Avocado trees are rewarding trees to grow and can be nurtured as an indoor container plant or as a robust high producer in your yard. It’s a lot of fun to take an avocado pit and turn it into a source of abundant super fruits. Whether you’re looking for an avocado house plant, excited about growing a 40 to an 80-foot tree, starting from seed or planting a sapling, our comprehensive guide will tell you all that you need to know.
Choose a planting site that provides your avocado sapling with full sun, excellent drainage, and protection from harsh conditions like frost and wind. When planting any tree, it is essential to remember that your young tree will become a large mature tree. For avocado trees, this can mean a forty-foot tree or larger, so be sure to take that into account when you choose your planting site.
Plant your tree in Spring or early Summer for the best success. Dig your hole as deep as the plant’s root ball and two to three times its width. Avocados have shallow roots, so plant them at or slightly higher than the level they were growing in their container. Use care not to disrupt the integrity of the root system when planting, with the exception of if the roots are encircling the container it was growing in.
If the plant looks to be root-bound, gently loosen the tightly wound roots and clip some of the roots to aid in loosening them. Place the root ball into the hole and fill in the hole with fertile soil, pressing firmly with your boot until all air pockets are gone, and the soil base is firm and level with the ground.
Avocado trees fall into the plant hardiness zones 10 through 11.
Avocado trees have both female and male flowers, which one would think would be ideal for self-pollination. Oddly enough, the male and female flowers have slightly different bloom times, making self-pollination difficult, but not impossible. Planting more than one avocado tree, however, will aid in the pollination process.
Avocado trees prefer a soil pH between 6 to 6.5, and they thrive in well-draining soil.
Avocado trees and plants require regular watering for a recommended average of three times per week as the young tree gets established. As time goes on and the tree takes hold in the ground, the young tree should be watered in well less frequently, but soaking the soil generously only when the soil is relatively dry.
This will encourage the roots to reach further into the ground, making for a more vigorous and sturdy tree. It is essential to point out, however, that a planted tree requires more water than a seedling in a container. So, use your judgment as to when your planting medium is somewhat dry to the touch.
Pruning your avocado trees boosts growth, encourages more leaves, a thicker trunk, and produces a more robust overall tree. The pruning process for a sapling can be an unsettling process for new growers, but trust that such pruning will yield a more vigorous plant and preserve the heart of your tree.
Locate a leaf bud about three leaves above the stem of your avocado plant and prune back the top of the tree with your pruning shears. As the tree fills in again, pinch off the tips of the branches every three to four months or so to keep the plant growing evenly with the root system.
If you see any dead branches, snip them off about an inch outside of the main branch. If the canopy of the tree seems too dense, you can trim minute branches to allow more sunlight to reach the plant. If suckers appear from below that first set of leaves or at ground level, cut them away, as they siphon essential nutrients and water away from the tree.
A few pests plague avocado trees. Root fungus and salt accumulation seem to be the most prevalent troubles for avocado trees. Salt accumulation can be handled by deep watering of the plant, while root fungus can be prevented by providing your tree with favorable soil conditions that are aerated and well-draining.
Borers and mites can also cause issues for avocado trees. Borers tunnel themselves into avocado trees and feed on the tree and lay their eggs. It is best to cut off the damaged branches where borers are present. Dispose of the branches far away from your crop. Mites can be mitigated by applications of horticultural oils that can be sprayed onto the infested leaves.
Avocados come in several different varieties. These popular healthy fruits can be found in a myriad of sizes and can vary from pear-shapes to rounded. Due to self-pollination limitations, types are broken up into “A” and “B” categories, which can be interplanted with each other to boost fruit production.
Popular “A” varieties include the most common ‘Hass’ as well as ‘Gwen,’ ‘Pinkerton,’ and ‘Reed.’
Stellar “B” varieties that produce less yield than “A” varieties include ‘Bacon,’ ‘Fuerte,’ and ‘Zutano.’
Where Do Avocados Grow?
Avocado trees are native of the tropical regions of the U.S and were introduced in the early 1800s. The premium producers of avocados in the United States are in California, Florida, Hawaii, Texas, and Puerto Rico. California is the leading U.S. producer of this green superfruit, and Mexico is the largest producer in the world.
Trees thrive best where the climate is moderately warm (60 F to 85 F) with some levels of humidity. Once well established, avocado trees can tolerate dips in temperatures to about 30- 32 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to avoid sub-freezing temperatures with this crop.
Much like citrus trees, avocados can thrive when grown outdoors and also indoors in pots. They will require more frequent pruning indoors and may not produce fruit, however. Nonetheless, they are still fun to grow, and they make a beautiful home accent.
Planting an Avocado Pit
Growing an avocado tree from seed has never been easier! The seeds are simply the pits of the avocado. Follow these easy to follow steps for planting an avocado pit.
- Obtain an avocado pit and wash it thoroughly with water.
- Take three toothpicks and insert them evenly spaced around the sides of the pit.
- Place the tooth-picked piton top of the glass rim with the larger side facing down, so it lies suspended over a water-filled glass with about one inch of the pit submerged in the water.
- Place the glass of water in a warm location out of direct sunlight and add water as needed to maintain the same level of submersion. Roots should begin to sprout in four to six weeks.
- Over time, a stem will shoot up from the top of the pit. When the shoot reaches 6 to 7 inches long, trim it back to 3 to 4 inches in length.
- Watch for the roots are thicken and become more robust.
- Plant the seedling in fertile potting mix soil in a 10-inch pot, leaving the seed partially exposed.
- Place the plant in an area that is warm and receives direct sunlight.
- Water the avocado plant frequently. Maintain an even balance of moisture but do not overwater.
- When the stem reaches 12 to 14 inches in height, trim it back to about half that size to encourage new shoots and a fuller plant.
When you plant a tree, you are investing in the future of the tree. Be patient as you wait for the tree to start producing fruit. When growing an avocado from an avocado pit, it is an incredibly rewarding process. Still, it may take between five to twelve years before your avocado tree begins to bear fruit, but it will be well worth the wait.