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How to Grow a Florida Mahogany Tree from Seed

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

The mahogany tree (Swietenia mahagoni) belongs in the family Meliaceae and is native to southern Florida. It is hardy in U.S. planting zones 10 and 11. This attractive, tropical tree is popular in landscapes throughout South Florida and is suitable as a large shade tree or a screen. Trees grow up to 50 feet high with the same spread and a symmetrical canopy. Inconspicuous green blooms form in spring followed by large, oblong seedpods holding a multitude of small, wing-like seeds. Gardeners will have success propagating mahogany seeds.

Allow the seedpods to completely dry on the tree and ripen before removing the seeds. The pods will turn brown and begin to crack open when the seeds are ready for planting.

Select a planting container approximately 4 1/2 inches in size to plant the mahogany seeds. Be sure the container has holes in its bottom so that it will drain and not retain water. Mahogany seeds planted into a non-draining container will rot and not germinate.

Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix. Use a potting mix that contains organic matter, as mahogany trees prefer growing in a rich, well-draining soil medium. Water the container.

Poke a 1/4-inch indentation into the center of soil with your finger. Place a seed into the indentation and cover with soil.

Water the container again. Continue watering to keep the soil moist but not flooded while the seed germinates. After germination, continue to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Situate the container holding the seed in an area that receives full to partial sunlight during the day. The mahogany seed requires sunlight and warmth for it to germinate. The seed should germinate in approximately three weeks.

Transplant the seedling into a larger container in approximately six to eight weeks. The seedling will have developed four to six leaves. Transplant into the ground in approximately six months when the mahogany sapling has established itself.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Mahogany seeds
  • Planting container
  • Potting mix

Tips

  • Mahogany trees propagate better by starting seeds, rather than using cuttings.
  • They grow relatively fast and are wind-, salt- and drought-tolerant, making them suitable for coastal landscapes.
  • Mahogany trees are cold hardy to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and require cold protection if temperatures drop lower.
  • Prune young trees to create one main trunk and approximately four main limbs.

About the Author

 

For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.