Can I Grow a Mango Tree From a Pit? How To Plant Mango Seeds

You can grow a mango tree from a pit. With the right conditions and care, the pit of the mango can germinate and sprout, eventually maturing into a fruit-bearing mango tree.

However, extra care is needed to protect the seedling from cold, and repotting will be necessary as the tree grows.

In this guide, you’ll discover the step-by-step process to successfully transform a mango pit into a beautiful little mango plant.

Whether you plan to keep the mango as a decorative houseplant or hope for it to one day produce fruit in a sunny garden, it’s crucial to know the ins and outs.

We’ll discuss the ideal temperature and soil conditions, preparing the seed, the various germination methods, seedling care, and more to ensure your mango seed thrives.

Key Takeaways

  • Growing a mango tree from seed requires patience, often taking 5-8 years for the tree to bear fruit.
  • There are multiple methods to germinate a mango seed, including planting directly in soil or using the paper towel method.
  • Proper care, from selecting and preparing the seed to managing pests and diseases, is crucial for successful growth.
  • Not all seeds will produce fruit, and the quality can vary, but grafting can increase the chances of obtaining desired fruit qualities.

Selecting and Preparing the Seed

Choosing the right mango seed is crucial for successful germination. Depending on your chosen variety, the mango seed will be either polyembryonic or monoembryonic.

Polyembryonic seeds have several seeds inside one husk, making them more likely to germinate successfully.

Also, not every mango seed you encounter will be viable, so it might be wise to try several at the same time to boost your odds of success. Here are steps to guide you:

  1. The first step to growing mangoes starts right in the grocery store. Opt for a ripe mango that is soft to the touch. This indicates the seed inside is mature and likely to sprout.
  2. After enjoying the mango fruit, you’ll be left with the husk containing the seed. Use scissors or a knife to gently open the husk, ensuring you don’t damage the seed inside.
  3. Scrub off any leftover fruit from the husk and the seed inside. This prevents mold and fosters better germination conditions.
  4. Let the seed air-dry for a day or two indoors away from direct sunlight. This prepares the seed for planting and reduces the chance of rotting.

How To Grow a Mango Tree From a Pit

Growing a mango tree from a pit is a fulfilling journey, and with the right approach, your efforts will blossom into beautiful foliage and, possibly, fruit.

While a mango tree might thrive outdoors in tropical and sub-tropical climates, it’s essential to start the process indoors, especially if you live in a cooler climate.

Remember that patience is crucial. Growing a mango tree from seed is a long-term commitment, but with care, you’ll witness the beauty of nature unfold right before your eyes.

  1. Choose a container with good drainage. This ensures excess water escapes, preventing root rot.
  2. Mango seeds prefer a well-draining potting mix. Mix in some compost for added nutrients. The soil should be moist but not soggy.
  3. Create a small hole, about 3 inches deep, in the center of the pot. Place your prepared mango seed horizontally in the hole, and cover it with soil.
  4. Water the soil gently until it’s moist but not drenched. Mango seeds require consistent moisture to germinate but avoid overwatering.
  5. Ideally, keep the container in a warm location with indirect sunlight. The temperature plays a significant role in germination. A consistent temperature of around 70°F (21°C) is ideal.
  6. Within a few weeks, if the seed is viable, you’ll see a sprout emerging from the soil. This means your mango seed has germinated and started its journey to become a mango tree.
  7. As your mango seedling grows, ensure it gets a good amount of indirect sunlight. Rotate the container occasionally for even growth.

The Paper Towel Method for Seed Germination

The paper towel method is a tried-and-true technique that many gardening enthusiasts swear by.

It offers a clear view of the germination process and can sometimes speed up the time it takes for a mango seed to sprout.

It also often leads to a stronger initial root system, giving your mango seedling a healthy start.

  1. Once you’ve removed the seed from the husk, clean it to ensure no mango fruit remains. This can deter mold growth.
  2. Take a paper towel, and dampen it with water. Ensure it’s moist but not dripping wet.
  3. Lay the cleaned mango seed on one side of the moist paper towel. Fold the other half over the seed so it’s fully enveloped.
  4. Gently place the wrapped seed inside a plastic bag. This creates a mini-greenhouse effect, maintaining humidity, which is vital for germination.
  5. Store the bag in a warm place, ideally at a consistent temperature of around 70°F (21°C). Ensure it’s away from direct sunlight but somewhere it can get a little ambient light.
  6. Inspect the seed every few days. Within several weeks, you should witness the cotyledon leaves starting to emerge. Once these are about 2-3 inches long, it’s time to plant the seed in soil.
  7. Gently remove the seed from the paper towel, and plant it in a pot filled with potting mix, ensuring the roots are well covered.

Planting Mango Seeds Directly in the Garden

Planting mango seeds directly in the garden is an approach suited for those living in tropical and sub-tropical climates where the outdoor temperature and soil conditions are conducive year round.

  1. Mango trees love sunny spots. Select a location in your garden that receives ample sunlight throughout the day.
  2. Ensure the soil is fertile and drains well. You can enhance the soil quality by mixing in some compost and organic fertilizer. Mango trees do not favor waterlogged conditions, so a raised bed or elevated spot is ideal.
  3. Dig a hole about 4 inches deep. Position the prepared mango seed horizontally, and cover it with soil.
  4. After planting the mango seed, water the area thoroughly, but ensure there’s no water pooling.
  5. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  6. As the seed germinates and the seedling grows, it might require protection from extreme conditions like heavy rainfall or very hot sunlight. Consider placing a temporary shade or guard.
  7. With the right conditions, your mango seed will sprout and eventually grow into a mango tree. It’s important to keep in mind potential pests and ensure you provide the tree with the necessary nutrients as it grows.

Caring for Your Mango Seedling

Nurturing a young mango seedling ensures a healthy growth trajectory. Here’s a detailed guide to help your mango plant thrive:

Mango seedlings require plenty of indirect sunlight. If you started your plant indoors, place it near a sunny window, but shield it from harsh midday sun to prevent scorching.

While it’s crucial to keep the soil moist, overwatering can be detrimental. Water when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.

Always ensure that the container has proper drainage to avoid root rot.

Once the seedling is a few weeks old, it’ll benefit from regular feeding. Use a balanced fertilizer to promote both foliage and fruit growth.

Use a fertilizer specifically designed for mangoes for even better results (find it here).

Young plants can attract pests like aphids or spider mites. Regularly inspect the leaves and stems for any signs of pests and treat them accordingly. Natural remedies, such as neem oil, can be effective.

As your mango seedling grows, it may require some pruning to encourage a strong and bushy growth pattern.

Use clean scissors to snip off the tip of the main stem once it’s about a foot tall. This promotes branching.

While mangoes love warmth, be wary of extreme temperature drops. If you’re growing the seedling indoors or in a non-tropical climate, ensure the room temperature stays above 50°F (10°C).

A mango seedling with new red leaves in a pot.

When and How To Transplant Your New Mango Plant

Transplanting is a crucial phase in the life of your mango plant. Doing it correctly ensures your plant continues to flourish.

Once the mango seedling has reached a height of 6-8 inches and its roots are well-developed but not circling the container, it’s time to consider transplantation.

If you’re not planting directly in the garden, choose a container that’s at least twice the size of the current one. Ensure it has adequate drainage holes.

Fill the new container with a well-draining potting mix enriched with compost. This ensures the mango plant from seed gets the nutrients it needs.

Gently remove the mango seedling from its current pot. Make sure you get as much of the root ball as possible.

Place it in the center of the new pot, and cover it with soil, pressing down gently to remove any air pockets.

Water the newly transplanted mango plant thoroughly. For the next few weeks, keep the soil consistently moist, and shield the plant from extreme conditions to help it acclimate.

After transplanting, your new mango plant might experience a bit of transplant shock, indicated by slowed growth or drooping leaves. However, with proper care, it should bounce back quickly.

When To Expect Your First Harvest

Growing a mango tree from seed is an exercise in patience. The journey from seed to fruit-bearing tree can vary considerably:

Typically, mango trees grown from seeds take anywhere from 5 to 8 years to produce their first fruit.

This can seem like a long wait, especially when compared to grafted trees, which can fruit within three to four years.

It’s essential to keep in mind that not all mango seeds produce trees that bear fruit. Factors like genetics, soil quality, sunlight, and care play a significant role.

There’s no guarantee that the fruit from a seed-grown tree will taste like the original fruit from which you obtained your seed.

This is because many mangoes from the grocery store are hybrids or monoembryonic, and the seed might not produce a clone of the parent tree.

Grafting a mature, fruit-bearing stem onto a seedling can increase the chances of producing fruit sooner and guarantee the fruit quality.

This process can be a bit technical, so doing thorough research or consulting with a nursery can be beneficial.

A mango tree with purple-red fruits ready for harvest.

Common Pests, Diseases, and Problems

When nurturing a mango tree from seed, several challenges might arise. With diligent care and frequent tree inspections, many of these potential issues can be avoided.


Mango trees can attract a variety of pests, including:

  • Aphids: Small insects that can weaken the plant by sucking sap from leaves.
  • Mango Fruit Flies: These pests lay eggs in developing fruit, leading to fruit rot.
  • Scale: They appear as small bumps on leaves and stems, sucking plant sap.


The same diseases that plague mature trees can infect your seedling. Watch for:

  • Anthracnose: A fungal disease causing dark spots on leaves and fruit. It thrives in wet conditions.
  • Powdery Mildew: It appears as a white powdery substance on leaves and can stunt growth.
  • Bacterial Black Spot: This disease causes black spots on leaves, leading to premature leaf drop.

Growing Issues

Hopefully, you won’t ever face the following issues, but you should be aware that they are rather common problems seen in developing mango trees.

  • Poor Fruit Set: Even if the tree flowers, it might not produce fruit. This can be due to inadequate pollination or unfavorable weather conditions.
  • Dropping Young Fruit: If the tree is not receiving adequate water or nutrients, it may drop young fruit before they mature.
  • Slow Growth: Inadequate sunlight, poor soil quality, or both can result in stunted growth.

Prevention and Treatment

Regularly inspect your mango tree for signs of pests or disease. Using natural predators like ladybugs can manage aphids.

Fungal diseases can often be prevented by ensuring good air circulation around the tree through pruning and avoiding water on the foliage.

For bacterial and fungal infections, consider organic fungicides like this one. Lastly, ensure that the mango tree is receiving adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients for optimal growth.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Long Does It Take To Grow a Mango Tree From a Pit?

A mango tree grown from seed typically takes 5 to 8 years to bear fruit, and the fruit it bears might not resemble the original fruit from which you took the seed.

However, grafted trees can produce fruit in as little as three to four years.

Do Mango Seeds Need To Be Dried Before Planting?

Once you remove the seed from the husk, you can plant it directly in the soil or use the paper towel method for germination.

However, it’s typically recommended to allow the seed to dry for at least 24 hours before you plant it.

How Do You Open a Mango Pit To Get the Seed?

To get the seed inside the fruit’s pit, use a sharp pair of scissors or a knife to carefully cut around the husk’s edge.

Pry open the husk to reveal the seed. Be gentle to avoid damaging the seed inside.

Will a Mango Tree Grown From Seed Produce Fruit?

While many mango trees grown from seed will produce fruit, there’s no guarantee of the fruit’s quality or taste.

Depending on the variety of mango you chose, the fruit may or may not be an exact clone of the parent.

Can a Broken Mango Seed Grow?

It’s unlikely for a broken seed to germinate successfully. It’s always best to use a whole, undamaged seed for the best chances of growth.

Now You Know How To Grow a Mango From Seed

Embarking on the journey to grow a mango tree from seed is both rewarding and educational.

While the process requires patience, with the right approach and care, you can witness the transformation from a simple seed to a luscious fruit-bearing tree.

Whether you choose to grow a mango as a houseplant or aim for a fruit-bearing tree, the knowledge and experience gained are invaluable.