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Mango (photo courtesy of Inga Spence/Alamy)
Mango (photo courtesy of Inga Spence/Alamy)

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Zone
Zones 23, 24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate
Toxicity
Sap and juice from fruit cause skin rash in some people

Mango

Anacardiaceae
Evergreen, Edible fruit, Trees

Tropical Asian native, known botanically as Mangifera indica. In Hawaii, mango trees reach upwards of 50 ft. tall and spread to 30 ft. or more. These trees are very long-lived and produce heavy crops of fruit. In the mildest parts of Southern California, however, the plants often remain shrubby (8–10 ft. tall and nearly as wide) and are likely to fruit only in the most favorable frost-free locations. Large leaves are often coppery red or purple when new; they later turn dark green.

The trees are self-fruitful. Long clusters of yellow to reddish flowers appear at branch ends from spring into summer; these are followed by oval fruits up to 9 in. long, weighing up to 2 lbs. in good growing conditions. Fruit has green to reddish or yellowish skin, a large seed, and very juicy pale yellow to deep orange flesh that tastes somewhat like that of a peach with flowery overtones. Poorer-quality fruit may be stringy and/or have a flavor reminiscent of varnish. In Southern California, the skin may not color well, but fruit quality can still be excellent.

Mangoes are most flavorful if allowed to ripen on the tree; they are usually ready to harvest 4 to 5 months after bloom. Reliable varieties include the standard-size ‘Ah Ping’ and ‘Pope’, and the compact ‘Carrie’, ‘Fairchild’, ‘Keitt’, and ‘Rapoza’. ‘Manila’ is a compact grower widely sold in California. Trees tend to bear more heavily in alternate years. They tolerate fairly poor, shallow soil as long as it is well drained. Fertilize as recommended for citrus. Anthracnose, scale, and powdery mildew can be serious problems. Little pruning is needed. Wear gloves when harvesting or pruning: the sap can cause a rash.

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