5 Steps to Avocado Planting Success
- Choose a warm, sunny spot in well drained soil. Late winter and through spring is the best time to plant avocados in New Zealand.
- Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
- Add a layer of citrus & fruit mix to plant into.
- Feed your avocados regularly after one year of growth.
- Protect young trees from frosts with a frost cloth or shelter.
Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown avocados.
The avocado possibly originated in southern Mexico but was cultivated throughout South America before the arrival of Europeans, who distributed the seeds all over the world. The avocado is the only fruit that contains monounsaturated fat and is also a great source of potassium and fibre.
In frost free regions plant avocados from late winter through spring. Plant in spring and summer if planting in frost prone areas - note in summer the tree will need a lot of water and a free draining soil to get established.
We suggest buying an grafted avocado tree from a garden centre, as seed grown avocados are unreliable and will take a long time to produce fruit. Make sure that the tree is healthy, and the graft has healed.
If you’re grafting an avocado tree, this should be done in mid-summer when suitable growth is available. Budding is the normal technique used. Grafted plants normally produce fruit within two to four years, compared to about eight to twenty years for trees grown from seed.
Avocados grow well in areas with a mild winter and a warm climate including Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Marlborough. They need a warm, sheltered and sunny position. In cooler areas, plant the tree in a spot where it will receive full sun during the winter.
Popular varieties include Hass, Reed, Fuerte and Zutano. Dwarf cultivars are also available. Avocados are frost tender, some varieties are more frost hardy such as Zutano and Fuerte, where as Hass is less cold tolerant.
Avocados generally produce a higher yield if more than one tree is planted. To get the best pollination you should plant two different compatible varieties as the male and female (A & B flowering - check the plant tag to see if they are A or B flowering) flowers open at different times of the day.
Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. Avocados prefer sandy, well-drained soil.
The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.
Planting in garden beds
Select a full sun, sheltered position to plant and ensure the tree as plenty of room for spreading, as the roots are competitive and can choke nearby plants.
- Soak seedlings in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your plant a healthy boost.
- Add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix to the planting area.
- Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
- Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
- Fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
- Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
- Water your plant well and continue to water regularly
Feed your avocados and they will feed you. Avocados use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential. Start regularly feeding young trees after one year of growth. Older trees benefit from feeding in late winter and early summer.
Feed your avocados with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser or Tui Enrich Fruit, Citrus, Tree & Shrub Controlled Release Fertiliser for optimum flowering and fruiting.
Well watered, well nourished avocados will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay. While your avocados are growing regularly apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic for healthy plant and root growth to make plants more resilient to frost, heat, pests and diseases.
Avocados can be harvested from early spring to early autumn before frosts begin, as cold damaged fruit turns black. Harvest fruit when it reaches mature size, but is still hard. Avocados won't soften on the tree, only when picked and left at room temperature.
Once you've harvested your avocados, try this Asparagus and Avocado Salad recipe to enjoy your bumper crop.
Young trees are very frost tender. Protect them with a frost cloth or shelter, or plant them next to established trees to provide protection.
Avocados can take four to five days to ripen. To speed up ripening place them in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana or apple.