Fact Sheet: Avocado

Common Name: Avocado

Botanical name: Persea americana


The avocado forms a very large evergreen tree up to 30m if grown from a seedling. Grafted trees to 10m Hight. Dark green leaves form a thick canopy with dense shade.


The tree has perfect flowers (both male and female parts) which can be female in the morning and male in the afternoon or vice versa. Varieties are known as type A or B.


In cooler climates, this crossover period is shared enabling a single tree to self-pollinate. Warmer climates will require a second tree of a different type.


A temperamental tree when young, hardy once established. The fruit is rich in fat and protein.


  • Very well drained deep soil
  • Regular water
  • Chicken manure to improve soil quality and drainage

Doesn’t like 

  • Water logging
  • Frost on flowering
  • Sunburn on newly exposed branch and trunk wood
  • Drought
  • Hot afternoon sun

Flowers in

  • Prolific racemes on the ends of branches in spring

Fruits in

  • Summer – autumn



Buy grafted plants certified free of Phytophthora root rot fungus, stake at planting as avocados have a shallow root system, plant in spring.

Pollination/self-fertile, requires another tree

Bees and hoverflies. Self-fertile in cooler climates, pollinator tree required in warmer climates. Check with local nursery for guidance.


Can be cut back extremely hard rejuvenating dormant buds, renovate in cooler seasons to avoid bark sunburn (or paint with whitewash). Maintain a low canopy for ease of harvesting.

Disease and pest management

Few pests, possums enjoy the bark. Root rot from the Phytophthora cinnamomi fungus. Buy quality stock, avoid water logging soils.

Moisture, how much and when

Regular deep watering late spring to autumn (once a week – more in extreme heat), do not let soil dry out. Do not let soil become waterlogged.


High nitrogen NPK fertiliser every 3 months except winter, while establishing young trees. Older trees will require an annual feed.


Ripen off the tree, will store on tree for a few months. Fruit stems will turn yellowish and wrinkle when ready to pick. Always cut from tree retaining the stem to avoid fruit rot.