How To Save Mango Seeds For Planting

Mango trees, Mangifera indica, are common in tropical areas. They grow best in warmer climates and are hardy in zones 9 to 11. Many people enjoy the fruit and some want to grow their own mango tree from seed. It’s possible to save mango seeds from your favorite mango tree and plant them in the ground to grow a new tree.

Mangoes are often propagated by seed or grafting. The outcome or result from the two methods of propagation is different; grafting would give a “true-to-type” fruit, meaning it gives the exact type, shape, and taste of the mother plant. Seeds, on the other hand, would give fruits of different types, shapes, and tastes. The choice of propagating mango depends more on the consumer’s preference and the growing conditions.

Procedures For Removing and Storing Mango Seeds

Only seeds from ripe mangoes can be collected and saved for future planting. The ripening of mango fruits does not only affect the appearance of the consumable part of the fruits, it helps to develop the seeds for future planting. If the mango fruit is ripe, then you can collect its seed. 

Start by washing your mangoes before peeling them. Cut open the fruit and remove its flesh, then slice open the husk and remove its small kernel inside. Care must be taken not to cut the kernel; this can render the seed unfit for planting. 

The kernels can be saved temporarily in paper towels or a paper bag labeled with a permanent marker or sticker, in preparation for long time storage.

mango seeds

Storage and Preservation of Mango seeds

The motive of saving or preserving mango seeds for a long time before planting is almost impossible because there are several factors that determine the viability of mango seeds after storage, the most prominent is the medium of storage.

Mango seeds can be stored and preserved in sand, sawdust, a polyethylene bag with sphagnum moss, and charcoal dust in a desiccator to extend the planting time. The more sophisticated the storage medium is, the longer the mango seeds will last.

According to a publication from Purdue University, Mango seeds stored in charcoal dust in a desiccator with 50% relative humidity can last up to 70 days with up to 80 percent viability. Storing mango seeds in a polyethylene bag with sphagnum moss can only last for 7 days. Extension of the storage period for 2 weeks in this medium would make the seedling grow poorly.

Conditions For Planting Mango Seeds

There are some planting conditions that must be fulfilled for the successful germination of mango seeds. The planting medium, either soil or pot, the soil type, pH level of the soil as well as water. All these must be available at appropriate levels.

Mango seeds can be planted indoor in a pot or container. You can use any type of container as long as it has holes in the bottom for drainage. Potting soil can be added to the container as the source of nutrients the seed needs. The potting soil is different from the normal earth, they are fortified with nutrients with the right pH. Potting soil is well-drained and allows the free flow of water and air for better usage of the plant. 

Alternatively, you can plant mango seeds directly in the soil. Choose a soil that is well-drained with a pH level ranging between 6.0 to 7.0. This will help prevent the seeds from developing fungal diseases and ensure they get enough nutrients and moisture. Adding plant straws as mulch to the top of the soil will help prevent water from pooling from the seeds.

Soil moisture levels must be just right for healthy growth; if the soil is too dry, mango seeds may not germinate at all, and if too wet, the seeds could rot and not sprout out of the ground. It’s best to maintain caution here. And this is why a well-drained soil is important. Water the soil to keep it moist but not soggy.

Fertilizer application is very crucial, particularly at the early stage of mango seed growth. Nutrients from compost or fertilizer can help mango seedlings develop strong root systems and branches.

Planting Mango seeds

When the aforementioned conditions have been satisfied, the mango seeds can then be planted. Irrespective of the planting medium (pot or soil) used. Prior to planting into the soil, mango seeds can be treated with wood ash. It is a natural insecticide and fungicide that can protect the seeds from being eaten up by insects or fungal attacks.

The mango seed can now be planted by placing its edge in an 8-inch deep hole made in the planting medium. Sprouting occurs between 10 to 14 days in a warm, tropical climate but takes up to 3 weeks in cooler climates.

Mango seedlings that were planted in spring will produce fruit sooner than those that are planted later in the year. Generally, mango takes 6 years to start fruiting and reaches peak production at 15 years.  A mango tree can last up to 100 years.

End Notes

I must repeat emphatically that only mango seeds from ripe mango fruits should be planted. Mango seeds can be planted in spring or summer. Mango can be planted directly in the soil or raised to seedlings in pot before transplanting. Aside from planting on the field, mangoes can thrive indoors when growth conditions are optimal.

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