The Avocado is not your typical fruit because it eats like a vegetable. In Florida, it is often called the Alligator Pear because of the fruit’s shape and rough textured skin.
All Avocados are self pollinating with the male and female flowers occurring on the same tree. The best varieties for the home gardener are: Choquette, Simmonds and Miguel.
Tips for growing Avocados:
- Soil: Avocado trees do not like wet feet, so be sure to plant your tree in well drained soil. Trees can also be planted on a mound to ensure proper drainage. The native soil of Florida is fine for successful growing.
- Temperature: Avocados are best suited for growing in a lowland tropical climate or frost free subtropical areas along the coast. There are several varieties that are more cold tolerant and may withstand temperatures in the 20’s.
- Most Avocados do not grow true from seed, so the common method of propagation is grafting.
- Fertilizing: Newly planted trees should be fertilized lightly once or twice during the first year, then about 3 to 4 times a year after that. A packaged citrus fertilizer or other common mixes include 6-6-6-2 or 8-3-9-2.
- Water: Newly planted trees should be watered every other day for the first week then 1 to 2 times a week for the first couple of months. In periods of drought, younger trees should be watered twice a week, but can be reduced or stopped once rainy season starts.
- Avocados do not ripen on the tree, so you only need to harvest what you need. The rest can remain on the tree. Mature fruit ripens in about 3 to 8 days once it is removed from the tree.
- A grass free area should be kept 2 to 5 feet out from the trunk of the tree. The best way is to mulch, which will also help retain moisture and improve soil quality at the surface. Keep mulch about 8 to 12 inches from the trunk to prevent rotting of the trunk base
Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Garden Shoppe to see some of the varieties we have available. The Horticulture Staff is available to assist you and to answer any questions you may have.