5 Best Avocado Trees for Home Gardens

Avocados are delicious and nutritious additions to our diet. With so many undeniable health benefits, it's no wonder these trees are getting a lot of attention lately. In this article, guacamole enthusiast Melissa Strauss has 5 fabulous varieties of avocado trees to tell you about.

A close-up of avocados reveals two green, rough, shiny fruits, while the background showcases the textured green leaves of the plant.

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Whether you like them spread on a thick slice of toasted sourdough or mashed in a bowl of guacamole, avocados are an amazing source of many important nutrients. These super fruits are both nutritious and delicious. Not to mention, the trees they grow on are attractive additions to the garden, and they are easy to care for

The variety you choose for your garden should hinge on a few specific factors. 

Your climate and personal taste preferences are important considerations to make when selecting a tree of your own. Some have better cold tolerance than others, making them ideal for Zones 8 and 9. The flavor profile and flesh consistency also differ between varieties. 

At Epic, we are always striving to make growing your own food as accessible as possible. Knowing a bit about the available options is a great way to begin your decision-making process. In addition, I’d like to share some tips on choosing, planting, and caring for whichever tasty type of avocado you decide to grow. First, let’s look at what these yummy fruits bring to the table in terms of nutrition.

What’s So Special About Avocados?

A close-up of a potted small avocado plant displays its lush, glossy leaves, with delicate veins running through them, while the pot rests gracefully on the floor.
Regular avocado consumption benefits physical and mental health.

Avocados are fruits, and more specifically, they are a type of berry. These berries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which contributes to digestive health. They contain good fats, which keep your skin looking healthy and help with the absorption of valuable nutrients. Their high levels of vitamin K and folate help support bone density and stave off depression.

Avocado oil has antimicrobial properties, which help protect the body against bacterial infections. The regular addition of avocados to a diet has been linked to a reduced risk of developing several types of cancer.

In short, avocados are a great addition to your diet. Eating them regularly has a host of positive effects on your physical and mental health. So, here are five types of avocado that you can grow at home. 

Hass

A close-up of ripe avocados, contrasting dark, textured skin with creamy yellow insides, arranged on a wooden table.
The skin of this avocado peels easily from the flesh.
botanical-name botanical name Persea americana ‘Hass’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 30’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The ‘Hass’ avocado is the gold standard in terms of popularity and distribution. In fact, more than 80% of commercially farmed avocados are of this variety. This variety originated in California, where it was first grown by an amateur horticulturist named Rudolph Hass. All commercial ‘Hass’ avocado trees come from grafted seedlings propagated from this tree. It is a cross between Mexican and Guatemalan varieties. 

‘Hass’ is popular for its nutty, flavorful flesh and long shelf-life. This plant produces a lot of high-quality fruit and has a long growing season. Sadly, it is not frost-tolerant, so it won’t grow in cooler climates. This variety is indicated for Zones 9-11, but here in 9a, it often doesn’t survive winters in the early years. 

The thick skin of a ‘Hass’ avocado peels away easily from the green flesh. The darkest green, which appears just under the skin, is the more nutritious part of the fruit. This is a type A avocado and bears the most fruit every other year. 

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Pancho

A close-up of a bunch of vibrant green avocados, one halved to reveal its smooth, creamy inner flesh and large seed, all glistening in the light.
This avocado variety requires less waiting time to see fruits.
botanical-name botanical name Persea americana ‘Pancho’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 25’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

‘Pancho’ is a cold-tolerant avocado that will grow in Zones 8-11. A mature tree tolerates temperatures down to 20°F (-7°C) for brief periods. This avocado is a medium to large-sized tree and bears tasty fruits of ideal size. The fruits have a balanced flavor and a wonderfully creamy texture. 

This variety has a reputation for maturing early, which means that you won’t have to wait too long to see fruit. It is a type A flowering avocado. It also demonstrates versatility in soil and light needs. Because it is fonder of cool weather than most varieties, it will perform best in hot climates with some afternoon shade

Mature ‘Pancho’ avocados are bright green, pear-shaped, and weigh about six to eight ounces. The fruits are ripe near the end of summer or the beginning of fall, depending on your climate. 

Bacon

A vibrant green fruit hangs against a backdrop of blurred branches and lush green leaves, showcasing its smooth skin and distinctive pear-like shape.
The tree yields large fruits with mild, creamy flesh.
botanical-name botanical name Persea americana ‘Bacon’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 20’-25’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

‘Bacon’ avocado sounds like a delicious sandwich option. It’s actually another cold hardy variety that can grow as far north as Zone 8 and tolerates temperatures below freezing. Named not for the tasty pork product, but for the breeder, James E. Bacon, this is a mid-sized variety with an upright growth habit. 

Bacon’ was a very popular type B tree in the mid-20th century. The rise in popularity of the ‘Hass’ variety saw it fall down the list, but it is still grown as a pollenizer for other type B varieties. In recent years, it has once again risen in popularity, and many home gardeners choose this variety. Its cold tolerance makes it desirable to those in Zones 8 and 9. 

The tree has attractive, glossy, deep green leaves, and makes a nice ornamental. The fruits are large, with mild, creamy flesh. ‘Bacon’ produces an abundance of fruit. The fruits are large, weighing up to 12 ounces.

Fuerte

A glossy green fruit dangles, its luscious texture and elongated shape visible, set against a backdrop of blurred green leaves.
Temperature strongly influences ‘Fuerte’ fruit production.
botanical-name botanical name Persea americana ‘Fuerte’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height up to 35’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

If you’re looking for a large tree that produces well-balanced fruit, Fuerte is a great variety. This Mexican native is a favorite for many avocado lovers. It has a reputation for being among the best-tasting varieties, even though it is seldom found in grocery stores. All the more reason to grow your own!

On the downside, ‘Fuerte’ can be drones, meaning they never bear fruit. When they do, though, its flesh has great nutty flavor and a firm, dense consistency. The fruits are medium-sized and bright green when ripe with small yellow dots. They have a telltale slant to the bottom of the fruit, which is a distinguishing characteristic. They also are type B trees. 

There is a strong link between ‘Fuerte’ fruit production and temperature. It produces much better in warm climates where flowering takes place around 65-70°F (18-21°C). Large, well-branched trees make a nice landscape element. 

Gem

A close-up of freshly harvested Gem avocados arranged in a white basket, with oranges peeking from underneath.
This smaller tree fits well in compact spaces.
botanical-name botanical name Persea americana Mill
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10’-12’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

‘Gem’ avocado is very comparable to ‘Hass,’ in terms of taste and appearance. The fruits are slightly larger, but the skin has a similar thickness and is usually pliable as well. While these avocados don’t always peel as easily as a ‘Hass,’ they have a very similar flavor and delightfully creamy texture. 

This is a smaller variety than the others on our list, so it’s great for smaller spaces. At a mature size of 10 feet tall and about as wide, this makes a fantastic container specimen, as well. Despite its size, ‘Gem’ is a great producer. Unlike many varieties, this one doesn’t take every second year off either! You will see fruit on this one every spring

‘Gem’ fruits begin to mature in April and can still be ripening at the end of summer. The fruits don’t fall from the tree by themselves, so you can let them stay on for a richer, oilier consistency. This is a type A avocado. 

Avocado Types

A close-up of a small potted avocado tree featuring lush green leaves, positioned on a wooden floor and white wall.
Planting type A and B trees together enhances pollination.

Some fruit trees require more than one to produce fruit. This occurs when each tree only has flowers that are male or female rather than flowers with both parts. You won’t have this issue planting avocados, as their flowers have both male and female parts. So, what does it mean if yours is type A or type B? I’m glad you asked!

Type A & B refer to the time of day when the male or female parts of the flower open. The scientific name for this trait is “synchronous dichogamy.” Avocado flowers are open for two days. Type A avocado flowers will open as female, then close at night and open as male on the second day. The process is the reverse in type B trees. 

So what does this mean in terms of what tree you should plant? Well, it doesn’t mean anything unless you intend to plant two or more. Two of the same type will enhance the pollination of each other to a degree. However, a type A planted near a type B will result in the most prolific production for both trees. 

Most avocado trees only bear a significant amount of fruit every other year. That means that this relationship works much better if both fruit in the same year.  That can be difficult to achieve with young trees, but planting two of the same age can be effective. 

Planting

A scenic view of a sprawling avocado grove featuring tall, lush avocado trees, under a clear sky, with vibrant green grass covering the ground below.
Amend soil with compost if necessary for better nutrient uptake.

Once you’ve selected your tree or trees, there are a few factors to account for when planting. First, avocado trees need a lot of sunlight. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of sun daily. It’s also important to consider the mature size of your tree when selecting a space. To some extent, you can control the size of your tree by pruning it, but the roots will grow as they want to. 

When it comes to soil, composition is less important than drainage. Avocado trees don’t mind poor or sandy soil, though they may need more fertilizer under these conditions. The only soil type they don’t like is clay, and even then, you can amend the soil if you’re determined enough. The ideal soil will hold some moisture but drain quickly to keep pooling water away from the roots. 

To prepare your tree for transplanting, water it well a few hours ahead of time. Hydrated roots are more flexible, and a hydrated plant will adapt better to stress. Dig your hole three times the depth and width of the root ball. This loosens up the soil for those roots to move in. Amend the soil at this time if needed. Working some compost in with poor soil will give the tree more nutrients to work with. 

Backfill the hole until the top of the root ball is flush with or lies slightly above the surrounding soil level. Position your tree and then backfill around the roots with native soil. Tamp the soil down lightly to remove air pockets and water the plant deeply. 

Maintenance

A man waters a newly planted avocado tree with a long black hose, surrounded by fresh green grasses and rich soil.
Remove crossing and rubbing branches to maintain airflow.

Your newly planted tree will need some extra care for the first year. For the first two months, water your tree two to three times per week. After that, your tree will benefit from a deep watering once per week. These trees are moisture lovers and need to receive about two inches of water weekly.  If this comes as rain, you’re all set. However, in times of drought, make sure to give your tree some special attention. 

Avocado trees take well to pruning and can tolerate hard pruning, as well. Their fruit appears on new wood, so pruning should happen in the fall. Pruning in the springtime can result in the removal of buds. Keep air flowing through the interior by pruning away any crossing branches. Also, remove branches that rub against others. 

Your newly planted tree will also need a more vigorous fertilizing routine than a mature tree. Nitrogen and zinc are the most important nutrients. During the first growing season, fertilize every four to six weeks. Fertilizers made specifically for citrus and avocados will provide the right ratio of nutrients. You should fertilize your mature tree three times yearly. Fertilize once in the spring, summer, and fall. 

Final Thoughts

Choosing an avocado variety is a matter of personal taste and location. It’s a good idea to take the time to find out which variety has the flavor you prefer and grows in your climate. Of course, you could always plant two different varieties to get more fruit from both trees. Whichever tree you choose, you will love the abundance of delicious and satisfying avocados it produces. 

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