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Mango Seedling Leaves Drooping – Causes & Fixes

Native to countries like Mexico, India, and Thailand, mango is a popular fruit that thrives in tropical weather conditions. They love getting soaked by the sun, getting just enough moisture without being overly wet, and LOVE their well-draining soil. What they hate is cold, freezing temperatures! It’s no surprise that you don’t see mango farms in Wisconsin! Mangoes flourish in plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, not far from zone 13, which is the zone with the highest temperatures. Maybe you’re just getting started with mango planting, wondering, “Why are my mango seedling leaves drooping?” 

Your mango seedling leaves might be drooping for a variety of reasons. The most common causes include: overwatering and poorly draining soil, insufficient sunlight, transplant shock, nutrient deficiencies, fungal pathogens, bugs, too cold conditions, wind, and high soil salinity. 

Read on to learn more about the ten most common causes of mango seedling leaves drooping listed above and solutions. 

The ten most common causes and solutions for drooping mango seedling leaves:

Overwatering and/or poorly draining soil

As you can probably imagine, overwatering or poorly-draining soil can be detrimental to young mango saplings. The water sits in the soil, causing the leaves to turn brown, wilt, and decay. The presence of clay in the soil can also prevent drainage. 

Ensure that your soil is porous so that water can easily drain away from the roots. If you notice water sitting in the soil or feel that the soil is overly moist by the touch of your fingers, transplant your mango plant into new soil with well-drainage. If you have soil with clay, it is best to transplant it into the soil with lots of organic matter. Organic matter such as compost is beneficial for retaining amounts of water and draining excess water. 

How much water do mango seedlings need?

When you are first planting a new mango seedling, it is important to water it regularly so that the soil is moist but not overly wet. It is recommended to water it when you initially plant and then every other day for the first week, followed by 1-2 times in the following months. 

Gauging rainfall patterns is also critical for knowing when and when not to water. In times of less rainfall, it is recommended to water once a week or so. During heavy rainfall, you might want to stop watering at all or reduce it to once in a couple of weeks. 

Not enough sunlight

Mango plants are sun-loving tropical plants; they need full sun for a recommended 6-8 hours a day. Naturally, not receiving enough sunlight can cause the plant leaves to droop. Additionally, the flowers and fruit will not produce without enough sunlight. 

If you notice that your mango plant leaves are drooping due to insufficient sunlight, transplant or move it into an area that gets at least 6-8 hours of recommended full sun a day.

Transplant shock

When you transplant a mango seedling, it can suffer from “transplant shock,” causing disturbance to the leaves. When you transplant, ensure that you provide the new sapling with the tropical conditions it needs–full sun, enough moisture, and well-draining soil– to minimize the impact of transplant shock. 

Nutrient deficiencies

Micronutrients, particularly manganese, iron, and zinc, are crucial for the growth and maintenance of healthy mango plants. If the plant lacks sufficient amounts of these nutrients, it can make it easily susceptible to infection, disease, and the overall decay of the plant. Fungal infections can attack the leaves, causing abnormalities like stunting and necrosis. 

In order to prevent these deficiencies from occurring, you can apply these micronutrients in the form of fertilizer and other mixtures available in garden centers and stores. 

Fungal pathogens

Mango seedlings are susceptible to several diseases caused by fungal pathogens. One common fungal pathogen found in mango plants is called “powdery mildew.” Powdery mildew shows up in the leaves as this powdery white color causes the leaves to wilt and decay. 

Anthracnose is another fungal pathogen found to attack mango seedling leaves and causes them to turn brown. Wet conditions caused by overwatering or heavy rainfall can further exacerbate fungal infection and disease in the plant. Anthracnose can manifest in black spotting in the mango leaves. 

It is essential to coat the budding plant with a fungicide to prevent fungal pathogens from infecting the mango seedling. Sulfur has been used to stop the powdery mildew from spreading once it has infected the plant. 

Bugs 

Mango plants are also susceptible to attack by several bugs that feed on new growth and cause abnormalities in the foliage, causing them to wilt and decay. Two bugs found to feed on mango plants are called the “fruit spotting bug” and the “mango tip borer.” They suck out the sap and hollow out the plant causing the leaves to droop and eventually die. 

Fertilizer Burn

It is important to research how much fertilizer to apply and in what amounts on your young mango sapling. Applying too much fertilizer or too strong fertilizer can cause a phenomenon called “fertilizer burn.”

This can cause the leaves to turn brown, fall off, and even die. It is best to consult with a garden center expert when purchasing your fertilizer to determine how often and how much you should apply fertilizer to your young mango saplings. 

Wind 

Windy conditions can also cause your leaves to droop and even fall away. This can be exhibited in mango plants found in windy coastal areas, where they are often growing. Young mango saplings are particularly vulnerable to the wind because their leaves haven’t quite matured and hardened yet. If possible, it is best to move the plants to an area protected by the wind. 

Too cold

Mangos are warm-loving plants, so they don’t tolerate cold weather very well. If exposed to cold weather conditions, mango plants may start losing their leaves. It is best to move or transplant them to an area with more heat and/or sunlight. As stated earlier, mangoes grow best in plant zones 9 – 11, zones where they have some of the highest temperatures. 

High Salinity in Soil 

High salinity in the soil can cause mango leaves to burn, decay, and fall off. This can show up as yellowish-brown spots on the tips of the leaves. An excellent preventive measure for flushing out excess salts is to have well-draining soil, preferably soil with lots of organic content. 

Conclusion

In summary, mango plants are fruits grown in tropical weather characterized by hot and humid conditions. They love getting full sunlight, enough but not excessive moisture, and well-draining soil. They are not conducive to cold-weather climates, particularly in areas that get freezing or below-freezing temperatures.

Suboptimal conditions such as not getting enough sunlight, water, or nutrients will cause abnormalities in the leaves such as browning, burning, decay, and falling away. To ensure a good quality of life for your young mango sapling, ensure that they get the conditions they need to thrive:

  1. Full sunlight at least 6-8 hours a day.
  2. Well-draining soil.
  3. Enough water to be moist without overwatering.

Thank you, and happy mango growing!