It is hard to imagine a more beautiful tree than a mango tree. They have a proportionally narrow trunk and wide-reaching branches. When they bloom, the trees are covered with a blush of tiny blossoms that will later become smooth fruit globes. They are highly attractive, and there is scarcely a fruit anywhere that is more delicious than a mango.
With that said, mangoes will not grow just anywhere. They are a tropical tree, requiring warmth, humidity, and a reasonable amount of rainfall. Temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.111 Celsius) are fatal to this beautiful tree. With that said, it can be container grown. Since it grows slowly, it can even live in a corner of your living room for several years before needing a larger space.
Mango fruit has a unique flavor that is sweet, yet slightly bland. Its smooth texture makes it easy to add it to smoothies or to cube and put into salads. But the usefulness of a mango tree does not stop with its fruit. In some areas, the leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, or they are used to make tea. Healthline lists eight different possible medicinal uses of mango leaves. They are rich in terpenoids and polyphenols, and are excellent antioxidants. Folklore about the bark indicates that it has been used traditionally to treat arthritis and other types of inflammation. Recent experiments suggest that it might be a possible specific against cancer.
A mango tree could easily be considered a giving tree. It provides shade, aromatic blossoms, delicious fruit, leaves that can be eaten like a vegetable, and bark that can be made into medicine. With so many things going for it, no wonder that mango should be considered a gift from the gods. According to legend, Shiva was traveling in disguise. When he was treated with kindness, he gifted the homeowner with a mango tree.
The mango we see in the supermarket is Mangifera Indica. This is also the species that we have available for sale. At this time, Mangifera Indica is not endangered. Some wild mango species, however, are endangered. The wild species include (but are not limited to) kuini, (Mangifera odorata), bachang (Mangifera foetida), white mango (Mangifera caesia), and manga aer (Mangifera laurina). Although some of these are eaten as fruit, for the most part they are treated as a vegetable or added to chutneys. Although efforts have been made to grow some of them domestically, they have peculiar soil requirements that require informed handling to get them to grow.
One of the concerns about mangos of all sorts is that while many creatures find them tasty, elephants are one of the few living creatures large enough to consume a whole mango and poop out the seeds. Being eaten is one of the preferred means for plants to “travel” from one place to another. Without the some means of transportation, there is concern that mangos could become extinct, especially some of the wild strains.
Mangifera Indica are easy to grow from seed. First remove the tasty outer pulp from a mature fruit. Next, look along the edge of the large, flat seed case. You should find a sort of seam on one side of the pointed end. Carefully pry this open to expose the true seed. (You can grow the seed while it is in the husk, but removing it makes it sprout a little more quickly.) Place the seed in a pot of growing medium, water, and watch for it to grow. By the end of twelve weeks, you should have a mango tree sprout.
Good management of a mango plant could be you doing your part to help preserve a plant species. Or it could be you growing a tree that will give you beautiful shade and delicious fruit. Or maybe both. There is nothing wrong with a little garden multitasking.
If you do not live in a tropical or subtropical area, mango trees can be grown in containers in orangeries or large greenhouses. In the early stages of their life, they can even be used as houseplants. Their narrow glossy leaves and bushy structure make them an attractive indoor plant for several years.
Mangos are one of those incredible, edible super foods. They are comforting to grumpy digestions, and a true savior for humdrum salads. As smoothies, simply delicious.
By growing a mango, especially in an area where you can plant one out-of-doors, you are helping preserve a beautiful tree that just keeps on giving in every possible way.