Avocados are native to tropical areas of Mexico and Central America. Commercial avocado trees are hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11. If you don’t live in these zones, you can still grow an avocado tree, but you will need to keep your tree inside during the winter.
The three species you typically find are Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis, Persea americana var. drymifolia, and Persea americana var. americana, all hardy in the above USDA zones. USDA zones are based on average winter temperatures for any area.
Avocados are healthy and delicious, so it can disappoint when your tree cannot produce a crop.
If you live in areas with colder temperatures, these might cause your tree not to fruit. Otherwise, the tree’s age, pollination requirements, or growing conditions could be to blame.
You can use our guide to learn why doesn’t my avocado tree produce fruit. By the end, you’ll know more about how to grow your own tree without resorting to buying your Persea americana from the local nursery. (Learn How Long Do Cottonwood Trees Live)
How long does it take for an avocado tree to bear fruit?
There is more to growing your own avocado tree and growing your own avocados. Although, you can wait a few years before you get any tree-bearing fruit (10-15 years to produce avocados when grown from seed).
Here you can find all you need to grow your young avocado tree from seed.
- Take your fresh avocado seed and rinse.
- For an inch of the seed, place three toothpicks to suspend the broad end down into a glass of water.
- Keep the glass warm, refill as required, and keep out of direct sunlight. In two-six weeks, roots and a stem should sprout.
- Cut the stem back to 3 inches when it is 6 to 7 inches long.
- Plant it in a 10 – 12-inch-diameter pot with rich humus soil, leaving the seed half exposed.
Regular water with an occasional deep soak will keep the soil moist but not saturated. The more sunlight, the better, yet stop watering for a few days if your plant turns yellow.
Planting a Young Avocado Tree
Remember, avocado trees thrive in relatively warm temperatures of 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and moderate humidity. Keep away from freezing temperatures and plant your tree from March to June as, during the summer, there is the chance of sun damage.
Since avocado trees don’t absorb water well when young. Plant your tree in a non-lawn area away from sidewalks and protected from wind and frost.
Dig a hole that is as deep as the current root ball and as wide as the width plus a little. Because the avocado tree is shallow-rooted, and most feeder roots are in the top 6 inches of soil, it needs adequate aeration.
Its root system is extremely sensitive, and it must be handled with extreme care when transplanting. If the tree is root-bound, loosen the soil and clip any roots going in circles.
Avocado trees prefer sandy loam soil with a pH of 6 to 6.5. If your soil is heavy, raise the tree in a mound up to 2 feet high and 3 to 5 feet in diameter. The sooner the roots penetrate the bulk soil, the better your tree can perform.
Trees require watering two to three times per week. More water can be applied as the roots penetrate the bulk soil, and after a year, the watering frequency can be reduced to about once a week.
When watering your tree, drench the soil and allow it to dry before watering again. During the watering season, mature trees will need around 20 gallons of water per day. Check the soil before watering and ensure it has dried a little. (Find the Best Fertilizer for Trees)
Fertilizer and Mulch
Mulch around your tree with coarse yard mulch of Redwood bark, cocoa bean husks, or shredded tree bark.
Spread 20 pounds of gypsum around the tree’s base, then cover with 6 inches of mulch, keeping the material 6 to 8 inches away from the tree trunk.
Fertilize the young avocado trees once per year in early spring with 1/2 to 1 pound of actual nitrogen for each tree you have, though you can spread this dosing.
Cross-pollination between two avocado trees is required for maximum fruit yield. Avocado tree cultivars end up producing type A or type B flowers.
Both types produce and are receptive to pollen at different times of day, and the best pollination and fruit set occurs when avocado cultivars of types A and B grow together.
Before an avocado tree can bear fruit, it must reach a certain age. Commercially available trees are grafted from mature avocado varieties and produce fruit more quickly and consistently than trees are grown from seed.
If you grew your tree from an avocado pit, it wouldn’t bear fruit for at least 10 years, and it could wait up to 15 years. If you planted a tree from a nursery or garden center, the tree should have an avocado fruit tree producing fruit after three or the fourth year.
Will An Avocado Tree Grown From a Pit Bear Fruit?
Growing avocados is not difficult. You plant your trees in a sunny, well-drained location and hope for mild winters.
Avocado trees regularly produce, though severe freezes in the low 20s can damage the trees or kill them sometimes.
Avocado trees are grown from pits or purchased as grafted named varieties from nurseries. Trees grown from seeds can produce fruit, although grafted trees bear fruit faster and higher quality than seed-grown trees. (Learn How To Grow Lemon Tree From Seed)
Avocado trees produce flowers with both male and female parts, but the stamens (male parts) and pistils (female parts) mature at different times, thus stopping self-pollination.
When there are two trees planted or others around, production is a more reliable harvest year-round. However, you could find avocado tree flowers but no fruit if it manages to self-pollinate.
You can grow your own avocado tree in two ways. Avocados can be grown from an avocado pit grown from a grocery store avocado or nursery stock.
Here’s how to start your avocado seed.
- Suspend the broad end over a glass of water using three toothpicks. Place the glass in a warm spot and sunny spot but avoid direct sunlight.
- After a few weeks, the seed should sprout.
- It’s time to transplant into a large pot once you have dense roots and healthy-looking leaves.
- Find a pot ten inches or larger in diameter with good drainage holes. Poor drainage is the one thing that will harm your avocado plant. Good drainage is essential as they have shallow root systems and will be easily killed if the roots sit in too much water for more than a couple of days.
- Use a specific sandy loam potting soil for planting, which is loose, fertile, and well-drained. Fill the pot halfway with potting mix and make a hole deep enough for the avocado seedling’s roots.
- Spread the roots and gently pack soil around the pit, leaving the seed’s top above the soil line. Water gently until water runs from the drainage holes to avoid overwatering.
Growing an avocado tree purchased from a nursery will be easier than growing from seed. These are delicate plants and have specific growing conditions for the older trees to thrive and eventually bear fruit.
Avocados are delicate plants with particular needs. They thrive in warm temperatures, ideally between 60- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit, making them ideal for indoor use. Older trees prefer full sun and can benefit from extra light in the winter months.
Avocado trees cannot withstand excessive water. Over-watering is the leading cause of death for potted avocado trees, so don’t overdo it. Water avocado trees only when a ball of soil from under the tree crumbles in your hand. (Learn How Long Does It Take For A Maple Tree To Grow)
A weekly deep soak, or when leaves show wilting, is the best way to water an avocado plant and help stop root rot.
Cutting back plants may appear mercenary, but it promotes bushy new growth that is more robust than single-stemmed growth.
Trim the tip and top leaves of an avocado seedling at about twelve inches in height and above a growth node.
Pruning like this is only recommended in the first year. After that, only prune once a year, in the autumn or winter, when the tree isn’t producing new growth.
In the first year of an avocado tree’s life, a citrus tree fertilizer can help it establish. Apply a citrus fertilizer as directed every couple of months for the first year, but don’t overdo it. Avocado trees benefit from 10% nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and 6% magnesium.
Spraying your tree with copper, zinc, manganese, and boron every couple of months in spring and early summer for the first four years will help it mature and produce more fruit. Increase potash fertilization to 15% when your tree begins to set fruit.
Apply iron chelate soil drenches in early and late summer at intervals according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Break in a potted avocado that has never seen direct sunlight by first placing it in an outdoor location that receives filtered sunlight. Move it to full sun after a day or two, and it will most likely thank you for vigorous growth. Please pay more attention to it outside than you normally would, as the soil dries out much faster in the open air.
A few fungal diseases and pests can harm an avocado tree, but none are common. If you notice anything wrong with your avocado tree’s leaves or fruit, diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible.