Mango (Magnifera indica L.) is one of the most sought after and delicious tropical fruits in the world and you can grow them right here in your own yard. In Florida, mangos are grown commercially in Dade, Lee and Palm Beach counties and as door yard trees in warm locations along the southern coastal areas and along the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. This fruit has been cultivated in India for more than 4,000 years and originated in the Indo-Burma area of the globe.
Mangos are related to pistachios and cashews. There are many varieties of mango and their fruits range from a few ounces to as much as 5 lbs. The fruit has a leathery thick skin that comes in many colors of green, red, pink and orange, while the edible flesh inside is a rich yellow. The most common types that do well in our area and are especially delicious are Kent and Bailey’s Marvel and one called Carrie that only gets 12-15′ in height.
These trees generally grow large from 30 feet upwards and take up a lot of room eventually. They are great producers of this delectable fruit and you can harvest as much as 200 to 300 pounds of fruit from a single mature tree, when given the proper planting conditions and care. Mangos do best in full sun and should be given plenty of room to grow, planting them at least 20 feet from any structure, power lines or other large trees. You can prune these trees after the harvest to maintain a good shape and reduce possible storm damage.
To maximize good fruit production, plant mangos in well-drained soil. If planting in a lower part of the yard prone to occasional flooding from heavy rains, mounding up the planting area by about 2-3 feet is recommended, then dig the hole for the tree. The types of mango tree you will be able to buy for this area do well in our sandy soil. If you wish to amend the soil with top soil or other organic matter, only mix 50/50 with the native soil.
Mango fruit is truly a summer treat. You can make mango salsa to go with grilled fish, you can make ice cream and ices from the fruit or just slice it up and enjoy. Any way you slice it, mangos are a delicious summer treat.
This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, Florida.