Avocados grow mostly in tropical and subtropical climates, but they can be grown in sheltered temperate climates and protected cool areas too. Check the plant tag and choose the right variety for your location. 'Bacon' is cold tolerant while 'Wurtz' performs better in warmer areas. Different Avocado varieties have different flowering habits and are categorised into two groups: A and B. To maximise pollination, it's best to grow both an A and B type. Type A varieties include 'Haas', 'Pinkerton', 'Reed', 'Rincon' and 'Wurtz'. Type B varieties include 'Bacon', 'Edranol' and 'Fuerte'.
Avocados grow best in tropical and subtropical climates, but they will also grow in warm and cool areas too, provided there is protection from frost. Once established, mature trees will tolerate minor short periods of frost (as low as -4°C). Plant in full sun and protect from strong winds.
Plant Avocado trees in well-drained soil, enriched with plenty of organic matter like Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. Avocados are susceptible to Phytophthora Root Rot (see What is root rot), so it’s important to ensure the soil is well-drained. Consider mounding the soil prior to planting to help water drain away quickly and reduce issues with root rot. If the soil is clay-based, dig in plenty of organic matter and gypsum at least 6-8 weeks before planting. Continue to improve the soil with these soil conditioners as the tree grows.
Avocados prefer a moist (but well-drained soil) soil. Check to see if your soil is water-repellent/hydrophobic (see How to Test for Water-Repellent/Hydrophobic Soil) and apply a soil wetter - such as Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter Concentrate - if necessary.
If planting in pots, use a quality well-draining potting mix, like Yates Premium Potting Mix.
When buds start to form, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Liquid Citrus Plant Food. This is high in potassium and will encourage more prolific flowering and abundant fruit. If you prefer an organic-based option or you don’t want to feed as regularly, try Yates Thrive Natural Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food. Apply every 6-8 weeks.
Water regularly throughout the year, especially when flowering and fruiting. Take care not to overwater though, as this can lead to issues with root rot.
To harvest, look for slightly shrivelled fruit with a dull appearance. If unsure, pick a couple and allow to ripen indoors at room temperature. If mature, it will ripen within 7-14 days without shrivelling, have a creamy texture and delicious flavour. After this time, the Avocados on the tree should be ready to harvest.
Pests and diseases
Avocados are susceptible to a range of pests and fungal diseases.
Once fruiting has finished, lightly prune back branches to remove any dead or dying twigs and branches to help maintain an open vase shape. If needed, a major prune can be carried out in autumn or winter. If growing in a pot, you can cut back one major limb to help it remain compact.
Nourish the soil after pruning by spreading Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser around the base of the tree. Water in well.
Avocados can grow between 10-12 m tall, so are best suited to growing in medium to large gardens. To grow Avocados in pots, look for dwarf cultivars, like Dwarf Wurtz, Dwarf Lamb Hass or Dwarf Pinkerton. They typically grow to half the size of a full-sized tree or can be kept more compact with regular pruning.
Smashed avo on toast, creamy guacamole, hummus and salads are just some of the delicious ways to enjoy Avocado. Avocados are packed with nutrients, beneficial fats and antioxidants too, so there's lots of wonderful reasons to include this tasty fruit in your diet.
You can grow an Avocado from seed, though they can take up to 10 years to fruit, and fruiting is not guaranteed. However the process is fascinating to watch and fun to do, especially with kids
How to Grow an Avocado Seed in Water:
Avocado pollination: European honeybees can pollinate Avocado flowers, however blow flies, hoverflies and lady beetles, are other important pollinators. Filling your garden with lots of flowers that attract a wide range of beneficial insects will help give you more fruit.