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 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.
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.

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

      • Mike G. says:

        Fruit Expert, the short answer to the above question is “yes” – some form of winter protection is needed when freezing temperatures are expected, at least for the first 2-3 winters, i.e. before bark has developed on the main stem. Green parts appear vulnerable to frost damage, but in the event of a severe frost, regrowth can occur from more woody parts (i.e. areas with bark), as the photo with the ‘Fuerte’ tree clearly demonstrates.

        The coldest temperature was recorded on the 8th January 2021 (minus 3.7 C). On the 18 January, I stopped winter protection (fleece) – following this date, there were two further days when the weather was significantly cold, i.e. below minus 3 C. Therefore the trees were unprotected at minus 3.6 C (24 January) and minus 3.2 C (8 February) and didn’t seem any the worse for it. Freezing temperatures here are usually predawn and so only brief, daytime winter temperatures usually being above 0 degrees C, because of the coastal climate. The temperatures given above, were recorded continuously under the fleece covers, using a datalogger.

        There were four reasons for stopping the winter protection:
        • the larger tree is now too big to make this practicable, see https://imgur.com/a/q3j3zCn
        • putting the covers on (whenever frost is expected) and removing them the following morning has become a chore, given the return trip to the allotment, checking the weather forecast, etc.
        • bark is now covering more and more areas, so the young tree has a better chance of recovering, in the event of severe frost damage – however any growth recovery will need protection
        • condensation build-up under the fleece covers was a problem when the covers weren’t removed during the daylight hours – the high humidity led to a white fungal/mould growth developing on both live and frost-killed green parts

        This winter (2021/22) will be the first time I don’t provide any winter protection at all, to the ‘Hass’ tree. It may survive – obviously much depends on how cold this winter will be ! I suspect though that the limit to winter survival will be somewhere between minus 3 to minus 4 C, for trees derived from the seeds of shop-bought ‘Hass’ fruit, i.e. from a Guatemalan x Mexican hybrid.

          • Mike G says:

            It’s a pleasure to share & many thanks to you, and Kate (Bradbury), for setting up this post and the attached message thread. If there are any interesting future developments, I’ll post them here.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

    • Mike G. says:

      Yes you can, but it’s risky. My avocado tree, raised from the seed of shop-bought fruit is now going through its 4th winter outdoors on my allotment down here on the southeast coast, UK. It’s heavily pruned in Spring (early May), to cut away any frost-damaged branch tips and also to keep it within 250 cm height – it is a vigorous grower. It may never fruit, or may have to wait 8-20 years, but it’s a fun challenge …

    • Mike G. says:

      Looking on the internet, you’ll find examples of large mature avocado trees growing permanently outdoors in the London area. However, in most cases, it seems that these large trees don’t fruit. However, there is a very good example of one fruiting in Southwark, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47evMZyBtXQ
      I suspect our summers are just not hot enough and/or long enough to evoke flowering/fruiting, compared to the more southerly latitudes where avocados are normally grown, e.g. Spain, California, Florida, Chile, Kenya, etc. However, I don’t think that should put us off trying …

  4. Firefly says:

    I throw my avocado seeds etc. into my Bokashi Bin, and when I emptied it the other week I was really surprised to see one of the seeds had super long roots and had sprouted, I felt so blessed so I planted it into a pot and now will see what happens over the spring and summer. I use a 3 step process with my Bokashi Bin as I don’t have too much space to play with as I live in an apartment with a tiny patio where I grow all my veg in 30cm pots which I got for free from my local co-op shop. I use the first bin for all the food peelings etc. and cover each layer in the bran, then I put that bin outside when it is full and begin using the second bin, then when that one is full I empty bin number 1 into another large bucket with a tight fitting lid and add any old or spent compost from my veggie pots to it and leave it again usually by the time I have another Bokashi Bin full bin number one is good enough to put into the base of my pots that I grow my veggies in all year round. Perfect system and works wonderfully in small spaces. So I have a whole heap of other avocado stones in the bins so will be mindful to watch out for them when I empty the bins next time.

  5. And. says:

    Hi Jambo, noticed you had a 7ft Avocado in your garden. I am lookin for someone who will send me some cutting I am experimenting and doing some grafting. If you would be ok to communicate, we could do it by email for details. Regards And.

  6. And. says:

    Great site, are any of the gardeners on this site willing to send me some cuttings from their Avocado trees, paticular the ones with a year or to of growth in the spring. I will be willing to return any post paid, Thank you Andy

  7. Jambo says:

    I have eight avocado plants in my greenhouse each one in a 20cm pot and growing well. They are all about 45cm tall. My pride and joy avocado tree is 6 years old and about 7 foot tall. It’s in a 65cm pot and lives in the garden all the year round. In winter its wrapped in a fine fleece to help keep the frost at bay. No fruit to date.

  8. Monir says:

    I have About 40 avocado Tree About 1 meter I grow from seed about 10 verity some shoot 3 Brunch some single one and outside in London all year round very healthy in pot no damage at all in central London Lambeth and I think the man he live in Cornwall may experience grow couple of them 1 live it outside 1 live indoor and see you never know and I think some avocado tree in London produce fruit from seed look on google the fruit and plant may hobby I love fruit tree

  9. Frank says:

    Hello Fruitexpert. Would love to see the big trees in the south – any chance of sharing contact? For those wanting to help the trees with winter frost events I suggest you try CropAid. It shouldn’t take so long to get to fruiting stage. With a grafted one you should get fruit in 3 seasons. Cheers!

  10. Jan says:

    I threw avocado stones out of the kitchen window and now have avocado bushes rather than trees! One is 4ft by 4ft! No fruit but its only about 2years old now! We don’t know if it will survive winter but should we prune it? do the leaves fall? can’t remember what it was like last year!

  11. sage says:

    I`ve grown two from stones three years ago. One went outside when big enough as an experiment and it struggled for a year but survived. It now has strong growth from the bottom and the top although only a few feet high. The other one has now outgrown the house and has been planted out too.It has never been pruned and is very gangly but in my experience the plant sorts itself out eventually. I live in Mid Cornwall but a few hundred feet up near the clay walks so it can get cold. My main plant has survived several frosts but I reckon the beast from the east three years ago would have finished it. Re leaf droop and browning. I got that all the time indoors. Best policy is to let pot dry out then soak well. Do not water until dry again. The plant outside for two years has now got very good foliage. No shedding which tells me the roots are now happy. Good luck all

  12. KittyJay451 says:

    Posted something 2 years ago, unfortunately my 10 plants all grown from the stone, only 3 have survived. The three left are in pots in a sheltered spot in my garden in SW London. In September I’ll bring them inside over the winter. Anyone got any tips, read that cutting the down will make them bushy, when is the best time to do this?

  13. Ben says:

    I’ve been growing an avocado at home for the last 18 months or so, we’ve repotted a couple of times, and it is seems healthy. It sits close to a sunny window. However in the last week a couple of the leaves almost look as though they have ‘melted’ is this common? Is there something I can do to prevent it happening to other leaves etc. It does not happen to all. Look forward to your advice.

  14. BillyPeanut says:

    I love avocados. I eat them almost every day. I heard about a recipe for Mexican food called “gwakka moley” from my friend José which is avocados mashed up and eaten with flat corn circles. I can highly recommend it. You don’t need to grow your own avocados though. Fortunately you can purchase them from the supermarket. I buy mine from Tescos and they are quite affordable, even on a pensioner’s stipend! Be careful not to purchase the purple variant called aubergine though, because it’s very different on the inside. Also try it with bacon.

  15. Haze says:

    I have grown three avocados from seed indoors and moved them to the greenhouse about three days ago. The leaves are browning badly, should I bring them back inside or are they acclimatising? That are about 45 cms high

  16. Mel says:

    I have managed to grow two Avocado trees during this past year, as a result I have both around 18 inches tall with many new leaves adorning them. One of them has developed a branch with leaves on it and signs of another branch shooting out the side with still many other leaves out the top! My better half tells me I should cut the branches off, but I’m very reluctant to do that aswell as reluctant to chop the top off yet! Can anyone help please? Thanks.

  17. Exoticlondongardener says:

    I’ve got about 6 avocado plants I’ve grown from seed which germinated in garden soil and the compost heap a couple of years ago. Now they are about 40cm high, multiple stems and outgrowing their 10cm pots. Need repotting. Hoping to cross pollinate when they get flowers one day to have London avocados!

  18. Jodie says:

    I’ve just started growing my first avo plant. He is called Avi, he’s about one month old and already roughly 30cm tall. He’s currently sat on the windowsill with 3 largish leaves and a few smaller ones. His stem is showing signs of leaves coming through and I’ve been reading that it’s a good idea to cut him down in half to encourage bushing rather than getting too tall. I’m a little afraid of cutting him down as it’s my first one and I’m a little attached to him. Any advice would be great!

  19. Emma says:

    I have a 15 year old plant from a stone brought to UK from my father-in-law’s tree in Spain. It’s in a pot on wheels and lives outside in summer and inside during winter (London). Now about 6ft high (has been regularly pruned) and v wide. I really want to plant it out in a sheltered Cornish garden this autumn. Am I mad? Will it survive? Does anyone know the best time to plant out if I decide to go ahead? Would appreciate any advice!

  20. Dee says:

    Hi Pringleberry… you commented your cat chewed your avacado plant. Some articles maintain avacado plants fruit and leaves all contain a toxin harmful to cats and dogs. Take care. Dee

    • Pippa says:

      @KitchenGarden I saw you had some interest in someone’s avo tree going free. I have a young avocado tree that was grown with some kids as a fun experiment. Sadly I don’t have the space for it as it grows bigger. It’s about 18 months old, about a meter tall and has always been indoors only up until now. Would this be of interest to you? I’m south east London based.

      • Jc83 says:

        @Pippa We currently live in SE London too but we are moving and would love to take the tree if you still have it going spare? Or if anyone else one in South East London/Kent. Many Thanks.

        • Pippa says:

          @jc83 yes, it’s still available if you would be interested. Sorry for the delay, I stayed offline for the holiday period.

  21. ian says:

    I have a much loved, potted avocado tree that needs an indoor home because I’m moving away. It’s 5-years old and 8 feet tall. Any suggestions?

  22. ricardo says:

    Your advice please. I’ve grown a seed last year,around July time. It’s currently about 26cm tall,but only has 3 leaves at the top. It’s usual growth seems to be,grow 3 or 4 leaves,they stay for a few weeks,then start to bud/grow new leaves,old leaves go brown and drop off,then repeat!. It has no branches or leaves other than the top. I’ve read about folks even chopping the stalk in half(!?!)to encourage further growth. Any advice please to help me encourage it to be a bit more healthy looking will be gratefully received. Ps I’ve named him Albert the Avocado…sad I know.

    • Pringleberry says:

      @ricardo don’t chop ALL the leaves off else you may end up killing the plant. I found (by accident) that if you nip out the very topmost pair of leaves cleanly with a good sharp blade at the point where the second set down emerge then the plant will start to branch out. Technically I found this when the cat decided to start chewing on it but a sharp blade is a bit more hygenic.

  23. KittyJay451 says:

    Brought all my plants in for the winter, but all grew leggy and then the leaves turned brown and fell off. Decided to cut the stems back and but outside and some are now bushing up from the stems. Repotted too to give them more noriousment. Year two, so hoping will all be ok.

  24. Miagreenfingers says:

    I’ve a polytunnel, south facing, up a mountain, in Ireland, with over 40avocado trees growing, ranging in size from sprouting stone to 2ft tall. I just keep planting the stones direct, no toothpicking, then watering and compost (organic, home done) it’ll be a nice 60th prez if they fruit! Lol

  25. gordan says:

    hello to you, i,m growing up to 20 avocado’s but one of them as some leave starting to go brown why is that it gets good feed wone’s a week but now feed it ever three weeds, I don/t get it on my Chinese fruit trees got up to 500 of them you can phone me on 07974563196

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