Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Germinating a Mango Seed

Cut close on the thin side of the seed to break the seed coat slightly.

In the tropics where mangoes come from, seedlings can be found growing on compost piles or along sidewalks.  The place is humid and hot that seeds thrown away can germinate voluntarily.   Here on the other hand, the air is so dry that this recalcitrant seed has to be treated in a special manner for the seed to grow.  

This spring and all of summer we will be eating a lot of imported mangoes as usual.  I thought that I would try to germinate some seeds and see if they will make a good houseplant.  Avocados for example are sometimes treated as houseplants in places where they cannot grow successfully outdoors. 

What I Did to Germinate a Mango Seed
The mango has a recalcitrant seed which means that it cannot withstand drying and freezing.  The seed needs to be kept in a moist condition immediately after extracting the seed for the fruit. 
1.  Scrape as much pulp as possible from the seed using a knife.
2.  Cut across the thin side of the seed to break the fibrous seed coat.  This will reduce the length of germination period.
3.  Wrap the seed with a moist paper towel to provide the moisture that the seed needs.
4.  Place the wrapped seed in a clear plastic bag and seal it to prevent the paper from drying. 
5.  If necessary re-moisten the paper towel after a couple of weeks.  Return to plastic bag until the radicle (the first root from a seed) starts to protrude after three to four weeks depending on temperatures. 
6.  Plant in a pot (1 gal).  Keep it watered. The process will be long but once the leaves are out the plant will grow a lot faster.

After three weeks inside the plastic bag, the radicle has started to grow.

As soon as I see something happens, rest assured that I will let you know.  I am really curious to see how mango seedlings do on this side of the globe.


Chris and Mango Seed Germination said...

Hi there! I have some mango germination stories too. I've experienced the impact of temperature on germination. A couple of months ago, during the scorching summer, I had a 100% germination rate. Once it started raining, it became 0%. So it would seem that heat is very important in mango seed germination. I hope that helps.

Helen Lewis said...

Hi Chris -
Thanks for visiting again. I agree with you that temperature plays a key role in the germination of any seed. The cold temperatures of the Philippines, though, is still considered very hot for some places of the world. So I might say that there must be something else that affected the germination of your seeds.

Do you have and any record on how long it takes for the first leaf to come out? I planted the seeds that I showed on the pictures a couple of weeks ago but until now I have not seen any sign of change. I am tempted to dig into the soil to check for root development but I'm trying to my best not to give in for fear that I might break it.

Thanks and Mabuhay!

Chris and his Mangoes said...

Hmmmm...first leaf. I think about 2-3 weeks. Or maybe that's just the root. For mangoes, I try to employ a root it and forget it mentality. Otherwise, I'd die just waiting.

I still think it was the lack of sunlight that did my last batch of mango seeds in.

Anonymous said...

thanks, will try today.

from india

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