I’ve read that some avocados can take temps into the teens, with one (Fantastic from Rolling River) claiming 10 degrees F. Despite these claims, I have never been able to find actual first-hand evidence that this is true. I’m wondering if the claims of cold tolerance are referencing a single report where someone had the tree in a VERY protected spot, and the tree was killed to the ground but it sprouted up from the roots in the spring.
Does anyone have any direct experience with a cold hardy avocado surviving temps into the mid to upper teens?
Extended temperatures in the mid teens will kill off all avocados. Look into Ettinger – if you can find somebody who has it. A relative is trying this cultivar in the Cascades.
Can you possibly elaborate on this response? Have you known anyone that has one of the varieties that are claimed to be cold hardy that was killed during a freeze?
Thanks for this! I have not heard of Ettinger but hopefully I can find some info on it. Can you describe the climate where your relative is trying it out? I’m in zone 8b, so when we hit the teens, it is only for a couple of hours and then we typically warm up at least into the 40s.
Location is Paradise CA in zone 8b (between Paradise and Oroville). It will snow there at least once a year, but no significant snow accumulation. Dominant tree flora are Bay Laurel, Digger pine and decidous oak species. Trees are planted with southern exposure and placed near a stucco wall. They also are trying out the cultivar Surprise. Basically you’re going to want to look for varieties that are descended from genetics taken from the Mexican highland areas.
Not varieties: species. Further, I recommend you taste the fruits at their best before planting the trees.
The proper term is probably cultivar. But you can call the Botany police if you want.
I’ve never read about cultivars at the UCR site that are hardy in zone 8b. I have met with breeders who are trying other species.
Then tell us all about your knowledge of these species Richard …
The best part about knowing everything is getting to share it.
I am very interested to hear what other species breeders have been experimenting with and what they have found. Even if the fruit doesn’t taste as good as P. americana, I think many people would love to grow them.
Is it not possible to keep avacados small and wrap them like a fig and use lights if temps warrant?
I know someone who simply uses heat lamps pointed up at the tree from the ground. They are set up on a thermostat to turn on at 40F. It’s not very energy efficient, but he doesn’t have to go through the effort of covering them, which can be a pain!
You could start by attending conferences that these breeders frequent.
I believe @fruitnut has experience with this.
we got a mexicola from lowe’s years ago and it tolerated 15F for several hours in vegas, with no die back, and even more amazingly, not even a single leaf-drop. It is actually the dry heat and direct sun of vegas summers which kill avocados instantly.
Thanks for this! This is officially the first first-hand account I have seen of a cold-hardy avocado living up to the claims.
glad to hear my input was worth anything, and wishing you success with the ‘tough customer’ that the avocado has always been for out of zoners!
btw there are two mexicola’s, the mexicola we grew was plain mexicola. There is also a ‘mexicola grande’ which is supposedly just as cold-tolerant and bears bigger fruits
from the research I’ve done, it seems that Mexicolas are supposed to be hardy to 15F, and Mexicola Stuarts even hardier, down to 10F or something. I’ve also read about a native AZ variety called Aravaipa thats supposed to be hardy to 10F or less and about five varieties from Texas (lila, fantastic, brazos belle, poncho and joey) all claimed to be hardy to 10F.
I don’t have any personal experience with these varieties (if anyone knows where to get the TX varieties in CA, LMK) but I did plant a Mexicola and a Stuart here at my house about two weeks ago. We’ve had some light frosts (29-31) since but the real test won’t be until next winter, as we get our 18F hard frosts in December. That said, I think the winds up here might be even more brutal on the avos than the frost. Really hoping that they become productive trees!