Gary Mango Grow Guide

Gary Mango Hanging On The Tree
Image Credit: Tropical Acres Farms

Any hardcore mango grower knows who Gary Zill is.

And for those who don’t know, Gary, along with his family, is credited with playing a significant role in the development of today’s most popular mango varieties. He is essentially the ‘de facto father’ of the modern-day mango movement in the United States.

And so, for his name to be associated with a mango cultivar, you can be sure it’s nothing short of amazingly delicious 😋

With that being said, this grow guide will cover everything that you need to know about Gary Mango:

Table of Contents

Gary Mango Tree Growth Habit & Fruit Production

The Gary Mango is considered a small to medium-sized mango tree.

Gary Mangos have a moderately vigorous & somewhat spreading growth habit that produces a compact & dense canopy. As a result, Gary can realistically be kept between 8 – 15 feet tall with annual pruning. Due to the tree’s natural vigor & spreading limbs, Gary would not do well long-term in containers and would not be considered a “condo” mango.

Gary’s fruit production consistently ranges from fair to average. While some may argue that Gary is an alternate bearer, my hypothesis is that the more likely issue lies with its flowering.

When I asked some friends who grow Gary Mango Trees about their thoughts on Gary’s production, they mentioned that their trees tend to yield better in years when the tree has the opportunity for a second round of flowering. In other words, it’s possible that a second bloom from Gary may have a more favorable ratio of male-to-female flowers, resulting in a better fruit set.

The mangos themselves are small-sized fruits that typically weigh between 0.3 – 0.75 lbs. Between the small fruit size and large seed, Gary Mangos tend to have a poor flesh-to-seed ratio. However, this has not hampered the fruit’s popularity due to its incredible flavor profile.

Gary Mango Flavor Profile

Gary Mangos are considered a Coconut Flavored Mango.

When perfectly ripe and mature, Gary will give off a strong tropical aroma that evokes images of sun-tan lotion and/or Piña Coladas. Slicing into the fruit will reveal yellowish-orange, fiberless flesh with an incredibly soft and melting texture.

Ripe & Mature Gary Mango
Image Credit: Rare Fruit Farms

From a flavor perspective, Gary Mango is an explosion of coconut flavor.

This small fruit is exceptionally sweet, with a concentrated tropical taste dominated by coconut, complemented by distinct notes of pineapple and citrus. Its taste is reminiscent of what one might expect from a perfectly ripe, coconut-flavored mango, akin to a Piña Colada or Sugarloaf.

Ripe & Mature Gary Mango Cut Into A Wedge
Image Credit: Tropical Acres Farms

Overall, Gary will be most appreciated by those seeking an intense tropical flavor that is reminiscent of a strong tropical punch. Don’t let the size of the fruit fool you, I’m convinced that the fruit’s tiny size just concentrates down these flavors even more 😄

Finally, it’s worth noting that Gary Mangos produce polyembryonic seeds, which means that planting a seed from a Gary Mango can yield another Gary Mango Tree.

Gary Mango Season (And When To Pick)

Gary Mangos are considered a mid-season mango (June – July).

The best time to pick Gary Mangos are when they are mature and beginning to ripen on the tree. However, judging the ripeness of Gary Mangos can be challenging, even for experienced mango growers.

This difficulty arises because, from a color perspective, Gary Mangos only develop a discernible yellowish to yellow-green hue when they are grown along the coast. Conversely, when grown further inland, Gary Mangos maintain a lighter green color.

Gary Mango Hanging On The Tree
Image Credit: Tropical Acres Farms

As a result, color shouldn’t be the primary indicator when judging whether Gary is ready to be harvested.

Instead, we should harvest Gary when the fruit is sufficiently plump and has a soft texture. Additionally, we can consider the following tips to determine when Gary Mango is ready to pick.

  • Are there beads of sap on the fruit ?
  • How does the stem look? It’s it drying up near where it connects to the fruit?
  • Is the fruit’s skin beginning to stretch?

It should be noted that Gary does have a tendency to hang on the tree. However, it’s important to recognize that Gary is not a cultivar that should be left to fully ripen on the tree. Allowing them to ripen too much on the tree increases the chances of the fruit developing off-putting flavors. Even when at the perfect stage of ripeness for harvesting, they may still require a little tug to be picked; they won’t snap easily off the flower panicle.

Finally, although the absence of vibrant color can be frustrating for harvesting purposes, this feature makes Gary an excellent choice for a front yard mango tree. The fruit’s seemingly ‘unripe and not ready’ appearance tends to deter two-legged thieves from picking it prematurely 😃

Gary Mango Disease Resistance

Gary Mango is very prone to both Anthracnose and Powdery Mildew. Additionally, Gary Mango has very good resistance to Bacterial Black Spot

As a result, Gary would not be a good cultivar to grow in more humid areas and should instead be planted in drier areas, such as along the coast. Furthermore, it would be prudent to implement an effective disease control program in order to maximize Gary Mango’s fruit production.

Gary Mango History

Gary Mango fruited for the first time in the 1970’s in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Below is an excerpt on the history of Gary Mango from Walter Zill’s Autobiography:

Gary, my brother, valued this polyembryonic variety that volunteered at our home place for its distinctive unique flavor. Carrie is most likely the source of the seed from which it grew. Who knows what variety pollinated that seed, and I wish “Who” would reveal that fact for certain! There was a tree of the Pettigrew variety in the grove which yields a flavor of which Gary is fond.

The flavor of the Gary mango has some hint of that in Pettigrew so there is speculation that it may have been the pollinator. Despite short comings in the Gary fruit, its flavor was a major motivator in my brother’s extensive efforts to find new varieties having increased gross size and smaller percentage of seed, with that special flavor of the Gary mango remaining in a good textured pulp.

I am glad that he had the foresight to realize that it could contribute flavor characteristics via pollen in a planting of other varieties so that by chance some seedlings would come that had more desirable features than it had alone. In the opinion of some, Gary is the “Best flavored mango”, if such a determination dare be made.

Walter Zill, Maturing With Mangoes

Gary is a seedling of Carrie. It’s pollinating parent is Pettigrew.

Since Gary was extensively used in Gary Zill’s mango breeding program, it serves as a parent to many newer mango cultivars, including Coconut Cream, Pina Colada, M-4, Honey Kiss, and Pineapple Pleasure.

Gary Mango Tree For Sale

Due to the tree’s natural vigor, smaller fruit size, susceptibility to diseases, and occasionally limited production, finding a Gary Mango Tree for sale can vary from common to uncommon. Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, there is no denying that Gary Mango is one of the best coconut-flavored mango varieties out there.

With that being said, if you are unable to find one at a local nursery, your next best option is checking out Tropical Acres Farms (not sponsored). They are the only legit place online (from my experience) that you are getting exactly what you are paying for. 

They have over 300 varieties of mangos available. You can either order budwood to graft yourself or submit a grafting request to have a grafted tree created for you. They do ship!

Conclusion

If you found this grow guide helpful, please consider sharing. It helps support the website 🙂

If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this grow guide, please comment them below! This way, others can also benefit from the answer to the same question. For any other questions or growing tips that you think may be helpful, feel free to use the contact form and drop me a line.

Thank you for reading! 🙂

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Matthew Rowlings

I have an Associates Degree in Biology from the University of Florida and am also an active Florida Master Gardener. I am located in Central Florida (Zone 10A) and have 6+ years of experience with growing 20+ types of tropical trees. You can learn more about me and why I started Tropical Tree Guide on my about page.

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