As you probably know, mangoes are a sweet fruit that comes from a tree and is used in many dishes and desserts. But do you know anything beyond that, like how or where mango trees grow?
Mango trees typically live well past 100 years and can produce fruit until the late stages of their life cycle. Mango trees planted from seeds will take roughly 8 years to produce fruit, while mango trees planted from saplings will take up to 5 years to produce mangoes.
Before we dive any deeper into those intricate details about mango trees, let’s take a moment to get back to the basics, shall we? To talk about how a mango tree grows, we should first give a mention to the mangoes themselves, the reason why these trees are so loved. Let’s get into it!
What Is A Mango?
A mango is, of course, a sweet fruit that comes from a tree…but it is also so much more!
Native to South Asia, this fruit is one of the most highly cultivated tropical fruits.
The flesh of the mango (the part you eat) is typically yellow or orange, but the skin can be quite the range of colors! You can see red, yellow, orange, green, or perhaps a mixture of them all in the skin of a mango. It just depends on the stage in the ripening process and some other chemical processes that impact the outward appearance of the mango.
The type of fruit is called a ‘stone fruit’ which is exactly what it sounds like.
Why Is A Mango A Stone Fruit?
Stone fruit is a type of fruit that contains, you guessed it, a stone (or a pit.)
Did you know, though, that the pit itself is not the seed of these sorts of fruit?
The seed is found inside of the stone, which can be cut open to retrieve the seed. This is an important nuisance to be aware of if you are looking to grow a mango tree directly from a mango seed.
Popular stone fruits are peaches, mangoes, apricots, cherries, nectarines, plums, and dates.
What Type Of Tree Is A Mango Tree?
Mango trees are evergreen and their leaves last for many years at a time.
As one of the most widely cultivated tropical fruits in the world, mangoes’ variability in color and size is not the only part of this plant that is adaptable.
These trees can live for quite some time and can produce fruit quite late into their lifespan.
Speaking of which, let’s finally dive into the lifespan of a mango tree.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Mango Tree?
Alright, alright- we are finally getting to the part that you are here for!
A mango tree lives for well over 100 years, producing fruit well into the late stages of its life.
Let’s dive into the different stages of a mango tree’s life, from planting to maturity to the end of it all. Here are some of the things you can expect as you work to grow and maintain a mango tree:
Early Mango Tree Lifespan And Planting
To plant a mango tree from the seed, you have to start with the pit and the rest will follow.
Follow these easy steps to procure a mango seed and plant yourself a tree!
- Cut open your mango to reach the pit (aka the stone.)
- Clean the pit until you can see the husk without much extra mango on it.
- Grab a pair of heavy-duty scissors and cut the pit open.
- Squeeze the mango seed out of the husk of the pit.
- If the seed has any extra coating around it, clean this off.
- Wrap your seed into a wet paper towel and place it inside a bag until it sprouts. Check often to be sure that you don’t leave your seed for too long.
- Plant the seed in potting soil.
- Watch your tree begin to grow!
- You’ll need to re-pot the mango tree as it grows, eventually placing the tree directly in the ground.
You will want to start by covering the roots of your not-quite-mature mango tree, especially any newly planted trees or shrubs, with a few inches of shredded mulch. 3-4 inches of this layer should do the trick to create some insulation around the base of the tree. Creating a mulch donut of sorts, pulling the mulch to about 6 inches around the trunk on every side, will ensure that any stray roots will not be subject to the freezing temperatures.
If there are any cracks in the soil around your tree as you are completing this first step, you’ll want to make sure that they are filled in with new soil before you move on.
If you wish to grow a mango tree without having to purchase the actual fruit itself, you can look into products like these prepared Dichondra Fresh Mango Seeds.
Growing Mango Trees To Maturity
If you are planting a mango tree from the seed, you should expect to wait 5-8 years before getting any fruit.
However, planting seeds is not the only way to go. Planting saplings will help you lower your wait time as you patiently let the tree mature long enough to bear fruit.
A mango tree sapling will bear fruit about 4 years after it is planted, significantly less than a mango tree planted from seed.
This is no surprise, as saplings are often already a few years old by the time of purchase, but can be an important factor to remember if getting fruit sooner is your ultimate goal.
End Of Life For Mango Trees
Information from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse tells us that the oldest living mango tree is 300 years old and still produces fruit! This tree can be found in East Khandesh, in India.
So, that mango trees can live over 100 years feels almost like an understatement. These trees have quite a long lifespan and the ability to produce fruit until the end of the tree’s life says a lot about the vicarious nature of this tree.
How Long Can A Mango Tree Produce Fruit?
After flowering, a mango tree takes three to five months for the fruit to ripen.
These trees can begin producing fruit as young as 5 years after being planted from the seed and can bear fruit until the very end of their lifespan as seen by the 300-year-old mango tree in India that continues to bear fruit.
This means that mango trees produce fruit from early mature life until the very end.
Theoretically, if every tree lived as long as the oldest tree, each plant could bear 295 years’ worth of fruit.
How To Grow A Mango Tree
As a reminder, you can plant a mango tree from the seed in a few simple steps.
- Cut open your mango.
- Clean the pit.
- Cut the pit open.
- Squeeze the mango seed out.
- If the seed has any extra coating, clean it.
- Wrap your seed into a wet paper towel and place it inside a bag until it sprouts. Check often.
- Plant the seed in potting soil.
- Watch your tree begin to grow!
- You’ll need to re-pot the mango tree as it grows.
These few steps are important factors to plant a tree, but there is more that goes into growing the tree itself.
If you want to start your mango seedlings off on the right foot, try out some good seedling mixes such as this Sun Gro 8-Quart Mix!
The basis of a healthy tree starts at its origin, so making sure to take external factors into your planting plans can make a big difference.
Then, as your tree grows you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how you maintain it to keep a healthy mango tree with great fruit.
Best Time Of Year For Growing And Harvesting Mangos
Mango is harvested in the warmer months of late spring and summer, but when should you plant a mango tree for best results?
Late winter to early spring is the best time to plant a mango tree.
This is because the plant does not actively grow during this point of the year and will be better able to get situated in the soil before active growth continues in the warmer months of the year.
Best Location For Growing Mangos
Where do mangoes grow best, exactly?
Mango trees are best suited for a tropical climate, really anywhere in the USDA hardiness zone 9 and above.
This means, essentially, that you should be planting a mango tree in an area where the temperature does not dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Areas that do not tend to have a frost are the prime candidates for these trees, like warm regions of Hawaii,California, Florida, and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico.
No matter where you plan to plant your mango tree, it is important to be aware of hardiness zones and their implications.
Fertilize Your Mangos To Maximize Their Lifespan
If you have been reading our pieces for a while now, you know that fertilizer is the name of the game.
While this does not plant food, as it is often (and incorrectly) referred to, it does act as a way to help trees and other plants absorb more of those oh-so-important nutrients that they need.
You can fertilize your mango tree 3 times a year, during each season that is not winter, starting at a lower amount when the tree is young and increasing slightly to adjust to the larger size of the tree as it matures.
Though mango, by definition, is not a citrus, the tree does require many of the same nutrients to grow at a healthy, stable rate.
Balanced fertilizers, but a little high in nitrogen content, will be best for these types of trees.
When looking for certain specific nutrients, you’ll want to keep an eye out for phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen (the big 3 of fertilizers), manganese, zinc, and iron.
The big three will show up pretty clearly in the N/P/K ratio (standing for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) while the other types of nutrients may need to be sought after a little more.
Speaking of the big three and ratios, if you see fertilizer with the numbers 5-5-5, 6-6-6, or 8-3-9-2 (the 2 is an add-on and refers to magnesium), you can safely bet that you’re purchasing the right type of fertilizer.
If you are having troubles with your tree even after fertilizing, it could be a pest issue. Check out this article on 9 Different Animals And Insects That Live In Trees.
This Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer is a great option, with an NPK of 5-5-2, it is a well-balanced fertilizer with extra emphasis on stimulating healthy root development.
Ways To Use Mangos From Your Mango Tree
So, now that you know how to plant, grow, and sustain a mango tree, what can you do with the fruit? There are so many dishes to make with mango that you won’t even know where to start!
Mango Sticky Rice
This Thai classic is a favorite among locations, served as a slightly sweet dessert for those who prefer the flavors of this fruit more than a dish completely lost to the sugar content.
If you’re looking to get kids to eat more fruit, this could be a fun start– add in some blueberries along with the sticky rice and condensed milk for a fun yet healthier dessert dish.
This warm and filling dish can be eaten at any time of year, warm or cold!
On a similar note, if you’re looking to reap some benefits of mango without all the processing that you’ll find in store-bought popsicles, buy some mangoes and create your own!
Be sure to have a bit of lime juice, some honey for sweetness, and fresh water on hand to blend with your mango chunks. You’ll have a refreshing summer treat in the time it takes to freeze (though popsicles also pair well with a relaxing day at home, staying out of the winter cold- no judgment here!)
Looking for a fresh way to use all that produce you bought for the holiday gatherings? Whip up a quick and easy mango salsa using some peppers, onions, mangoes, tomatoes, lime juice, and whatever else you have sitting around the kitchen.
Use as a dip with some chips or chop the veggies into larger chunks and eat it as a salad. You’ll love this dish and all of the crisp, fresh flavors that are mixed in.
Salmon With Mango Sauce
Bake some salmon and use mango salsa, or any sort of version you concoct, to top it off. You can balance the crispy edges of the fish with the softer, lighter pieces of mango to create a meal that feels as delightful to eat as it does healthy to prepare.
Shrimp Tacos With Mango Salsa
On the note of using a sauce or salsa, why stop at chips and salmon? Let’s talk tacos!
Make some shrimp tacos ( white fish tacos pair well, too) and add some purple cabbage, a spicy sauce, and mango salsa on top. This combination of textures and flavors combines to make the perfect lunch that feels balanced yet yummy.
The University of Southern California notes that a mango lassi recipe can provide 39% of the daily calcium recommendation in just a little drink.
This creamy yogurt drink originates in India, home to the oldest mango tree currently producing fruit as well as one of the biggest consumers of mango in the world.
Combine mango pulp, yogurt, and a dash of carbonated water with a few other ingredients to easily re-create this healthy yet tasty treat.
Mango Fruit Salad
Why go for a regular, boring fruit salad when you can add mango and elevate any version of a fruit salad immediately?
Combine some apples, grapes, mango, raspberry, strawberries, and blueberries to make a semi-tropical fusion fruit salad that takes ‘regular’ and spins it on its head.
The taste is great but the antioxidants and vitamins that these salad packs are more than enough reason to give this dish a try.
Another Indian dish, chutney is a gluten-free savory condiment that can be used with a whole spread of different foods.
Mango chutney in particular is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, along with other antioxidants and heart-healthy factors.
This is also, like most other mango dishes, a great way to get some extra iron in your diet when needed.
Finally, one more sweet dessert dish that is easy to make, has a great taste and will leave you feeling like your final course didn’t go to waste.
This light relative of ice cream is great after a heavier meal when you want something else, without feeling much fuller.
Well, that’s all we’ve got for now.
If the bad pun didn’t scare you away, feel free to check out some more pieces on more trees here anytime!
Remember these important facts about mangoes as a fruit, the lifespan of the trees, how to grow them, and more!
If you ever forget, just pop back over to this piece for a refresher. We like to do all the deep-diving for information so that you don’t have to you’re welcome!
If you are ever are interested in mango trees and how their roots work, you can check out this article on the 6 Best Fruit Trees That Have Shallow Roots.
Also, keep some of these recipe ideas in mind- they might come in handy in a few years when your tree is producing plenty of mangoes and you’re trying to keep some new dishes in the rotation.
Thank you for taking the time to read, I hope you learned lots of new information about mangoes and their trees. We invite you to stop back sometime and check out a little more.
Remember, we are always here to help you along your tree journey.
Boudon, F., Persello, S., Grechi, I., Marquier, A., Soria, C., Fournier, C., … & Normand, F. (2018, August). Assessing the role of aging and light availability in leaf mortality in the mango tree. In XXX International Horticultural Congress IHC2018: International Symposium on Cultivars, Rootstocks and Management Systems of 1281 (pp. 601-608).
Wall‐Medrano, A., Olivas‐Aguirre, F. J., Ayala‐Zavala, J. F., Domínguez‐Avila, J. A., Gonzalez‐Aguilar, G. A., Herrera‐Cazares, L. A., & Gaytan‐Martinez, M. (2020). Health Benefits of Mango By‐products. Food Wastes and By‐products: Nutraceutical and Health Potential, 159-191.
Boudon, F., Persello, S., Grechi, I., Marquier, A., Soria, C., Fournier, C., … & Normand, F. (2018, August). Assessing the role of ageing and light availability in leaf mortality in the mango tree. In XXX International Horticultural Congress IHC2018: International Symposium on Cultivars, Rootstocks and Management Systems of 1281 (pp. 601-608).