Growing Mango tree in north of Portugal

silverwolf5May 9, 2010

Greetings, i'm new to the forum and i'm seeking some expert help from other growers, i'm no plant grower, in fact i know very little about it, but i'm trying to grow a mango tree from seed anyway. :)

I live in Portugal, Gaia (Porto area), which is hardiness zone 9 according to following picture.

It's very sunny and a warm climate during spring and summer, the winters are windy and very rainy, there's no snow, it's a "very rare" event. There's only a winter morning fog and very light frost over the grass that we call "geada", and most plants support it very well.

It's possible to grow pretty much everything, the most common are the lemons, orange, mandarin, lime, grapes, physalis, olive, nuts, figs, apples, pears, strawberrys, beans, tomatoes, corn.... with little or no effort. The not so common but still possible to grow outdoors are bananas, brazilian tree tomato, mango, papaya, pomegranate, loquat, pineapple, kiwi and some other exotic fruits.

I planted my mango seed about a month ago (03-04-2010) from a store brought red mango from Brazil that looked like this:

I was anxious to see something coming out of the earth so i unearthed it a few days ago, i found a root with about 7cm long and put it back again gently. I also found a very small and green woody....well "stick".

It has no leaves and it's growth seems someway halted, the seed however is turning black and mouldy. It sits on a pot on the window of my room and gets about 8 hours of sun and the soil (native soil, which is pitch black and clay, which i believe to be very fertile) is kept fairly moist i water it once a week or when it gets very dry. I'm really clueless on what may be causing this since it does not seems dead.

In future i'm thinking about growing some cocoa trees that a friend of mine will bring me from Venezuela, i've never seen one around here, altough i think it may be possible to thrive since most tropicals do, even if they grow VERY slow. What do you think?

I need some help, thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.

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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Go on youtube and look up Sepp Holzer for some interesting ideas about how to stretch your climate zone. He is supposedly growing kiwi and citrus in the Austrian Alps using his original 'permaculture'.

A very simple design would be a stone or cob wall as a thermal mass on the north side of the mango. Or better yet, put it on the south side of the house. Perhaps shelter from wind. Mangos will get big, and when it does that it will be more exposed to the elements, so you might want to espalier it across a south facing wall.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Hi, thanks for the tip, I will check those videos later.
But that doesn't answer my question, why isn't my mango growing some leaves? Is it normal? Will it take some months? Because the pictures i see on the net from everybody else they have very long leaves when they popup.
Can you identify the variety from the picture above?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 4:15AM
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the variety will be a seedling of whatever mango you planted the seed from. the picture you posted is definitely an Indian type meaning it will have a monoembryonic seedling which will NOT be true to the parent, in fact it may not fruit at all or produce undesirable characteristics like stringy turpentine flavored mangos susceptible to fungal disease.

from my experience and knowledge your seedling will most likely not produce desirable fruit, but it might. maybe even better than the parent, but not likely.

the only way to grow an Indian variety of mango is by grafting a known varietys branch onto a seedling rootstock.

Asian mangos, which are more kidney shaped and typically green or yellow, are mostly polyembryonic which means they will grow a sprout that is true to the parent along with other sprouts that might be variable

this is probably the result of thousands of years of different propagation practices in Indian and East Asia

if you go into the tropical fruit forum you will meet many people who grow mangos in zone 9 using outdoor winter protection.

mango trees can grow large and vigorous however there are probably well over 1000 named cultivated varieties from around the world, some of which grow slow and dwarf, around 10 foot.

this is a relatively new practice, cultivating dwarf varieties and pruning them small for backyard growers instead of large commercial trees. many new cultivars being introduced by nurseries like Fairchild Botanical Gardens are dwarf.

mango trees also take extremely well to pruning, all my trees survived borderline freezing temperatures we experienced this freak winter

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 10:46AM
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hi, thanks for some insight on mangos.
since it's an indian variety i guess will take the chance of letting it grow wildly, i don't care much about the flavor really, nor do i intend to prune it or make a rootstock out of it. i want it grow to a manageable size on the pot, them transplant it to a final place where it can grow at will, even if it takes lots of space.
is this variety self-fertile?
my main question is WHY there are no leaves, altough the small trunk seems to be enlarging in the last few days when it gets more sun.
is there some kind of mutation or something?? it appears to be very healthy tough. will the leaves appear later in time or they should have appeared when it sprouted?
how about cocoa, do you think it will at least survive here (without a greenhouse)?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:30AM
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mangos are self fertile

as to its growth habit, im not sure but its not necessarily abnormal. it may just be a vigorous upright grower before it branches.

mangos are going to have a hard time in your climate outside all year in without at least wind protection but perhaps it will give you a good indication of how to grow them in your area if you ever decide to get a superior cultivar (commercial mangos are tasteless) and wild mangos really are a shot in the dark

the pictures of mango trees i have seen in northern florida zone 9 get burnt up during cold winters but grow back new growth in the spring

theobroma cacao is ultra tropical understory tree and has a hard time here in subtropical zone 10 without winter protection

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 3:53PM
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thanks, i was begining to believe that i had some sort of "freak" mango.
i know comercial fruits (and mango included) are only on the shelf for profit with vivid colors for buyer's eye-catching. not for true belly & mind satisfaction.
the fruits here seems to change, even if the seed comes from a store brought fruit.
the lemons, orange/mandarin and grapes are very common here, most of them come from a store fruit seed or some neighbour offering and they are very good.
not long ago i got my hands on some kiwi from one of ours remote villages, which they were pale green inside, and their flavour.....godly! not like those that come from new zealand that were vivid green and are quite big and when you taste it, compared to ours, the flavour is like something you use to wash the floor.
i do believe the soil here changes the fruits somehow (don't know why or what causes it) so they become rather small and pale compared to those in supermarket, but in turn, their tastes becomes unexplicable wonderful.
so i will defenitly will take a lucky chance with this mango! :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 7:52PM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

I'm not so sure about tasteless. The commercial ones from India are quite delicious. The ones from Brazil and Mexico are not.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:38AM
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its almost impossible to find imported Indian mangos here.

the only commercial mangos that are acceptable to me are
Mexican grown Ataulfo mango or "Champagne" mango

im not sure if they do it for export but they often use carbide chemicals to gas indian mangos into a maturing color for their markets

Indian mangos are very difficult ot grow here because of our humidity and funagal problems that Asian varieties are not susceptible too. i would love to get a hold of some Indian Kesar and Alphonsos.

because of this many Florida cultivars like Carrie were cultivated to have anthracnose fungus resistance and still maintain some of the lavish Indian mango flavors

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:24AM
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Jackfruitwhisperer69(11-Madeira Island)

I think mangoes will do very well in Porto, Since Portugal has a dry climate during summer you wont have a fungal problems like anthracnose! which variety will be better, Go for condo mangoes like Julia, Duncan, Neelum, Manilita, Ice cream, Lancetilla, Cogshall, Fairchild, Graham and Mallika!

Why condo mangoes? It's a mango that does not attain 35-40m (115-130ft)when mature. and condo mangoes can be easily control the size and some varieties you can grow in a pot!

In winter you must provide a shelter for your mango tree, I thing making a mini-greenhouse with bubble wrap cover will do well and for heating you can start a compost pile atleast 2-3m away from the tree so that you don't cook the tree :).

I ordered 5 mango varieties here. they are Rosa, tolbert, osteen, Glenn, and henderson and they will cost me 4.00 euros each.

I got a tommy atkins mango and other subtropical fruits like lucuma,surinam cherry,cherimoya,avocadoes,pasionfruit,Jabuticaba,white sapote,kei apple,papaya,pineapple... and to my supprise there is a Jackfruit tree here and fruiting!!!

here's some pics and videos. Hope you guys enjoy it!:)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 5:30AM
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I was wondering which fruits you can find in Lisbon markets. Can someone please help me with that. Thanks and great reading through this forum and finding most fruits grow well in Portugal.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Jackfruitwhisperer69 ,
Please, can you tell me where did you bought your plants and if they have mail order? I found one source from Canary Islands.
Some info. about hardy mangoes.
"Gomera-1 fruits outdoors in coastal Mediterranean climates and it needs little or no protection in coastal Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece and also in the French Riviera."
Here is a link that might be useful:The cold-hardy Gomera-1 Mango Tree

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:40AM
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