The Optimum Climate for Growing Avocado Trees
Avocado trees are native understory trees in humid, semitropical regions of Central and South America. In these areas, air temperatures stay between 60ºF (15.5ºC) and 85ºF (29.5ºC). These climate zones also produce humus-rich, well-drained soils with neutral to slightly acidic pH levels, and avocado trees naturally thrive in this soil type.
USDA climate zones 9-11 are optimum for growing outdoor avocado trees. Most of Southern California and Florida are located in these zones, and these are the main commercial avocado growing regions in the U.S.
Choosing Avocado Varieties for Your Climate Zone
Choose an avocado variety best suited for your climate zone.
The most cold-tolerant types of avocado are Mexican varieties. These varieties grow successfully outdoors to temperatures of 19ºF (-7.2ºC).
Mexican varieties include:
- Winter Mexican
Guatemalan varieties of avocado are slightly cold-hardy, surviving to 26ºF (-3.3ºC). These include:
- Booth 8
- Hall Monroe
West Indian avocado varieties are the least tolerant of cold and are best planted in areas with minimum temperatures above 33ºF (.5ºC). Varieties include:
When growing cold-hardy varieties of avocado, the blossoms may open during periods of frost, leading to damage. However, the trees often flower again and pollinate successfully.
Growing Avocado Trees Indoors
If you do not live in an optimum climate for growing outdoor avocado trees, you can still grow them indoors as a potted plant, but fruit production is unlikely.
Indoor avocado trees still need at least six to eight hours of strong sunlight, so place indoor plants in front of a sunny window and keep them between 60ºF (15.5ºC) and 85ºF (29.5ºC).
Planting Avocados in Protected Areas Outdoors
You can increase the chances of growing avocado trees outdoors in marginal climates by planting the trees in a well-protected area of the garden and by giving them ample fertilizer during the growing season.
In this case, plant the avocado where it will receive as much direct sunlight as possible during winter. By planting the tree on the south side of a building or masonry wall, the structure aids in keeping the tree warmer during cold weather. Do not plant avocados at the bottom of a slope where cold air accumulates, and avoid steam beds.
You can protect avocado trees during cold spells by wrapping the tree in blankets, by covering it with a protective agricultural fabric, and by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree.