How To Grow a Mango Tree in a Pot or Container Step by Step

You can absolutely grow a mango tree in a pot. Many garden enthusiasts, especially those in cooler climates, opt for this method. It allows flexibility in terms of moving the tree around for optimal sun exposure and protecting it from harsh winter temperatures.

In this guide, you’ll discover the best mango varieties suited for pots and how to properly plant, care for, and harvest your very own potted mango tree.

From the soil’s composition and the tree’s pruning requirements to the first flower and the ripe fruits, every aspect of growing mango trees in pots will be explored.

Learn about the different growth stages, the unique needs of dwarf mango varieties, and the importance of USDA Zones for tropical plants like the mango. Success is just around the corner!

Key Takeaways

  • Mango trees, especially dwarf varieties, can be successfully grown in pots or containers.
  • Proper care, such as adequate sunlight, regular watering, and nutrient balance, is crucial for a thriving mango tree.
  • Challenges like pests, diseases, and overwintering need proactive measures and timely interventions.
  • With patience and dedication, potted mango trees can produce delectable fruit, bringing tropical flavors to your home.

Best Mango Varieties for Growing in a Pot

Most mango varieties are best suited for tropical and subtropical locations.

However, when grown in pots and with proper care, they can be adapted to cooler climates, especially if you plan on moving the pot indoors during colder months.

If you live in a climate that experiences cold winters, select varieties like ‘Cogshall’ and ‘Dwarf Hawaiian’, which are hardier and can tolerate cooler temperatures better than some other varieties.

Here are some of the best mango varieties perfect for pot cultivation:


This dwarf mango variety is one of the top choices for container cultivation. The Cogshall mango tree will grow to between 4 and 8 feet tall, making it well-suited for smaller spaces like balconies or patios.

It’s native to Florida and offers sweet, red-orange fruit. It’s a relatively early fruiter, and it’ll often bear in its fifth year or even earlier under optimal conditions.


Another dwarf variety, Carrie is known for its exceptional flavor and relatively compact growth habit.

It typically reaches a height of around 8 feet when grown in pots. Its fruit is smooth, without fibers, and boasts a sweet and tart taste.


Two Alphonso mangoes on mango leaves.

While not a true dwarf variety, the Alphonso, often referred to as the “King of Mangoes,” is well-suited to pot cultivation when regularly pruned to maintain size.

Native to India, this variety produces fragrant, rich, and sweet fruit with a hint of citrus and is considered one of the best-tasting mangoes globally.

Dwarf Hawaiian

True to its name, this variety stays quite compact, which is perfect for container gardening. It’s known for its vibrant fruit that has a hint of peach flavor.

Despite its smaller stature, it doesn’t skimp on fruit production, providing ample yields when cared for properly.


Reaching a mature height of just 6 feet when grown in pots, the Pickering is a natural choice for those with limited space.

It doesn’t require much pruning to maintain its size. The fruit is yellow, with a sweet, creamy texture and minimal fiber.

Planting a Mango Tree in a Pot

Planting a mango tree in a pot allows garden enthusiasts, even those in cooler climates, to enjoy this tropical fruit.

The process, while straightforward, requires attention to detail to ensure the tree thrives.

1. Choose a Pot

The initial growth and long-term health of your mango tree largely depend on the container you choose. Select a pot that is lightweight yet sturdy with ample drainage holes.

The pot should be large enough to accommodate the mango tree’s root ball and provide space for growth.

However, don’t get a pot that’s too big, or all the extra soil that isn’t filled with roots will retain too much moisture and could lead to root rot.

Starting with a pot that’s at least 18 to 24 inches in diameter is recommended.

2. Soil Preparation

While mangoes are not overly fussy about soil, a well-draining potting mix is essential. Mix in organic compost for added nutrients.

The soil should be firm but not overly compacted, allowing the roots to breathe and absorb water efficiently.

3. Planting the Tree

Place some soil in the bottom of the pot, ensuring that when you position the mango tree, the top of its root ball is about 1-2 inches below the pot’s rim. This provides space for watering.

Gently remove the mango plant from its nursery container, inspecting the root ball. If the roots are too tightly wound, gently tease them apart.

Place the tree in the pot, and fill with soil, pressing down gently to remove air pockets.

4. Watering After Planting

Once you’ve planted the tree, water it thoroughly, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

Over the next few weeks, keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

5. Positioning

Position your newly planted mango tree in a sunny location where it can receive at least six hours of sun daily.

If you’re in a region with intense afternoon heat, consider a spot that offers some afternoon shade, or be prepared to move it around to protect it from the scorching sun.

6. Growth Expectations

In the initial stages, the focus is on root development and establishing a strong foundation for future growth.

It’s common for the mango tree to invest energy in root and foliage growth before it starts flowering.

Ensure it gets the right balance of sun, water, and nutrients to promote healthy growth. Even if you provide the best care possible, there’s little chance it will produce fruits within the first few years.

Planting a Mango Seed in a Container

If you don’t have space in a garden, growing mango trees in containers is an optimal solution.

The adventure often begins by planting a mango seed. Here’s how you can give your mango seed the best start in life within a pot:

  • Always opt for a ripe mango fruit, preferably from a dwarf variety like Cogshall or Dwarf Hawaiian since they’re well-suited for container life.
  • After enjoying the mango, carefully clean the seed to remove all pulp.
  • Once you have a clean seed, use a sharp knife to carefully cut the hard outer husk. Inside, you’ll find a thin seed which will be your starting point.
  • Opt for a pot that’s at least 8 inches deep to start with. Ensure the container has sufficient drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which mango roots despise.
  • A lightweight container is preferable if you want to move it around your balcony or patio.
  • Mango trees appreciate well-draining soil with a touch of acidity. Begin with a balanced potting mix, and consider adding some organic compost to enrich it further.
  • The seed should be planted 2 inches deep into the soil, ensuring the broader side faces downwards.
  • After planting, water the tree lightly. For the initial stages, maintain a slightly moist soil, taking care not to overwater.
  • Place the pot in a warm location, preferably where it can receive at least 6 hours of sun.
  • In a few weeks, you’ll notice the seedling sprouting. During this period, ensure your little mango plant gets all the care it needs to thrive.

How To Grow a Mango Tree in a Pot

When your mango seed first sprouts and becomes a sapling, it’s in a delicate stage of its life. Proper care during this phase can set the foundation for a healthy, fruit-bearing tree in the future.

  • Sapling mango trees require direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours a day. Ensure the pot is placed in a sunny spot. If indoors, a south-facing window can be ideal.
  • Young mango saplings have delicate roots. Water the tree lightly but consistently, ensuring the soil is always moist but never waterlogged.
  • In the early stages, the mango sapling benefits from a balanced fertilizer with a slightly higher amount of nitrogen to support its foliage growth. Apply it once a month.
  • Saplings can be susceptible to pests. Keep an eye out for any signs of insect damage. Using organic methods to counter pests is ideal for young trees.
  • At this stage, you can start shaping your mango tree. Use stakes to help it grow upright, and consider pinching the top growth to encourage bushier growth.
  • Given the rapid growth during this phase, monitor the root ball. When roots begin to circle at the bottom, it’s a signal to shift to a bigger pot.
  • Always be gentle with saplings. Their stems, leaves, and roots are fragile. Handle with care when repotting or relocating.

Potted Mango Tree Care Requirements

A mature mango tree, especially when kept in a pot, has different needs compared to its younger counterpart. Here’s how to ensure it thrives:

  • Sunlight Needs: While mature trees still love the sun, they’re more resilient to occasional shade. Aim for 6 hours of sun daily.
  • Watering: Water the tree every 2-3 times a week during hotter months. During cooler periods, reduce this frequency. Always let the top 2 inches of soil dry out between watering.
  • Fertilization: A mature mango tree requires a balanced feed but with a higher emphasis on potassium and phosphorus to support fruiting. Apply a fertilizer specifically designed for mango trees like this one once every 2-3 months.
  • Pruning: Mature trees need pruning not just for shape but also to remove any dead or diseased branches. This ensures the tree’s energy is directed to healthy growth and fruit production.
  • Pest and Disease Watch: Monitor for common pests like aphids, spider mites, and the occasional mango weevil. Also, keep an eye out for fungal infections, especially if the climate is humid.
  • Repotting: Mature mango trees don’t need frequent repotting. Once every 2-3 years is generally sufficient. Ensure the container chosen can accommodate the tree’s growth for the years ahead.

Indoor Potted Mango Plant

Growing a mango tree indoors offers an attractive alternative for those in cool climates or with limited outdoor space.

However, there are specific care requirements to ensure the tree thrives in an indoor environment.


Mango trees are tropical and thrive best with adequate sunlight. When kept indoors, place them near a large south-facing window, ensuring they receive at least 6-8 hours of sun daily.

You might need to move it around to catch the best light during the day.

Tip: If your mango tree starts dropping leaves or looks unhealthy, it may be receiving too little sunlight. Consider using grow lights as a supplementary light source during darker months.

Climate Control

Mango trees prefer a warm and consistent climate. While indoors, ensure the temperature stays between 70°F to 80°F during the day, dropping no lower than 60°F at night.


Being tropical, mango trees appreciate higher humidity levels. If your indoor environment is dry, consider using a humidifier or placing the pot atop a tray filled with water and pebbles.

This helps increase the surrounding moisture.


Mango trees indoors tend to need less water due to reduced evaporation. Water the tree when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to root rot.


Feed the mango plant with a balanced fertilizer once a month. Given the controlled environment indoors, they might need fewer nutrients compared to their outdoor counterparts.

Overwintering a Potted Mango Tree

Mango trees are sensitive to cold, and if you’re growing them in a region where winters are harsh, taking steps to protect them is crucial.

As temperatures start to dip, consider moving your potted mango tree indoors, especially if you’re outside USDA Zones 10 and 11 where mangoes thrive.

Before the onslaught of winter, begin by placing the tree in a shaded outdoor area for a few days. This gradual transition helps reduce the shock when brought indoors.

In winter, mango trees are less actively growing. This means they need less water. Ensure the top layer of soil dries out before you water again.

Even if indoors, ensure your mango tree receives adequate sunlight. If natural light is insufficient, grow lights can be beneficial.

Cold drafts can be harmful to tropical trees. Position your mango tree away from drafty windows or doors.

Using bubble wrap or a light blanket can offer an additional layer of protection against sudden cold snaps.

Reduce the frequency of feeding during the winter months. If you do fertilize, use a lighter concentration than usual.

Problems To Watch For

Growing mango trees in containers can sometimes present unique challenges compared to their in-garden counterparts. Recognizing problems early and addressing them promptly is key.


  • Aphids: These tiny insects can suck the sap from mango plants, weakening them. They can be dealt with using insecticidal soaps or neem oil.
  • Scale: These small, flat insects can latch onto your mango tree and can be quite resilient. Organic treatments include horticultural oil or manually removing them.
  • Citrus Mealybugs: These pests can be identified by their waxy, white appearance on the plant. They can be treated with insecticidal soaps or by releasing natural predators like ladybugs.


  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease can cause dark spots on leaves, flowers, and fruit. Ensure proper air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent it. Fungicides can help in severe cases.
  • Powdery Mildew: Appearing as white powdery spots on leaves, it can be controlled using neem oil or other fungicides.

Tip: Always isolate new plants for a few weeks to prevent the potential spread of pests or diseases to your mango tree.

Other Possible Problems

  • Poor Fruit Set: Reduced flowering or poor fruit set could be a result of insufficient light, over or underwatering, or imbalanced nutrients in the soil.
  • Waterlogging: If your container doesn’t have proper drainage holes, it can lead to waterlogged soil, which can in turn cause root rot in mango trees.
  • Nutrient Imbalance: Yellowing of leaves might indicate an imbalance in soil nutrients. Ensuring you use a balanced fertilizer and occasionally checking soil pH can help.

Tips for Fruit Harvest Time

The moment of harvest is an exciting time for any gardener, especially when it comes to mangoes, given their luscious taste and texture.

Here are some guidelines to ensure you pick them at the perfect time:

  • Watch for your mango fruit’s skin to change color. While some varieties remain green, most will start showing a reddish, yellow, or orange hue when ripe.
  • A ripe mango will yield slightly to gentle pressure. If it’s too soft, it might be overripe, but if it’s very firm, it needs more time.
  • A ripe mango emits a delightful sweet fragrance at the stem end. If you notice this, it’s a strong indication that the fruit is ready to be harvested.

When picking a mango, don’t just pull it from the tree. Instead, cut it with a part of the stem attached using sharp, clean shears to avoid sap flow.

If you’ve harvested the mango slightly early, let it ripen at room temperature. Once ripe, it can be stored in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life.

Don’t wait too long to harvest, as mangoes can become a target for birds or pests if left on the tree for an extended period.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Big Should a Pot Be for a Mango Tree?

A mango tree, especially dwarf varieties, can start in a pot that is 18-24 inches in diameter. As the tree grows, you might need to repot it every couple of years.

A mature dwarf mango tree will require a large container, upwards of 30 inches in diameter. Ensure that the pot has good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and root rot.

Can You Grow a Mango Tree in a Pot Indoors?

Yes, you can grow a mango tree indoors, especially in cool climates where outdoor conditions might not be favorable.

However, ensure the tree receives at least 6-8 hours of sun daily, preferably from a south-facing window. Using grow lights can supplement the lack of natural light.

Keep in mind the mango tree’s size as even dwarf varieties can grow tall indoors.

Can You Keep a Mango Tree Small?

Absolutely! Continuous pinching and pruning of the new growth tips can promote bushier growth and keep the tree compact.

This is especially useful when you’re growing mango trees in containers as it helps manage the tree’s size. Dwarf varieties are also naturally smaller and are ideal for pot culture.

Do Mango Trees Do Well in Pots?

With the right care, yes! Mango trees can thrive in pots. By selecting dwarf varieties, ensuring proper watering, and providing adequate nutrients, you can have a healthy mango tree in a pot.

The key is to address the unique needs of container-grown trees.

Can a Mango Tree Bear Fruit in a Pot?

Indeed, a mango tree can bear fruit in a pot, especially if it’s a grafted variety or a suitable dwarf type. However, it might take several years to produce fruit.

Ensure proper care, sunlight, and regular feeding to boost its fruit-bearing potential.

Growing Mango Trees in Containers Is Easy & Fun

Growing mango trees in pots brings tropical ambiance and delightful fruit to even the smallest spaces or non-tropical climates.

Whether you’re tending to a sapling or nurturing a mature tree, with proper care, patience, and knowledge, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Remember that mangoes are more than just fruit trees; they’re a testament to the wonders of nature and the rewards of gardening.