Plant Hardiness Zones 4-11 Patio / 9-11 Outdoors
|Full – Partial|
Avocados are a very popular fruit, but most people don’t realize that if you choose the right variety they can be grown over quite a large area of the country, not just in the most southern areas. The Cold Hardy Avocado is a very special variety that can tolerate temperatures even below 230F, meaning that it can be grown throughout zone 9. That is a large area, which includes southern Texas and Louisiana, all of Florida, most of California, western parts of Arizona and even parts of Oregon. Simply by planting this Cold Hardy variety you can enjoy your own avocados for most of the year even if you live in an area where you did not realize an avocado could grow. Even slightly cooler temperatures will normally only cause some leaf-drop and the tree will rapidly recover.
The Cold Hardy Avocado is an attractive evergreen tree that will quickly grow to 35 feet in height. It is best to prune it regularly to keep it smaller and to make it easier to pick the fruit. However if you have space in your garden you can just let it grow to full size without doing any pruning, so it really is a low-maintenance plant and one of the easiest food trees you can plant. In winter or early spring bunches of small green flowers will appear. Most of them will not produce fruit, but one or two in each bunch will, so do not be disappointed that all the flowers did not turn into fruit – it is normal. Although you may increase the yield of fruit by growing a suitable second variety along with your tree, in actual fact more than enough fruit will be produced by a single tree for home use and only commercial growers worry about pollination.
The Cold Hardy Avocado was raised in the 1930’s by a grower called Tom W. Brogden, so it is also sometimes called the Brogden Avocado. Because it is such a special variety it cannot be grown from seed. Our plants are produced the correct way, by grafting pieces of properly-identified trees onto roots of seedling plants and they will begin to bear fruit in 2 or 3 years. Avoid cheaper seedling trees that take 10 years to fruit and will always be very inferior and not at all cold hardy.
Choose a sunny and sheltered location to plant your Cold Hardy Avocado. Dig plenty of rich organic material into the soil in the spot where your tree is going to be planted. Dig a hole that is two or three times the width of the pot and place your tree in the hole at the same depth as it was in the pot. Replace most of the soil, firm it around the roots and then fill the hole with water. Put back the rest of the soil once the water has drained away into the soil. Keep your young tree well-watered each week for the first season or two. Once it is established it will tolerate drought well, but it should be watered deeply from time to time during very dry spells.
The benefit of choosing the Cold Hardy Avocado for container growing is that it can be kept outdoors much longer than other varieties. If you have an enclosed porch or other sunny, sheltered place, you may even be able to leave it outdoors all winter if you do not live in too cold a region, as sheltered places are often 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the official temperatures. Choose a large pot or a half-barrel to grow your tree in, something 24 inches in diameter is about right. Make sure the pot has drainage holes and fill it with a tropical-plant potting soil. Water it well each time you water and allow the soil to dry a little between each watering. Use a liquid fertilizer twice a month during the growing season and keep the soil a little drier when you have your tree indoors. Be careful in spring when you return the tree outdoors again that it isn’t exposed to cold temperatures too suddenly. Choose a warm spell to put your tree outside for the first time and bring it inside at night for the first week as it re-adjusts to the change in conditions.
The tree will usually flower in the late winter and by April or May you should have mature fruit on your tree. You will know when the fruit is ready because the green skin will turn purple. Avocados are unusual in that the fruit will not ripen on the tree, but just hang there and stay fresh right into the fall. This means you never need to harvest a big crop. Just pick what you need a few days before you need it and let the fruit ripen naturally in a warm place. If you need to ripen the fruit more quickly, place it with a ripe banana or an apple in a closed paper bag. Once the flesh feels a little soft the fruit is ready to use for all those wonderful avocado recipes and treats.
Our Cold Hardy Avocado trees are true to the original variety and will be suitable for your purposes. We are constantly renewing our stock so that our customers are shipped fresh, healthy plants, which can mean that supplies of this special and highly-desirable tree may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.