Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that grows on trees that can be up to 80 feet tall in the wild. Mangosteen cannot withstand temperatures below 8°C or above 38°C. For this cause, the tree has not adapted well for planting in many parts of the world. It has beautiful leaves that start as a rose color before transitioning to dark green.
There are two main types of Mangosteens: purple and yellow. Purple Mangosteens grow very slowly and do not produce fruit until they are ten years old. However, yellow Mangosteens grow faster and are easier to grow. If you can find yellow-type seeds or young plants, you’ll be more likely to see fruit within just a few years of planting Mangosteen trees.
How to grow Mangosteen fruit from seed to harvest
How long does Mangosteen take to fruit from seed?
- Mangosteen is difficult to propagate by simple methods such as grafting, and when grown from seeds, it takes 8 to 15 years or more to produce fruit, which is a major disincentive for aspiring growers.
- Fruits are the size of a small orange, round, or flattened on the ends. Mangosteen has a thick, hard, dark red rind surrounded by snow-white flesh in parts like Mandarin orange. It takes 8 to 15 years for seedlings to bear fruit.
- Mangosteen grows very slowly and takes nine to 15 years to flourish under ideal conditions. In poor conditions, they can take up to 20 years. Mangosteens need specific growing conditions, without which they will fail and die.
Germinating Mangosteen seed
- You must have noticed that Mangosteen contains many seeds when you eat Mangosteen fruit. Single Mangosteen can have 7 to 8 seeds. Mangosteen is usually propagated from the seed because the plants are genetically like the parent tree. Grafted trees are occasionally produced; trees are smaller and produce smaller fruits than seedling trees.
- Choose plump, fully prepared seeds from ripe fruit for planting. Mangosteen seeds should be removed from the fruit a few days before planting. The purchased seeds are usually sent in airtight containers or bags in moist peat or sphagnum moss. You should soak your Mangosteen seeds in clean water for 24 hours before planting to speed up germination.
- Plant fresh Mangosteen seeds at least 8 inches deep in rich, organic, sandy loam-amended soils with organic compost. The soil should be at least 4 feet deep. Sprouting usually takes 20 to 22 days and is completed in 43 days. It takes at least two years for young plants to grow up to 12 inches in height. After the plant reaches at least 2 feet, you can transplant it carefully if necessary.
- Manage temperatures closely, always providing temperatures above ten °C and below 38°C. Shelter Mangosteen plants from winds. You should provide partial shade exposure for up to 13 hours daily. Water Mangosteen consistently, always keeping the soil moist. Provide atmospheric moisture for seeds, plants, and mature trees equivalent to an annual rainfall of at least 55 inches. Just use fresh water and don’t allow Mangosteen to be exposed to salt water or saline heavy tap water, such as soft water.
- You should dig a deep hole, twice the width and the depth of the container. Fill halfway with nutrient-rich soil filled with organic matter at least 30 days before planting. Put the tree in a carefully prepared hole, protecting the taproot. Fill with soil and come down firmly. Stake the tree if you live in an airy environment, but you should do your best to plant it in a place protected from the wind. These trees do not work well in a windy environment.
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Spacing between Mangosteen plants
Mangosteen should be placed at 35 to 40 feet and planted in pits rich in organic matter 30 days before planting. The tree needs well-irrigated space. However, the dry season will produce a better fruit set before blooming. Mangosteen plants need space to grow well because they can reach about 10 to 12 meters or more in height. If you’re going to plant it in your garden, dig a 4× 4 x 4 pit for it. In addition, you can add organic matter to this pit. These organic matters stimulate plant growth in the early stages by providing nutrients.
Climate requirement for growing Mangosteen
Acceptable growth requires rich soils in warm and humid tropical climates and abundant water. The fruit is tropical and requires a moderate climate. It requires high humidity and an average temperature between 8°C to 38°C. Fruits can do well in average rainfall, but long droughts can affect tree productivity. In cold climates, Mangosteens can only be grown indoors in containers. Under favorable conditions, a slowly growing Mangosteen tree can reach 31 feet. It has thick, dark green, glossy leaves, 6 to 10 inches long, stems grown in opposite pairs, and large rose-pink flowers.
The best fertilizer for Mangosteen
- Feed the Mangosteen plant with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium solutions consisting of compounds at 16-16-16. In addition, you can also use a 20-20-20 (NPK) ratio. Fertilize them every 4 to 5 months. Mangosteen trees respond well to manuring. Diluted organic fertilizers that can be absorbed slowly are desirable. Also, applying nitrogenous fertilizer can accelerate the vegetative growth of plants.
- The application of fertilizer varies with the age of the plant. Since ammonium sulfate is applied when planting, the succeeding application should follow a circular outline after the tree canopy. Dig 4 to 6 holes after the circular plan on the ground. Put the fertilizer into the holes, cover them to prevent volatilization, and reduce the runoff in case of heavy rain.
- When planting, apply 200 to 250 grams of complete fertilizer per tree three inches below the roots and five inches on the edge of the seed. For young trees, mix and apply 300 to 500 grams in two equal doses of 14-14-14 or 12-24-12 and broadcast or apply by a shallow furrow around each tree with 200 to 300 grams of urea. Apply the first dose at the beginning of the rainy season and the second dose at the end. The amount of fertilizer increases yearly as trees grow larger and fruit production increases.
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Sun requirement for growing Mangosteen
- Mangosteen thrives in full sunshine when mature. You need to be able to provide partial shade during the hottest parts of the day in the first two to three years after planting outdoors. Mangosteens can also perform well under the shade. Unlike fully grown trees, young plants may not be able to survive under direct sunlight. So, place your plants in the shade or in a place where they get indirect or filtered sunlight.
- Ideally, rainfall should be well distributed throughout the year, but trees are known to grow successfully even in dry conditions with irrigation. Mangosteens are picky about height and humidity and require annual rainfall of at least 50 inches without drought. Trees thrive in deep, rich organic soil but will survive in sandy loam or soil that contains course material.
Water requirement for growing Mangosteen
- Be sure to water the plants properly, as water availability can affect plant growth. They do not live in standing water and can die. So, re-water your plants only when the upper soil is dry. But if you’re growing Mangosteen from seed, keep the soil moist, as young plants need constant moisture. You should water the plant just using fresh water.
- Artificial irrigation is practiced during dry months. Water the plants as soon as transplanted and maintain them when rainfall is not enough to maintain soil moisture at high levels. However, in the seeding stage, the water standing on the roots can kill the plant completely.
- Watering is an essential thing in the early stages of the plant. Thus, you should pay proper attention to the plant for the first three years. In addition, Mangosteen young plants require continuous water during the dry season. Because the soil is not moist enough in the dry season. So, the root system needs additional support from the outside.
- But don’t give too much water to your Mangosteen plant. Too much water can kill the plant because the root system doesn’t like too much water. Additionally, once the Mangosteen tree achieves good growth, you don’t have to worry much about watering. Plant root systems are well established at this stage.
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Growing Mangosteen in pots
- This tree grows above 15 feet at its smallest, so you’ll need an extremely large pot with drainage holes for this plant. Use only organic, well-drained soil and define the requirements in the garden center where you buy the soil.
- You can grow Mangosteen plants in an indoor container if you provide them with favorable conditions. Usually, it quietly requires a large space to grow very well. Additionally, you should be concerned about the need for plant light when you grow them indoors.
- First, you should take a pot suitable for planting Mangosteen trees. The diameter of this pot should be 18 to 24 inches and more than 20 inches in height because the Mangosteen root system requires enough space to grow in the pot. In addition, the pot should have a proper drain hole. These drain holes facilitate better drainage.
- In addition to the pot size, you should be extremely concerned about the soil type because well-drained soil is essential for Mangosteen plants. Therefore, a mixture of sand, soil, and perlite is suggested to fill indoor pots for planting Mangosteen. So, if you’re going to put Mangosteen indoors, you should pay more attention to it.
How to tell when Mangosteen is ripe?
- You’ll find that when Mangosteen is ripe, it feels a little heavier in your hand; the outer peel is smooth, red in color, and produces a bit with mild pressure from your thumb. Unripened or over-ripened Mangosteen will be hard on the outside and have dark-colored peels.
- Choose a fruit that has bright green and shiny stems. Stems that are brown and floppy imply that the fruit is over-ripe. When choosing Mangosteen, avoid squeezing the outside as it can hurt the fruit. Instead, choose heavy fruits. Mangosteen is the sweetest and ready to eat when the peel is dark purple.
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Do Mangosteens grow true to seed?
Trees grow well in the soil, such as sandy loam, laterite, or clays. Seeds are not considered real seeds, and Mangosteen trees are also known to be delicate taproots and do not transplant well. Trees are usually grown in full sunlight or shade. Mangosteen is very unusual in that it grows true from 100% genetically identical seeds because they are adventitious embryos (or hypocotyl tubercles).
Soil requirement for growing Mangosteen
It works best in deep, rich organic soils with a slightly acidic pH of 5.0 to 6.0. The tree grows well on deep river loams and is not so good on sandy soils with low organic matter levels. Mangosteen prefers an equatorial climate with high temperatures with high humidity as well. A sandy loam with good amounts of organic matter, and fertile soil, is ideal for growing Mangosteen. Plants will work even better in well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.
What is the season for Mangosteens?
The first fruit is from July to October, the monsoon season, and the second in the months of April-June. Therefore, mangosteen occurs during peak season during the summer. Depending on where it is cultivated worldwide, the Mangosteen season lasts from April to August.
In case you missed it: Growing Mangoes from Seed to Harvest: A Detailed Planting/Production Guide for Beginners
How many fruits does a mangosteen tree produce?
Mangosteen yield is variable, depending on the tree’s climate and age. If the young tree is bearing for the first time, 200 to 300 fruits can be produced, while at maturity, 500 fruits per season are on average. Plants typically produce good crops only in alternate years. Generally, Mangosteen can be harvested 13 to 14 weeks after the fruit set. Yields are variable, but 400 to 900 fruits can be expected from each mature tree.
Mangosteen, a delicious tropical fruit, is abundant from July to September. It is one of the most admired tropical fruits due to its amazing health benefits. In addition, Mangosteen produces the most delicious and sweet fruit in the world. Learning to grow Mangosteen fruit is much easier if you have the right climate, tropical or subtropical needed. While it’s annoying, taking proper care of it will reward you with a few hundred fruit yields annually when it’s young and matured over a thousand.
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