I bought this mango from Logees last November. I kept it in a sunny window until about May and then moved it outside. It flowered aggressively, growing about a foot tall panicle off the top that I trimmed and left only two little buds on. I had seen a video that said you want to trim the panicle — it was making the plant topple anyway — and Byron from Logee’s says in his mango video that a tree will drop whatever fruit it can’t hold anyway. I figured there would be two cute little mangos it would eventually drop and then go into a vegetative phase.
Three months later and the buds have now grown into two surprisingly large mangos for a baby tree with no new vegetative growth at the top. The tree is maybe 16 inches high and each mango is about three inches long and an inch in diameter.
I expected there to be new vegetative growth above the panicle cut, which is what I want (to develop a central leader, or at least a vertical habit, given I’m growing inside) but instead, I’ve been getting new vegetative growth down by the base of the graft (not sure if they are suckers, but like branches/new growth that’s popped up aggressively) that I’ve twice snipped off since I don’t want new branches an inch above the soil. Meanwhile the mangos keep getting larger, which I love aesthetically, but I’m not sure if this tree is too young to be putting this much energy into fruit, and I’ll stunt it. I’m also not sure why the new growth isn’t emerging at the top of the plant, but rather at the bottom.
This is my first mango. Any suggestions? I have to move it inside to a sunny window within the next month or so given Zone 6.
edit: re-looking at the picture, maybe the new growth — which has mango leaves, for sure — is coming from below the graft line? it’s down half an inch above the soil.
Well f*ck. If I’m understanding you right — meaning I misunderstood the pruning video I watched when I clipped the panicle — does that mean I should have only trimmed off the buds, and not the whole panicle? When I emailed Logees, Byron said just cut off the fruit and vegetative growth will start again, but didn’t specify from where.
If you look at that photo — am I ever going to get any more vertical growth from the top of the plant, above where the leaves currently are? If I’ve accidentally clipped the central trunk away, will I at least be able to shape it vertically from here? Or am I permanently stuck with 16" tall mango that can only grow horizontally (unless I start growing a new central leader from the very base)?
Thank you for educating me, Richard. Are there any books or references to how to care for a mango that you would recommend? It’s hard to Google and find things that are real and trustworthy. I did read your entire thread and learned a lot.
When I said “central leader,” I sort of meant like what you have in your pictures — vertical growth for the first 3-4 feet, and then opening up. I figure that is my best chance to grow as a potted patio plant of manageable size here in the north.
Would you have any concerns about me keeping these fruit on such a small plant in terms of the long term health of the tree? Or will the tree drop them on its own if it starts to affect health? This is another thing where I found mixed messages across sites and videos, and have been unable to find an authoritative book on the subject (unless some other plants I have, e.g. bananas).
The tree came from a wholesale grower here in CA. It had been grafted and trained vertical with a stake. Side growth was also removed during training. When I received the tree it was in a 5 gallon pot and 4 feet tall above the soil line. My tree is old enough that the scars from the pruning have been covered over with bark growth.
I’m not aware of any for mango grown outdoors in summer and overwintered indoors. Your best hope is to find someone who has successfully done this for at least a decade.
I’m concerned about the weight of the fruit, and also if the fruits will be able to ripen.
I think you should remove the fruit. That tree is just too small to support fruit. After you do that hopefully it will sprout from the top. Next year maybe you can leave a fruit or two. But you’ll probably need to support the fruit next year. The tree will still be small.
One way to discourage flowering is to be sure the tree doesn’t experience cold weather this fall. Anything below 60F encourages blooming at the expense of vegetative growth. In your zone 60F may be happening already. It’s too soon to go inside full time. Maybe inside at night but that’s difficult.
It’s not easy growing mango in climates with cool/cold weather. Even here in west Texas at 30 north latitude in a heated greenhouse cool nights are an issue. In CA it’s a big issue. In CA mangos bloom and rebloom for half the year. And vegetative growth is hard to achieve.
Thanks @fruitnut. I love how the cute mangos look, even if they never become edible, but I am worried about the long-term health of the tree. It’s definitely dropping below 60F at night from time to time, but I haven’t seen any flowering activity yet, or any growth from the top except these two mangos getting steadily bigger.
None of what I’m trying to do is easy! I just want it to be fun, and not to do anything that will damage or sicken the tree.
I think it will focus on fruit development rather than new flowers or new leaves. You should remove them now, while temperatures are warm enough that it might get one more vegetative flush before fall. Otherwise, it may just flower again once the fruit mature or abort, instead of growing any leaves.
What I’ve learned from growers in CA (on TFF) is if you want to grow mango somewhere where it’s regularly below 60°F at night, you should grow a seedling tree until it is a good size for holding fruit, and then you can topwork that. If you start with a small grafted tree and don’t give it warm enough temperatures during the growing season, it may never grow vegetatively and just flower over and over until it dies.
I would leave it, I have had potted mangos produce fruit that small. Mangos will drop fruit if it cant support it.
Also dont get too much anxiety over pruning. They grow symetrically typically three branches from the tip of each scaffold. They are susceptible to anthracnose so keep the center open although your variety looks like Nam Doc Mai? and are typically pretty resistant compared to the round Indian types
@Richard — two questions for you (or others), if I may:
Continuing to get growth only from the bottom of the mango tree, and not the top. What should I infer from this? Photo album (don’t know why it’s sideways…) https://imgur.com/a/857K4xx
My dad has a place in Florida, down near Ft. Myers, and is open to one mango tree there so long as he doesn’t have to put a lot of effort into it (he’s a snowbird). Is there one particularly easy-growing, resilient, low-maintenance, good-tasting cultivar you might recommend?
Like most grafted fruit trees, mangoes can start flowering the very first year after they are grafted. It is a bad idea to let most trees hold any fruit at that size, both because it can stunt the tree and because the weight can break the graft off, but it’s not very unusual. I can see why the OP wants to keep the fruit on it, but they really should be removed.
The graft is focusing all its energy on fruit development and the rootstock has decided to send up new growth instead. Remove the fruit and maybe the graft will decide to grow again.