The Q&A Archives: Insect Infested Mango Seedling

Question: I have now tried twice to grow a mango from seed, but each time the seed has become infested with little white larvae-looking bugs. The first time, when I took the seed out to clean it there were visible signs of growth, but despite using insect sprays and keeping it out of soil for a couple of weeks, the bugs came back as soon as I replanted it. The second time, there was no growth. I used multi-purpose compost and I fed the seed with Baby Bio once a week, watering it mid-week too. It was not in direct sunlight. I now have another seed drying out on my shelf and want to try it again. What should I do?

Answer: I wonder if the pit is rotting, and something is eating the decaying part? Start with a sterile potting mixture to get the seed growing. You can transplant it to richer soil once it gets started. Use a 4-inch pot, and plant the seed vertically so half of it is exposed above the soil surface. Keep soil moist, but do not waterlog it. Fungus gnats, tiny fly-like insects, infest soil that is perpetually wet, and their larvae feed on tender rootlets. Temperatures should stay around 26C for good germination. Also, there's no need to fertilize it til the seed puts up green shoots. I hope this does the trick!

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