Do you find yourself dreaming about growing an avocado tree? While this feat may be challenging, the payoff is huge! If the idea of harvesting your own avocados is sparking your curiosity, you may be wondering, how long does it take to grow an avocado tree? In this guide, we’ll illustrate all the steps it takes to achieve your avocado tree dreams. From outlining the different avocado varieties to discussing best pruning practices, we’ll answer the most important questions regarding growing an avocado tree.
Different Types of Avocado Plants
Before diving into the question of how long it takes to grow an avocado tree, it’s helpful to investigate the different fruit varieties first. You might be surprised to discover there are over 500 different types of avocados.
That might seem like a lot, but there are only a handful of varieties that are actually farmed. Let’s start by diving into the four most popular avocado plants.
The Hass avocado is the most popular variety, commonly found in most grocery stores. You’ll recognize the textured, pebbly skin that turns black as it ripens. When you cut open the Hass avocado, you’ll notice the typical green, creamy flesh that you associate with the tropical fruit.
Curious to learn more about this variety? Read more about the Hass avocado.
While Hass is winning the popular vote in the avocado world these days, it wasn’t always like this. The Fuerte avocado used to be recognized as the gold standard avocado, due to its smoother skin, creamy yellow flesh, and pear shape. After taking a bite out of a Fuerte avocado, you might taste a nutty, oily flavor that’s likened to hazelnut.
Interested? Learn more about the Fuerte avocado tree.
One aspect of the Pinkerton avocado variety is that it can grow exorbitantly large or small depending on the harvest. One year you might pick an 18 ounce avocado from your tree, and the next year you could garner tiny eight ounce fruit.
While the size varies on the Pinkerton variety, you’ll still find the same striking green skin and a rich, nutty flavor.
The Reed avocado variety is uncommonly big, growing on average to around one to two pounds. This avocado differs from the above varieties due to its yellow, shell-like skin that can make it a pain to peel. Inside the avocado, you’ll find a unique creamy flavor that’s less oily than other avocados.
Selecting the Right Avocado for Growing an Avocado Tree
Now that you’ve read up on the different avocado varieties, it’s important to ponder which variety is right for you. If you’re accustomed to the avocados found in your local supermarket and want to save yourself the trip, then the Hass avocado would be a great fit. If you’re open to experimenting with different types, then why not give the Reed variety a chance?
How Long Does It Take To Grow An Avocado Tree?
Each variety has its own age when avocado trees produce fruit, but if you’re looking for the fastest growing variety, it’s a tie between the Hass and Fuerte variety. Both avocado trees take around three to four years to produce fruit.
Growing an Avocado Tree: Timeline
Now that you’ve chosen the right variety for you, let’s take a deeper look at the avocado tree timeline. We’ll take a look at the different stages of growth to answer the hot-button question, how long does it take to grow an avocado tree.
Growing An Avocado Tree from Pit Vs. Plant
One of the first steps to growing an avocado tree is deciding whether to start from a pit or plant. The two methods might seem similar, but your decision will impact your timeline vastly.
If you’re not concerned with the amount of time it takes for growing an avocado tree, starting from a pit can be a rewarding way to reuse your store-bought avocado. Not only will it help reduce your waste, but it’s an easy, cost-effective way to start your own avocado seedling from scratch.
Keep in mind that it’s very hard to produce fruit if you’re starting from a pit. Even if your tree does produce avocados, this method can take 10 to 15 years so make sure you’re in it for the long game.
If you’re not in any rush, growing an avocado tree from a seed is a fun method to mark milestones in your family. It’s a great way to mark the birth of a child or a new home, then watch your tree grow alongside your new addition.
If you want to fast-track the time it takes for growing an avocado tree, then you’ll want to start from a sapling. Not only is this method faster, but it’s more likely that your tree will produce fruit. You only need three to four years before your tree starts to grow avocados.
If you’re serious about growing an avocado tree, then save yourself the time and start from a sapling. You can find one in your local nursery if you live in a warm climate, but I advise you buy from an online retailer—it’s just easier!
Sprouting Your Own Avocado Pit
If you’ve decided to play the long game and start your own avocado tree from a pit, here’s what you can expect time-wise.
Next time you eat the perfect avocado from the grocery store, save the pit for sprouting. Clean and wash the seed before suspending it above a glass of water using 3 toothpicks. Make sure the water is only covering an inch of the pit. Place the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
You should see roots forming in around two to three weeks. If this time has passed and you still haven’t seen any action on your pit, don’t be discouraged. It can sometimes take six to eight weeks for sprouting to occur. If you find that roots aren’t forming after that time, then toss the pit away and start with another one.
Planting a Sprouted Avocado Pit
Around the 90-day mark, it will be time to plant your avocado pit. Another good rule of thumb for knowing when to plant is to check out the length of your stem. If your avocado pit stem is over six inches with leaves, then you should be ready to plant your sprouted pit.
Place your seed into a 10 inch wide pot, just deep enough so that the pit is exposed. This way, you’re allowing the seed to acclimate to the new growing environment.
Make sure you water your new seedling frequently with the occasional deep soak. When the stem reaches 12 inches high, cut back to six inches to encourage new growth.
When to Plant in the Ground?
If starting from a sprouted pit, you’ll know your plant is ready once you have a viable root ball.
Whether you’re starting from a sprouted pit or a nursery-bought sapling, make sure you plant your budding avocado tree between March and June for optimal growth. If you plant in the late summer or fall months, the seed might not have enough time to establish itself in the soil before being hit by temperature fluctuations.
If you started with an avocado pit, the first year will especially be a vulnerable time. Starting from a sapling will help you bypass the dicey first year, so keep this in mind when figuring out which method is right for you.
Can I Make My Avocado Plant Grow Faster?
Now that we’ve answered the question, how long does it take to grow an avocado tree, let’s go over some tips that will help your tree grow strong and healthy.
While you can’t fast-track the avocado growing process, there are a number of ways to prevent delays. There are plenty of factors that help create the perfect avocado-growing environment.
Provide Lots of TLC
Pests and diseases are a sure way to deter avocado plant growth, so try to stay on top of this when growing your own tree. Borers, caterpillars, and lace bugs love avocado trees, so make sure you safeguard your bounty from harmful pests. Consider using a pesticide checklist.
A bad frost can stunt the growth of your plant. Luckily, there are some proactive steps you can take to avoid frost damage when growing an avocado tree.
Before the months get child, build a six inch mound of soil around the base of your trees. This will help insulate the trunk from the impending cold.
You can also lay a blanket or tarp over your young trees overnight to protect them from the frost, then remove it in the morning. If done properly, the air underneath the cover should stay above freezing, so the frost won’t damage the budding tree.
Fertilizing helps keep your tree healthy and even promotes fruit production later on. Sprinkle a nitrogen-rich fertilizer on your young tree throughout the year. A good rule of thumb is to use one pound during several applications.
If you’re not sure which fertilizer is best, keep your eye out for citrus tree fertilizer. Avocado trees will benefit from the same components.
Make sure you’re watering frequently, around two to three times per week is ideal at first. Avocado trees love deep watering, enough so that the soil holds your hand print.
Be sure to soak the soil well and allow it to dry before watering again. Mature trees will need around 20 gallons of water a day during the irrigation season, so make sure you plan ahead.
To learn more tips and tricks on growing an avocado tree, check out our article on avocado tree care.
If there’s one thing that will benefit your journey in growing an avocado tree, it’s pruning. Not only does pruning help control the size of your tree, but it also increases fruit production.
Avocado trees can reach upwards of 80 feet, so why not redirect that energy to growing fruits instead? To do this, you’ll want to prune in the spring so your tree has the best chance of redirecting its growth.
Make sure you clean your tools between pruning trees. Just like humans, trees can spread contagious diseases, so make sure you spray your equipment with alcohol or diluted bleach to sanitize. This way, you’re keeping your trees healthy, which will help promote growth.
For more tips on how to prune, including the best tools to use, read our guide on pruning avocado trees.
When Will My Avocado Tree Produce Fruit?
If you’re wondering how long it takes to grow an avocado tree, you’re probably wondering how long it takes to grow avocados.
As mentioned before, the growing time depends on a variety of factors including whether you start from a pit or a sapling. It can take anywhere from three years at the earliest to 15 years at the latest before your avocado tree produces fruit.
How to Harvest Avocados
After you’ve spent years working on your beloved avocado tree, you’ll want to make sure you harvest the fruits of your labor properly.
You’ll need to harvest your avocados by hand with a keen eye for ripeness. If you don’t pick your avocados in time, they’ll fall to the ground and fail to ripen.
Make sure you keep an attentive eye on your avocado tree once it starts growing fruit so you don’t miss your chance. Avocados continue to ripen after you pick them, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.
A Lengthy Process with a Big Payoff
Growing an avocado tree can be very rewarding, so long as you have patience and are willing to wait a long time. To answer the original question, how long does it take to grow an avocado tree? The answer is three to fifteen years, so make sure this timeline works for you before you start planting your own backyard avocado tree.
If you’re hungry for more avocado content, keep reading to learn all about avocados, and more!