Alphonso: King of Mangoes

Delicious Indian organic sweet ripe mangoes

India is well known for the exotic fruit, mango which is known as the king of all fruits. Yet there is a mango cultivar known as Alphonso, which is considered to be the king of all mangoes. The country has more than a hundred varieties of mangoes and the climate of India is beneficial for the fruit as well as its trees’ growth. Mango, the national fruit of India is native to South Asia and many varieties are found in nature as wild mangoes. 

Alphonso Mango

History of alphonso mango and states they cultivate the fruit

The name of the mango variety comes from a Portuguese viceroy named Alphonso de Albuquerque of the 15th century. He was a famous military person who helped Portugal to establish its colonies in Goa during the time. During the time in Goa varieties such as ‘sucking type’ was prominent, but he wanted to introduce mango variety those are firm in texture so that they can be cut and serve. They began to graft until they succeed in getting the cultivar called Alphonso. The variety has been cultivated in all most all parts of India, but the most famous, tasty and expensive variety is from Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. 

Taste of alphonso mango

Alphonso mango, sometimes hailed as the king of mangoes because of its highly sweet, creamy and pulpy texture. 

Characteristics of alphonso mango

The most important and peculiar trait of this variety is that it is non-fibrous unlike many varieties of mangoes in the country. The shape of the fruit is somewhat like an egg. It normally weighs between 200-400 grams. When the fruit is young it will be dark green and when it becomes ripe the outer skin turns cheerful golden-yellowish and its flesh becomes saffron-coloured. The fruit is a seasonal fruit and available mainly during the mid of April to June.  

Health benefits

  • The fruit contains a high deal of magnesium and potassium. 
  • It also regulates the digestion process with the help of enzymes in the fruit.  
  • It is high in anti-oxidants
  • Contains vitamins such as B6, A, E, B5 and K
  • Dietary fibre and carbs
  • Copper and folate

 Characteristics of alphonso mango tree

  • The alphonso mango tree is an evergreen tree that has lush greenish leaves all year round. 
  • The tree bears flowers from early December and fruits start to come from March – June. 
  • While planting leaves a space of 8 metres in between two plants to get maximum growth of trees. 
  • Sunlight is required to get maximum yield.
  • Grafted plants are desirable over seeds, as the grafted plants show many similarities with their mother tree.

Can alphonso mango grow in a pot?

It can be planted in a pot and grow as a bonsai tree. Because of the pot, the plant will not grow as it is on the ground. Pruning has to be done even it is in the pot. The container mango tree will grow up to 4 to 8 feet. The container should be with drainage holes. Before filling the pot with fertilisers and soil, add broken pottery to make the drainage more effective. 

Planting instructions

  • Good pre-planting preparation required for the plant. 
  • Dig a hole that is 1 metre long, wide and deep. 
  • Make a mixture with topsoil, cow manure, 2kg of bone meal and 2kg of phosphate.
  • Regular watering has to be done during the first few weeks. Later the intervals can be increased in between watering days. 
  • Make sure to water the plant on summer days at least once a week. 
  • A grown tree can tolerate both over-watering and low-watering. But to get the maximum yield it is advised to water the plant adequately. 

Fertilisation for alphonso mango

The mango tree does not require constant care or watering. The first fertilising of the soil before planting the tree is the most important factor to check. Make a mixture with topsoil, cow manure, 2kg of bone meal and 2kg of phosphate and fill the hole and plant the tree in this mixture. 

Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK factor) have to be followed. 100 grams of nitrogen, 50 grams of phosphorous, 100 grams of potassium is required during the first year of the plant. In the second year give 200 grams of nitrogen and potassium and 100 grams of phosphorous. And after every year adds more than 100 grams to the last year’s quantity. Natural fertilisers such as cow manure, compost and other kinds can be added. This will preserve the natural traits of the soil.

Common diseases and pests 

Algal leaf spot

Alga causes this disease. The leaves get orange spots. Normally, the disease is harmless. To avoid this issue prune and use pesticide regularly. Use any fungicide to control the diseases. 

Anthracnose 

Dark spots on leaves, flower and fruit. As a result of this, fruits, leaves and flowers fall from the tree. This is a fungus attack. Normally, trees that are grown in wet regions face this issue. This is a serious disease. The use of fungicide at the right time can help to restrict the disease. 

Powdery mildew

The grey-white powder-like substance appears on fruits, flower and leaves. Leaves, flower and fruit will fall from the tree before the fruit becomes ripen. Fungicides are very effective as the disease comes from a fungus. This can be seen everywhere where mango trees are growing. 

Bacterial black spot

Visible cracks on stems of mango trees, as a result of a gummy substance, comes from the tree. This a common disease that is seen everywhere. Remove the branches which have this disease and apply copper-based protective sprays to get effective results.

Fruit fly

Female flies lay their eggs on the semi-ripen mangoes. When the fruit ripens, the eggs break and worms will appear and destroys the fruit. People can do harvest before full ripening of the fruit. Use neem-based pesticides to get effective results.

Mango mealybug 

These bugs suck the juice of tender leaves, flowers and even fruits. They will appear on the leaves and fruits as a white powdery substance. This disease can be seen everywhere where trees are growing. Burn all the branches, leaves and fruits which have the infestation. Spray neem-based pesticides to avoid mealybug. 

Pruning and care

Pruning is done to the trees for several reasons, to remove pest or fungal affected areas, to allow more sunlight to the trunk, to regulate the tree growth eying harvesting. The tree can withstand moderate and even severe pruning which reduces the fruit-bearing capacity of the tree at first. But in the long run, it benefits the tree. Keep in mind that the pruning has to start from the plant’s early days. 

Cut the vertical branches in favour of the horizontal branches and do it for at least 2-3 years until the tree has a strong scaffold. When the tree comes to the appropriate height you need to trim the tree once or twice a year to regulate the height.