as possible using organic pesticides.
Growing Mango Tree In Cold Climates
If you live in a colder region, use dark colored pot because mango tree loves the warmth and black color has a tendency to absorb heat. Make sure your pot has sufficient drainage holes; a mango tree doesn’t like a moist, waterlogged growing medium. Also, you’ll need to cover the pot with bubble wrap when the temperature starts to go below. In winter, moving your mango tree’s pot in a greenhouse or indoors is also a good idea if you’re not growing it in a frost free area.
Place it in a room near a south-facing window which receives at least a meager amount of sunlight during the day. Try to warm up the room, using grow light and special temperature raising halogen lights. You can also cover up your plant to insulate it from cold.
After flowering, mango fruits start to ripe within the next 3-4 month, all depends on the climate and variety you’re growing. In hot and humid climate fruits ripen fast. Pluck fruits when their scent become sweet and tempting. You can harvest unripe fruits too, these are used in making sherbet, pickles, and chutneys.