Can You Grow Mango Trees in USDA Zone 8? Which are Best?

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 8 » Can You Grow Mango Trees in USDA Zone 8? Which are Best?

Mangos are some of the most delicious exotic fruits one can enjoy. But unfortunately, many parts of the world lack the right growing conditions for mango trees.

These tropical plants prefer high heat, with consistent warm weather and humidity throughout the year. No surprise that Florida, California, and Hawaii are the best US states for mango planting.

Gardeners in USDA hardiness zone 8, with its long growing seasons and hot summers, may be confused about how mango trees will fare on their property. It is often warm enough for some tropical species, but its winters are too cold, and frost periods too long for others.

So, can mango trees grow in zone 8?

Many mango varieties will struggle in zone 8 however all hope is not lost.

Let’s discuss.

Can Mango Trees Grow in Zone 8?

Mango trees are best suited to tropical conditions with hot summers and long growing seasons. Unfortunately, zone 8 is not hot enough for most mango varieties, as they typically need temperatures that remain consistently above 40 degrees F to bloom and produce fruit according to the Texas A&M University Extension.

However, there are some ways you can overcome this setback if you really want to grow your own.

Here are two options for growing mango trees in zone 8:

Container planting

The best option to ensure your mango trees survive zone 8 winters is to plant them in containers so they can be moved inside during the coldest periods of the year. It’s important that the container is big enough to ensure optimal growth.

The ideal container size for most full-grown condo mangos trees is 10-15 gallons. As a sapling they should be planted in a 3-7 gallon container, moving up in size every 6-10 months.

Not all mango trees are suitable for container planting. Many will grow over 30 feet tall in ideal conditions, and will not fare well grown in a container.

Mango varieties that are best suited to container planting are known as ‘condo’ mangoes, so keep an eye out for this term when choosing a mango tree for your property.

Protective covers

Tree wraps and burlap are essential if you want to plant mango trees outside in zone 8. Mulch for insulation and regular watering amongst other common tactics are essential.

Still, mango trees planted outdoors in this zone will always be at risk of a rogue frost period that drops below expected temperatures – all it takes is one cold snap to kill your mango tree. These trees will require extra care and attention, but it is not guaranteed they will survive long enough to fruit.

There are a few options for mango trees that will grow reliably as container trees in zone 8. Gardeners may even test them as outdoor trees if they are willing to put in the time, effort, and resources.

6 Sweet Mango Varieties for Zone 8 Planting

1. Alphonso (Mangifera indica ‘Alphonso’)

Alphonso Mangos
Image by Joegoauk Goa via Flickr

With an interesting history tracing back to the early 16th century, the Alphonso mango was the result of years of cultivation by Portuguese missionaries in Goa. Today, it is one of the most expensive mango cultivars on the market, making it a very enticing fruit option for home gardeners.

The Alphonso was bred to be naturally pest and disease resistant, and to have a truly exceptional flavor – it is described as tasting like a mix of citrus, peach, and apricot with a creamy consistency. This tree is compact and easy to grow in a container, making it one of the best mango tree options for zone 8 gardeners.

The tree also looks beautiful year-round, with vibrant evergreen leaves and golden-yellow and dark pink blushing fruits. Keep the Alphonso in full sunlight and well-draining soil, water frequently until established, and apply a balanced fertilizer four times per year.

Other Common Names: Hapus

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Carrie (Mangifera indica ‘Carrie’)

A popular semi-dwarf mango tree with an established track record as a container tree, the Carrie mango is another cultivar worth considering for zone 8. This mango was initially found growing as a seedling in south Florida in the 1940s, and is believed to be a hybrid of the popular Caribbean mango ‘Julie’.

The fruits of the Carrie mango are small and yellow with blushing fruits when ripe. They taste sweet and creamy with distinctive spicy notes that lend well to sweet and savory recipes. The tree itself is a handsome, dense evergreen with a rounded crown, and when planted in the ground it can even be used as a decent shade tree.

A reliable producer with decent pest and disease resistance, the Carrie tree is also fairly adaptable. Slightly acidic to neutral and well-draining soil is recommended for this plant, with moderate watering requirements.

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Ice Cream (Mangifera indica ‘Ice Cream’)

One of the most popular “condo” varieties for home gardening is the Ice Cream mango, a dwarf variety that can grow as small as 6 feet tall, making it a perfect option for container gardening. It is a highly attractive patio plant with large, glossy evergreen leaves and velvety fruits that start off green and turn bright yellow when grown in the right environment.

The Ice Cream mango earns its name from the incredibly rich, creamy texture of its fruits, which can be easily scooped out of the skin like a scoop of ice cream! They are sweet and flavorful, often compared to the taste of mango sorbet. This variety originated in India and is popular throughout Asia.

Plant the Ice Cream mango in rich, well-draining soil in a location with full sun exposure. Prune new shoots 2 or 3 times during growing seasons to promote additional fruiting, with extra pruning of foliage to keep it to a manageable size.

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 6-8 feet tall, 4-6 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Early Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Glenn (Mangifera indica ‘Glenn’)

Another South Floridian mango cultivar, the first Glenn fruit tree was planted in 1940 in Miami, but it would take decades before the commercial value of the Glenn mango would be recognized outside of the state. Though it is a fairly standard mango variety, it has a number of good qualities that make it worth considering for zone 8 planting.

The Glenn tree is a self-pollinating specimen with vibrant foliage and an aromatic fragrance that will add an exotic tropical element to your landscape. It is a reliable heavy producer even when planted in containers. The fruits have a lovely flavor, similar to a peach, and are much less fibrous than the average mango, making them perfect for fresh eating and desserts.

At least 6 hours of sunlight per day and deep, rich, well-draining soil is best. A larger container is preferable, though the Glenn will grow to fit whatever container you plant it in.

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 feet tall, 8-10 feet wide

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Nam Doc Mai (Mangifera indica ‘Nam Doc Mai’)

Nam Doc Mai Mango Tree
Image by sayyid.k via Flickr

A famous mango variety hailing from Thailand, the Nam Doc Mai is the most desirable mango variety in Asia.

It is lauded for its super sweet dessert-quality fruit that has no fiber in its texture, and the fruits are attractive too with their slim, tapered shape and golden yellow ripe color. Another feature of the Nam Doc Mai is that it can be frozen and freeze-dried without losing much of its flavor.

The tree has an upright habit with a dense, compact canopy and a pretty floral aroma. Fruits should be harvested from the tree when ripe, but they can also be eaten green.

It is strongly recommended to only plant the Nam Doc Mai as a container plant since this variety does not fare well in climates that drop below 40 degrees F. It is unlikely to survive a zone 8 winter even with full winter protection but should grow reliably in a container.

Other Common Names: Nam Dok Mai

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Summer

6. Fairchild (Mangifera indica ‘Fairchild’)

Mangifera indica 'Fairchild'
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

First planted in Panama in the early 20th century, the Fairchild is a semi-dwarf cultivar that is one of the better condo mango varieties. Its fruits are small and pale yellow, with a rich aromatic flavor with hints of spice, and an entirely fibreless texture.

The tree itself is a reliable producer and has good disease resistance, with deep green tropical leaves and a neat, compact shape that provides extra ornamental interest.

Due to its smaller and less colorful fruits, the Fairchild has been judged as having less commercial potential than other mango varieties, planted only sparsely in Hawaii, Panama, and Florida. However, its highly-rated flavor and relatively easy-growing nature make it an excellent option for planting at home.

It is ideal for backyard growers with limited space and will thrive in particularly humid climates. Grafted Fairchild trees will begin producing fruit in just 1 or 2 years.

Growing Zones: 4-11 (indoors/container), 9-11 (outdoors)

Average Size at Maturity: 5-12 feet tall, with a similar spread

Fruiting Season: Early to Mid Summer

Add A Tropical Splash With These Cold Hardy Mango Trees

Mango trees bear delicious, juicy fruits and add an exotic element to US gardens. They are truly one of the most excellent fruit trees if you have the ability to grow them.

While the average mango tree will not grow in the ground in USDA hardiness zone 8, gardeners in this climate will be pleased to know that several varieties will grow well as container plants. You don’t need a lot of space to keep your mango tree, and with self-pollinating varieties like the Glenn, you’ll need even less!

Some cultivars may even grow directly in the ground with enough winter protection, though any unexpected drop in winter temperatures may kill it off. It’s important to research thoroughly before planting, so you can pre-empt any issues that may affect your mango tree.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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