My backyard no longer has room for fruit trees, but I’d like to get some avocados. Thinking of growing them in pots by my balcony (south facing sun, 9b climate). I’d like to get two trees, an A+B, that do the following:
Grow well in 15g pots
Provide me with a long yield time (I’d like to eat 1-3 avocados at a time)
I don’t think 100+ gal is necessary, but I doubt you’ll get healthy trees that bear much fruit in anything under 25 gal or more realistically 50 gal pots. Avocados are susceptible to root rot and have extensive surface feeder roots, so they aren’t the greatest in pots long-term.
In terms of the second requirement, most commercial cultivars keep well on the tree, meaning they don’t ripen until after being picked, and will stay in an unripened state for months until they are picked. So this part shouldn’t be a big issue.
What type of Zone 9b are you located in? The “A” and “B” types are not as set in stone as they are made out to be, and flowering timing gets changed a lot by temperature, especially cool temperatures during flowering. I would focus on two cultivars that bear fruit you like and not worry too much about flowering type. Type A can pollinate itself or B types, and vice versa, pairing A and B just helps maximize yield, and first you have to observe the flowering timing in your climate to confirm the A acts like an A and the B acts like a B there.
This article includes a great summary of how temperature can change flowering timing and why you shouldn’t rely on the A and B designations until you’ve observed a particular cultivar in your climate:
Therefore, as the temperature regime is affecting the flowering cycle of flowers of both type A and B varieties, then the choice of a suitable cross-polliniser is not a simple case of choosing a known complementary flowering type. You will need to investigate the effect of the local temperature conditions on both varieties to see if they are indeed complementary. A single year of observations in 2009 in the South-West of Western Australia demonstrated similar results to those reported in the literature — see ‘Cross-pollinisers for Hass avocado’ for more details.
If you’re in California, then the published flowering types are probably at least close to accurate, but if you’re in the southeast U.S. or somewhere else with a non-Mediterranean climate then things might be quite a bit different.
Wow, thanks for the great resource and info. I need to rethink the idea of avocados, especially because even in pots, it seems they’ll grow to be much larger than I have room for on my patio, at least based on the reality that they need a much larger pot than I imagined.