Avocado, a fruit also known as the butter pear because of its taste and consistency, and the alligator pear because of its green, bumpy skin, has been around for centuries. The avocado tree is native to the Caribbean, Mexico, South America and Central America, and thrives in tropical climates. However, the tree has also been successful in temperate climates found in places such as California and Florida. As long as you live in a relatively warm climate, you can grow your own avocado trees.
Avocado trees can grow as tall as 80 feet. Their root structure is aggressive, and the roots are capable of lifting pavement and cracking driveways. Consider this when choosing placement.
There are about 400 commercial varieties of avocado. A few of the more popular ones are Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Lamb Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, and Zutano. Fruit ripens at different times of the year depending on the variety.
The biggest enemy of an avocado tree is cold. When choosing a location for your tree, find an area that receives constant and lengthy sunlight. Also choose a variety that grows best within your specific environment. Avocado trees do not like "wet feet." Plant them in well-drained soil.
After the first year of planting, fertilize you avocado with citrus fertilizer, following the instructions on the label. For already established trees, fertilize twice a year, with the first application in February. Spread fertilizer around the tree's drip line, not around the trunk.
Growing an avocado tree from a seed is achieved by inserting three toothpicks, equally spaced, into the midsection of the seed. Using the toothpicks as anchors, dangle the seed over a glass of water so that half the seed is submerged. In time, roots will erupt from the base of the seed. Transfer the rooted seed into potting soil and water daily.