Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for an Avocado Tree

Avocado trees are fast-growing, densely leaved trees. They can grow to heights of 80 feet if not pruned or contained in a pot. Avocado trees are prized for their beauty and for their nutritious, delicious fruit. While some varieties, such as the Guatemala avocado, can tolerate temperatures as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit, most cannot survive in freezing temperatures and should be grown only in tropical and subtropical climates, unless grown in containers and brought indoors during cool weather. In general, however, avocados are easy to care for and rewarding to grow.

Choose the right location for your tree. This can be tricky, because avocado trees need some sunlight to bear fruit, but they do not have any bark to protect themselves from the hot sun. Plant young trees under another tree where they will receive dappled sunlight, or in a north-facing location where they will not receive direct rays from the afternoon sun.

Water your avocado tree only during the growing season and when the top 2 inches of soil dry out. You can test for this by simply sticking your finger into the soil beside the trunk of the tree. The best way to water is with a slow-drip system, such as a drip hose. This ensures that the water will reach the deep roots of the tree. Or, set a garden hose next to the tree and turn the stream of water down so that it is just trickling out. Two or three hours of a slow trickle is as long as one watering should last.

Add 4 inches of mulch around the tree in the spring, extending to the edge of the avocado tree's canopy. Do not let the mulch touch the tree's trunk, however. Leave a space about a foot in diameter around the trunk free of the mulch.

Fertilize your avocado tree once each spring with a slow-release fertilizer made for citrus trees. Follow the directions on the package according to the size and age of your tree. Do not fertilize until the tree is at least 2 years old, as the delicate roots of younger trees can be burned by the fertilizer.


Painting the trunk of the tree white can help protect it from the hot rays of the sun. If freezing temperatures threaten your outdoor tree, cover it with a warm blanket.

Garden Guides