Answer to: avocado question

Avocado fruit on the tree

Lauren has posted a question on our facebook page.

She asks: “Two avocado plants popped up in my garden where my compost bin used to be… Any tips for keeping them alive through frosty Victorian winters?”

Well Lauren, I have good news and bad news!

Good news = you  have a healthy sounding compost heap! And yes you are right, avocados need protection from frost.

Bad news = avocados grown from seed can take up to 10 years to flower/fruit! You also don’t know what variety your seedlings are – so they may not be suited to your climatic conditions.

While it is possible to germinate an avocado seed in a pot (or your compost!) – the tree that results from this seedling tends to grow HUGE (up to 30m) and often fails to produce flowers or fruit.

Germinating an avocado seed

And while you MAY get fruit from your germinated avocado seed, the fact that the tree will grow so BIG is a huge draw back for most peoples backyards.

Avocado plants that you buy from a nursery are GRAFTED onto root stock. The grafted plants will only grow 10 – 12m tall and are more reliable fruit producers.

Avocados LOVE:

* very well drained soil. enrich with compost and organic matter to improve drainage.

* a sunny, wind protected spot in the garden

* a good time to plant them out is spring

* keep up a regular water supply, do NOT let young plants dry out

* young trees need protection from extreme heat/sun and frost (fussy aren’t they!)

Avocados HATE:

* young trees need protection from frost and extreme sun/heat. Rig up a shade cloth protection over the tree for the first few years of its life.

* drying out, they are shallow rooted so particular when they are young, keep up regular watering.

* but they also hate wet feet…..so don’t over water….(did I mention they are a bit fussy?!)

So Lauren – I’d recommend getting your hands on a grafted avocado tree from your local nursery OR buy online at www.diggers.com.au (and they’ll deliver!). Your nursery will also be able to give advice on the best variety for your area.

DID YOU KNOW……avocados contain fat….but it is the good fat that can help lower cholesterol! For more nutrition info and recipes check out www.avocado.org.au

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