Asked on Aug 26, 2018

Can I grow an avocado plant outside in lower Virginia?

by Mary

  4 answers
  • Leeann Lott Leeann Lott on Aug 26, 2018

    ABSOLUTELY NO! I know that avocado farms thrive in mountains of Ecuador where it gets plenty cold. We saved seeds followed all advise. put plants in their own pots and they got about 2 ft high. They were beautiful. 4 years of caring for them we were excited. We had 4 healthy plants. My sis took 2. Mama ask if we should plant or take back in for winter. well they had been outside most of the year. I said. they should be hardened off, but lets wait till Spring. They were partially protected under the eaves of the house between ramp and house. I knew we c were expecting a freeze...I waited too late to decide to cover them. 1 died. I don't know if Mama can save other or not.

    We live 40 miles north of coast in S Mississippi. We have a fruit orchard. I really thought we would be eating our own avocados this year.

    Avocados are citrus. Never overlook that. Try an enclosed court yard or patio and plan to protect it forever

  • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Aug 26, 2018

    I don't think so you are too far North.

  • River River on Aug 26, 2018

    There are some types of cold hardy, frost tolerant avocado trees. Cold Tolerant Avocado Trees have been cultivated in the Florida (1833 )and California (1856). Most avocados thrive in warm temps. Cold tolerance of avocados depends on variety of tree. West Indian varieties grow best in temperatures from 60-85 degrees F

    (15-29 C). Well established trees can survive a short-term minor dip in temps, but young trees can not tolerate frost and must be protected. Guatemalan avocados do well in cooler temperatures, 26-30 degrees F

    (-3 to -1 C). They are native to high altitudes. Maximum cold tolerance avocado trees are Mexican types. They grow well in Mediterranean type climate and are able to withstand temperatures 19degreesF(-7C). Fruit is smaller with thin skins.

    Slightly cold tolerant varieties of avocado trees include:

    ‘Tonnage’ ‘Tayor’ ‘Lula’ ‘Kampong’ ‘Meya’ ‘Brookslate’

    These types are recommended for areas that have infrequent below freezing temps between 24-28 degrees F(-4 to -2C).

    The following are tolerant of temps between 25-30 degrees F(-3 to-1 C):

    Beta’ ‘Choquette’ ‘Loretta’ ‘Booth 8′ ‘Gainesville’ ‘Hall’ ‘Monroe’ ‘Reed’

    Best frost tolerant avocado trees, however, are Mexican and Mexican hybrids:

    ‘Brogdon’ ‘Ettinger’ ‘Gainesville’ ‘Mexicola’ ‘Winter Mexican’

    These trees are hard to find, however they can withstand temperatures in the low 20’s degrees F(-6 C)!

    Tips to ensure tree’s survival during the cold season. Cold hardy varieties are adapted to USDA plant hardiness zones 8-10, that is from coast South Carolina to Texas. Otherwise, you probably better have a greenhouse or resign yourself to purchasing the fruit from the grocer. Plant avocado trees 25-30 feet apart on the south side of a building or underneath overhead canopy. Wrap tree in garden fabric or burlap when hard freezes are expected. Protect rootstock and graft from cold air by mulching just above graft. Lastly, feed well during year. Use a well-balanced citrus/avocado food at least four times a year or as often as once a month. A well fed, healthy tree is more likely to make it during cold snaps.

    in short, plant in a large enough pot for a small tree. Place outside on warm days and bring inside on cold days and nights. Keep near a Sunny window away from drafts. Do not overwater, they like to be on the dry side. If you have a Sun room, that would be the ideal growing room outside of a greenhouse. If not, no worries you can always try. Just remember, it does not like Frost. Tried to grow them outside in both Carolinas and they died in frost. Currently trying outdoor and indoor method. Started last Winter, went outside in Spring will bring inside for Fall/Winter. Putting it outside only on sunny warm days and inside at night. Then back outside in Spring after danger of frost passes.

    Happy Avocado Tree growing!

  • Mary Mary on Aug 26, 2018

    Thanks for the update. I will see what I can do.