Without doubt, the fruit of the tropical mango tree - Mangifera indica is one of the most flavoursome and succulent of all the fleshy stone fruits available in the modern supermarket! Native to Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Burma and India, the popularity of mango fruit has resulted it in being distributed worldwide and it has now become one of the most produced fruits in the tropics.
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To grow a mango from seed first choose a fully ripened fruit that has proven exceptional flavour. This is of course decided by eating its flesh. A fully ripened mango should be plump, feel heavy for its size and will be fragrant when held to the nose. You should also be able to slightly indent it with your thumb without it feeling mushy.
Remove as much of the flesh as possible with a suitable knife, but avoid cutting into the seed. If you like you any remaining flesh can be taken off with a non-abrasive scourer. Allow the seed to dry for a day or so and using course sandpaper or steel wool rub the seed down on one side just enough to break through the seed coat and expose the seed beneath.
Place the seed in a glass of water large enough for it to be fully submerged and place in a warm area such as an airing cupboard or by a radiator. The seed will need to remain submerged for two weeks, just make sure the water is changed on a daily basis otherwise it can begin to smell and may affect the viability of the seed.
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If you are starting your mango tree in a pot then choose one large enough to accommodate it, but not so large that it will be too heavy to move when it is planted. Use a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No1 or No 2' but will a 3:1 mix of horticultural grit or perlite for extra drainage. You mango seedling should emerge after 10 days or so. water your young mango tree regularly, but do not allow it to become waterlogged. Give a half dose of liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks over the growing season.
Place in a sunny sheltered position, but if you live in a frost-prone area then your mango tree will need to be brought in under protection once temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius.
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