Mangos (Mangifera indica) may be best known for the juicy, sweet fruit they produce, but these trees have other characteristics that make them beneficial additions to landscapes in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11.
The two types of mangos are Indochinese types and Indian types, with the main difference being the type of seed produced, coloration of fruit and susceptibility to anthracnose.
Indochinese types are more resistant to anthracnose than Indian types and produce polyembryonic seeds, which means two seedling can develop from one seed. The fruit isn't as colorful as Indian types and are greenish to yellow in color.
Indian types are susceptible to anthracnose and produce monoembryonic seeds, which means one seedling develops from the seed. The fruits are more colorful than Indochinese types and range in mixed colors of red, purple, yellow and green.
Mango trees typically grow 30 to 45 feet tall with a wide, round, symmetrical canopy; these trees can reach up to 100 feet. Size and shape vary between cultivars. Because of their large size, mango trees can make ideal shade trees in the landscape.
Mango trees have evergreen foliage; their green leaves reach between 8 and 18 inches long depending on variety. While the foliage of the species doesn't change in autumn, young, new foliage is bright purple-red.
The dense, evergreen foliage makes mango an ideal hedge or screen.
During late winter and spring, the mango tree displays a profusion of white, showy blooms that cover even the long, thick leaves.
The bark is gray and isn't particularly showy or characteristic.
Among mango's problems is its tendency to have weak branch crotches, which can cause breakage during wind or storms. When the mango tree is young, prune out any branches that form a "V" crotch with the trunk and leave those with a softer "U" shape. This will allow your mango tree to grow stronger lateral branches.
In addition to possible breaking branches, falling fruits, flowers and leaves may be a nuisance for the home gardener.
The mango's fruit is a treasured treat across the world. Beside fresh eating, the fruit is often an ingredient in salsas, sauces, jellies and other foods.
The mango fruit reaches 3 to 6 inches long, and its inedible skin may be yellow, reddish, green or a mix of these colors depending on cultivar. In general, mango fruits are lopsided to a degree, whether they're round or oval.
The particularly juicy inner flesh ranges in color from shades of yellow to deeper orange, depending on variety. Taste and aroma vary between varieties, from sweet to tart.
The seed is contained within a wood-like stone in the middle of the fruit.