Mangoes are a popular fruit that are in abundance in the tropics. Over the years, more and more of these delicious fruits have been imported to the UK for consumers to enjoy all year round. However, there are many people who love the idea of growing their own mangoes, but one question looms over our heads; can you grow mangoes in the UK?
Mangoes grow on trees and these can be rather substantial. However, they need a constant temperature of at least 16ºc which simply cannot be maintained in the UK. You would need to grow the tree in a greenhouse. That being said, it is entirely possible to grow a mango plant in a pot in the UK but it likely won’t ever bear fruit.
So, the great British weather lets us down again, and unfortunately, those in the UK won’t be seeing an abundance of mangoes in their back gardens any time soon. However, if you’re happy with simply growing a pretty little mango plant in a pot, then you’re in luck. Let’s find out a little more about this.
Is It Possible To Grow Mangoes In The UK?
Mangoes are found growing natively in countries across the SouthEast of Asia and throughout Australia. Starting off as relatively small plants, they soon develop into large trees that bear sweet, juicy fruits.
The problem with growing mangoes in the United Kingdom is that in this country, we simply do not have the correct conditions. The native regions of the mango are typically very warm and humid. However, here in the UK, the weather is much colder and the humidity is much lower. The typical UK weather is very unpredictable and can go from snow storms at the end of February to pleasant, spring days just a couple of weeks later in mid-March.
What’s more, the UK is highly susceptible to frost; even through to the middle of spring, it is not unusual to wake in the morning to a dewy layer of white lightly covering the grass. A mango tree would have a very difficult time dealing with this constant cold and would likely deteriorate very quickly.
In terms of humidity, it is vital that the roots of the mango tree are not allowed to dry out. In its native climate, there is always a good degree of moisture. However, in the UK, this is not consistent. While the country is often at risk of rain, there are periods, especially during the summer where moisture is lacking.
This inconsistency is what the mango tree finds so difficult. For this reason, it would be almost impossible to grow a mango tree outdoors in the UK. Even if, by some miracle, you were able to achieve this, it is highly unlikely that the tree would ever bear fruit. So, if you are looking for a mango tree to benefit from its fruit, you’re likely out of luck. However, if you are happy to have a tree that is there purely for aesthetic reasons, you may be able to grow one in a pot.
Finally, we should point out that, if you have a large enough greenhouse, it may be possible to grow a mango tree that will produce fruit. But it is important to keep in mind that this plant will need a lot of TLC and very specific care if you want to be successful.
Growing A Mango Tree In A Greenhouse
If you feel as though you have reached your limit in growing plants and trees that thrive easily in the UK, you may want to give yourself a greater challenge. The good news is that, while mangoes are particularly tricky to grow in the UK, it is possible when using a greenhouse.
First of all, we must point out that a mango tree may seem relatively small when it is young, but they can become incredibly large as they mature. For this reason, we would suggest ensuring that your greenhouse is large enough to comfortable house your tree along with any other plants that you wish to keep in there.
If you do not have a greenhouse, you may have some success keeping your mango tree in a conservatory when the weather is cold. Provided that the temperature can be maintained and the plant gets enough exposure to sunlight, you shouldn’t have too many problems.
What do Mango Trees Need to Grow?
With all of the practicalities out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about growing your tree. Natively, the mango tree can be found growing around swampy areas where there is a good degree of humidity and moisture.
They also like the temperature to be warm, at least 16ºc. During the summer months, it may be perfectly feasible to bring your tree out of the greenhouse and onto a patio. However, gardeners should keep in mind that these trees do not like the shade. Find a spot in full sun and if the temperature begins to drop, be sure to rehome your tree.
One of the greatest benefits of giving your mango tree plenty of sunlight is that this will encourage the tree to flower. This could take some time so it is important to be patient but you will be rewarded for this. Not only will you benefit from a beautiful floral display, but, provided that the mango tree has been correctly looked after, there may be a couple of fruits to follow.
Do Mangoes Fruit in the UK?
It is important to keep in mind that mango trees rarely bear fruit in the UK, but it isn’t impossible. In the very best circumstances, you may find that, as the tree matures, you get a more generous crop of mangoes, but again, don’t be disheartened if this doesn’t happen. These trees can get quite large and as long as you look after them, they will thrive year after year. So, even if you don’t get any fruit, you’ll certainly have a tree that lasts.
In addition to this, it is vital that you keep in mind that mango trees, from the time they are planted, may take as many as five years to begin producing fruits. This is in their native environment so you may have something of a wait on your hands.
Common Problems With Growing Mangoes In The UK
It’s no secret that growing a mango tree in the United Kingdom is not without its problems and you have to be willing to put in the effort if you want your tree to do well. While there are some plants and trees that require barely any maintenance, you should think of a mango tree as more of a pet that requires daily care.
One of the biggest problems faced by mango trees that are grown in the UK or other colder climates is that even a small exposure to a draught can cause deterioration in its health. These trees will do well when kept in the right conditions but aren’t very hardy when their environment is even slightly altered.
For this reason, we would always suggest placing your mango tree in the greenhouse where it won’t be exposed to cold air. If you are unsure of whether the tree is being exposed to a draught, it can be helpful to look at its condition, checking it regularly for signs of deterioration. One of the main signs that the tree is becoming a little too cold is that the ends of the leaves may begin to turn brown.
This can be fixed by removing any discoloured tips and providing the tree with additional warmth. You can do this either by moving it to a less draughty location or using a horticultural fleece.
Another issue with mango trees is that they can sometimes be prone to pests. We wouldn’t recommend using any pesticides or chemicals on these trees as they can be sensitive. Furthermore, if you are lucky enough to have a tree that bears fruit, you’ll want to make sure that there is no risk of ingesting any harmful chemicals.
The best way to tackle this problem is to use an organic pest wash or some water to wash away any pests or their eggs. Aphids can be a particular problem and their eggs can be very stubborn. If you notice any damage to the leaves, it is important to remove these as they may hinder the future growth of healthy leaves.
Growing A Mango Tree From A Seed
Mango trees will normally do very well when grown using a seed that has been sourced from one of the native growing places. It is possible to purchase seeds that have been directly shipped from India and in this case, you may find that you have a very successful sprout from the first seed.
However, it is also possible to take a seed from a mango fruit and use this in a pot. If you are going to try this method, it is important that you follow some simple yet vital instructions to ensure the best outcome for your seed.
- Begin by sourcing the ripest mango you can find and take out your chosen seed.
- Make sure that you remove all of the pulp. You can do this using a sharp knife.
- When all of the pulp is removed, you will need to clean the seed using wire wool to take off any remaining bits of stubborn pulp.
- Next, rub the seed down using a little sandpaper, being gentle but firm.
- Now take a chisel or sharp knife and make a small cut somewhere on the seed, this will better allow the shoot to break through.
Once your seed is fully prepared, you will need to have a little patience while it shoots. The best method is to place the seed into a jar of water and place it in a warm location. If you have an airing cupboard in your home this will provide the best environment.
The water should be changed every two weeks and the seed may take up to four weeks to germinate. At this point, you can transfer the seed to a pot filled with at least 10cm of compost. In the event that your seed has not sprouted, you may still be able to grow the tree by planting the seed into compost and covering the pot with some plastic. You will need to pop it back into its warm location and wait for at least two months.
If everything goes smoothly, you should soon start to see your tree growing. It is imperative that you keep it well watered but do not allow the soil to become over moist. If there is too much moisture in the soil then the roots of the mango plant will begin to rot. However, when your mango plant turns into a large mango tree, it will need significantly more water. According to HomeGuides, mature mango trees may need as much as 26 gallons of water each week to remain healthy.
Mango trees are grown in Australia and parts of SouthEast Asia, however, with the fruits being so popular all over the world, hobby gardeners are intrigued by the idea of growing them at home. In the UK, the weather isn’t as good for growing healthy mango trees and growing them outdoors is something of a challenge, if not an impossibility.
That being said, where there’s a will there’s a way; growing mangoes in the UK can be done, but it requires patience, care and just the right growing conditions. It is best done in a greenhouse where the temperature can be constant and the tree will get a lot of sunlight. However, if this isn’t possible, you may still be able to grow a pretty little mango plant from a seed in your home.
Garden Doctor Tips
“If you have a small Mango tree in a pot, ensure that it gets as much direct sun as possible!”
“Be patient, although Mango trees are unlikely to grow in the UK, even with the right conditions, they can take 5 years to fruit!”
“Move the tree if the leaves begin to turn brown, one of the primary causes of this is the cold weather!”
“If you are growing a Mango tree in a pot, ensure that it is well watered. Mango trees drink a lot of water!”
“If you do not have a compost bin or do not intend to get one, I’m sure that there is a keen gardener nearby that will take the sludge off your hands for free!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for a mango tree to bear fruit?
In the UK, it is highly unlikely that a Mango tree will ever bear fruit. In warmer climates, it can take around 5 years before the tree will fruit and this can be as less as 3 if you have a grafted tree from a cutting.
Can mango tree survive winter?
Mango tree’s do not like the cold. They are able to tolerate temperatures down to approximately -3c but only for a few hours. If you are in the UK and have a Mango tree, during particularly harsh cold snaps, you will want to wrap the tree with some kind of fleece.
Can you grow mangoes in your back garden?
In the UK, Mango tree’s can be grown in pots, they are extremely difficult to establish in the ground and they do not tolerate the cold weather for any sustained periods. Mango tree’s grown in the UK will also not bear fruit as the climate does not offer suitable growing conditions.