Friday, 28 March 2008


This is the story of my mother's experiences of growing mangoes in Adelaide. A copy of this post is being sent to the Rare Fruit Society at the request of Harry, the President.

About 20 years ago she bought a mango seedling from Chris Perry at Perry's Fruit and Nut Nursery, McLaren Flat. She planted it in a place in her garden in Lockleys, sheltered from the western sun by a wattle tree and from the wind from the west and south, by a fence and a shed. No particular preparation was made of the soil but the soil in Lockleys is excellent, as it was originally the flood plain of the Torrens. The water table is also very high and when established, trees can feed from it once the roots reach down as little as 60cm or so. She used to cover it every night during cold weather but, with subsequent seedlings, found this was not necessary although they rarely have frost in Lockleys.

It took about 10 years before the tree began to fruit and at first there were only 2 or 3 fruits. As the tree has grown it has increased its yield and this year, 2008, the crop was close to 100 mangoes. The tree is now over 3m high and as wide. Alternate years are better and often a lot of the fruit blows off in spring before reaching larger than thumb-nail size. This year, 2008, many more fruit stayed on, despite the dry conditions, and even the smaller fruits (the size of a pear) ripened beautifully.The mangoes usually ripen during April but this year they ripened from mid March and consisted of some of the biggest and smallest mangoes yet. An interesting difference this year was that each of the earliest ones developed a red patch on the sunny side, before ripening to the usual orange. Maybe this was due to the very cool February weather.

Jean has tried to grow another tree from a seed of this tree, several times but, although they germinate readily, they have produced trees which either have had stringy fruit, or failed to have more than one mango per year. She has also tried grafted mango plants but these have not been successful.Mango trees prefer to be on the dry side during winter and this is achieved by having them planted on the NE side of a fence and shed, causing a small rain shadow. The soil is also very free draining in Lockleys. Jean fertilises the plant in early spring with citrus food but otherwise does not feed it. She waters it deeply now and again, when the fruit are growing.


Anonymous said...

I had no idea Mangoes took that long to develop fruit.

They are beautiful and so flavorful.

Wish we could grow some here. But alas, we will just have to settle for the supermarket variety.

Rabbit said...

That is one big mango. How did you ever make it grow that big? It looks like a watermelon already.

Anonymous said...

I live very close in Cowandilla.I killed 2 mango trees and the third is now growing.You mentioned you live on an old flood plain.That is the clue?When there is a washout in creeks what sediment is leftover? Think . I discovered this material by accident so obvious not even the nursery who I bought the trees fom told me to add it to the potting mix to make it more free draining.Guys its SAND.You must have sufficent levels of it in your soil.By luck your tree in in a sandy spot which the sand draws water away from clay particles and increases the drying time of soil medium and keeps the roots at a stable moisture level.Im growing my tree in organic potting mix plus 20 percent more sand to stop waterlogging in the potting mix.I put in a 1x1m x 400mm deep holeThe other thing I did was plant tree on raised mound and initially watered plant in with mycorr hyzal fungal innoculant.If your contemplating growing any subtropicals in Adelaide in the ground remember you had want to have sufficent sand levels in your soil.The sand must be the fine type.I used washed filling sand also known as lawn topping sand available at jefferies garden soils.

Brenton likes mangoes said...

Good theory Anonymous. I am impressed at the size of fruit and dedication to produce it, 10 Years waiting and not knowing if it will fruit. Hats off 2U.

Amanda said...

We have had a great crop of mangoes this year at Cumberland Park. We planted one tree about 17 years ago and this is the best crop so far. We did not do any special preparation - from memory, but did nurture it for the first two years. The tree seems to enjoy the humidity and a wet lead-up to summer. Some years all of the fruit (or almost all) fell off early but this year not so. Well worth the wait! Amanda

Anonymous said...

Hi thanks a lot for your advice. I love mangos and I germinated one from seed last summer. Now it's almost a meter tall. Taking your advice I have reported the tree into potting mix and added 20% sand into a larger pot. May I ask what variety you are growing and did you have any fruit? Mine is a Bowen mango variety.