Avocado considerations

Anybody here grow avocados? I don’t- but I do eat them and started looking stuff up in an attempt to be able to choose them better when I buy them at the store.

And I found this article which seems to me to be really good. Won’t tell you how to grow them directly, but it does have a lot to say about how growing/handling conditions affect them. I was impressed too by the observations about rootstocks.

It all just goes to show me how complicated (interrelated) all this stuff is. We’ll all of us, jointly and/or severally, never live long enough to know it all!

But I thought it was a good article. Hope I’m not the only one.



In your area, a $35k greenhouse plus a $20k/year electric bill and you’d be good to go!


I have 4 growing in my greenhouse. In your location consider getting a dwarf and keeping it potted/inside - with grow lights on it - in the winter.

Jon, what varieties do you have? Are any of them cold hardy? I’m not serious about getting any now, but I’ve heard of varieties, like the Joey, that can take temps to the mid teens. That would put it right on the border of perhaps being able to do well in my area. That sounds too good to be true, though. What is your experience?

Hass, Fuerte, Pinkerton, Holiday (dwarf).

So much depends on microclimate if you’re in a suburban part of a city. In the country - probably forget about it. The first year you’ll have to protect it anyway since they are usually not as cold hardy until they are mature. In my greenhouse I am growing bananas too so I’ll keep the temps in the mid to upper 30s.

I tried going Feurte outside in the middle of my yard and it died in a freeze down into the mid twenties - but that was also a first year tree.

Once a cold hardy one gets mature - they can survive down to those types of temperatures - but you’ll probably see some die back on them.

I tried growing a Hass avocado here in marginal conditions (soil, winter low etc.) Surprisingly, it survived the winter with absolutely no frost damage and grew great in spring. Then I went on a week long work trip and a few days in the 90s and 100s killed it. :unamused:

My mom dug up an avocado that sprouted in the compost pile. She put it in a pot and kept it for several seasons. It seemed to defoliate when moved indoors in the winter. I don’t think it got enough light.

Well, I have no plans to try to grow avocados- just thought those who do might like the article.

More to the point I wanted to make is that so many variables affect the end result of avocados; we make the connection here on many of them with apples or pears, for example, when somebody says “don’t try to grow variety X on rootstock Y in your area” or some such. But I was taken with the kinds of things that are affected by, say temperature or day length.The shape of the avocado, for one example, may be more or less piriform depending on where it is grown.

Anyhow, that’s that. Don’t look for me to be bragging about my new $35,000.00 greenhouse anytime soon!


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Although you can obtain the Hass cultivar from a nursery, keep in mind that the fruit sold in retail stores as “Hass” is a USDA grade of Avocado … and there are several successively ripening cultivars that make that grade.

Next time you see advertising that “we only use Hass Avocado” … have yourself a good laugh.

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You’re in the greater San Jose area, zone 9B. I can speak for a Stewart over on Branham Lane and a Pinkerton off Foxworthy, plus a few others nearby. They’ve been doing fine for decades and so are many avocados in the 9B where I grew up in Redlands CA – where the summers highs exceed yours. I believe there are several avocado cultivars you can successfully grow outdoors year-round in your location.


Thanks Richard. But it needs too much water. I had it on the same drip line as my other fruit trees. I also hand watered generously a few times a month additionally, mulched like crazy and it still dried out on me. It’s just not worth it!

I had 4 avocados here in zone 8b / 9a (winter temps get to about 20 F for the coldest nights) a Pinkerton, Bacon, Marcus, Lula, all 4 avocados died due to cold. on three of them had new growth come back from the root stock (don’t know what variety the rootstock is it has not fruited and grows poorly). The other one died all way.

I’ve heard 9B is about the coldest the main hardy ones will survive.

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The root stock growth took down to temps possibly as low as 18 degrees with the leaves covered in ice.

I believe this is due to the roots being in soil warmer than the air temperature.

I meant the actual growth (leaves and stems) of whatever variety of avocado the rootstock is took down to 18 degrees with ice on the leaves with zero die back.

How far above the ground did this growth extend?

about 2 -3 ft in a bush type form.

I still think it is because the roots are sheltered from the worst of the cold.

Zutano is a common rootstock for avocados, although there are many others used in commercial groves depending upon location.

in vegas, mexicola actually survives 16f winters unsheltered and unheated(not even xmas lights), but will not survive summer under full sun.

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