Native to southern Mexico, the avocado is an evergreen tree that grows well in tropical or Mediterranean climates. Avocados thrive in parts of California, Florida and Hawaii. Dwarf varieties of avocado can be grown in containers as house plants and brought outdoors in the summer. The fruit of the avocado is a good source of vitamins and minerals. With a little care and attention, you can grow your own avocados on your healthy avocado tree.
Although avocados will grow in partial sun, for optimal fruit production avocado trees should be planted in full sun with protection from high winds. Because avocado trees thrive on heat, plant them near a south-facing wall or in a warm area of your garden.
Avocado trees have shallow roots and won't tolerate poorly drained or saturated soils. Before your plant your avocado tree, spade organic matter such as compost into the soil. Avocados can thrive in slightly sandy soil, but heavy clay should be broken up and loosened with very coarse sand in addition to the organic manner. The University of Florida warns that overly wet soils will lead not only to decreased growth but sometimes tree death.
If you live in an area where it drops below freezing in the winter, your avocado tree will need to be protected. Frost will damage the leaves and branches and can kill any flowers. Avocado fruit that has been damaged by frost will turn black. Choose a Mexican type of avocado tree, because they are more frost hardy than other varieties. Wrap foam or other insulating material around the trunk of the tree. Spreading a tarp over young trees will also protect them from the frost.
After the avocado tree is a year old, feed it with a multipurpose fertiliser four times a year. Yellowing leaves indicate iron deficiency, which can be caused by over watering or lack of nutrients. A chelated foliar spray containing iron will correct this deficiency.
Avocado trees can grow quite large, up to 60 feet tall. Prune your avocado tree for size; otherwise, it doesn't need much pruning. Remove damaged or diseased branches after harvest and all danger of frost is past. Avocado branches are susceptible to sunburn so be careful not to over prune and expose the sensitive branches. Paint exposed wood with a whitewash or with thinned latex paint to avoid sunburn.