How to Plant, Grow, and Care for ‘Bacon’ Avocado Trees

‘Bacon’ avocados are mild and creamy, with excellent cold tolerance. This large avocado tree is a wonderful addition to the cooler climate landscape. Read on as gardening expert Melissa Strauss discusses how to care for this tasty tree.

Ripe, green 'Bacon' avocados, oblong in shape, nestled among vibrant green leaves in natural light.

Contents

In recent years, avocado toast has taken the world by storm. From coast to coast, American restaurants have caught the avocado craze, and I don’t mind one bit! Amazing avocados are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are an excellent source of healthy fats and are chock full of an incredible number of nutrients

Avocados are not a new discovery, though, and in fact, they have been in cultivation for thousands of years. Central Americans have been enjoying the benefits of this fruit for a very long time.

Overview

A trio of ripe 'Bacon' avocados arranged neatly on a pristine white plate, showcasing their smooth, green skins.
The ‘Bacon’ avocado tree is an evergreen plant native to Central America.
Plant Type Evergreen
Family Lauraceae
Genus Persea
Species americana ‘Bacon’
Native Area hybrid – Central America
Exposure Full sun
Height 20’
Watering Requirements Moderate
Pests and Diseases Avocado lace bug, anthracnose, sunblotch, aphids, thrips, fruit flies
Maintenance Low to Moderate
Soil Type Loose, sandy, loamy, well-draining
Hardiness Zones 8-11

What are ‘Bacon’ Avocado Trees?

‘Bacon’ is a hybrid variety that originated on the Buena Park ranch of James E. Bacon. It took about 20 years for Mr. Bacon to get around to registering the tree, but by the 1950s, it had gained popularity along the West Coast. Its excellent cold tolerance made it especially popular among gardeners in cooler climates. 

Its popularity continued to grow throughout the 1960s. Cold tolerance, in combination with overall attractiveness, were factors in its rise. Unfortunately, with the rise of the thick-skinned and richly flavored Hass, the 1980s saw a severe descent for ‘Bacon.’ In recent years, however, this variety has seen a resurgence. 

Many farmers and gardeners plant ‘Bacon’ specifically as a pollenizer for the ‘Hass’ avocado. Many home gardeners plant them for the same reason. They are tall, upright trees with attractive foliage and make nice ornamentals in addition to bearing a great quantity of fruit

Native Area

A mature 'Bacon' avocado tree laden with large, glossy leaves and clusters of green fruits under the sunlight.
This hybrid tree combines genetic influences from two native Mexican avocado species.

This hybrid that hails from Buena Vista, California. However, its ancestry has roots in two different species of avocados that are native to Mexico. Avocados go back about 10,000 years, and their initial cultivation was in Tehuacan, Mexico, a Puebla state.  

Characteristics

A close-up of a 'Bacon' avocado, showcasing its smooth green skin, nestled amidst leaves.
The tree has glossy, deep green foliage in a pyramidal shape.

‘Bacon’ avocado has a tall, upright growth habit. It typically reaches about 20 feet tall but has been known to grow taller. It is a type B avocado, meaning that it requires another plant for pollination. A type B avocado has flowers that open as female on the first day and male the second. This trait encourages cross-pollination. 

This is an attractive avocado tree with deep green, glossy foliage. It often grows in a pyramidal shape, which is unusual for this genus.  

In terms of fruit, this variety produces a great number of large fruits. They are a thin-skinned type, and the skin does not peel away as easily as a Hass or other thick-skinned variety. The skin is bright green with yellow dots, and it does not darken as it ripens. 

‘Bacon’ avocados have large seeds and pale greenish-yellow flesh. The creamy, buttery flesh is the main attraction for this avocado. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. 

Propagation

Avocados are not difficult to propagate. You can propagate them by seeds, cuttings, layering, and grafting. 

Seeds

A 'Bacon' avocado, sliced to reveal its creamy green flesh, sits atop a rustic wooden cutting board.
Germinate an avocado seed by wrapping it in damp paper towels.

Avocado seeds do not breed true, and their germination rate is inconsistent. In fact, there is a chance that your plant grown from seed may never bear fruit. However, it is a fun experiment, and there is no harm in growing an avocado tree from seed if you want to give it a try. They make lovely foliage plants.

You’ve probably seen, or maybe tried, an avocado seed suspended in water using toothpicks. This is not the best method, as the seed will commonly rot from contact with too much moisture. The materials to gather for this process are a ripe avocado, paper towels, and a ziplock bag. Eventually, you will also need a pot and some well-draining potting mix. 

Remove the seed from your fruit and clean it thoroughly. Don’t leave any flesh behind to play host to fungus or mold. Use damp paper towels, or if you prefer, a tea towel to wrap your seed in. Then, place the wrapped seed in a plastic bag or vented container. Don’t close the bag. Set it in a cool, dark place to germinate. 

After this, it is a waiting game. It may take weeks for your seed to sprout, but check on it every four or five days to see if it has sprouted. When the seed begins to germinate, one end will crack open. This is where the seed will sprout roots. Leave your sprouted seed in its moist, dark environment until it is three or four inches long. 

Now it is time to plant your seed. Choose a pot that is at least six inches in diameter. Fill the pot halfway with moist potting mix. Set the seed roots downward on the soil, and then cover most of the seed with soil. 

Leave the top of the seed exposed. Light will help promote growth, so set your pot in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. Then, watch as it grows into a small tree. 

Cuttings

A young 'Bacon' avocado sapling growing in a small pot; its leaves reach out for the warm sunlight.
Prepare cuttings by trimming to five to six inches.

Propagating your avocado by cuttings is a much more effective method when it comes to flavor. This method produces offspring with identical fruit to the parent plant. Take your cuttings in the late spring from semi-hardened wood. Choose a branch with unopened leaves. 

Cuttings should be five to six inches long. Cut your branch at an angle to give it more space for roots to form. Remove any leaves from the bottom third of the cutting. Scraping or scoring the bark at the cut end will also promote rooting. Dip the end into rooting hormone before planting for best results. 

Use moist peat moss with some added perlite or other coarse particles for planting your cutting. Place the cut end down and gently pat the potting media around it. Avocados like humidity, so it’s a great idea to create a small greenhouse by placing a plastic bag over your cutting to hold in moisture. 

Place your cutting in a warm place that receives lots of bright but indirect sunlight. Keep it moist by misting, and your cutting should begin to develop roots in about two weeks. You can repot when your plant outgrows its container or plant directly in the ground once roots form and new growth appears. 

Layering

A botched attempt at air layering an avocado tree, showing an unsuccessful grafting process.
Air layering is a method to propagate plants.
YouTube video

If you’ve never done it before, layering can sound intimidating. In reality, it’s quite simple and an effective way to propagate. You will need a propagation ball or plastic wrap, a sharp knife, and some moist peat moss or coconut coir. Rooting hormone is an optional but recommended addition. 

Choose your branch based on its shape and size. It should be a branch that will grow into a nicely shaped tree. A few inches above the joint, use your knife to score all the way around the branch in two places. They should be about one to two inches apart. Then, scrape away the bark between these two spots. This is where the roots will grow. 

Encase the exposed portion of the branch with your moist peat moss or coconut coir. Close the propagation ball around this area, or wrap it with plastic and secure it with twine or garden ties. Keep your potting medium moist, and your branch should develop substantial roots in about two months. 

Once the branch has roots, cut it just below the root ball. Use high-quality, well-draining potting mix and plant your new baby tree in a pot. You can transplant in the spring or fall. 

Grafting

A close-up of grafting process on avocado tree branch; green leaves encircle the grafted area.
The process involves using a different avocado rootstock and splicing in a branch from another variety.

Grafting is done by using a rootstock from a different type of avocado and splicing in a branch from the variety you wish to grow.

Planting

A person carefully waters a young avocado tree, nurturing its growth with a gentle stream of water from a black hose.
Dig a planting hole spacious and deep to promote avocado root growth.

Avocados are not picky about soil types, although this one doesn’t like clay-heavy soil. It is more important that the soil be loose and well-draining than the soil content. Keep in mind the mature size, which is considerable. A mature specimen can be over 20 feet tall and nearly as wide. However, avocados can be pruned to keep them lower to the ground and more accessible. 

Water well a few hours before planting to allow it time to hydrate. This will help mitigate stress. Prepare a hole by loosening the soil in an area that is three to four times the size of the root ball. You want to dig down deep as well as wide to allow those roots to stretch out. Avocado roots tend to be shallow, but if you can get them growing a bit deeper, it will make a stronger plant. 

Backfill your hole with native soil and place the root ball in the hole so that it sits just at or slightly above the soil level. Fill in around it with more native soil and tamp down around it to remove air pockets. Then, water thoroughly. 

How to Grow

Bearing a few factors in mind, avocado trees are easy to care for. They like a fair bit of moisture and fertilizer but are otherwise sturdy. 

Light

Vibrant 'Bacon' avocado surrounded by lush, green leaves, bathed in warm sunlight.
Avocados thrive in Zones 8 and 9 with full sun.

In very hot climates, it’s a good idea to plant your avocado tree where it will get some shade in the afternoon. While young, it needs to stay hydrated, and the afternoon sun can be intense. 

In milder climates like Zones 8 and 9, plant your avocado in full sun. It will do best in six or more hours of sun daily. In the summer heat, moisture evaporates faster, so make sure to keep it hydrated. 

Water

A man in a blue shirt carefully waters avocado trees in a sunlit orchard.
Initially, water two to three times per week.

Avocado trees are moisture lovers, but they don’t tolerate soggy soil, so it’s a bit of a balancing act. Don’t let that deter you though, the payoff is worth the effort. This variety is a big producer, and it needs water to produce.

Your newly planted avocado will need watering two to three times per week for the first two months. After that, once per week should be sufficient. Make sure to water deeply, saturating more than the first few inches of soil. 

Once established, it will be more drought-tolerant. In times of prolonged drought, however, it will need supplemental watering. Aim to give your plant two inches of water per week. 

Soil

Hands gently plant a young avocado seedling in nutrient-rich, dark soil, fostering growth.
Amend sandy soils with additional nutrients like compost.

Soil composition is not important. As long as the soil has good drainage and holds some moisture, your tree will be happy. Soggy soil can cause issues like dieback and root rot, so be sure to plant in a space with proper drainage. 

Avocado trees survive in sandy soil, but in poor soil, they will need extra nutrients via fertilizer. Working some compost in with your sandy soil will help give them a boost. 

Temperature and Humidity

A 'Bacon' avocado tree featuring lush green leaves and clusters of small yellow flowers in full bloom.
They can be grown in containers north of Zone 8.

Avocado trees love humidity. If you are keeping yours indoors, you should mist it regularly. This is extra important in the wintertime when the air is drier. A range of 40-80% humidity is ideal. The higher end of that range is best. If your humidity level is too low, leaves may turn brown and wilt, and the tree won’t grow to its full potential. 

Unlike most varieties of avocado, ‘Bacon’ is cold-hardy. It can tolerate temperatures in the arena of 20°F (-7°C). In Zone 8, take special care of your tree’s roots. The roots tend to be shallow, so cover the ground around them with a thick layer of mulch in the fall. This will help insulate those roots. 

North of Zone 8, you can grow ‘Bacon’ in containers. You’ll need to do some pruning to keep it small, but it is possible. My recommendation is to leave it outdoors during the warmer months and bring it indoors only in the winter. Unless you have a lot of bright light indoors, it can be difficult to keep it happy. 

Fertilizing

Rich, dark soil made from decomposed organic matter, ideal for nourishing plants.
Add well-rotted organic compost annually for extra nutrients.

Provide a good bit of fertilizer in the first growing season. Nitrogen and zinc are very important in supporting healthy growth. Every four to six weeks of the first growing season, apply a citrus fertilizer with high nitrogen and added zinc. 

Once established, ‘Bacon’ will benefit from a similar type of fertilizer applied three times per year. Fertilize once in the spring, summer, and fall. For added nutrients, top-dress your soil with well-rotted organic compost once yearly. 

Maintenance

A gardener skillfully trims branches from an avocado tree, ensuring healthy growth.
Prune fruit trees in late winter to enhance airflow.

Avocado trees need regular pruning, as most fruiting trees do. They are resilient in the face of hard pruning, so it’s not a problem if you cut too much off.

Avoid pruning in the spring, as fruits grow on new branches. Keep the interior thinned out to promote good airflow. Remove any crossing branches or branches that press against others. Waterspouts, which are new branches that grow straight upwards, also need to go. 

Harvesting

Fresh 'Bacon' avocados, ripe and ready for consumption, displayed in neat yellow plastic containers.
Leave a small piece of stem on avocados to check ripeness.

‘Bacon’ avocados mature late in the year. Harvesting season ranges from November to December. Avocados should have a small bit of stem left attached, so use a sharp pair of hand shears to harvest them. As soon as your avocados reach full size, which is about six to 12 ounces for this variety, you can begin to harvest them. They will continue to ripen after cutting. 

The reason for leaving that small amount of stem attached is to help you determine when the avocado is ripe. If you knock that little nub off, and you see green underneath, your avocado is ready to eat. Hold off a while if it is pale or nearly white. If it is brown, your avocado is past its prime. 

Uses

Freshly sliced 'Bacon' avocados arranged neatly next to a bowl of homemade guacamole and slices of bread.
Avocados are versatile in dishes like guacamole and sandwiches.

Where do I even start? Avocados are such wonderful fruits with an amazing nutrient profile. A single avocado contains three grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and more potassium than a banana. They are a good source of Vitamins C, E, K, folate, and magnesium. With all the healthy benefits that this fruit has to offer, you should be adding them to everything!

One of my favorite ways to use avocado is, of course, guacamole. They are delicious when sliced with a tomato, a sprinkle of salt, and a squeeze of lime. Add them to a sandwich as a healthy substitute for mayonnaise. You can even use them as a substitute for oil in your favorite brownie recipe. ‘Bacon’ avocados have a delicate and mild flavor, so they blend seamlessly into many recipes. 

Common Problems

The fruits are not susceptible to many problems. Their tough skin helps to protect them from many environmental issues. However, they can encounter some issues from time to time. Let’s talk about how to spot them and treat them. 

Diseases

An avocado tree's roots showing signs of foot rot, with darkened, decaying areas.
Treat fungal infections with neem oil or copper-based fungicides.

Fungal diseases are fairly common. Their higher moisture needs, including high humidity, make them susceptible to fungus and mold. Yellow leaves and the appearance of general unhealthiness are signs of fungal disease. Good watering practices will go a long way toward avoiding these diseases. Thin out the interior of the plant when you prune to improve airflow to the interior. 

Root rot, specifically, happens because of too much water sitting around the roots. Make sure to plant in a space with good drainage. Avoid overwatering during the rainy season. Treat superficial fungal infections with neem oil or a copper-based fungicide. This and regular pruning can prevent the spread of diseases to healthy parts of the tree.

Pests

A detailed close-up of a brown lace bug resting delicately on a vibrant green leaf.
Start with a strong water spray to reduce mite infestations.

The pests most likely to take up residence on your avocado tree include mites, thrips, aphids, and lace bugs. Before using pesticides, try spraying the insects off with a strong stream of water. This should help to knock down the population. If the infestation persists, neem oil is a good alternative. Other horticultural oils will also help remedy a pest infestation.

Final Thoughts

‘Bacon’ avocado may not get its name from the tasty pork product, but it would make an excellent addition to any BLT sandwich. This robust variety with mild, creamy, substantial fruit is a great addition to the garden. It makes an excellent pollenizer for other Type B avocados. The fruits also have delicious flavor and nutrient density to bring to the table.

SHARE THIS POST
The Fignomenal Fig Tree boasts smooth, light brown stems, large lobed green leaves, and small, plump figs that ripen to a rich purple-brown hue.

Fruits

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For ‘Fignomenal’ Fig Trees

Have you ever wanted to grow your own fruit but lacked the space? Think that growing fruit trees is too hard? The ‘Fignomenal’ fig makes growing fruit trees accessible to almost anyone. In this article, gardening expert and fig enthusiast Liessa Bowen will discuss the proper care and maintenance of these deliciously fruitful plants!

Freestone clingstone peach difference. A close-up of ripe peaches in a large wicker basket, among which lies half a peach with juicy yellow flesh and a pinkish-brown pit in the center.

Fruits

What’s the Difference Between Freestone and Clingstone Peaches?

If you’re in the market for a peach tree, there are some important factors to consider. One of the main distinctions among peaches is whether they are freestone or chingstone. But what does that mean? In this article, peach-loving gardener Melissa Strauss answers that question to help you choose the perfect peach tree for your landscape.

The backyard orchard features neatly spaced trees with gnarled branches, lush green leaves, and clusters of ripe, red and green apples hanging from their boughs, creating a picturesque and bountiful scene.

Fruits

How to Start Your Own Mini Backyard Orchard

You don’t need a giant farm to grow fruit trees! A mini backyard orchard can produce copious amounts of apples, pears, oranges, and more in the small space of a standard yard. Here’s how to get started with zero experience!

Close-up of ripe fruits on Fig tree. The tree has broad, lobed leaves of bright green color with pale green veins. Figs, the tree's signature fruit, grow directly on the branches and are characterized by a pear-like shape with a small opening, known as the "eye," at the bottom. The fruit has a soft, greenish-purple skin.

Fruits

31 Fabulous Fig Varieties for Your Home and Garden

Are you curious about figs, if you can grow them, and which type to grow? If you love to eat fresh figs and live in a moderate to warm climate, you may be very happy to know you can grow your own figs without much effort! In this article, gardening expert and fig lover Liessa Bowen introduces 31 different fig cultivars available to the home gardener.