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Date: 22 Mar 2017, Entry id: 1490180462

Condo Mango

Q: I was curious about indoor fruiting mango trees. I live in upstate New York and was thinking about trying to grow an indoor tree for fruit. I have a small heated greenhouse. Is there a variety that can be grown from seed that would suit my purposes and if not what is the most economical way I could obtain a cutting or small grafted plant? I keep my greenhouse around 60F in the winter and have no supplemental lighting. Are there any varieties that may work in a sunroom or other well lit indoor location?

A: There are many dwarf varieties of mango suitable for container culture. They are called "condo mangoes".
The most popular condo varieties are: Carrie, Cogshall, Cushman, Fairchild, Graham, Ice Cream, Julie , Mallika, Nam Doc Mai, Pickering. You may read more about them in our online catalog. You may also look into variety Lancetilla which is also a compact tree, and produces one of the biggest size fruit, up to 5 pounds. If you want some rare variety that hardly anyone else has - try Baptiste, an exotic Haitian dessert mango.

Your greenhouse should work for the winter time. Mango trees can take as low as mid 40s during winter and even lower as long as that cold is occasional. If you keep the temperature around 60, this should work well for over wintering. Just make sure to reduce watering to a minimum, because cool temperatures, low light and wet soil - is a bad combination for tropical plants, especially for mango trees which prefer to be kept on a dry side.

Many indoor gardeners have fruiting mango trees in their collection. However, keep in mind that the most important requirement for a mango is full sun. While you may over winter the plant for a few months in a low light conditions, in order for it to flower and produce fruit it needs lots of light. If moving the tree into full sun your yard during the summer is possible, this would be the best solution.

We always recommend SUNSHINE boosters for both over wintering tropical plants in colder climates, and for indoor gardening. SUNSHINE applications will help your tree to cope with cool temperatures and low light conditions. This will also dramatically increase flowering and fruiting performance. Another important factor for keeping your container plant healthy is quality of your potting soil. We offer a special professional mix that contains lots of good stuff: coconut fiber, peat moss, pine bark, and perlite. Fertilizing potted plants is also very important during the warm season, because this is the only way for them to get nutrients (which in the ground can be reached by spreading root system).

As far as seedlings vs. grafting - the only way to have a nicely fruiting mango tree is to plant a grafted variety. Seedlings start producing only after 8-15 years, and the quality of such fruit may be questionable. Only grafted plants can guarantee the desired taste of a variety. Besides, grafted mangoes start producing immediately - you may see fruit forming on plants as small as 3 ft, in 3 gal containers. However, during the first 1-2 years you will need to remove extra fruit and leave only 1-2 fruit so the plant doesn't get exhausted and has enough energy to establish strong root system.

For fun stories about growing mango, check out our Radio Show recording YO Tango Mango!

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