I was out digging worms for late October fishing. Surprised to find so many, but then thought it's because I buried lots of scraps around the garden. I came upon one spot where I had buried avocado pits. One was sprouting nicely. Brought it inside, just put it in a more permanent pot the other day. We'll see how it does. Just fun to watch something grow this time of year. It in a south window and gets sun about 7 hrs/day.
I've played with one or 2 plants in my younger days, always fun, and they were always spindly, and by the time I could set them outside for the summer, they were downright ugly and never did get bushy and nice.
But I sure loved baby sitting them and trying to coax them on............
desertwoman The short answer is no, the tree at my house I didn't plant and I'm sure someone just took a tree like the one Mumsey has and put it into the soil. I did pick up a couple of smallish avocados the other year but essentially its a barren tree. But i like the foliage which you can use in cooking and its just a nice lush looking tropical feel plant that for me doesn't seem to need much water or other special treatment so im happy to let it grow. The tree I saw in London was just near a community garden not far from the south bank and the globe theatre, outside some council owned public housing flats. It was quite large and i was just amazed it was actually growing there but its central london and I'm sure the heat island effect was keeping it alive. It looked very healthy but i cant imagine it ever fruited. There would be no other trees to pollinate it for one thing.
The long answer is that avocados are fascinating and i apologise for a tendency to get long winded about them. My understanding is that there are several parent species and that the ones we cultivate now are the results of a lot of interbreeding over the years of primarily mexican and guatamalan species with the more favored ones being more guatamalan. So I think they are quite like apples in that the result of any cross pollination is liable to produce a new unique variety which is usually non fruit bearing but sometimes is. All commercial avocado trees sold are grafted known varieties onto rootstock. There are hundreds if not thousands of known varieties and many more sitting in someones garden that are not known. But here at least in California commercially i think 95% are Hass variety, named after a postman from La Habra in southern California who found a new variety in his orchard one day.
I went to a talk from the local master gardener program and they had someone who was part of the avocado breeding program at the local university. The last big planting they planted 10,000 seedlings, waited the seven years it takes to evaluate the fruit and by a process of eliminating those that didn't fruit or produced poor fruit came up with two new varieties, I think the varieties were Gwen and Lamb Hass.
The slight trouble is that Hass which is the one we are all familiar with is actually quite unusual. it has dark pebbley skin whereas most varieties are green and smooth skinned. People so associate avocados with that phenotype of dark pebbley skin that a perfectly good smooth green skinned one is more difficult to sell. If you ever get a chance a Reed avocado is a really nice variety that's available here at farmers markets in summer, much larger and richer tasting.
Avocados also have a really interesting pollination system where although the trees produce both male and female flowers, they time the opening of the two types on the tree to either mornings or afternoons. Luckily different varieties known as A or B type open male and female flowers alternately in mornings or afternoons so you need a type A and a type B within pollinating distance of each other. The caveat to that is that's at stable temperatures and if the temperature is very variable the morning afternoon opening can be staggered. Commercial groves here do bring in bee hives but I've heard that locally as there's so many tress as backyard trees pollination is not something to worry about too much. The other interesting thing is that avocado honey is almost black in colour and a bit mollasses like in taste.
There's lots of good avocado info at this link if anyone's interested
i apologise for a tendency to get long winded about them.
I really enjoy hearing what you know. I was born and raised in So-Cal so I am familiar with the green smooth skin varieties that grew in family and friends' yards, though I don't know what their names were.And that is so interesting about how avocados are like apples.
Never the less, they are a beautiful tree and it would be worth planting a seed like mumsey did just for its beauty. It would never survive our winters, however.
Northern New Mexico Zone 6b (formerly Zone 5) Posting since 2005
Some years ago I dug up one of the many avocado seedlings that grow in my compost, and transplanted it into a pot. When the first frost was announced, I brought the avocado inside and grew it as a house plant. In a couple of years it became really large, and it got difficult to move in and out of the house (bigger and bigger pots were much heavier). Not knowing what to do, I loaded the plant in the car and drove to a local conservatory--which is actually a large tropical plants greenhouse. I donated my avocado, which was welcome due to its size. The master gardener told me that many people bring their avocado plants, but since they are always too small the conservatory cannot accept them. I don't know what they did with the plant I gave them, but years later I was visiting and I noticed a beautiful, large avocado tree grow in a corner, surrounded by succulent. I cannot honestly say that I recognized it, but to this day i like to think that that beautiful, lush tree was my avocado. This is the size of a 2+ years old avocado tree:
Latitude33,lisaann,davidjp,desertwoman,octave1,ahntjudy, I watched a documentary the other day, I think on YouTube, about avocado plantations in Chile. Quite disturbing that the large corp/plantations take all the water and the small farmers have none. And the Chilean govt does nothing about it.
Those of you who can grow them in your yards are lucky!