How Long Does It Take for an Avocado Tree to Bear Fruit?
An avocado tree is easy to grow and makes for a beautiful house plant when first starting out. Many do exact that. An avocado tree growing in your home can be just as enjoyable as having one bearing fruit. They make a great house plant and since they do take quite a while before a young tree begins to bear fruit, having one growing in pot on the patio will ensure you care for it until that time comes. But the best part to me is the fruit they bear, the avocados themselves! Avocados grow best in warm climate with high humidity in hardiness zones 9-11.
An avocado tree is easy to grow and makes for a beautiful house plant when first starting out. An avocado tree growing in your home can be just as enjoyable as having one bearing fruit. But how long does it take for an avocado tree to bear fruit if it starts in the home?
How Long Does it Take for Avocados to Grow?
It depends on where you are starting from. Avocado trees fall into a few categories when growing on your own.
Avocado trees grown from grocery store seeds, like a Hass avocado, may take longer to grow.
Alternatively, you can start by buying an avocado tree locally at a farmer’s market or a local nursery. You could also plant avocado trees from an avocado pit or even from a tree cutting.
So how long does it take for a tree to grow? We will discuss the last two in this blog; as for the latter, you will inevitably have a head start.
How to Grow an Avocado Tree
Growing an avocado tree is not as intimidating as it may seem. With a few simple steps and some patience, anyone can start planting and growing their own fruit from the seed of an avocado.
It’s easy to grow an avocado. Once the process is complete and a few years go by, you’ll have fruit that’s ripe enough to eat.
When To Plant
We have a bit of experience as we have grown dozens of avocado plants from seed over the years. It is very hard to grow avocado trees from seed during the winter.
When growing an avocado tree, you need to put them near a window for the sunshine, but the window with also project cold onto them. That will keep the seed from sprouting.
The roots grow first, of course, but that process will not happen when temperatures are below 60. That doesn’t just mean outside, but at the growing point.
At that window sill, it won’t be above 60, so my advice is not to try this from December through the end of March.
An avocado tree grown in a warm climate is best. Specifically during the late summer or fall months with high humidity and hardiness zones of 9-11.
What’s more, once your tree is grown, you can “jump-start” fruit-bearing. You do this by grafting or budding the productive limbs from an already tree-bearing fruit.
You can graft a scion to your own tree when it is two to three years old. More on that later.
Growing Avocado Trees From Pits
You can start an avocado tree “from scratch” by sprouting roots and planting an avocado seed. But it could take many years for your avocado tree to produce.
It could take up to as many as seven years, although many growers say you can start to see avocados in only three to four years. That isn’t common.
1. Source an Avocado Seed
When growing an avocado tree, you’ll want to source the right avocado and seed. This way, you can produce avocados you’ll actually be able to eat.
Finding avocado seeds is easy. Simply remove the pit from a ripe avocado of your preferred type.
Take caution when cutting into the fruit to avoid unnecessary damage to the pit, and use a spoon to scoop it out from the flesh. Wash and dry the avocado seed, carefully scraping off any persistent green flesh that may remain.
A Note About Grocery Avocados
The easiest place to get an avocado seedling is from local grocery stores. It’s simple, inexpensive, and easily available.
You could also get an avocado seed from a local nursery, avocado tree grower, or from a neighbor with an avocado plant.
When using a store-bought avocado, it is possible the fruit may be different and perhaps even inedible. The seed-grown tree may be genetically different than the tree that produced the original fruit.
Quality of Trees
That doesn’t mean it will not grow fruit or that the avocado won’t be good. It just won’t necessarily match the quality of the trees they were grown from.
Even if this is the case, you can still use your new tree as a base for grafting branches from other avocado trees that already produce fruit. Once avocado trees have grown three feet in height you can start grafting branches. (We will look at how to do this a little later on.)
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2. Place the Avocado Pit in Water
Rather than being planted in soil to sprout, an avocado seed can be suspended in water. This will help to develop a stem and roots.
Place three toothpicks on the sides of the avocado pit. Rest them on the rim of a glass or bowl filled with water.
The top of the pit, the more pointed end with an egg-like shape, should be face-up and remain dry. The bottom, the slightly flatter, perhaps patchy-colored end, should be submerged in the water.
Many have had success growing an avocado tree in pots outside during the right time of year, but they will need care and time. It’s best to start out your seedling indoors so you can watch it.
3. Provide Sunshine & Clean Water
Set your soaking avocado seed on a windowsill or comparable place where it can get a few hours of sun each day. Avoid spots that get long exposures to direct sunlight.
A healthy dose of indirect sunlight works well. Replenish water in your container every few days if the level drops below the pit. Also, replace it with fresh water weekly.
4. Monitor for Roots
Continue monitoring your seed every few days until roots and a stem start to emerge. This initial process can take anywhere from two to eight weeks, so be patient.
5. Prune the Initial Growth
Once the sprouted seed has established roots and a stem, you’ll need to encourage a stronger “foundational plant” by pruning the new growth.
When the stem has grown to a maximum height of six inches, cut it back to around three inches. This will cause new roots to develop, which will lead to the growth of wider and fuller avocado trees.
6. Plant in Soil
A few weeks after the initial pruning, the roots will be fuller, and the stem will have new top leaves. Next, you can finally transfer your avocado plant into a container of soil.
Don’t wait longer than three weeks to do this, as the roots will have a harder time transferring to the soil. You may also risk harming, even killing, the avocado plant.
Hold the Outdoors
You’ll want to hold off from planting outdoors until you’ve had a chance to “harden” the tree. Harden simply means to acclimate the plant to living outdoors.
7. Pot Plant
Use a pot at least 10 inches (~25 centimeters) in diameter. The avocado plant has shallow roots, so your pot should have ample room for plant growth.
Smaller plant pots may cause the tree to become root-bound and will require another transfer later. Otherwise, growth may be inhibited.
Make sure the pot has good drainage as well. Ensure it has drainage holes for watering your seed and sprout.
Place the seed in the soil so that the roots are buried. Leave the top part of the seed and the stem exposed.
7. Water Often
Give your avocado seedling a good watering once you’ve finished potting it. Pour gently, yet thoroughly, soaking the soil. All future waterings should be enough to dampen soil without causing saturation.
You can provide it with an occasional soak, but make sure to let the dirt dry between waterings. If your leaves start to turn yellow, that is a sign you may be overwatering.
8. Harden Tree
Your tree should start in a place with indirect light. But as it grows, gradually move it to brighter areas.
The slow increase will help condition the plant to eventually withstand constant direct sunlight outdoors. You can transfer it outdoors into the ground once it is more mature; it should have a large, viable root ball.
The root ball should be planted at the same depth that it was in the pot. It can take several years before the tree will flower and produce fruit.
How Long for an Avocado Tree to Bear Fruit?
When starting to grow an avocado tree from the pit, patience is a must. Growing a healthy and fruitful tree takes at least four to six years.
From avocado seeds to bearing fruit, the avocado tree timeline is longer than most other fruit trees. During this time, it is important to give your avocado tree plenty of space, sun, and water in order to ensure the growth of strong roots and branches.
They make a great house plant. But since they do take quite a while before a young tree begins to bear avocado fruit, having one growing in a pot on the patio will ensure you care for it until that time comes.
While avocado tree growth may be lengthy, the best part to me is the fruit they bear: the avocados themselves!
Growing an Avocado Tree From Cuttings
If you have not grown a rootstock tree from seed, some nurseries or growers may have options available or even pre-grafted rootstocks you can bring home. Different from growing in the ground, when you grow an avocado tree from cuttings, a rootstock is required.
If you want to grow an avocado tree, this route it’s a great way to reduce how long it takes an avocado tree to produce fruit. Note: Grafting is best done in the spring when it is easy to slip bark from the inner wood of the base.
1. Prepare Your Buds
To grow an avocado from cuttings, first, choose branches with many buds from a healthy avocado tree that can produce reliably. The best buds can be found at the ends of branches, typically one-quarter-inch to one-inch in diameter.
2. Make the Cut
Clean a sharp knife or pruning shears with rubbing alcohol and then cut the branches that have several buds on them. Take anywhere from six to eight cuttings that are at least six inches in length.
Wrap the cuttings in damp paper towels to hold moisture, and place them in a bowl of ice to keep them cold while you prepare the rootstock.
3. Prepare Rootstock
Choose a strong branch on the rootstock tree. Make a T-shaped cut twelve inches from the trunk. (A knife is best for this task.)
The shorter “top” line of the T should cut about one-third of the way through the branch. The “bottom” intersecting line of the T should run the length of the branch and be about one inch long.
Carefully insert your knife at the point where the cuts meet and twist to pry the bark away. This is where you’ll place the buds of your cuttings.
4. Place & Secure Buds
Find healthy bud from your cuttings and trim it from the stick. Cut a half-inch below and a three-quarter-inch beyond the bud on either side.
Place the longer end into the “bottom” part of the T-shaped cut in the rootstock and align the bud with the “top” part of the cut. Use a rubber band to wrap the graft above and below the bud.
Avoid wrapping the bud itself. Repeat this in different areas until you have used buds from all of your cuttings to fill your tree as you see appropriate.
5. Remove the Wrap
It could take up to three or four weeks for grafts to heal and create a healthy union with the rootstock. You will know this has happened when the buds begin to open.
You can then remove the rubber bands. Your very own avocados will start to grow on these new branches once they mature.
6. Produce Fruit
Once mature, your tree will start to produce avocados you can eat. Avocado trees can produce seeds every year, usually starting in late summer and ending in early spring.
The number of avocados will vary, but about 200 to 300 are harvested on a mature tree.
The Benefits of Growing Your Own Avocado Tree
One of the biggest benefits of growing an avocado tree is that you will enjoy the avocado right off the tree when it is at its freshest. You won’t have to worry about buying avocados anymore; they’ll already be ready in your backyard.
Avocados have many health benefits and can be eaten year-round. Plus, growing your own avocado tree is a great way to get exercise while tending to your garden.
Avocados also don’t require much maintenance. Once they bud, their flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects for other plants in your garden.
With a little bit of watering and occasional trimming, your avocado tree should be able to thrive with ease.
Lastly, having an avocado plant in your backyard adds beauty and texture to your landscape. The large leaves provide shade during summer months and act as a natural windbreak when windy.
Avocados Help the Environment
Another benefit of having an avocado tree is that it helps promote sustainability. Instead of purchasing avocados from stores, you can rely on your own homegrown supply.
Reduce Food Waste
This not only helps support local growers but also reduces food waste. Any unused avocados will simply go back into the ground as compost.
Plus, by growing your own food at home, you can avoid any pesticides or chemicals found in store-bought produce.
One great thing about avocado trees is that they are self-pollinating. This means that you won’t need to worry about finding a pollinator for your tree, as it will be able to fertilize itself.
Avocados are a delicious part of a healthy diet, so why wouldn’t you want to grow your own avocado fruit tree at home? They contain healthy monounsaturated fats and are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and other phytonutrients.
Avocados are packed with vitamins C, E, and K, fiber, folate, and potassium. Studies have also found that avocados may boost your immune system and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Latin American Origin
Avocados originated in Central America, but today they are grown across the world from Mexico to Peru and South Africa. Avocado trees can also be found in the states of California, Hawaii, and Florida.
Avocado trees live over 200 years, in the right climate. Avocados love a humid environment with temperatures above 60 degrees.
They don’t like to be in cold climates for too long or their leaves might brown and fall off. With the right amount of light, water and fertilization, you can grow avocado trees indoors in containers or outdoors in soil.
An avocado tree can grow over 60 feet tall. They are fairly easy to prune and maintain a size suitable for home gardens. They can be kept as small as eight feet tall or even less with regular trimming.
When harvesting avocados, look for signs of ripening, such as softening skin or an uncharacteristically dark green color. Unripe avocados can be left at room temperature until they ripen, but avocados that ripen should be used as soon as possible.
I hope we have helped answer the question “how long for an avocado tree to bear fruit?” and got all the know-how and care tips you need to grow a fruit-bearing tree from a seed in just three to five years. Check out other posts for great planting, growing, and more tips for all fruit trees, vegetables, flowering plants, and more!