Mango is tart,spicy and sweet in flavor. Also called as king of fruits, it’s a fruit of tropical plant called mango tree, which is not frost tolerant and dies easily if temperature drops below 30 F. It needs lot of space to grow, too. If you’re short of space or live in colder zone then growing a mango tree on ground is impossible. Good news is that you can grow mango tree in pot.
USDA Zones — 9 to 11, *can be grown in zone 7 & 8, too
Difficulty — Moderate
Botanical Name — Mangifera Indica
Propagating it from seed is a bad idea because it may take up to 8 year to produce fruit and even after that there’s no guarantee if it’ll ever produce fruit or not and of which variety. The smart idea is to buy a plant. There are lots of varieties of mangoes so it’s best to ask in local nursery for the dwarf variety that does well in container.
Choosing right variety & Planting
A dwarf mango tree grows up to 2-4 m. tall and is suitable for container. There’re some specific dwarf varieties of mango tree that you can grow in container— Irwin and Nam doc mai are best. Some other varieties you may try are King Thai, carrie, cogshall, glenn and Palmer.
Plant it in a planter according to the size of plant and regularly update the planter as the plant gets bigger. If you live in colder region, use dark colored pot because mangoes loves heat and black color has tendency to absorb it. Make sure your pot has good drainage holes; a mango tree doesn’t like moist soil. You’ll need too move your mango tree pot indoors in winter if you don’t live in frost free area so make sure you can move your container easily.
*The best time to plant it is spring, however it depends on variety.
A Mango tree grown on its native place can grow huge, up to 32 meters tall, although it depends on the variety. There’re more than 500+ varieties of mangoes grown widely. A typical mango tree, if rightly cared may live up to 100 of years.
A grafted mango tree takes at least 3 years to fruit. In its first 3 to 5 years it grows larger and produce less flowers and fruits. More productive fruiting starts after the fifth year of planting.
It needs well drained soil, rich in organic matter that’ll dry out easily, of pH level around 5- 6.5. Use high quality potting mix and add compost or manure and perlite in it for a healthy growth of plant.
Mango tree needs lots of sun and heat to thrive. Almost 8-10 hours of full sun is required for optimum growth and productivity of plant. Place container in South faced spot of your garden as south faced spots receive more intense and proper sunlight than other directions.
Mango trees grown on 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 top 2 inch of soil becomes dry. Increase watering when it’s flowering and producing fruits.
Feed it with balanced fertilizer when actively growing. In the beginning of blooming season decrease the amount of nitrogen and feed with high in potassium and phosphorus fertilizer. *Don’t fertilize after august.
Pinching and Pruning
Continuous pinching encourages bushier growth. Mango tree doesn’t require lot of pruning however it’s necessary to prune dead and diseased branches and control its shape. Heavy pruning can decrease amount of fruits in following year.
Common pests that attack mango tree are Hoppers, Mealybugs, Scale, and Spider Mites. They reduce the vigor of tree, which causes less fruits. These must be controlled as early as possible using organic pesticides.
Care in Winters
If you live in colder climate and still want to grow mango tree in container then you’ll need to care it very much in winters: Move it indoors when temperature falls below the freezing point. Place it in a room near a window which receive at least a meager sunlight in 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.