Once I read about a nursery in Florida that grew and sold mango trees in the newspaper. Living the dream, I thought at the time. The nurseryman said they planted the seeds as soon as the fruit was eaten. Moved by the article, I put three slippery mango husks in three pots, set them outside and forgot about them. Likely they got too dry, but they forgot about me and nothing came from those seeds.
Here is the secret to be a successful mango nurseryman. At least the germination secret. The seed husk has to be opened and inside is the actual seed. The fibrous husk protects that precious seed and you are going to have to get it out of it’s protective shield. Once you retrieve it you can see where the sprout is folded up against it and the root bud ready to grow.
After you’ve sliced your mango for breakfast save those seed husks. I squeeze off all remaining juice and pulp with my hands under running water. On one side of the husk it’s a little softer and not a hard rim, that is the side to work on opening. You can just use your thumbnail to pry open, other times a simple, table knife will help. Just be careful you do not cut into actual seed or your finger.
Next I use the paper towel germination method. Wet a few paper towels, gently wring out so it’s not dripping wet, and loosely wrap the seed in it. (This will keep the moisture steady so it won’t dry out or be too wet.)
The paper towel seed parcel can go in a plastic grocery bag folded loosely with an air pocket in it. I check on them every other day, open and have a look, if it needs more moisture, I sprinkle a little water on the paper towel and rewrap.
The precious cargo is placed in a cupboard where no one can come along, open the bag and be baffled enough to ask, “What is this?” To an untrained eye it doesn’t look like a seed. A person might think it’s a piece of wet bark, in other words nothing worth saving, yet it is brimming with life inside.
After a week you should see the root and stem growing. Cheers!
You can pot up at this time or continue on a few more days but that sprout will need light so it’s best to pot up right away and keep it where you can keep a watchful on it, or them, if germinating more than one. Why not a mango orchard? You could gift them over the holidays if you think you have too many.
These trees can eventually reach 100 feet but the thrill is growing them from your very own seeds.
Possibly you could trim the sapling, wire it for bonsai and keep it on the small side or grow on in a heated greenhouse. It can set on a warm sunny windowsill through Winter as well. If you like something enough you will find a comfortable place for it.
Note: The paper towel germination method works great for dahlias, sweet peas and a host of other seeds.
Some good mango varieties are:
- Nam Doc Mai
- Golden Globe
Until tomorrow…Find some good mango recipes here while you wait for your mango tree to germinate.