Avocado Tree Growing Info

Persea americana

Learn to grow organic produce the easy way!

Indoor avocado tree growing instructions. How to grow Persea americana plants outside in the ground. What to expect after planting an avocado seed. Haas and cold hardy trees for sale.

Avocado Fruits on the Tree (Persea Americana)
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The rich buttery flavor of a tree-ripened alligator pear is something you will never experience in grocery store fruit.

If all you've ever eaten is avocados purchased at the market, you have no idea what this powerfully nutritious fruit really tastes like.

The health benefits conferred by regular consumption of the avocado pear is reason enough to grow a tree, but first allow me to sell you on its ornamental qualities:

Avocado Tree Description

Persea trees are statuesque. This handsome evergreen is not suitable for small landscapes. At 20-40 feet tall and wide (depending on variety), they make beautiful and useful shade trees in large yards.

Trees can be kept to a manageable size with regular pruning or dwarf varieties can be chosen.

There are many cultivars available to the home grower. While these trees have different growth habits, they are similar in appearance.

Avocado Leaves

The leathery green leaves are arranged alternately along the stems to which they are attached by an inch long petiole. Mature leaves are approximately 5 inches long by 3 inches wide. Each one tapers to a point and is marked by lighter green veins. They are flat in some varieties, wavy in others.

The surface of the leaf is waxy.

Avocado leaves are astringent. According to the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments, a tea brewed from the leaves is useful against diarrhea, gas, bloating and gout.

Avocado leaves should never be used medicinally by pregnant women as they are also known to stimulate menstruation and may provoke a miscarriage.

Avocado Growing Requirements


Avocado trees must have a fast-draining soil. A waterlogged avocado will soon be a dead avocado.

The trees enjoy moist soil but must be protected from high water and flooding. The feeder roots most vulnerable to water damage are located in the top foot of soil. Refrain from watering the tree while there is still moisture present in this area.

Water the trees deeply but not too frequently.

The flip side of all this is that avocados are not drought tolerant. Fruit quality suffers when the plants are kept too dry.

The root zones of trees planted outdoors in very hot locations should be mulched to moderate soil moisture and temperature. To increase the beauty of the planting, consider using a shade-loving plant as a living mulch.


While you can overfertilize an avocado tree, Persea americana's voracious appetite makes this highly unlikely.

Give your trees a steady diet of the 3 major elements and regular snacks of as many of the trace elements as you can supply.

Feed them every 4-6 weeks from early spring to late summer with a complete fertilizer which contains iron. The trees are naturally slow to moderate growers and it is not a good idea to apply a greater quantity of food than the fertilizer's label stipulates in an attempt to speed growth.

Avocado leaf yellowing is most often caused by an iron deficiency.

Correct this by applying iron chelate to the soil. If the problem persists, test the soil's pH. 5.5-6.5 is the ideal range for this fruit. If the soil in the planting area tests higher than this, use Garden Sulfur to lower it.

Iron & Soil Acidifier is a single product that may be used to rectify both problems at once.


Other than removing crossing or broken wood as the need arises, there is little pruning that must be done. The trees will achieve an attractive shape on their own.

They will, however, tolerate very severe pruning which may be done to keep the trees smaller, if you like. This is an operation best performed in late spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Cutting the trees back annually, to a height below 10 feet, will make picking the ripe fruit that much easier.

Planting Avocado Trees

Cold Hardy Avocado Tree for Sale
from: Fast Growing Trees Nursery

Plant outdoor trees in the spring well after the last frost date. Select a site in full sun and dig organic matter into the soil in the planting area.

Dig a hole and set the plant into it so that it is slightly higher than it was in the nursery container. It is best not to plant an avocado tree where avocados have grown before.

Avocado trees are not salt tolerant.

Most types of avocado trees are sub-tropical. Persea americana originates from Mexico, Guatemala and the West Indies. The trees perform best outdoors in Florida, Hawaii and California.

Avocado Varieties

Hass Avocado Tree for Sale
from: Fast Growing Trees Nursery

The most tender types are only hardy to 32 degrees F. The most hardy kinds are leaf and stem hardy down to about 18 degrees. Any flowers or fruit present on the trees at this time, however, may be damaged at temperatures below 24 degrees F. depending on how long the cold lasts.

If you live where winter temps fall below 18 degrees F., plant your avocado plant in a large pot and winter it indoors in a bright room.

Any variety may be grown in a container and you can expect potted trees to reach a height of 6-8 feet.

Grafted plants (nearly any tree you would order online or buy at a nursery) begin to bear fruit at 2 or 3 years of age.

All types are self-fruitful so you only need to plant one.

You may plant any tree that is hardy enough to survive winter in your zone, but some types have demonstrated superior performance in particular parts of the country.

Best Types for California

  • Hass
  • Pinkerton
  • Mexicola
  • Anaheim
  • Reed
  • Zutano

Best Types for Florida

  • Mexicola
  • Winter Mexican
  • Brogdon
  • Lula
  • Hall
  • Pollock
  • Simmonds
  • Tonnage
  • Choquette

Best Types for Hawaii

  • Ohata
  • Hayes
  • Case
  • Chang
  • Greengold
  • Masami
  • Nishikawa

Avocado Fruit

Avocado fruit image.

The mature fruit may be round, oval or pear-shaped depending on variety. Each variety has a slightly different flavor when ripened on the tree. Most store-bought avocados will taste pretty much the same no matter the type. These are typically harvested too early for their true flavor to develop.

In some types, the fruit turns from green to black as it ripens. In other, it remains green but develops a yellowish tinge.

The size of mature fruits varies widely.

How Do I Know When to Pick My Avocados?

Fruit may be harvested any time after it matures. You can tell if your fruit has matured by monitoring its color. When black/purple types turn black and when green types begin to show yellow highlights, they have fully matured.

Mature fruit can be stored on the tree for 6-20 weeks (some varieties store their fruit better than others).

Harvest the fruit by clipping the stem with secateurs while it is still firm. Let it soften on your kitchen counter before you eat it.

Growing Avocado Trees from Pits

Avocado Stand Cameroon Africa
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Who can resist the urge to plant the big, attractive seed inside an alligator pear?

I haven't always been able to. Over the years I've grown a few avocado plants from the pits of store-bought fruits. Here's how to do it:

  1. Be careful not to slice into the seed when cutting the fruit.
  2. Rinse the pit off to remove any fruit pulp.
  3. Sink the pit 2/3 deep and wide, flat side down into a small container of fresh potting mix.
  4. Keep it warm, shaded, and moist until it sprouts.
  5. Once the seed spouts, move the plant into a brighter location but not direct sun, yet. As it grows, continue to move it into stronger and stronger light until it is spending all day in the sun.

Seedling trees make pretty houseplants, but they may never bear. If it lives long enough (most do not) your seedling will get big enough to plant outdoors where it may go on to bear delicious fruit, become a beautiful shade tree, or succumb to root rot.

Most avocado trees for sale online or off are grafted onto a rot resistant rootstock.

If you know that avocado root rot has been troublesome in your area, buy a grafted tree or keep your seedling in a container for life.

More Homegrown Fruit, This Way:

Tips for Growing Fruit Trees

Botanical Journeys' Fruit Tree Pruning Guide

For Unique and Cold Hardy Citrus, Grow a Calamondin Tree

Lemon Tree Types for Every Appetite

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