How to grow a mango tree from a seed

If you’ve been reading Houseplant Central for a while, you’ll know I just love growing houseplants from food scraps. I get to eat, I get a plant and I get to save money. How much better does it get?!

In this article we’ll discuss how to grow a mango tree from a seed. As with propagating most plants, it’s not difficult at all. A great project to try with your kids or if you just want a new plant to add to your collection.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to grow a mango tree from a seed!

Psst! Can’t get enough of these DIY food propagation projects? Why not learn how to:

How to grow a mango tree from a seed step 1: Crack your pit

The first part of our mango growing journey is pretty straightforward. Buy a mango! There are many different mango varieties out there, all of them perfect for propagating at home.

Make a yummy fruit salad and save the large pit you find in the center of your mango for our project.

  • Now, you’ll find that the pit you’ve got now isn’t ideal for growing into a tree as is. It’s covered in yucky bits of mango flesh that will rot if you plant it like this.
  • Luckily this is just a husk: what we’re actually after is the smaller ‘mango bean’ inside.
  • To find the bean, you’ll have to cut open the husk.
  • Very carefully(!) insert the tip of a knife in the seam at the top of the husk where it is weakest and pry it open. Sounds difficult, but it was actually much easier than I thought to loosen it and reveal the bean.
  • Once you’ve opened the pit have a good look at the mango seed to check whether it’s viable.
  • Store-bought mangoes have often traveled large distances which can sometimes result in a rotting or shriveled seed. If this is the case you’ll unfortunately have to buy a new fruit as this seed is unlikely to be able to produce a new tree.

How to grow a mango tree from a seed step step 2: Soil or water?

If your mango seed looks viable it’s time to start the propagation process. There are actually three ways to grow a mango tree from seed and which one you choose depends completely on your own preferences.

  • Growing mango tree in water. This is my personal favorite method because I don’t have to remember to water my mango seedling and I can see the growth process up close.

    To grow a mango seed in water, all you have to do is find a suitable container to place the seed in, which can be a little challenging due to its shape. Fill up the container and make sure it never dries up.
  • Growing mango tree in soil. To grow your mango tree in soil, prepare a pot with some rich potting soil mixed with perlite for extra drainage.

    I like to only partially cover the seed with soil so I can keep a close eye on what it’s doing, but you can also sow it a little deeper and let yourself be surprised.
  • The paper towel method. This is a bit of a combination of the other two mango growing methods. It involves placing the seed in a bowl of water in a warm place for around 24 hours.

    After this soaking time, you wrap the seed in moist paper towels and place this package in a ziploc bag or container. Leave a little opening for fresh air to pass through and place the seed in a warm, light place to germinate. Don’t forget to re-moisten the paper towels regularly.
Mango pit sprouting a single leaf

How to grow a mango tree from a seed step 3: The long wait

Once you’ve chosen your planting method and placed the mango seed in its container, it’s time for an exercise in patience. If conditions are just right with high temperatures, plenty of light and good humidity you might see activity in just a week or so. In other circumstances it can take up to a month.

While waiting for your mango seed to germinate, make sure to keep the water level in your container high enough (if growing in water), the soil lightly moist (if growing in a pot) or the paper towels damp (if using the paper towel method).

Keep the container in a warm and light location like a windowsill. If you’re growing your seed in water or soil you can even place it outside in a sheltered spot if it happens to be summer.

Mango seed ready to propagate | Full guide on growing a mango tree from seed
Hover over image to pin to Pinterest!

How to grow a mango tree from a seed step 4: Say hi to your new mango seedling!

If all goes well and there are no signs of rot or fungus on your mango seed, you’ll notice it starting to sprout a tiny stem with the beginnings of leaves after one to four weeks. Congratulations, a little mango tree has born!

Growing your mango tree in soil? There’s nothing else you need to do at this point except for continuing to keep the soil lightly moist and providing plenty of light.

If your mango seed is in water or still wrapped in its paper towels, you can move on to the final step of repotting at this point.

How to grow a mango tree from a seed step 5: Repot

To repot your mango seed to a more permanent container, find a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom. Fill it with moisture retaining potting soil, but also add some perlite so excess water can drain easily to prevent rot. Lay the seed on the soil root side down and cover it with a little bit of soil, making sure not to damage the fragile baby stem.

After this, your mango seedling will take care of the rest. Don’t worry if the stem and leaves seem a little droopy after moving: plants don’t particularly like the transfer from water to soil. It’ll bounce back soon enough after spending some time adapting and forming its root system underground.

Be sure to keep the soil lightly moist (but never wet!).

Things to keep in mind

  • Be patient. Growing plants from seed is almost never a fast process and things are no different if you’re trying to propagate mango. This especially applies if you’re doing this project during wintertime.

    With the lack of light and lower temperatures, it can take over a month before you see any movement. Don’t give up: as long as the mango pit is not rotting there is hope!
  • Fruiting. It can take a very long time for your mango tree to produce fruit (over 6 years). If you grow your mango inside, don’t hold out too much hope. It needs more space and light to fruit than most of us can provide in the home.

    Additionally, since many fruit trees are grafted, your home-grown tree’s fruit might not resemble the parent fruit much! It can be smaller and less tasty. Luckily the tree itself is also quite decorative and a lovely addition to your plant collection.
  • Outdoors. If your climate allows it, you can plant your mango tree outdoors and grow it there. Mangoes love the tropics and are not frost-resistant.

    If it does get cold during wintertime, you can consider growing your tree in a large pot and taking it inside once Fall rolls around and things start to cool down.
  • Shortcut. Don’t feel like waiting for your little mango seed to sprout, grow a tree and produce fruit? It does take a lot of patience.

    Luckily, there are sellers out there who sell small grafted mango trees that are already of a good size and produce fruit much more quickly than a homegrown mango would. You can buy a mango tree here, for example!

If you have any more questions about how to grow a mango tree from a seed or want to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! 🌱

Marijke Puts
About Marijke Puts
Marijke Puts has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science and is from The Netherlands. She has a certified master gardener and loves everything about houseplants and gardening.

12 thoughts on “How to grow a mango tree from a seed”

  1. Thank you so much for your informative site and the “plain speak”. I felt like I was getting advice from a friend. For those new or wannabe Plant Parents: I started growing mango trees from pods over 3 yrs ago ( I use the “moist papertowel in a ziploc and pin it to the top of the windowsill in direct sunlight” method. Don’t forget to write the date you start the pod on the bag. When it germinates, you should be able to see a silhouette of the root and stalk. Some take off, some don’t; its a crap shoot really. But I guess the plant gods like me because I’m now up to 14 mango trees (5 this summer alone), 23 avocado trees, over 45 aloe vera plants (all but the 1st started as pups from the mother plant and now on the 5th generation), several vegetable plants that are producing really well and so many more. Besides the first aloe plant (Big Mama) I have NEVER BOUGHT A STARTER PLANT OR SEEDS. I only use the seeds, pods ,kernels, etc, from organic certified, non-GMO fruits and vegetables (better chance at success) and now I have tons of FREE PLANTS (all in containers due to living in a rental and, in the winter, my house looks like a jungle) Take your time and do your research. Just remember that it’s a lot of trial and error, time and patience, and I just started thinking of it as a science experiment. Pick a method, keep notes and pictures, and remember to just have fun. If it fails, it fails; its not the end of the world. If it’s successful….well, I’m always overjoyed when they succeed (makes feel like a proud plant mama!). Good Luck

  2. I’m excited to try this. I put just about any seed in dirt and wondered how to grow a mango from seed. You’ve encouraged me and instructed me. Thank you!

  3. I have planted one mango seed and now became small baby plabt but the problem is new leaves are growing and old leaves are drying before growing properly whats the reason
    I have kept my pot in proper sunlight
    There only it grew

    • It can be pretty difficult to tell what’s wrong with a plant without being able to see it and the environment it grows in. How much are you watering? These plants like to be kept lightly moist and they can dry out pretty quickly in the sun.

      How fast are the old leaves drying? It is normal for these juvenile trees to shed their bottom leaves while their stem grows.

      Good luck, I hope it works out!

  4. So I have chosen the water method to get my Mango seed to sprout ….do I cover the jar or leave it open ? I’m excited to see if this works . I’m using a seed from my neighbors Mango tree and they are delicious

    • You can leave it open. Good luck! It’ll be a long time before fruit appears but until then you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy the fun process of seeing your tree grow and thrive. 🙂


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