How do avocados grow?
Most avocado trees reach a height of 30 to 60 feet. There are some smaller varieties with branches that spread close to the ground. They have a very long life span with some trees in Mexico over 400 years old.
Avocados bear fruit 3 to 4 years if planted as a small tree, or over 5 years if grafted or planted from seed (pit).
Grow in USDA Zones 9b to 11. Temperatures cannot drop below 25 degrees for long periods of time. Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map.
Avocados mature on the tree but ripen off the tree. It takes 7 to 10 days after picking for an avocado to soften.
Different varieties ripen in different seasons. They all set flowers first and then fruit.
Reed ripens June to September. Pinkerton ripens November to January Fuerte ripens December to March Lamb-Hass ripens May to August
Avocado trees ripen alternate years with small crops one year and big ones the next.
How are avocados propagated?
Fresh seeds (or pits) are mainly germinated indoors and take 4 to 6 weeks to form a root system and sprouts.
How to Sprout and Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed
Commercial trees are propagated by taking branches from trees and grafting, so the fruit remains consistent.
Grafting an Avocado Tree
When are avocados ready for harvest?
When a few ripe avocados fall from a tree, usually the entire crop is ready to be picked. Maturity standards for marketing are mainly determined by time of year for each cultivar and weight, so immature fruits do not reach the market.
Avocados must be handled with care and packed in padded boxes to hold the fruit in position. Bruising causes the fruit to quickly rot and lose flavor.
How are avocados stored?
- Ripe fruit can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
- Store-bought fruit takes 4 to 5 days to ripen at room temperature depending on how
hard it is when purchased.
Where do avocados come from?
Avocados are native to Southern Mexico and were cultivated by the
Aztec then spread throughout South and Central America. Spanish explorers brought the fruit to Europe and from there it spread to nearly all parts of the subtropical and tropical world.
Vegetative propagation began in 1890, which stimulated the importation and consumption of avocados.
Which countries produce the most avocados?
Mexico is the largest grower, followed by the United States, Israel and South Africa.
What are some common avocado varieties?
There are two main commercial varieties of avocado: The Haas, small with a rough, dark green skin; and the Florida avocado which is larger with bright green skin.
There are over 500 varieties of avocado worldwide.
How is the avocado used?
The avocado is eaten raw or served in sandwiches or salads. It’s the main ingredient in guacamole.
Avocado oil is abstracted from the fruit, used in cooking and as a salad dressing. The oil has an excellent keeping quality, and is enriched with vitamins A, B, G and E. The oil is also used as hairdressing and employed in facial creams, lotions, and soap.
What are some of the health benefits of an avocado?
- A good source of fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, folate, and B6.
- Contain a healthy monounsaturated fat that lessens LDL cholesterol, which is harmful to the body.
- Supports reproductive health. They are a great source for folic acid, and folate has been found to reduce the risk for cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition.