Lemon Meringue (Po Pyu Kalay) Mango Grow Guide

A Ripe Lemon Meringue Mango hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Sulcata Gove

Almost 30 years after its introduction to the United States, Lemon Meringue, also known as Po Pyu Kalay, has remained a favorite among mango connoisseurs.

And it’s easy to see why: there are not many mangos that have the distinctive and memorable flavor profile of Lemon Meringue. I can still remember the first one I had in 2021!

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

Table of Contents

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Lemon Meringue Mango Tree Growth Habit & Fruit Production

The Lemon Meringue Mango is considered a medium to large-sized mango tree.

Lemon Meringue Mango Trees have a vigorous & upright growth habit that produces an open canopy. As a result, Lemon Meringue can realistically be kept between 10 โ€“ 20 feet tall with annual pruning. With that being said, Lemon Meringue would not do well long-term in containers and would not be considered a โ€œcondoโ€ mango.

Huge Clusters of Unripe Lemon Meringue Mangos Hanging from the Tree
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

Pro Tip: Keep up on pruning in order to keep the tree size at a manageable level, because the tree’s tight branching habits don’t make picking fruit that are higher up on the tree much fun ๐Ÿ™‚

Lemon Meringue’s fruit production consistently ranges from good to heavy. The tree often produces many beautiful clusters of fruit. As the season progresses and the fruit begin ripen, it can be breathtaking to see a Lemon Meringue with hundreds of little yellow fruit on them ๐Ÿ™‚

An Unripe Cluster of Lemon Meringue Mangos Hanging on the Tree
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

The mangos themselves are small-sized fruits that typically weigh between 0.3 – 0.75 lbs.

The smaller fruit size can be directly attributed to the large fruit clusters that develop on the individual panicles. However, if you do want larger fruit, this can be accomplished via fruit thinning. For example, if there are 4 mangos on a single panicle, removing 2 of them will result in more energy going into the remaining fruit. This is similar to what is done for other fruits such as peaches, apples, and pomegranates.

Lemon Meringue Mango Flavor Profile

Lemon Meringue Mangos are considered a Citrus Flavored Mango.

A Ripe and Mature Lemon Meringue Mango
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

The fruit’s shape is oblong and elongated, similar to varieties like Lemon Zest, Orange Sherbet or Nam Doc Mai #4. As the fruit ripens, the skin will transition into an attractive yellow, almost golden, color.

The aroma of Lemon Meringue can be best described as a spicy-mango citrus. Cutting into the fruit reveals light yellow flesh that is fiberless, soft, creamy, and very juicy.

A Ripe Lemon Meringue Mango Recently picked from the tree
Image Credit: Tropical Plant Mom

Lemon Meringue has a mild, sugary-sweet flavor with a balanced citrus note reminiscent of a perfectly ripened lemon, striking the ideal balance between sweetness and tartness. This strong citrus profile gives the mango a delightful ‘Lemon Mango Candy’ vibe, making it a refreshing snack.

Lemon Meringue ripens evenly and retains its distinct taste. Furthermore, as the fruit ripens, the flavor becomes progressively sweeter.

A Lemon Meringue Mango Cut Hedgehog Style
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

This is in contrast to some mango cultivars that lack a reliable flavor profile. However, Lemon Meringue stands out for its consistent and reliable flavor, making it a dependable choice. I’ve never tasted a bad Lemon Meringue.

Finally, itโ€™s worth noting that Lemon Meringue Mangos produce polyembryonic seeds, which means that planting a seed from a Lemon Meringue Mango can yield another Lemon Meringue Mango Tree.

Lemon Meringue Mango Season (And When To Pick)

Lemon Meringue is considered an early-season mango (May – June).

However, Lemon Meringue has a relatively short season in which the majority of the fruit ripens all at once on the tree. This is in contrast to other cultivars, like Little Gem, which may have an ‘extended season’ where their fruit ripens over the course of a few months.

A Cluster of 3 Ripe Lemon Meringue Mangos on the Tree
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

That being said, the best time to pick Lemon Meringue Mangos are when they are mature and beginning to ripen on the tree. From a color perspective, this is when the fruit is beginning to show signs of yellow color break. Lemon Meringue is perfectly ripe when the entire fruit transitions to a golden yellow color.

Furthermore, here are some additional tips to knowing when a Lemon Meringue Mango is ready to pick:

  • Is the fruit beginning to soften?
  • How does the stem look? It’s it drying up near where it connects to the fruit?
  • Are there beads of sap present on the fruit?
  • Is the fruit beginning to turn yellow?
  • Is the fruit’s skin beginning to stretch?
Clusters of Lemon Meringue Mangos Hanging on the Tree
Image Credit: Mama_Mango_

Finally, Lemon Meringue tends to ripen quickly and fall from the tree. Since the fruit can bruise easily, especially when higher up on the tree, I prefer to harvest the higher ones when they are still green but mature or when the skin starts turning yellow. The ones that are easier to access, lower on the tree, I would leave to ripen on the tree.

Lemon Meringue Mango Disease Resistance

Lemon Meringue Mango is very resistant to Anthracnose but can have problems with Bacterial Black Spot (BBS)

As a result, I would refrain from planting Lemon Meringue Mango in very humid areas (such as the Florida Interior). That being said, Lemon Meringue can thrive in yards with a sea breeze closer to the coast or in drier areas.

Another characteristic worth noting is that Lemon Meringue’s fruit clusters can create friction between the different fruits, leading to skin abrasions. These abrasions can make the fruit more susceptible to diseases like Bacterial Black Spot and attract pests like raccoons and squirrels. Otherwise, the tree typically produces clean-looking fruit.

Lemon Meringue Mango History

The Po Pyu Kalay Mango was introduced to the United States from Myanmar (formerly Burma) in 1995 by Maurice Kong, a founding member of the Miami Rare Fruit Council. This was a pretty big deal as it was one of the first ‘citrus’ mangos in the United States.

The mango got its famous ‘Lemon Meringue’ nickname from Gary Zill. In fact, Gary loved the mango so much that he included it in his mango breeding program

Lemon Zest and Orange Sherbet are both seedlings of Lemon Meringue.

Lemon Meringue Mango Tree For Sale

At one point when I was considering purchasing a Lemon Meringue Mango Tree, I could not find any nursery in my immediate area that had one for sale (FL East Coast).

Compared to some of the newer recently released varieties, they are not rare but also not incredibly common. If you live in South Florida (Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, Miami, etc.), they are much easier to find.

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

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,ย please consider sharing. It helps support the website ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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