The mango is an evergreen tree that grows 30 to 90 feet tall and spreads 50 feet or more. Mature mango trees provide ample shade to the landscape and bear heavy crops of fruit. The mango is an especially long-lived tree. Three-hundred-year-old specimens exist that still bear fruit, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers.
The mango tree (Mangifera indica L.) is native to India and Southeast Asia. This tropical tree has large, leathery leaves that are a coppery-red or purple color when new, eventually turning dark green. Mango trees are self-fruitful, requiring no cross-pollination with other mango varieties to fruit. Long sprays of yellow or red flowers appear on the tree from spring into summer, which eventually develop into oval fruit with green, red or orange skin, depending upon the variety.
Two main types of mangoes exist, and there are hundreds of cultivars. Indian mango types often have brightly colored fruit that is susceptible to the disease anthracnose, which can rot fruit. The Indian type of mango is widely grown commercially in Florida. Indochinese mango types from the Philippines and Southeast Asia are resistant to anthracnose. The skin of their fruit tends to be pale in color.
Mangoes require a tropical or subtropical, frost-free climate. Flowers and small fruit drop when temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and young trees sustain injury when temperatures go below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Potted mangoes can be grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Mangoes have grown for more than 4,000 years in India. The fruit arrived in the Americas in the 18th century, and the first record of the fruit on U.S. soil occurred in 1833 in Cape Sable, Florida.
Mangoes are a significant fruit crop in the world's tropical and subtropical regions. Several countries are major producers of the fruit, including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Israel, Egypt and the Philippines. In the United States, Florida and Hawaii have productive mango industries.
Mango requires a full-sun location. Plant in a warm area of the landscape such as against a southern wall or in an area surrounded by pavement. Provide mango trees with a well-drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5. Water mangoes once a week from February until harvest, if there is no rainfall. Mango trees require fertilizing on a monthly basis with a citrus fertilizer such as a 10-20-20. Nitrogen is important for leaf growth and phosphorus for root development. The plant also requires monthly application of chelated iron.
A wide variety of pests attack mango tree foliage and fruit, including thrips, various scale insects, spider mites, fruit flies, mango blossom midge, mango weevil and the mango shoot caterpillar. Diseases that affect mango trees include powdery mildew and anthracnose. Both are fungal infections that attack fruit buds and young fruit.