Growing Avocados in the UK – A Guide To Avocado Plant Care

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 environemtn.

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.
A successfully sprouted avocado seed ready to be potted up.
  • 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 have a greenhouse.

Don’t Want To Grow Your Own? You Can Buy An Avocado Plant Online

If growing your own avocado plant from a Stone sounds a little too involved, there are a variety of UK retailers who offer avocado plants for sale in an established state. These can be placed in a greenhouse or conservatory, and with care, can produce fruit!

Avocado Plant
Save time, buy an already established avocado plant!

The appetite for growing avocado is high with the UK public as interest in gardening has increased greatly in recent years. The plants are surprisingly cheap to buy, and can be obtained for just a few pounds.

Our hand compiled fruit tree shopping resource features avocado plants available from top UK plant retailers. Check them out and compare prices!

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

Can you grow avocados in the UK?

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.

How big do avocado trees grow?

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!

Where do avocados grow?

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.

6 thoughts on “Growing Avocados in the UK – A Guide To Avocado Plant Care

  1. Margaret says:

    Can I grow on my Avocado plant in an allotment. It was started in a pot indoors and now about 14 inches tall. I have cut the top off and it has now grow two shoots from the top. I wish to plant it in my allotment as I have space there.

    • Fruit Expert says:

      Hi Margaret,

      Avocadoes won’t tolerate severe cold, so if you live in an area where you get overnight frosts in winter you may find your plant will not survive. If you’re able to put it in a large pot so you can shift it to a sheltered spot and / or offer it frost protection in winter, your allotment might work well to give the space that you need.

  2. Aviana says:

    Hiya, I’ve managed to sprout three indoors just by putting them in soil for weeks and weeks – the recent hot spell made the difference. I want to put them all in one pot, is there anything to say avocados can’t be grown close together?

    • Fruit Expert says:

      Hi there, Avocado plants do get quite large over time so you might find that a single pot gets crowded in the end. However, there’s no harm in having them together for a little while and potting on if need be.

  3. Adi says:

    “After your avocado plant is roughly 30cm tall, cut it down to around 15cm. This makes the plant grow bushy, rather than tall.” – Should I leave some leaves or is it OK for it to be completely bare?

    • Fruit Expert says:

      Hi Adi, if it were me I’d be looking to have some leaves still on the plant. If yours is a bit top heavy on the foilage front, perhaps be a bit more conservative on the pruning to make sure the plant isn’t weakened by it.

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