THE AVOCADO TREE
Have you ever wanted to grow your own avocado tree? Below, we've summed up everything you need to know about growing this delicious, healthy fruit.
Avocado trees are evergreen trees from tropical or sub-tropical climates that grow best in locations with strong sunlight. Trees can grow up to 60' tall and 35' wide, and they do require regular maintenance if you want to get the best crop yield from them. But how do you grow these trees, and how do you go about looking after them?
For avocado trees, the soil pH should be between 6 and 6.5. You can elevate the tree in a mound for better drainage if you have heavier clay soil.
Although there are different types of avocado trees, they generally need moderate temperatures to grow well—somewhere between 60° F to 85° F. Young trees do best when planted in the spring months.
Avocado growing needs sunlight. Although avocado trees tolerate some shade, ideal conditions are moderate temperatures, moderate humidity, and plenty of direct sunlight.
Caring for an avocado tree means giving it a lot of water. Soaking the soil well 2-3 times a week is a good guideline.
If you're trying to grow avocado trees that bear fruit, you need to grow them in the right place. Avocados grow best in warm climates. The best growing zones for standard avocado varieties are between 9 and 11. Although, some may tolerate Zone 8 with extra protection.
In short, yes. If you plan on growing an avocado tree indoors, you can grow dwarf cultivars as houseplants. However, as avocado trees need good sunlight to grow and bear fruit, your plant may not yield avocados.
The pit, or the center of fully-grown avocados, should be washed well before you start. After this, insert three to four wooden toothpicks into the pit, roughly a third of the way down from the pit's tapered end. Place in a kitchen glass with the tapered end pointing upwards.
Next, fill the glass with water until the seed's bottom half is covered, and place it somewhere where it is exposed to bright light.
In two to six weeks, expect a sprout to emerge.
Once the top of the pit cracks open and a sprout emerges, plant the seed in a container with coarse, well-drained potting mix with half the seed remaining above the level of the soil. Start with a six to eight inch diameter pot and increase the size as the plant grows.
We recommend planting your avocado root ball between March and June for peak seasonal sunlight and temperatures. Plant it somewhere protected from wind and away from the sidewalk. Do not plant the new tree too deep.
Avoid over-watering your young avocado tree. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to six inches. This encourages new shoots to grow. After the first year, avocado trees need water equal to around two inches of rainfall each week in summer.
You can expect to see the first fruit three to four years after replanting a tree. Trees grown from seeds can take up to 13 years to bear fruit.
Young avocado trees need a half to one pound of nitrogen annually. Apply ordinary houseplant fertilizer for zinc.
Little trimming is necessary. Only remove dead, diseased, or damaged parts. You may prune after the tree is done fruiting.
Be on the lookout for diseases such as leaf spots and root spots and pests such as spider mites, thrips, and waxwing.
To ensure both sexes are present, choose at least one A-type and B-type variety.
Avocado fruit do not mature on the tree. Try to ripen a few by picking them and leaving them a week. If they turn rubbery or shrivel up, they aren't ready. Try again in a few weeks.
An avocado tree can produce 200 - 300 fruit per tree once it reaches five years of age.