Best Mango Tree To Grow in Southern California: 15 Varieties

When chosen and taken care of properly, mango trees can yield deliciously strong-flavored fruit, even in California’s mild climate.

The following top mango varieties are especially suited for Southern California, with each one having characteristics that make them stand out.

If you would like to plant a mango tree or two or if you’re looking for more information about mangoes in this region, this article is for you.

Factors To Consider Before Deciding

Before exploring individual mango varieties, one must consider several factors. The growth habits of the tree, its resistance to diseases, and the flavor and size of the mango are all crucial.

Although avocado trees and other subtropical fruits can thrive in Southern California, know that the mango trees are tropical and do not handle cold temperatures well at all. 

Your area’s unique climate, including its late-season frosts and wind patterns, affects how each mango tree variety will grow.

Be certain you are familiar with your local weather patterns, and research each possible variety carefully (and taste them!) before making a final decision.

With that in mind, let’s explore some of the best mango varieties for CA.

1. Keitt Mango

Originating in Florida, the Keitt mango has found a new home in Southern California. This mango is large with an orange-green skin that becomes more orange as it ripens.

Its flesh is smooth, creamy, and almost entirely free from fibers. The taste is a sweet and tart combination with a flavor punch that many describe as excellent.

The Keitt mango tree is vigorous and shows good growth, especially when grafted onto a strong rootstock.

Its late-season fruiting means you can enjoy its delicious mangoes when many other varieties have already ended their season.

2. Glenn Mango

Three Glenn mangoes ripening on the tree.

Glenn is one of the top mango varieties for those who prioritize taste. It’s a delightful treat with sweet and creamy flesh that’s tinged with a hint of tartness.

The mango itself is medium to large with an attractive orange-yellow hue when ripe. The tree, though not as vigorous as the Keitt, is still robust and resistant to many common mango diseases.

Many nurseries in CA recommend Glenn due to its manageable size and excellent fruit quality. If you’re in areas like Vista or even further south in San Diego County, this variety is worth a try.

3. Nam Doc Mai Mango

Nam Doc Mai, often shortened to “Doc Mai,” is a prized variety originating from Thailand. Its elongated, small mango shape and golden-yellow skin are instantly recognizable.

The flesh is soft, sweet, and slightly tart with almost no fibers, offering a unique flavor profile that’s become quite popular today.

The tree, when grafted, exhibits a strong growth pattern suitable for Southern California’s climate.

Due to its delicious taste and adaptability, Nam Doc Mai mangoes are now produced throughout many parts of CA.

4. Pickering Mango

The Pickering mango stands out due to its compact size, making it great for those with limited space in CA.

The mango is small to medium in size with a rich, sweet flavor that’s complemented by a hint of tartness. Its skin turns from green to a deep yellow-orange when ripe.

The tree is relatively small, making it perfect for individual planters or small gardens. Careful pruning can further limit its size if desired. Disease resistance is also a plus for the Pickering variety.

5. Valencia Pride Mango

Valencia Pride mangoes are a sight to behold. Large and beautifully shaped, these mangoes have a skin that blends shades of red and yellow.

The flesh is juicy and sweet, offering a rich flavor that seems reminiscent of the past’s favored mangoes.

The tree itself is vigorous and shows excellent growth, especially in Southern California areas.

A bonus for this variety is its early fruiting season, giving mango enthusiasts a head start in their mango-tasting endeavors.

6. Ataulfo Mango

The Ataulfo, sometimes referred to as the “honey” or “champagne” mango, is a small mango variety that boasts a creamy, buttery flesh.

This mango’s golden-yellow skin hints at the sweet and slightly tart flavor contained within. A distinct characteristic is its minimal fiber content, leading to a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth experience.

The Ataulfo tree is medium-sized with a growth pattern well-suited for areas in Southern California.

Known for its resistance to common diseases that affect mango trees, it’s an excellent choice for those in CA hoping for a reliable producer.

7. Haden Mango

A ripe Haden mango on a kitchen counter.

Once the top mango variety grown in Florida, the Haden mango has found favor in Southern California. With vibrant red-orange skin and a slightly oval shape, it’s visually striking.

The flavor is a beautiful balance of sweet and tart, and the texture is just the right mix of fibrous and creamy.

The Haden mango tree exhibits a vigorous growth rate and has the added advantage of being relatively resistant to pests and diseases.

As you walk through a nursery in San Diego County, you might see many recommending Haden due to its hardy nature and delicious flavor.

8. Kent Mango

The Kent variety is similar in many ways to the Haden but has some distinct differences. This mango is large with deep green skin that has a slight dark-red blush when exposed to the sun.

Internally, its yellow-orange flesh is sweet with a hint of tartness, and it’s virtually free of fiber.

As for the tree, it boasts robust growth in Southern California, especially when grafted onto a sturdy rootstock.

Many consider Kent mangoes as one of the best-tasting varieties available today. For those in CA looking to try a classic, this is the mango to pick.

9. Manila Mango

Manila mangoes have become increasingly popular in Southern California. They are smaller mangoes with yellow skin and a slightly flattened appearance.

The flavor is incredibly sweet with a hint of tartness and a creamy texture that reminds some of condensed milk.

The tree is on the smaller side, making it suitable for tight spaces or backyards in urban CA areas.

If you visit a nursery, there’s a good chance you’ll see this variety on offer, thanks to its growing popularity and excellent adaptability to the region.

10. Edward Mango

The Edward mango is a gem that has, in the past, been overshadowed by more commercial varieties.

It sports an orange-red skin with a slight blush, revealing a creamy and intensely flavored flesh when ripe. The taste is sweet with a hint of acid that provides a nice balance.

Edward mango trees are of medium size and exhibit vigorous growth in Southern California, making them a prime candidate for those who want a fruit-producing tree without the massive canopy.

With its delicious taste and manageable size, it’s a variety that more people in CA should consider planting.

11. Carrie Mango

Carrie mangoes are a Florida-originated treat that has found a place in the hearts of many in CA. With bright orange skin and a small to medium size, it presents a tantalizing look.

Internally, it offers a creamy, fiber-less texture, and its sweet flavor is offset by a slight tart undertone.

The tree, while not the most vigorous, is perfect for smaller gardens or limited spaces in Southern California, thanks to its compact growth habit.

Carrie mangoes are bound to win you over with their exceptional taste.

12. Alphonso Mango

Two Alphonso mangoes on mango leaves.

Often regarded as the “King of Mangoes,” Alphonso boasts a sweet, rich flavor that’s almost dessert-like.

The mango is medium in size with a deep golden-yellow skin that seems to promise a burst of sunshine with every bite.

Its flesh is creamy, velvety, and not too fibrous, delivering a balanced sweet-tart punch.

The Alphonso mango tree is known for its vigorous growth and excellent resistance to diseases, making it one of the top picks for those in Southern California.

If you ever try an Alphonso, it’s a taste that’s sure to stay with you.

13. Cogshall Mango

The Cogshall mango offers a delightful combination of sweet and tart in a smaller package. Its orange-red skin, often speckled with small yellow dots, hides a succulent orange flesh inside.

This small mango packs a flavor punch that’s hard to forget. The tree itself is well-suited for CA, especially in areas with space constraints, thanks to its dwarf nature.

Even though it’s smaller, it’s still vigorous and resilient against many common diseases.

If you’re thinking of adding a mango tree to your backyard in San Diego County or nearby areas, Cogshall is worth considering.

14. Florigon Mango

Florigon mangoes might not be as popular as some other varieties, but they are slowly making their mark in CA.

This small mango boasts a pale yellow skin and a mildly sweet flavor with a hint of tartness. The tree has a moderate growth rate and is particularly known for its disease resistance.

Florigon mango trees are becoming a common sight in nurseries throughout Southern California, thanks to their adaptability and the delicious fruit they produce.

It’s certainly a variety to look into for those seeking something a bit different.

15. Sweet Tart Mango

As the name suggests, the Sweet Tart mango offers a tantalizing mix of sweetness and tartness.

The mango itself has an attractive orange skin with a hint of red blush. Its flesh is a vibrant orange, delivering a delicious flavor with every bite.

The Sweet Tart mango tree is vigorous and hardy, showing promising growth in Southern California.

If you’re in CA and want a tree that’s both a visual treat and a provider of delicious mangoes, this is the one to plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Mango Tree Grow in California?

Yes, mango trees can thrive in California, particularly in Southern California where the climate is more favorable.

With adequate care, the right variety selection, and proper planting methods, mangoes can be cultivated successfully in CA.

Areas like San Diego County have shown promising growth for several mango varieties. It’s essential to select a variety best suited to the specific climate and soil conditions of your area.

What Is the Best Tasting Mango in California?

The best-tasting mango is subjective and varies from person to person.

However, based on popularity and feedback, varieties such as Ataulfo, Alphonso, and Haden are often recognized for their delicious flavor in Southern California.

It’s recommended to try a couple of different varieties to find the one that best satisfies your taste buds.

What Is the Best Mango Rootstock for California?

When it comes to mango rootstock for CA, selecting a variety that ensures vigorous growth and disease resistance is crucial.

While many rootstocks are used, the one that has shown significant success in Southern California is the ‘Turpentine’ rootstock.

It provides excellent vigor and adaptability to various soil conditions and has shown resistance to some common diseases.

Can Mango Trees Grow in San Diego?

Absolutely! San Diego County, being a part of Southern California, offers a climate conducive to mango cultivation.

Varieties like Keitt, Valencia Pride, and Manila have already demonstrated excellent growth in this region.

With the right care and maintenance, San Diego residents can expect delicious mangoes right from their backyards.

Final Thoughts

Southern California offers a unique blend of climate, soil, and passion for cultivating some of the world’s best mango varieties.

From the creamy Ataulfo to the flavorful Alphonso, the region promises a mango experience that’s second to none.

Whether you’re a novice looking to plant your first tree or a seasoned gardener exploring new flavors, the diverse range of mangoes available for Southern California ensures there’s something for everyone.

As interest in these delicious fruits continues to grow in California, there’s hope for a future where backyards across the region are dotted with mango trees, each promising a burst of flavor and a slice of tropical paradise.