by Amanda Rose Newton
Mango madness, that is! If you’ve caught the madness like we have and are aiming to add a mango or two to your landscape this season, read on to ensure you get the best fruit for you. This year’s celebration of all things mango will play out a little differently, with a unique “tasting box” you can pick up, which is really the best way to try before you buy!
Mango Considerations for Florida
At the grocery store, customers are usually presented with two options for mangos: the bigger reddish-green variety or the smaller hook-shaped yellow. The bigger mango is typically a Keitt, Kent, or Tommy Atkins while the slender yellow (or champagne) mango is typically an Afaulto. Here at Rockledge Gardens, we carry over THIRTY varieties throughout the growing season. If the sheer number seems overwhelming, know that it comes down to two main factors: size (regular or dwarf) and fruit fiber content (more or less).
Choosing Your Perfect Mango Tree in Florida
When selecting a variety, do your research! It is important that you choose a type that will complement your space as well as offer the best quality for eating. Some of our most popular mangos are listed below, as well as details regarding their flavor, fiber, and size. For complete information on all varieties we carry, be sure to check out our Mango information sheet!
Full Size Mangoes (20 feet+)
- Bailey’s Marvel: A large green mango with little fiber and a tropical flavor. Like the Haden, with less fiber threads.
- Edward: Sweet, tangy and rich! Low fiber and exceptional eating. This is a fan favorite here at the garden and with good reason. With almost a custard-like texture it’s easy to eat with one of the most pleasant, smooth flavors you will come by.
- Haden: The original Merritt Island Florida classic, this mango spawned off many of the varieties we have today. Hadens feature a yellow skin with an attractive blush when ripe. The flavor is sweet and offers up a middle of the road fiber content. This mango still has a nice chew to it while offering a smooth, juicy mouthfeel.
- Keitt: Distinguished by its large size, this egg-shaped mango features smooth flesh and not much fiber. The seed to flesh ratio is also small, with a rather mild taste that makes it a great choice for kids.
- Kent: Another large green, mango, Kents are like Keitts with a sweeter, richer taste. The fiber content is also low, making it a superb choice for blending up smoothies or margaritas.
- Lemon Meringue: Yellow like a lemon, this has become a favorite among staff and customers alike. With citrusy notes and a sweet-tart taste, it certainly stands out among the rest!
- Maha Chanook: New to the garden center this year, this old mango hailing from Singapore is highly sought after due to its long fruiting season. With a high fruit to seed ratio and little fiber, consuming a Maha Chanook is a pleasure.
- Tommy Atkins: Chances are, you have crossed paths with this guy before. Large fruit with green skin peppered with red. This mango is nice and firm, which is why it’s popular as a commercial grocery store mango. It still manages to be juicy, with a relatively little pit (seed) to fruit ratio. They also happen to be quite fragrant!
- Super Julie: The Julie mango has been popular for years, and this new and improved version offers improved fungus resistance. The flavor is mild and sweet, making it an excellent choice for salsas, salads, and chutneys.
- Zill: Crafted right here in Florida, the Zill is a tiny mango with a lot to offer! With an excellent sweet flavor and rich, tropical smell, it is a vacation in a fruit!
Dwarf Mangoes (<15 ft)
- Carrie: This yellow mango creates a charming canopy and stands up to many common fungal issues. The flavor is sweet and spicy, making it a great accompaniment to Latin fare.
- Ice Cream: As one would hope, this mango is smooth and creamy, like eating a fresh mango sorbet.
- Little Gem: Tiny and odd shaped, the little gem offers very little fiber and a lot of juice. Perfect for containers, it will max out around 10 feet.
- Nam Doc Mai: Longtime prized for its unique color and spicy taste, this is a must try!
- Rosigold: Named for its yellow red blush, this mango can easily be kept in a pot. Aromatic and sweet, it’s a great mango for eating out of hand.
Planting Your Tree
Now that you have selected which variety suits you, choosing the correct location for your mango to flourish is just as important. Mango trees are most productive grown in full sun. If you are going to plant more than one, make sure they are at least 15 feet apart and not too close to buildings.
Prepare your site by using 1-part Rockledge Garden’s planting mix and 1-part existing soil to backfill the hole. Add a cup of an organic fertilizer, such as Espoma Biotone to give it a boost.
Ensure that you follow our instructions for watering new plantings and keep to the schedule. One thing to be aware of: mangoes do not do well with cold temperatures and even temperatures below 40 will damage blossoms. Make sure you plant your tree to the south and west of your home, in the warmest spot in the yard.
Pests and Disease
Preventative treatment is the best thing you can do to safeguard your tree. Prone to anthracnose (a fungal disease), this is likely to arise when a tree is improperly fertilized or has been hit with too much water. Noticeable by dark spots on the leaves during the rainy season, applying Dithane two to three times a week should reduce the spread.
Feeding Your Tree
As with most fruit trees, peaches are typically hungry for nutrients that do not present in our soil and generally take readily to fertilization every 2 months with an organic product, such as Espoma Citrus-tone. Maxicrop liquid seaweed has been shown to boost the immune system of threes, making them more resistant to insect and fungal issues.