Mangoes can be grown in tropical or subtropical gardens. A better and faster growing tree is produced by grafting, and most commercially available species are grafted. You can also plant the seed inside the pit of the fruit and grow your own tree. Mango trees are fast growing as long as they have a hot sunny location. Mango plants go through several growth stages from seedling to maturation. A grafted tree can be ready to fruit in three to five years while a seedling will take six or more. Mangoes are considered to have moderate growth rates, which depend on location and good cultivation.
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The seedling stage is the period from sprout until the plant is grafted or 1 year old. Seedlings are delicate plants that only grow leaves and form new woody tissue. Seedlings do not flower or fruit. They need more nitrogen fertilizer than at any other time in the mango tree's growth. Seedlings also need more water relative to size than the larger stages of growth because they are establishing. The water needs of the mango tree are moderate during the rest of its life cycle except during fruiting, when it needs more irrigation to support the formation of fruit.
During the second through fifth years, the juvenile plant produces its scaffold and general form. The progression of growth can be seen in the stems. The 4- to 12-inch-long leaves are borne in clusters that are separated by a stem with no buds or foliage. The bare stem marks a period of growth and older stems will have several naked spaces on the stem. The older growth will harden off to a rich deep green and then new vegetative growth will begin.
Mango trees less than 10 years of age may flower and fruit every year. After this they are biennial or alternate, giving the tree time to rest between productive periods. Grafted seedlings may bloom in the first year but it is best to pinch these off and prevent fruiting so the plant can focus its energy on healthy stem production. By the third year you can allow the plant to flower and fruit. It takes 100 to 150 days from flower to fruit.
Mature trees will gradually increase in fruit production, but there will be a crop only in alternate years. The fruits can be harvested when they are ripe, blushing with color and semisoft, which indicates maturity. They can also be picked green and firm and allowed to ripen on the counter for a few days. From age 10 to 20, a tree may produce 200 to 300 fruits per year and double that at twice that age. Some mature trees produce an average crop one year, take a break for two years and then produce a record-breaking crop. The exact yields are extremely variable depending on site, weather, care and cultivar but increase on average.