Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Planting and Caring Tips for your Avocado Tree

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 3rd

     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.

48 Responses

  1. Tropical Fruit Trees That Grow Best in SW Florida | Tropical Gardens of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    […] Avocado – Avocado trees are a great selection for Florida gardens. They are a medium sized tree around 20 feet tall and come in an early, mid and late season variety. Plant all three and you can get fruit nearly all year long. Plant in well drained soil, as they don’t like wet feet.   […]

    Posted on June 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 am

  2. ed Says:

    I live in Florida but the only place I see avocados is in the grocery store. Maybe the Tampa area is a little too far north. Anyway the article had some good information.

    Posted on June 8th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  3. Edison & Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Ed,
    They are in the backyards of so many residents of South West Florida and all over the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. I wonder if local farmers markets might have some in Tampa. Happy hunting!

    Posted on June 8th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

  4. Jane Says:

    I live in Winter Haven FL and have a large tree in my front yard. I know the fruit doesn’t ripen on the tree. My question is how do you tell when they are mature?

    Posted on July 30th, 2012 at 8:17 am

  5. Kathleen Says:

    We planted an avocado tree in August and were told top pinch off the first year flowers. Our leaves look really bad but we have many buds. When should we pick off the buds or do we wait for flowers. I used a palm tree fertilizer about a month ago.

    Posted on January 29th, 2013 at 11:42 am

  6. dalila perez Says:

    I live in.Yuma Arizona and I planted an avocado tree . It has been 3 years and no avocados . My friends tell me I need two trees and others tell me it takes 3 years to get the fruit . Is all of this true .

    Posted on March 7th, 2013 at 9:36 am

  7. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    When you fertilize, you won’t see instant results. The fertilizer you put on palms and other trees is for the future. Usually for the next 3 months. You should see more growth in the next few months when the weather warms up. A palm fertilizer is just fine because it has the minors in the analysis. Fruit trees need these minors too!

    As far as picking off the flowers-I usually just pick off the fruit. I let the tree flower and then pick off the fruit. Usually the tree is very good at dropping most of the fruit without our help. It is typical for the leaves to drop off when the flowers come on. Some cultivars do this more than others. It is genetics mostly. Once the tree grows to a good size, it won’t do this so drastically. Usually it is the young ones.

    The first year or so you will get maybe one fruit if you’re lucky. Each year maybe one more. By the 5th year, you should get some production. Avocados tend to be slow to establish. When fertilizing I usually recommend less fertilizer amounts more often. I also use the worm castings or some type of organic compost for the beneficial organisms to help the tree take up the fertilizers.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on March 19th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  8. Les Says:

    I was given an 18″ potted avocado tree started from fruit. I want to plant it right away in Southeast Florida. I have two possible places. Does it need full sun or is partial sun amongst a couple of 30′ palm trees OK?

    Posted on March 21st, 2013 at 11:14 am

  9. amanda Says:

    Hi i live in northern pa i have the beging of an avocado tree it is 2 years old and about five foot tall but during the cold winter i bring it into the kitchen where i work an the leafs dry out and fall off any help?

    Posted on April 7th, 2013 at 8:41 am

  10. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    About avocados-

    I would plant it in the spot in your yard that has good drainage first of all. They can handle a little shade-doesn’t hurt if the palm trees are there. The only trouble is it may grow straight up.
    I would plant it on a raised spot (berm it up) and put in full sun. Encourage bushy growth-sometimes you need to cut the top to get a branching when the avocado is at least 5- feet tall. You could wait longer if you want it to branch at a higher height. Avocados grown from seed tend to grow straight up-and it does take a while to fruit when grown from seed. Be patient.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on April 11th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

  11. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Avocados are very tropical. The kitchens in the northern climates indoors are not very good for the growth of avocados.
    The dryness of the heat needed for a home is not conducive for liveliness of a tree like an avocado.
    Most Zone 10 plants don’t like indoors situations unless you have a greenhouse situation.
    Once you take the avocado out for the summer put it in the sunniest spot you can. Unfortunately Avocados don’t produce fruit until it is 5 to 10 years old if grown from seed.
    The avocados grown here are usually grafted varieties that are known named budwood grafted onto a rootstock. We have varieties called Choquette, Simmonds, Lula, Brogdan,
    These are all Florida style (West Indian variety)-and Haas variety doesn’t do well in our climate. They do better in California and Mexico (dry climate).
    Good luck and if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on April 11th, 2013 at 1:13 pm

  12. kobie Says:

    Can anyone tell me why poeple put rusted nails in there avo trees.

    Posted on April 16th, 2013 at 11:55 am

  13. Cindy Seymour Says:

    I started mine from a seed . It is doing well.
    I want to know when to transplant it ?

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 12:39 am

  14. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Dalila,
    Avocados are notorious for not giving the goods for years. Even if you put a grafted avocado in the ground in Florida, it takes at least 3-5 years for fruit. If you grew the avocado from seed, it may take 10 years before the tree reaches puberty. Don’ t give up, just realize it needs time. Hopefully you like the avocados once they start producing. When you grow from seedling, you don’t know what you are going to get.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  15. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    The rusty nail does not provide iron to the tree as some would think. Iron does not release from the nail into the tree. Iron is in an unavailable form in the nail (iron oxide). We usually use chelated iron to get a form the plants can use easily.
    Most people put a nail in to the tree to help it start bearing fruit. I am not sure if it stresses the avocado to start thinking about reproduction because it thinks it is going to die. Most plants want to replicate themselves-that is what drives all living organisms. It could just be coincidence. Most avocado trees grown from seed take anywhere from 5-10 years to bear. Since they are grown from a seed we don’t know what both parents were like. Most people plant avocados from a grafted variety to a rootstock. Then you know what flavor you are a getting.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on May 8th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

  16. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Cindy,

    Transplanting of any new baby plant is really up to the gardener. If it is growing out of the pot (roots become circling) not good. When to put in the garden is a question that is answered by you the gardener. Will you baby the seedling and water when necessary if in the ground. Would someone unknowingly mow the seedling over because it is too small. Most people like to plant seedlings when it is at least 3-4 feet tall so people don’t mistake it for a weed and destroy it. Some plants are good up to a 3 gallon size pot, then they need the room to grow in the ground forming roots. In the pots they have a tendency to have a poor root structure. Ground grown is often better. Don’t put the seedling in when it has only 2 true leaves-wait until it is in the juvenile stage with some branches.

    Debbie Hughes, Senior Horticulturist

    Posted on May 8th, 2013 at 1:21 pm

  17. Igor Says:

    I just planted a 5 foot avocado tree that I bought from Lowes. How often should I fertilize it and when can I can expect to see this tree bear some fruit. Thanks in advance!

    Posted on June 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

  18. bill mclaughlin Says:

    my tree is older about 22 years. there are avocado trees in my neighbors yards. there trees are older than mine. i get plenty of fruit but it is dropping off. the size is about 3/4 of an inch diameter. the neighbors trees had plenty of good fruit. i had plenty of fruit until about 3 years ago. also how do we all get the squirrels to stop taking one little bite out of the fruit.

    Posted on June 16th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

  19. Cathryn Conn Says:

    I have an enormous avocado tree in my back yard, that I inherited when I bought my house 13 years ago. When It produces, it makes the best avocados I’ve ever tasted. Last year, there were none. This year, the tree was loaded, but at present they are falling off in droves, in a very immature state. At first, I thought to blame it on the wind. But, I’m noticing black fruit up in the tree, that has yet to fall.

    Any thoughts? I have had spiral white fly, and treated the yard extensively, systemically about 6 months ago. I see no evidence of infestation of any kind in the tree.

    Thank you in advance.

    Posted on June 30th, 2013 at 3:06 pm

  20. taina williams Says:

    I live in south Florida and I have a 20 ft. avocado tree and for the last 2 years it has produced well. Last year it got too big so we had it trimmed about 20% and this year there are no signs of any avacado’s growing. What should I do?

    Posted on July 6th, 2013 at 10:16 am

  21. Kim Wittekind Says:

    Dear Debbie,

    We have two avacado plants grown from a seed from an old family tree with sentimental value. They have been in a pot for about 3 1/2 years. Can we plant them in the ground and have them bear fruit in 5ish years or should we go to a nursery and get a ground grown plant? I love avacado to eat so I would like to see avacado fruit in my life time. …lol!

    Posted on July 14th, 2013 at 8:25 pm

  22. Gretchen Says:

    I live in St. Johns, FLA (south of Jax and north of St Augustine) and have purchased an avocado tree. We do get frost here several times in the winter, mostly Jan & Feb. Should I plant the tree and protect it from frost with blankets or should I grow it in a container (how big?) and bring it in during the cold?

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

  23. Colleen Says:

    Hi, I bought an avocado tree from home depot and planted it in my back yard seems to be doing well. I found your site while trying to learn about them and had some questions. I hope you can help. My tree is about four feet tall do I need to cut the top ? I believe they call this pinching the top.

    My tree is getting bushy and wanted to know do I cut the stems off that are brown and don’t have any leaves on them? Im not sure why it’s doing this.

    Do I really need to cut the grass away from the tree? I have seen avocado tree’s that have been planted right in the grass. what is the advantage to this in florida?

    Posted on July 26th, 2013 at 10:28 am

  24. Riley Says:

    I live in Cape Coral. The house I bought had a mature Florida avocado tree in the yard. For two years we had huge beautiful avocados. This year they are dropping early. Last week I picked up over one thousand premature ones off the ground. I am so upset over this. We did fertilize it for the first time ever this year using avocado and mango fertilizer. What are we doing wrong ??

    Posted on July 27th, 2013 at 11:24 pm

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  26. Judy Says:

    We live in south Florida ,we planted a avocado tree 11 yrs ago and it has not given us any fruit yet,we followed all the directions when we planted it ,fertilized it and it is a beautiful tree,we also have another avocado tree in the yard for cross pollination but still no fruit,what seems to be our problem for not having fruit? Thank you

    Posted on February 20th, 2014 at 9:43 am

  27. Dilbert Says:

    If you aren’t going to keep up with your website, i.e. answer questions, please do us all a favor and delete it!

    Posted on March 2nd, 2014 at 11:48 am

  28. gc speed slim reviews Says:

    There is definately a great deal to know about this issue.

    I really like all the points you’ve made.

    Posted on March 10th, 2014 at 10:26 am

  29. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Judy-you didn’t tell me if your avocado was grafted or not. If it wasn’t grafted but grown from seed as some do, it could take 10-15 years for production maturity. Think of reproduction ages of some of the trees. Some trees produce earlier because they are already producing a fruit and then that branch will be attached to the cambium layer of a rootstock. I guess patience is a virtue. Just like some people don’t produce much offspring-so goes fruit trees too.

    Posted on March 17th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

  30. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Hi Dilbert-What question do you have for me about avocados. If you know something about our season now, we are soooo busy. Sorry I will answer you right away. Hope you write back a question. Usually I write once a month, but I see that I need to be more diligent. I promise I will improve.

    Thanks-Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist Edison Ford Winter Estates

    Posted on March 17th, 2014 at 9:11 pm

  31. Edison Ford Winter Estates Says:

    Thank you-there is much to learn for all of us. Trial and error and listening to lots of gardeners.

    Debbie Hughes, Horticulturist at the Edison Ford Winter Estates

    Posted on March 17th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

  32. Mike Says:

    My daughter loves avocados. I want to get a tree but can’t wait years for production. Can I buy a mature tree that will produce sooner?

    Posted on March 18th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

  33. Inga S Says:

    Hello, can you advise what sort of avocado trees are best in Florida/Orlando, also would you recomend any website or place where i can get organic avicado tree?
    Thank you

    Posted on April 21st, 2014 at 10:05 pm

  34. Alejandra Says:

    My gardener put a nail in my avacoado tree a few years ago, and I still do not get fruit. Should I take the nail out of the trunk?

    Posted on April 23rd, 2014 at 6:08 pm

  35. Marg Says:

    Hi guys! I have 20 avocado plants in little pots. Half of the were planted late last year and the other 10 are from this spring. The are all very healthy especially the 1st ten. The leaves are very huge and have grown so far to 24″ tall. They are not grafted but I would be interested do some experiments if I have have scions because these are all good rootstocks. I am still taking care if them but to be honest, I really don’t know what to do. I live in the northern part of tampa Bay Area.
    Any thoughts?

    Posted on May 28th, 2014 at 4:59 pm

  36. Marg Says:

    Hi guys! I have 20 avocado plants in little pots. Half of the were planted late last year and the other 10 are from last spring. They are all very healthy especially the 1st ten. The leaves are very huge and have grown so far to 24″ tall. They are not grafted but I would be interested to do some experiments if I have scions available because these are all good rootstocks. I am still taking care of them but to be honest, I really don’t know what to do. I live in the northern part of Tampa Bay Area.
    Any thoughts?

    Posted on May 28th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

  37. Terry Grewer Says:

    Thank you Debbie.
    I have learned a lot reading your reply’s to others questions.
    Thank you for sharing your time, effort and knowledge.

    Posted on June 9th, 2014 at 10:53 am

  38. Annette Says:

    Hi I have a Florida Avocado tree in the backyard. We moved in last august and the tree was overwhelmingly full of avocado that we enjoyed. However in early june this year we don’t see too many buds that look like they are growing. Only about 2 at this point. Is this common? We are just learning. Thanks!


    Posted on June 10th, 2014 at 12:28 pm

  39. Amy Says:

    I also bout an avocado tree from Lowes approx. 4 yrs ago. When I bought it, it had two small avocados on it. I am assuming that it is grafted since it is a commercial tree. I fertilize twice a year. Should I do more? I have not had any avocados yet the tree is approximately 6 feet tall. Roughly speaking, when do you think I will bear avocados? Should I fertilize more? It is set near other fruit trees (oranges, lemons and limes) and I was wondering if the other fruits assist with pollination as well. Just curious. I live in the Sarasota area, so I think my zone is fine. What is your opinion?

    Posted on June 14th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

  40. john bunting Says:

    in your opinion what is the best avacado tree for ft myers area. have not had good luck to date.many thanks

    Posted on June 23rd, 2014 at 8:39 pm

  41. Judi Heller Says:

    I used to get hundreds of avocados from my mature tree. The last two years, they’ve been dropping off very small…tons and tons of them. I live in Cape Coral, FL…HELP PLEASE!!!

    Posted on July 26th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

  42. Dana French Says:

    I live in Plant City and I have three trees I started from seed. They are about 3-4 feet tall. When is the best time of the year to plant these trees? I have three other trees and one is bearing fruit for the first time.

    Thanks, Dana

    Posted on September 14th, 2014 at 8:57 am

  43. Fareeda Says:

    Where is the best place to plant an Avacado tree?
    We live in South Florida and have a lake at the back

    Posted on September 25th, 2014 at 10:17 pm

  44. Geraldean Bond Says:

    About the comment regarding avocado trees in Tampa, Florida, they are everywhere over there. I lived on Ross Avenue and used to have to dodge them falling from the trees on my way to meet my ride to work. They also fell in other yards. You can see them if you recognize them when you ride down I-4. St. Pete is full of them and every other kind of tropical fruit tree. There are avocado trees that will grow almost anywhere in the US. If planted from seed it takes about seven years to produce fruit. I know because I have grown them from seed. You can also air layer them or bud them as you do citrus trees with a young seedling and a piece of an older tree and produce fruit earlier.

    Geraldean Bond

    Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  45. Rob Southey Says:

    I am having massive fruit drop from my avocados, after mid-summer from 3 different varieties. The fruit looks 1/3 full size and this is the 2nd major drop this season????
    Should I apply iron as a supplement?
    What about funguses? Could some other thing be causing this?
    My Sheppard lost 8 dozen, my Lamb Hass over ten dozen and the normal Hass about half the total.
    Help! Help!
    Queensland Australia

    Posted on February 1st, 2015 at 8:00 pm

  46. Curtis Says:


    Tampa is filled with lots of avacado trees; some varieties ripen here in August/September while other breeds bear fruit in Jan/Feb.

    Posted on February 2nd, 2015 at 11:56 pm

  47. katy Says:

    Anyone have a recommendation on a nursery or place to get a small avacado tree? I am hauling it back to iowa so needs to be about 3 feet. Please help!!

    Posted on February 10th, 2015 at 4:59 pm

  48. Sheryl Says:

    I live in Upstate NY and am successfully growing both an avocado and mango tree. I realize this is not the ideal weather for such endeavors, but I like to grow different things. My question is: how can I keep mt trees “miniature” so they can remain in the house? They are about 2 ft tall right now and I would like to keep them 6 ft or under.I do not care if they fruit or not. They have survived for a full year plus so my indoor conditions are compatible for them. Can I create such thing as a “Bonsai” version?

    Posted on March 26th, 2015 at 9:02 am

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