Avocado, Alligator Pear

Persea americana

Family: Lauraceae (law-RAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Persea (PER-see-uh) (Info)
Species: americana (a-mer-ih-KAY-na) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By grafting

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chowchilla, California

Fremont, California

Fresno, California

Garden Grove, California

Hayward, California

Menlo Park, California

Oak View, California

Oxnard, California

San Diego, California

Santa Rosa, California

Spring Valley, California

Bartow, Florida

Boynton Beach, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Kathleen, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Largo, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Venice, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Garden, Florida

Winter Park, Florida

Honomu, Hawaii

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Deer Park, Texas

Galveston, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Killeen, Texas

Pipe Creek, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 27, 2013, nathanieledison from Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

They're a ton of fun with the whole toothpick trick until you have a jungle of avocado trees growing in your kitchen. They don't like the frost but they will take it and stay green in my zone, which never goes below 25 in winter. Fun and easy trees though!


On Mar 9, 2011, SpaceCase418 from Annapolis, MD wrote:


All avocado's have anti-self pollination mechanisms. There are two types of flowers. one type has male flowers one day and then closes for the night and the next day when the flowers open they are all female. the second type of flower does the same thing but sex is vice versa. Call them type A and type B. strains with flower A can only be fertilized by strains with flower type B. what does this mean to you? if you buy a haas avocado in the supermarket and plant the seed you WILL NOT get a haas avocado plant. it will be half haas half something else. the only way to get the actual avocado you want is to get a clone. also most commercial avocados are grafted to a different root base to increase production and decrease things like ro... read more


On Sep 18, 2010, MangoMorelli from Vrdy,
Czech Republic wrote:

Hello everyone,
I have lived all over the place OH, TX, RI, NV, Czech Republic,
and now WA. All you have to do is stick the pit round side down in a bit of soil and -voila- a little sprout in a week to a month. I have always had great success by just sticking them in the dirt with other house plants. I have found the mode of inducing root growth with the toothpicks and water to promote rot...and cloudy water. It is however a wonderful way to demonstrate root growth to kids!!! Plus the transfer from water to soil tends to damage the roots and leads to shock....
Now--- the rest truly depends on what type of atmosphere your home is. Obviously if you live in a warm sub to tropical climate this sprout must go in the ground outside and begin to mature into a very large a... read more


On Mar 3, 2007, angelam from melbourne,
Australia wrote:

I have an avocado in a large pot (variety Hass). It is growing well, especially since I got it into cover with protection from this very hot, very dry Summer. However both before the move and since I am losing small branches and wonder if anyone knows the cause. The leaves appear to wilt, with the rest of the plant OK, then within a couple of days have turned black and the stem starts to go black as well. I've been cutting them off below the discolouration. The problem seems to develop randomly across the plant and no area seems particularly prone. Apart from that it is glossy and growing vigorously.
Any ideas?
Its a handsome plant and I'm looking forward to getting it into the ground once our drought breaks. The bird toxicity must be various, our chickens love them, though ... read more


On Dec 11, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

In trying not to repeat what already has been said....I had grown a supermarket pit the gardeners way-toothpicks and jar. After planting the free tree i watched it grow for seven years when it first flowered and set fruit. They were the size of small coconuts,unfortunately three years later it succumbed to a root disease.
Twenty years later i am restarting with "Mexicola" a cold hardy avocado to 18 degrees. We will see.....


On Jul 5, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

Here's a failproof - if somewhat bizarre - way of getting avocado seeds to sprout, shown to me by an old friend:
- Stick four toothpicks, about quarter inch deep, into the sides of the seed and about halfway up its height.
- Balance the protruding ends of the toothpicks along the rim of a tall glass beaker / tumbler, making sure that the "eye" of the seed's facing down.
- Fill the beaker with water right up to the brim. The top of the seed will, of course, stick out of the water.
- A kitchen shelf is a good place to leave the arrangement, undisturbed. The seed should start to germinate in about a week. Ensure that the water level doesn't fall.
- When the first few leaves appear and the shoot's about 8" tall, carefully lift the seedling out of the water... read more


On Jul 5, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I have grown decorative avocado plants for years, and I love to eat the fruit, which is extremely healthy for people--I know nothing about the whole bird and dog controversy. When I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, zone 9b, I had a friend who had two large avocado trees in her yard, situated by a lake close to downtown, and she always gave me bags and bags of the fruit to make guacamole for my then teenaged son and his friends.

I now live in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, and if I can eventually get an area with enough sun cleared on my property, I would like to plant the Mexicola variety, as it is hardy down to 18 F degrees, accodring to my very handy little booklet entitled "Fruit and Flowering Trees for Florida," published by Horticultural Printers, Ltd. in Dallas, TX. ... read more


On Jun 3, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

We have three different varieties of avocados in our yard. They flower and fruit at different times of the year. Right now, two varieties have fruit which now measures about 5-7 inches and will be about 10 inches and weigh a bit over two pounds when mature. They should be ready to harvest by end of June and on through August.

Another variety which fruits Nov-Dec is almost like a perfect little round ball, about 5-6 inches diameter, weight about one pound, with small seed and buttery flesh....Lovely!

We have lots of wild birds in our area and they do compete with us for the fruit.....and I have never noticed that they have been affected by toxidity.......our 2 dogs would rather eat an avo than their regular food and when they find one on the ground, the grin... read more


On Jun 2, 2004, martaruth from La Porte, IN wrote:

Whenever I eat an avocado, I take the skin off the seed and plant it in soil with the top sticking out -- usually with many to a pot. Some seeds dry up or rot, but many of them sprout. I have been doing this for years.

I have several pots of them on the floor in front of a window in my Chicago home -- formerly in a south-facing window, now in a west-facing one. Some pots hold a thicket of 10 or so thin-trunk trees. Sometimes I weave the trunks together; sometimes I tie them to a bamboo rod to hold them upright, as I don't have horizontal space for the drooping branches.

By the way, I kept goats for some 15 years. Since I fed them all of our plant waste, I'm sure they must have had avocado skins; but there certainly was never any ill effect that I noticed... read more


On Dec 17, 2003, richamerican wrote:

My childhood dog ate avocados for 12+ years and never became sick. He's eat an entire avocado, except for the seed.


On Sep 12, 2003, kakapo wrote:

Avocados are DEFINITELY poisonous to pet birds. Ingesting even a little bit can kill them. Do NOT feed any part of the avocado to your pet birds!

Also, the seed, bark, leaves, (and, in some species the flesh & peel of the fruit) can be toxic if ingested by dogs, horses, goats, sheep, cattle, & rabbits. These species tend to get GI upset from ingesting parts of the tree &/or fruit.


On Aug 7, 2003, kmcdole from Fremont, CA wrote:

Grew a "Littlecado" for over 14 yrs in our backyard in Fremont Ca, when it had a pollinator it produced large and tasty fruit. It was possible to keep it pruned to less than 8 ft tall, this helped keep it from frost damage. Had a "weeping" growth habit, also helped keep it short. We now live in central Ca and it gets a little colder than Fremont, I'd like to find something that will survive here in 8a.


On Jun 29, 2003, Zanymuse from Scotia, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Easy to grow and lovely glossy leaves this tree needs plenty of room for its branches to spread. The fruit is eaten by people and animals and is a favorite of cayotes who will eat their fill and scurry off carrying one for a late snack if the fruit is allowed to fall on the ground. It has also been used as the base for domestic dog food and is believed to help provide a healthy gloss to their coat. I had not heard it could be poisonous to animals and have seen it eaten by several animals and birds with no ill effect.


On May 31, 2003, 11780 wrote:

I am currently growing an avocado plant for the first time. It germinated in the spring and now has eleven leaves. It is growing on the window sill,in my kitchen and is already 35 cm high.I am surprised to fing that the pears are toxic to birds and small pets.I love avocados and eat them regularly !


On May 24, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

It's a great tree, big and lush. and if you like the frut, that's a added attraction. Be aware however, that there are "a" types and "b" types and, while most are self-fertile to some extent, a pollinator of the other type will improve the set of fruit.

I think the issue of toxicity to pets is borrowed trouble (squrrels, rats, and raccoons probably steal as many avocados every year as all of our supermarkets combined sell and I don't see any reduction in their numbers.) Besides, as long as you give your pets their normal diet of chicken snouts, they won't be tempted by the avocados.


On Feb 20, 2003, hankpage from Venice, FL (Zone 7a) wrote:

The avocado fruit is toxic to most birds. Even a nibble of your Aunt Millie's Guacamole could kill your house pet. Use caution when growing miniatures indoors.

Just to clear things up. The fruit is toxic to BIRDS.


On Oct 2, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The avocado is a dense, evergreen tree, shedding many leaves in early spring. It is fast growing and generally branches to form a broad tree. It was cultivated from Texas to Peru before arrival of Europeans. Avocado trees like loose, decomposed granite or sandy loam best. They will not survive in locations with poor drainage. They are tolerant of acid or alkaline soil.

There are dwarf forms of avocados suitable for growing in containers. In containers use a planting mix combined with topsoil. Plastic containers should be avoided. It is also useful to plant the tub with annual flowers to reduce excess soil moisture and temperature. Container plants should be moved outdoors with care Whitewashing the trunk or branches will prevent sunburn and plants ... read more