With the price of avocados on the rise, many people are becoming increasingly interested in growing their own. But how exactly do you do it? And, more importantly, do you live in a place where it's even possible? Avocados have been growing very well in the south central part of Mexico for centuries due to the ideal hot climate. And in the United States, California, Florida, Hawaii, and southern Texas all have similar climates. If you live in one of these states, you're in luck, but if you don't, the chances of growing an avocado tree are unfortunately slim to none.
If you do reside in a warmer spot and are ready to try growing your own, here's what you need to know to ensure your avocado tree grows well:
- Determine which variety you want to grow. There are about 500 varieties of avocados. Hass avocados are the most popular because of their great taste and richness.
- Purchase your avocado tree. It's best to purchase your avocado seedling from a garden center or nursery.
- Determine when and where you'll plant your avocado tree. It's best to plant your tree in the springtime between the months of March and June and in a spot where it will get the most sunlight. Make sure it's not near other trees, your home, or any power lines, because avocado trees don't do well when they're crowded.
- Plant your avocado tree. Dig a hole that's three to four times the diameter of the container your seedling came in, and make sure the soil is level with or a little above the top of the rootball.
- Add mulch and water. Immediately after you plant your avocado tree, add a thick layer of coarse mulch, and give it a deep watering. During the first week, you should water your tree every other day. After that, you should water it once or twice a week. (Tip: let the tree's leaves accumulate under the tree to act as added mulch. The leaves will keep the ground moist and help conserve water.)
- Fertilize Your Avocado Tree. It's important to make sure your young avocado tree is well nourished with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc in order to keep it growing and developing. During your tree's first year, you should fertilize it three times total — once in the Spring, once in the Summer, and once in the Fall. As your tree matures, it will require different nutritional needs, so be sure to check out Gardening Know How for more advice and tips.