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Mango Bonsai

Diaries of Mango Bonsai

We picked up an unspecified mango fruit at an open market.  Mango fruits are quite tasty, and make for an interesting bonsai, as shown in the image here.

Container Gardening Rules

  • Grow out container recommended is 20 x 20 inches.
  • 40% compost, 20% pumice and 40% forest floor mulch
  • Slightly acidic soil (PH 5 - 6.5)
  • Maintain proper moisture first year, then after top two inches of soil is dry thereafter
  • 6 hours sunlight minimum.
  • General care instructions: California Rare Fruit Growers


Seed grown Kent, Keitt, Ataulfo and Madame Francis mangos, grafted Nam Doc Mai.  The idea is to grow these trees as small types, but it is possible that we'll end up making scions and creating a few trees with mixes.  Ataulfo and Nam Doc Mai are both supposed to be poly-embrionic, so I'm not sure why the Name Doc Mai is grafted.  This will provide fresh mangos almost year round.  We will be mango-less in November and December.

Nam Doc Mai

2018-10-06 Mango Updates

Nam Doc Mai has done well and is flushing some new growth.  We should start seeing some buds pretty soon if last year is any indication.  I would love loVE LOVE to get some home grown fruits this year off the nam doc mai.

We may be taking some air layers off the tree to get a nice shape and/or thicken up the trunk.  Not sure how that would impact fruit production.  Not sure this would be a good time for fruit production...

Madame Francis
Madame Francis has grown quite a bit and is doing well.  So glad it recovered the initial relocation shock last year and is putting on growth.  Not sure what to expect from Madame in the next year.  Not sure if she is old enough to bear fruit for us.  I am really looking forward to trying this one out.  I like the spicy peppery mango flavors and wonder what a green mango like that would be like.

Mango favorability is palette subjective. If one doesn't taste all that good at one point of ripeness it may taste much better at a different point of ripeness.  People with a taste for sugar would probably prefer the less acidic, more ripe fruits and people with a tangy preference would probably go for the less ripened fruit.

2017-10-29 A Very Prolific Tree
Nam Doc Mai Cluster

With the odd warm temperatures, the little Nam Doc Mai tree decided it was time to flower up.  It looks as though several of the flowers were pollinated and some fruits are starting to form.  We have two other flower clusters getting started and we should probably just clip them off.  It is an exciting promise of fresh mangos in our near future though!

Second Nam Doc Mai Flower Bud
Nam Doc Mai is maybe 2' tall so far.  That isn't really an issue, because this particular variety is supposed to reach a maximum size of 6' tall (probably grafted on dwarf root stock). specifies it could bloom the first year after planting.

Since this is supposed to be a June/July bearing tree, the first blooms that should be allowed would be in January.

All of the other mangos are doing well, but listing photographs of each one during every post would be repetitive and probably boring.  So, this post will be left with the exciting news that we can have some home grown mangos soon!  How exciting!

Ataulfo Mango Seedlings

2017-08-05 Ataulfo Mangos Are Best Unripe!

After eating only a few of the Costco Ataulfo mangos, which were being sold only when ripe (golden yellow color, slightly wrinkled), I was not impressed.  I couldn't believe that people believed these mangos to be some of the best.

However, I found some at Winco, not considered ripe by Costco standards and boy, were they good!  It seems I typically do not like fully ripe fruit - I prefer to eat most fruits not long before they are ripe.  Always tart that way.

Ataulfo, when eaten unripe, are quite tart and sweet.  The texture is much better also (in my opinion).  No fiber, that is for sure.  So I was very happy to pull out the polyembryonic seeds from the hulls and get them started.  Here they are, happy as can be!

2017-07-15 - Madame Francis Is Finally Happy!
Madame Francis Mango

After a few repositions, Madame Francis mango has finally got some perked up leaves and seems to be happy with the new digs here.

It is good news to finally see the mango perky and thriving rather than mopey and burned.

All the mangos have been moved under a large mesquite tree canopy, which shades them from the worst part of the day's beating sun and allows for late afternoon sunshine to catch the leaves.

Name Doc Mai From Logees

2017-07-09 New Mangos

The Name Doc Mai arrived as well as the new Madame Francis.  Nam Doc Mai is a trooper, Madame Francis is again tempermental.

Name Doc Mai arrived with a very thick trunk, nice grafting job and ready to grow (new leaves visible).  Maybe we will get something in about three years.

We tried siting Madame Francis in an area that received more sun (they are supposed to need full sun), Madame Francis burned some leaves and became droopy and sad looking.

Madame Francis was moved to the 20% shade area, with limited sunshine and seemed to 'cheer up' a bit.

In general, the seed grown mango trees are getting tall and lanky looking, so they are all moved out
Madame Francis
under a tall mesquite tree for some coverage during greater portion of the day, but getting more indirect access to sunshine and not as much reflected heat from a shaded part of the house during the day.  They are doing well enough, but not doing as well as the tropicals like cocao, sapotes and mangosteens which are all experiencing new growth now.

Seed Grown Autolfo
We may have to start topping them off to get a bushier looking tree.  We aren't well versed in mangos yet.

We found more autolfo mangos in the stores (Winco) and I've been eating them green.  They taste so much better green than they do when they are the golden orange color, somewhat wrinkled at Costco.

I've changed my mind about them and am glad to have started one.  I think my son got the better sprout of the two from the last set, but I now have more polyembryonic seeds to get some new mangos.

2017-06-15 Mango Updates
Keitt Mango Seedling

The mango seedlings are doing well.  I have a few trees too many from some seed starts and will be keeping only one tree of each listed above.  An extra or two would make for good grafting practice.  If all goes well then maybe some tree consolidation will happen.  The Nam Doc Mai and Madame Francis were ordered and are on the way.  

Various mango seedlings

2017-04-08 Mango Updates

The mango trees were moved to the little greenhouse. The one fatality we had was the madam francis mango.  Everything else wintered over with the citrus trees outside and pulled through.  After being moved to the little greenhouse, they seem to be recovering well enough.

We have multiple seed grown Keitt mangos, Ataulfo, and a Kent mango.

2017-03-05 New Mango Growth

All the mangos are doing pretty well.  Loads of new growth happening inside the house and outside the house.

This Ataulfo leaf bud is an example of the new growth being experienced by all the mango seedlings.  Most of them were outside during our brief winter period with the citrus trees and incandescent lights that help protect plants from the biting frost.

The only mango tree that seems to be having a tough time is the Madam Frances still.  Not sure that one will make it, but we will continue trying to nurse it along.

Ataulfo Mango Seedling

2017-02-26 Mango Updates

The last set of seeds sprouted were from some Ataulfo mangos.  I didn't care much for the flavor of these mangos and they are quite small. Not much tang, but maybe it was a seasonal thing. Ataulfo mangos are supposed to be highly rated for texture and flavor, so I started some pits anyway.

These mangos are poly-embryonic and will produce true to parent...

The last for my mango collection is nam doc mai... anyone know when these are in season in Phoenix, Arizona?

Kent Mango, Louis

2016-10-08 Mango Updates

The mango seedlings arrived and some of the unknown mango varieties have sprouted some leaves.  The Kent Mango, Louis, seems to be adjusting well, the leaves look ok and there is evidence of new growth.

Unhappy Mango, Sunni
Madame Francis, however, seems to be a little less adjusted.  The new leaves browned and the leaves are droopy and sad looking.  Madame Francis, or Sunni, doesn't seem to like it here.  Sunni was on a fabric pad under the tile, so perhaps the water was getting wicked away.  A tray was placed underneath to retain
some water to see if this helps Sunni adjust better.

Our first unknown variety has sprouted some really nice dark leaves. Being
Unknown Mango, Asopus
first, this one is named Asopus.  Asopus seems to be doing well just as the Kent mango is doing and we shall see how things proceed with a seed grown tree rather than a grafted tree.  Many people believe the seed grown trees don't suffer much in flavor from the parent tree.

Keitt Mango Sprouts

2016-09-30 Seed Update

Many seeds we have are from unknown varieties.  We started getting some Keitt variety mangos and the seeds are like the previous ones.  Then this morning, we popped open the seed case for one of the Keitt mangos and were surprised.

This mango seeds is very colorful and the shaping is quite odd.
The Odd Keitt Mango Seed
The sprouts are thin and whispy looking.  Of all the seeds we have, none have a white sprout or whatever the white part is.  The other seeds always have a thick sprout stem, not all the swirly looking leaves.

The Odd Keitt Mango Seed
Reading about the cross pollination of the mangos, the general consensus is that the result of a seed grown self or cross pollinated mango cannot really be detected until the tree grows and produces its own fruit in about eight to ten years.

2016-09-24 Seed Update
Unknown Variety of Mango Seeds

I snapped a shot of several mango seeds I've shelled and stuck in water for germination.  They are all getting green or sprouting at one degree or another. The farthest on the right is the one from the open air market.  The rest are from a costco purchase.  These are all monoembryonic seeds.  They were potted up in small four inch starter pots...  why not?

A polyembrionic seed is not smooth and looks like it will break apart... which it will.  When the seeds sprout, it is very hard to determine which one is not the clone.  The best method is to just grow them all out and taste the fruit.  Clipping all but one sprout is a crap shoot, even with the polyembrionic seed types.

2016-09-23 Impatience Wins

After reading about the mango seeds and how polyembrionic seeds are the only ones that grow true to the parent, I decided to go for the seeds of THE BEST mangos. Three seeds on the way for many chances to get a true to type tree.

Nam Doc Mai
Nam Doc Mai is a polyembryonic mango and when planted, the seed will produce several seedlings most of which will produce fruit that is true to type. Trees propagated by grafting will come into production earlier, producing fruit 1-2 years after planting. Seedlings can take up to 5 years to fruit. ~ Queensland Govt

The fruit is large, without fibrous texture and a super delicious taste.  It is heralded as the absolute best mango to have, if you're having a mango.  It can produce fruit at intervals throughout the year, but mostly during June and July.

La Franccique Mangos And Tree
Then I set my sights on a more attainable tree that is reported to have excellent taste and texture; La Francique (Madam Francis).  When I do some day get fruit from this tree, It is neither monoembrionic or polyembrionic for some reason.

La Francique is lime green and becomes a golden yellow when the mango is ripe.  La Franccique bears fruit during June and July.

Keitt Mangos
To extend the harvest time, I also found a well priced Keitt mangos at Costco. This variety bears fruit August through October.  Keitt mangos seem to be very colorful and have minimal fibers.  The flavor is rated as very sweet.

These produce monoembryonic seeds, so it is kind of a crapshoot to see if it will grow true to the parent tree.  The only advantage over growing my own is that I will know what type of mango this should be.

Kent Mangos
The last on my list to get is the Kent mango tree.

Kent variety bears fruit January to March, May to August. This selection will pretty much keep me in mangos all year long when the trees are old enough to bear fruit... If they bear true to the parent trees.

The only guarantee I have from this list is growing all the sprouts from Nam doc mai and when they produce fruit, I will find out for sure.

2016-09-11 Seed Popping Day

Mango pit and bean
We had to wait for it to ripen, and today was
the day.  It was sliced and diced, then the seed shell was pried open to reveal the mango bean (bean for a lack of a better word).

The bean looks like it is ready to go, with green sprouts started on both ends already. Being able to harvest any mangos from this seed is about five to eight years away and may not produce a fruit as yummy as today's was.

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