Cold Hardy Avocado

Avocado (Persea americana), a tropical or subtropical fruit native to South America, is widely considered to be the most nutritious of all fruits. It’s highly valued for its unique texture, exquisite taste and aroma, and nutritional profile, as well as the numerous health benefits it provides.

If you’ve always thought that you couldn’t plant an avocado tree because you live in a cool region, think again. Cold-hardy avocados exist, and you can grow your own tree even in areas where temperatures can drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Mexicola avocados are a popular cold-hardy variety, hailing from the northern Mexican highlands. They are particularly hardy and vigorous, producing a bounty of 30 pounds of delicious avocados annually in just a few years.

The cold tolerance of an avocado tree depends on its variety. West Indian varieties grow best in temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees F. (15-29 C.). While they can survive a brief, minor dip in temperature if well-established, young trees must be protected from frost. Guatemalan avocados can do well in cooler temperatures, ranging from 26 to 30 degrees F. (-3 to -1 C.). These medium-sized, pear-shaped, green fruits turn a blackish-green when ripe. Mexican types, which are native to the dry subtropical highlands, have the highest cold tolerance. They thrive in a Mediterranean-type climate and can withstand temperatures as low as 19 degrees F. (-7 C.). The fruit is smaller, with thin skins that turn glossy green to black when fully ripe.

Mexicola avocado trees have a thin, narrow trunk with gray bark and a spread canopy of green leaves that retain their color year-round and smell like licorice or anise when crushed. They can grow to be 15-20 feet tall with a width of 5-8 feet. The cold-hardy fruits are smaller than standard Hass avocados, weighing just 4-7 ounces. Their glossy green skins turn shiny purple-black when they ripen on the branch, and they have a sleek, smooth texture.

Overall, cold-hardy avocado trees are an excellent choice for those living in cooler regions who want to enjoy the delicious taste and nutritional benefits of this amazing fruit.

Planting

The best time to plant a cold-hardy avocado tree is between spring and summer when the soil is warm. Choose an area that receives full sun and minimal wind, preferably on the south side of your house.

Prepare the planting area by removing any weeds, turfgrass, or debris. Dig a hole that is approximately three times the diameter of the cold-hardy avocado seedling’s container and three to four times the depth. Carefully remove the seedling from the container and place it in the hole, ensuring that the root ball is slightly above the surrounding soil. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down gently.

For the first week, water your newly planted Mexicola avocado tree every two or three days, and then twice weekly for the next few months. Finally, water once every week to 10 days. Proper watering is essential for the healthy growth of your avocado tree.

Growing Conditions

To ensure the healthy growth of your Mexicola cold-hardy avocado tree, it’s important to provide the right growing conditions.

Sun and shade: These trees thrive in direct sunlight, receiving at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. While they can grow in partial shade, fruit production may be reduced.

Temperature: Cold-hardy avocado trees prefer tropical temperatures but can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Soil: Well-drained soil is essential for the healthy growth of Mexicola cold-hardy avocado trees, with sandy or loamy soils being the preferred type. They do not grow well in clay soils.

Watering: Avoid overwatering your avocado tree as it may damage the roots. Before watering, check the moisture level of the soil to ensure it’s not already moist. Water your tree once a week, ensuring that the top 2 inches of soil are moist after watering.

Fertilizing: Fertilizer is important to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy leaf growth, a strong root system, and a robust fruit harvest. You can purchase fertilizer specifically formulated for avocado trees. Fertilize your Mexicola avocado tree in spring or summer and again in fall.