While avocados are a tropical fruit more suited to the humid regions of Mexico and Central America, growing avocado in the UK is achieveable. The trees can grow to up to 20m and can take up to 10 years to fruit in their natural climate. It’s very easy to grow avocados from stone as a kitchen windowsill plant. Our Avocado guide will show you how!
If you want to grow avocado in the UK, it’s best to raise it as an indoor plant. Avocado plants don’t tolerate freezing temperatures.
They can grow outside in the far south of the UK, and have even grown fruit in some years, but you’ll get better results if they’re grown in large pots indoors or in a greenhouse environment.
How To Grow an Avocado From Stone in the UK
Avocado stones take a long time to germinate. If you already have a garden and a compost heap, you may have noticed avocado seeds germinating inside the heap.
This is because the heap provides the ideal hot and moist conditions for germination. There are alternative methods to grow an avocado from seed, however, if you don’t fancy rooting around your compost heap.
Here’s a few pointers on how to grow your very own plant from a supermarket avocado:-
Easy Steps to Grow Your Avocado From a Stone
- Pierce the avocado stone with toothpicks and suspend it, pointed end up, over a glass of water. Roots should start to grow from the bottom of the stone within two to six weeks. Then pot up the plant, leaving the tip just poking out of the soil. However, not all avocado seeds will germinate, so if your seed hasn’t sprouted after six weeks, try again with a fresh seed.
- Leave the stone in direct sunlight until it starts to split. Then pot it up.
- Place the avocado stone in a pot, and cover it completely. Water well, allow to drain and leave in a warm, dark place, such as an airing cupboard. Check on the pot every week to ensure it is moist, and water if necessary. As soon as the shoot starts to show, move the pot to a sunny spot, such as a windowsill.
- Always plant your sprouted avocado stone in a pot with approximately a 12cm diameter. Use a rich, peat-free potting compost and ensure the pot has good drainage for best growth.
- After your avocado plant is roughly 30cm tall, cut it down to around 15cm. This makes the plant grow bushy, rather than tall.
- Once your brand new avocado plant has grown enough to fill its pot with roots, transplant it to its permanent home – the largest pot you have room for. Fill with rich, peat-free compost, which you should top up with fresh compost each year.
- Your avocado plant will probably not grow into a tree unless you can replicate a sub tropical greenhouse. Getting it to produce fruit is not impossible though, particularly if you are able to grow it under glass.
You Can Buy An Avocado Growing Kit Online
If the DIY option seems a bit labour intensive, or you’d like to get someone a great gift – why not buy an avocado growing kit? A great project for gardeners of all ages.
Avocado Growing Conditions
Avocado plants need a lot of heat and humidity to grow to their full potential and product a fruit crop. The avocado originated in South America which has tropical and sub tropical climates.
They can also be grown in European countries with a mediterranean climate. Florida in America, and Queensland in Australia are two lesser known areas where avocado growing conditions are optimal.
For this reason, whilst some dedicated UK gardeners may be able to get an avocado crop in some years, it is not commercially viable for the UK to produce avocados for domestic consumption.
If you’re concerned about food miles, you might have to forgo the mighty avocado!
Avocado Flowering and Pollination
Avocado trees can take up to ten years to bear fruit and indoor-grown plants don’t always live that long.
However, if you provide it with a moist, fertile soil and plenty of sunlight, and keep it in humid conditions such as a greenhouse or conservatory, your tree will have a fighting chance of fruiting.
An old gardeners’ trick in the southern hemisphere to encourage the plant to flower is to treat the tree roughly. When it is of a decent size, (no smaller than 1.5m), attack the trunk of the tree with a knife, or sharp implement.
Make sure you don’t damage the tree so it can’t grow properly, and only cut the surface of the bark – never make big cuts in it. The stress brought on by this attack is said to shock the plant into flower, where it will then hopefully bear fruit.
How to Pollinate an Avocado Plant to Encourage Fruiting
If the plant is indoors and it flowers you will need to pollinate them in order for it to fruit.
Keep a window or door in the greenhouse or conservatory open to let bees in to pollinate it, or move the plant outside – if you can – on sunny warm days.
Regardless of region, avocados are not easy fruits to grow. However, the trees make an interesting addition to the conservatory or greenhouse and you’ll never tire of trying to make it flower. If you are lucky enough to get it to bear fruit you’ll be rewarded with delicious, fresh avocados and all your hard effort will be worth it.
Growing Avocado FAQ’s
It is possible to grow avocados in the UK, however the plant needs conditions to fruit that are not common in the UK. You are most likely to have success if you grow your avocado plant in a greenhouse where you can control temperature and humidity.
Avocado trees grow up to 20m in height in their natural climate, however in the UK you are unlikely to manage such a height. Unless you have a very large greenhouse!
Avocados come from the tropical and sub tropical climates of Central and Northern South America. The can be grown in any tropical, sub tropical, or mediterranean climate. Mexico is the leading producer of avocados globally, accounting for around 30% of fruit production.