Mangos are exotic, aromatic fruit trees that absolutely abhor cold temps. Flowers and fruit drop if temperatures dip below 40 degrees F. (4 C.), even if only briefly. If temps drop further, like below 30 degrees F. (-1 C.), severe damage occurs to the mango. Since many of us don’t live in such consistently warm regions, you might be wondering how to grow mango trees in pots, or even if it’s possible. Read on to learn more.
Can You Grow Mango in a Pot?
Yes, growing mango trees in containers is possible. In fact, they will often thrive container grown, especially the dwarf varieties.
Mangos are native to India, hence their love of warm temperatures. The large varieties make excellent shade trees and can grow up to 65 feet (20 m.) in height and live as long as 300 years still fruitful! Whether you live in a cool climate or just plain don’t have space for a 65-foot (20 m.) tree, there are several dwarf varieties perfect for a container grown mango tree.
How to Grow a Mango in a Pot
Dwarf mango trees are perfect as container grown mango trees; they only grow to between 4 and 8 feet (1 and 2.4 m.). They do well in USDA zones 9-10, but you can fool Mother Nature by growing them indoors if you can fulfill the mangoes’ heat and light requirements, or if you have a greenhouse.
The best time to plant a container mango is in the spring. Select a dwarf variety such as Carrie or Cogshall, a smaller hybrid like Keit, or even one of the smaller sized regular mango trees, such as Nam Doc Mai, that can be pruned to keep small.
Choose a pot that is 20 inches by 20 inches (51 by 51 cm.) or larger with drainage holes. Mangos need excellent drainage, so add a layer of broken pottery to the bottom of the pot and then a layer of crushed gravel.
You will need a lightweight, yet highly nutritive, potting soil for a container grown mango tree. An example is 40% compost, 20% pumice and 40% forest floor mulch.
Because the tree plus the pot and dirt will be heavy and you want to be able to move it around, place the pot atop a plant caster stand. Fill the pot half way with potting soil and center the mango onto the soil. Fill the pot with the soil media up to 2 inches (5 cm.) from the rim of the container. Firm the soil down with your hand and water the tree well.
Now that your mango tree has been potted, what further mango container care is needed?
Mango Container Care
It is a good idea to side dress the container with about 2 inches (5 cm.) of organic mulch, which will aid in water retention as well as feed the plant as the mulch breaks down. Fertilize each spring through summer with fish emulsion according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Keep the tree in a warm area with at least 6 hours of sun. Water the mango a few times a week during warm months and once every two weeks in the winter.
It might be hard to do, but snip off the first year’s flowers. This will stimulate growth in your mango. Prune the mango in the late winter or early spring to maintain a container friendly size. Before the mango bears fruit, stake the limbs to give them additional support.