Avocado Variety Guide: Snack or Guacamole? Collector's inspiration

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A comprehensive guide to Avocado varieties by:
flower type A or B, tree habit, fruit shape and quality, cold hardiness, origin, season and more!

Avocado trees in pots

Many gardeners who are eager to purchase their first avocado tree often wonder which variety to choose. Most people are familiar with two primary classifications commonly found in grocery stores: Small & Black or Large & Green.

Frequently, we hear customers ask, "Do you have the one I like, the smaller fruit with bumpy skin? Not that big, tasteless, and watery one!" What they may not realize is that this basic (but practical!) classification doesn't encompass all the wonderful qualities avocados have to offer. There are numerous hybrids in cultivation, and once you plant your first tree and taste the REAL fruit (not from the grocery store), you'll be eager to explore other varieties. It's a guarantee! While it's true that avocado fruit can vary in "butter" content and how "watery" or "buttery" it is, most superior varieties are equally delicious. Or perhaps we should say they are so versatile and distinct in taste that you'll start building your collection of these trees, much like fruit enthusiasts do with mango varieties.

So, in this guide, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive overview of avocado varieties and their characteristics. This will enable you to savor each one and make the most of the incredible array of tastes and textures they offer. Keep in mind that every garden has unique requirements based on climate, temperature, and property size. These factors must be considered before planning your avocado garden. Additionally, many gardeners may wonder about Type A vs. Type B classifications and whether they need more than one tree to yield fruit. You'll find all this valuable information in the Avocado Guide below.

Let's get started!

Avocado Red Russel

Avocado varieties have a wide range of characteristics, encompassing variations in flavor, texture, and appearance. It's essential to understand that the classification of avocados into the defined types mentioned below provides a simplified framework. In reality, some hybrids may possess attributes that place them in between these established categories.

What is the basic classification of avocados?

  1. By flowering pattern and pollination behavior: Type A and Type B
  2. By origin: Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian (along with many hybrids)
  3. By fruit appearance, texture and taste: Guacamole Avocado (“Smooth skin”) and Snack Avocado ("California" or "Hass" type)
  4. By growth habit: full size trees, free branching or upright, semi-dwarf low growing, and dwarf (“condo avocados”)
  5. By cold hardiness: Cold sensitive (requiring frost-free conditions), cold tolerant (able to withstand light frost), and cold hardy (capable of enduring some hard freezes once established)
  6. By ripening season: Early or Spring (March-June), Mid or Summer (July-September), and Late or Fall-Winter (October-February).

Understanding these classifications will help you make informed choices when selecting avocado varieties for your garden or culinary preferences. Each category offers a unique set of qualities that can enhance your avocado-growing and tasting experience. Hybrids can exhibit characteristics that fall between these categories:

What are the most popular Avocado varieties?

Below is a list of the most popular avocado varieties in cultivation, all of which are excellent choices for home gardens. Later in this article, we will delve into the details of each variety's characteristics as outlined in the table.

Avocado varieties

Click on column header to sort data

Variety Min temp Size Origin Fruit size Color Type Guacamole or Snack Season Shape
Anise 20°F 30' x 20' Mexican 12 - 16 oz green/black B S July - September Pear
Bacon 20°F 30' x 20' Mexican 12 - 16 oz green B S November - March Oval
Bernecker 30°F 30' x 20' West Indian 24 - 40 oz green A G July - September Pear
Beta 30°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 14 - 24 oz green B G August - October Lg. Oval
Black Prince 30°F 30' x 20' Guatemala 16 - 32 oz green A G August-September Oval
Booth 8 30°F 30' x 20' Guatemala 14 - 22 oz Dk green B G September - November Oval
Brazos Belle (Wilma) 15°F 25' x 25' Mexican 6 - 8 oz black B S October-November Pear
Brogdon (Brogden) 20°F 30' x 20' x Mex 7 - 20 oz black B S Winter Haven, FL Sept.-Oct. Pear
Buck 20°F 30' x 20' Guat x Mex 16 - 28 oz green B S March - May Oval/Pear
Catalina 30°F 30' x 20' Cuba 16 - 32 oz green A G August - October Long Pear
Choquette 25°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 18 - 40oz green A G October – February Oval
Day 20°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 8 - 16 oz green A G July - September Pear
Donnie (Doni) 35°F 30' x 20' West Indian 12 - 20oz green A G May – August Pear
Ettinger 30°F Upright Guat x Mex 9 - 16 oz green B S October - January Pear
Fantastic 15°F 25' x 25' Texas 6 - 8 oz green A S August - October Pear
Florida Hass (Haas) 30°F 30' x 20' Mexican 4 - 12 oz green A S July - September Oval
Fuerte 20°F 15' x 20' Guat x Mex 12 - 14 oz green/black B S November - June Pear
Hall 25°F 30' x 20' Guat x Mex 24 - 30 oz green B S October - December Pear
Hardee Red 25°F 30' x 20' Florida 16-32 oz green/red B S July - August Long Pear
Hialeah Red 35°F 30' x 20' West Indian 16-32 oz red B G August - September Oval
Joey 15°F 30' x 20' Gutemala 6 - 10 oz purple/black B S September - October Pear
Kampong (Sushi) 30°F 60' x 40' Guat x W. Indian 20-32 oz green B S December - March Ovoid
Lila (Opal) 15°F 25' x 15' Mexican 6 x 12 oz green A S July - September Pear
Loretta 30°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 30 - 40 oz green A G August - September Oval
Lula 25°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 14 - 24 oz green A G October - January Pear
Marcus Pumpkin 20°F 30' x 30' Guat x W. Indian 18 - 48 oz green B S September - November Round
Maria Black 30°F 30' x 20' Guat x Mex 20-32 oz black B G November - January Ovoid
Mexicola 20°F 25 x 15 Mexican 4 - 7 oz black A S August - October Ovoid
Mexicola Grande 20°F 30' x 20' Mexican 6 - 10 oz black A S August - October Pear
Miguel 35°F 30' x 20' Guat x W. Indian 18- 32 oz green B G July - August Ovoid
Monroe 30°F Upright Guat x W. Indian 16 - 24 oz green B G November - January Ovoid
Nishikawa 35°F 30' x 20' Gutemala 18 - 24 oz green/black B S October - December Pear
Oro Negro 25°F 30' x 20' Florida 16 - 32 oz black B S November - January Pear
Pollock 35°F 30' x 20' West Indian 16 - 24 oz green B G June - August Pear
Poncho (Pancho) 15°F 25' x 15' West Indian 6–8 oz green/red B S July - September Pear
Red Russell 35°F 25' x 15' W. Indian 16 - 24 oz red A G July, August Club
Reed 35°F 35' upright Guatemala 12 - 24 oz green A G November - February Round
Russell 35°F 25' x 15' W. Indian 16 - 24 oz green A G July, August Club
Simmonds 35°F 30' x 20' W. Indian 16 - 24 oz green A G June - August Ovoid
Thomson Red 30°F 30' x 20' Guat x Mex 20 - 40 oz red B S September - November Pear
Tonnage 30°F 30' x 20' Guatemala 14 - 24 oz green B G October - November Pear
Ulala (Oh La La, Super Hass) 20°F 25' x 15' Louisiana 6-10 oz purple/black A S November - February Pear
Waldin 35°F 30' x 20' W. Indian 14 - 28 oz green A G August - October Ovoid
Winter Mexican 20°F 40' x 25' Guat x Mex 12 - 18 oz Dk green B S December - January Pear
Wurtz (True Dwarf) 25°F 12' x 8' Guat x Mex 6 - 12 oz Dk green A&B S May - September Pear
Yamagata 30°F 25' x 15' Guatemala 16 - 28 oz green B S March - July Pear

What is avocado cold hardiness?

Avocado trees, in general, are quite sensitive to freezing temperatures, thriving best in tropical to subtropical climates. However, there are some hardy exceptions, with certain hybrids capable of enduring even a hard freeze once they are established.

The most cold-hardy avocados hail from Mexican origins. Some of these varieties are known to thrive in regions like San Antonio, Texas (Zone 8b), where temperatures can drop significantly. While avocado trees in such areas may be damaged by cold snaps, they often survive temperatures as low as 10F. As a rule of thumb, the most cold-hardy varieties can endure short periods of temperatures as low as 15F without suffering significant harm.

Nevertheless, it's crucial to keep in mind that the exact cold tolerance of avocado trees can vary depending on several factors, including tree maturity, the duration of cold exposure, and local microclimates. To safeguard your avocado trees during extreme cold events, closely monitor weather conditions and consider protective measures.

Find the cold hardiness information for different avocado varieties in the table above. These minimum temperature ratings are approximate and are more reliable for established trees. Remember that various factors can influence a tree hardiness, such as the duration of cold periods, sun exposure, wind protection, and the overall health of the tree, which is influenced by the fertilization regimen during the active growth season.

How to protect avocado from cold?

Here are some important considerations:

  • Protection for Small Plants: Young avocado plants are particularly vulnerable to cold weather. When a freeze is anticipated, mound mulch around the trunk for added protection and cover the tree with a blanket. In severe freezes, consider using a string of lights or a small heater beneath the covers. Mature trees are more resilient and may not require this extra protection.
  • Plant Location and Wind: Cold tolerance depends on several factors, including where the tree is planted and its exposure to wind. Place avocado trees in locations that offer protection from cold winds, which can be more damaging than the cold itself. Typically, the warmest location in a residential landscape is on the south or southeast side of the house.
  • Health and Care: Healthy, well-maintained plants, with regular fertilizin program throughout the year, tend to be more cold-tolerant.
  • Humidity: Humidity plays a significant role. Generally, plants from regions with dry, low-humidity winters are hardier. For example, a plant accustomed to the dry climate of Texas might withstand temperatures of 10-15F but may only tolerate 15-20F in the wetter climate of the East Coast. Avocado trees require very little water during cold spells and are sensitive to over-watering. Adequate drainage is crucial when planting avocado trees. In areas with poor drainage, create a mound of soil and plant the tree on top of it.
Avocado flowers

What is avocado flowering pattern: type A or type B?

The classification into Type A and Type B pertains to the flowering and pollination behavior of avocado varieties rather than their physical attributes.

  • Type A: These avocados have flowers that open as females on the morning of the first day and then close. On the afternoon of the second day, the flowers reopen as males. This unique flowering pattern allows Type A avocados to be self-pollinating and also enables cross-pollination with other avocado trees.
  • Type B: In contrast, Type B avocados have flowers that open as females on the afternoon of the first day and then close. On the morning of the second day, the flowers reopen as males. Just like Type A, Type B avocados exhibit both male and female functions at different times, facilitating both self-pollination and cross-pollination.

In general, every avocado tree is self-fertile, meaning it can produce some fruit with its own pollen and doesn't necessarily require a second tree for pollination. However, when both types of trees are grown in proximity to each other, their overlapping flowering patterns significantly enhance the chances of cross-pollination. This can lead to an improved fruit set and higher yield, making it especially important for commercial production and, to a lesser extent, for home growers. To aid in pollination, maintaining a diverse and healthy population of bees and other pollinators in your garden is also crucial.

Therefore, it's advisable to plant different varieties of avocado in your garden - the more, the merrier! The greater the diversity of avocado trees with overlapping flowering periods, the better your crop is likely to be. If you're growing an avocado tree in a pot without other avocados nearby, it becomes even more essential to have more than one tree with different flowering patterns (A and B) to increase yield in your container garden.

What are most popular Type A avocado varieties?

Bernecker, Black Prince, Catalina, Choquette, Day, Donnie (Doni), Fantastic, Florida Hass (Haas), Lila (Opal), Loretta, Lula, Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Red Russell, Reed, Russell, Simmonds, Ulala (Oh La La, Super Hass) , Waldin, Wurtz (Dual Type, A&B)

See the Type A avocado varieties in the table above.

What are most popular Type B avocado varieties?

Anise, Bacon, Beta, Booth 8, Brazos Belle (Wilma), Brogdon (Brogden), Buck, Ettinger, Fuerte, Hall, Hardee Red, Hialeah Red, Joey, Kampong (Sushi), Marcus Pumpkin, Maria Black, Miguel, Monroe, Nishikawa, Oro Negro, Pollock, Poncho (Pancho), Thomson Red, Tonnage, Winter Mexican, Wurtz (Dual Type, A&B), Yamagata

See the Type B avocado varieties in the table above.

What is avocado classification based on origin?

Avocado varieties can be categorized into three primary origin types: Mexican, Guatemalan, and West Indian. These classifications are based on the geographic regions where these avocados originate and are known for their distinct characteristics in terms of size, skin texture, flavor, fat (butter) content, and water content. It's important to note that there are numerous hybrids that result from crosses between these three fundamental types.

  • Mexican: Avocado varieties with Mexican origins are typically characterized by their smaller size, thin skin, and rich, flavorful taste. They often boast a higher oil content and are renowned for their diverse flavors and textures. Mexican avocado varieties produce smaller fruits, typically weighing between 6 to 10 ounces, and have paper-thin skins that transform from green to glossy-dark green or black when ripe. The tender skin clings closely to the flesh. The flesh itself contains a high oil content, up to 30%. Mexican avocado trees also have leaves with a pronounced anise-like scent, making them favored for cooking purposes. Additionally, these trees tend to be more cold-resistant, making them suitable for regions with cooler climates.

  • Guatemalan: Avocado varieties originating from Guatemala typically exhibit larger fruit size and thicker skin compared to Mexican avocados. They are characterized by a milder flavor profile and a higher fat content. Guatemalan avocados are prized for their creamy texture. These varieties produce medium-sized, ovoid, or pear-shaped fruits with pebbled green skin that matures to a blackish-green when ripe. Guatemalan avocados are primarily harvested during the winter and spring seasons. Their skin can vary from thin to very thick and may have a granular or gritty texture. The flesh of Guatemalan avocados is rich in flavor and contains a relatively high oil content. These avocados are grown in both Florida and California, making them accessible to a wide range of avocado enthusiasts.

  • West Indian: Avocado varieties originating from West Indian regions are commonly found in tropical climates and are distinguished by their larger fruit size, smooth skin, and higher water content. These avocados typically contain a lower fat content compared to Mexican and Guatemalan varieties. West Indian avocado trees produce substantial, smooth, round fruits with glossy green skin, and some of these fruits can weigh up to 2 pounds. They typically ripen during the summer or fall. The skin of West Indian avocados is leathery, pliable, and non-granular, with certain varieties even displaying red-colored fruit skin. Unlike Mexican avocados, the leaves of West Indian avocado trees are not aromatic. These avocados are primarily grown in regions such as Florida, the West Indies, Bahamas, Bermuda, and various tropical areas around the Old World, but they are not commonly cultivated in California.

What are popular Mexican avocado varieties?

Popular Mexican avocado varieties include: Anise, Bacon, Brazos Belle (Wilma), Brogdon (Brogden), Fantastic, Florida Hass (Haas), Lila (Opal), Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Ulala (Oh La La, Super Hass).

Hybrids Mexican x Guatemalan: Winter Mexican, Buck, Wurtz* (True Dwarf), Maria Black, Fuerte, Hall, Ettinger, Thomson Red.

What are popular Guatemalian avocado varities?

Popular Guatemalan avocado varieties include: Black Prince, Booth 8, Joey, Nishikawa, Reed, Tonnage, Yamagata

Hybrids Mexican x Guatemalan: Winter Mexican, Buck, Wurtz* (True Dwarf), Maria Black, Fuerte, Hall, Ettinger, Thomson Red

Hybrids of West Iundian and Guatemalan: Beta, Catalina, Choquette, Day, Hardee Red, Kampong (Sushi), Loretta, Lula, Marcus Pumpkin, Miguel, Monroe, Oro Negro.

What are popular West Indian avocado varities?

West Indian avocado varieties include: Bernecker, Donnie (Doni), Hialeah Red, Pollock, Poncho (Pancho), Red Russell, Russell, Simmonds, Waldin

Florida originated varieties: Catalina, Hardee Red.

Hybrids of West Iundian and Guatemalan: Beta, Catalina, Choquette, Day, Hardee Red, Kampong (Sushi), Loretta, Lula, Marcus Pumpkin, Miguel, Monroe, Oro Negro.

Avocado fruit black Avocado green round Avocado fruit, red

Guacamole or Snack?

Avocado fruits vary in their butter content. Many Mexican avocado types tend to have a higher butter content, while certain West Indian varieties, often larger in size with thinner skin, can be more "watery." People often use these for cooking, especially in making guacamole. However, it's important to note that this isn't a strict rule, and avocado varieties from the same origin can vary in their butteriness. To choose the right variety for your guacamole or snacking needs, refer to the information provided above.

Guacamole enthusiasts can opt for varieties marked with the letter G in the table. If you enjoy eating avocados as a snack, varieties marked with S will introduce you to a delightful range of flavors. And if you love both, don't hesitate to add more avocado trees to your garden!

What is Guacamole "Florida type" avocado?

Guacamole Avocado Florida type

The"Florida type," often referred to as "Smooth skin" avocados, are primarily of West Indian origin, with some being Guatemalan hybrids. These avocados are generally larger in size, have smooth green skin, and a higher water content compared to other varieties. They tend to contain less fat or butter. The generous amount of pulp in these avocados makes them excellent for crafting delicious guacamoles and healthy salad dressings.

Popular varietes: Bernecker, Beta, Black Prince, Booth 8, Catalina, Choquette, Day, Donnie (Doni), Ettinger, Hialeah Red, Loretta, Lula, Maria Black, Miguel, Monroe, Pollock, Red Russell, Reed, Russell, Simmonds, Tonnage, Waldin

What is Snack "California type" or "Hass type" avocado?

Snack Avocado California  Hass type

The"California type" or "Hass type" avocados are exemplified by the Hass variety, which is the most widely recognized and commercially available avocado in California and many other regions. The flesh of Hass avocados typically boasts a rich, nutty flavor and a creamy texture. These avocados are known for their smaller size, bumpy skin (which turns dark green or black when ripe), and high fat content, making them perfect for snacking.

Popular varietes: Anise, Bacon, Brazos Belle (Wilma), Brogdon (Brogden), Buck, Fantastic, Florida Hass (Haas), Fuerte, Hall, Hardee Red, Joey, Kampong (Sushi), Lila (Opal), Marcus Pumpkin, Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Nishikawa, Oro Negro, Poncho (Pancho), Thomson Red, Ulala (Oh La La, Super Hass), Winter Mexican, Wurtz* (True Dwarf), Yamagata

*What is so unique about Wurtz avocado?

The Wurtz avocado variety, also recognized as "Little Cado" or "Mexicola Dwarf," is interestingly classified as a Guatemalan type of avocado, rather than strictly fitting into the Florida or California types. Guatemalan avocados display a slightly different growth pattern and pollination requirement when compared to their Florida and California counterparts.

The Wurtz avocado is distinguished by its small to medium size, smooth green skin, and notably high oil content. It is often cultivated as a dwarf variety, making it well-suited for smaller spaces and container gardening. While it may not conform precisely to the Florida or California avocado types, it shares some characteristics with the California type, particularly in terms of its elevated oil content and creamy texture.

In summary, the Wurtz avocado variety is classified as a Guatemalan type but exhibits certain similarities to the California type, primarily in its fruit characteristics. This unique classification offers avocado enthusiasts an intriguing option with its distinctive attributes.

Dwarf Condo Avocado

What is Condo Avocado?

It's a universal desire among rare fruit growers to collect as many avocado tree varieties as possible, but the reality often sets limits on our available space. However, there's no need to fret! Several dwarf or compact avocado tree varieties are well-suited for smaller spaces, container gardening, and even indoor cultivation. These varieties naturally exhibit smaller sizes and more compact growth habits compared to their standard avocado tree counterparts.

Here are some remarkable dwarf (condo) avocado trees that thrive in container gardening or small gardens:

  • Wurtz (Little Cado): Wurtz is a true dwarf avocado tree, making it an excellent choice for confined spaces or container gardening. Its compact size allows it to flourish even indoors.
  • Fuerte: Although not a strict dwarf, the Fuerte avocado tree is considered semi-dwarf. Its more manageable growth habit makes it suitable for smaller spaces, and it can be cultivated in containers.
  • Joey: While Joey avocados are not classified as dwarf trees, they possess a more compact growth habit compared to some other avocado varieties. With regular trimming and care, they can be maintained as smaller trees, making them a viable option for limited spaces.

These condo avocado varieties offer a practical solution for gardeners with space constraints, allowing you to enjoy the beauty and benefits of avocado trees even in smaller gardens or on your balcony.

Avocado tree with fruit

What is avocado ripening season?

It is possible to have Year-Round Avocado Feast. As evident from the tables provided earlier, avocados exhibit diverse flowering and ripening times throughout the year, and they can be categorized into three primary seasons:

  • Early, or Spring (March-June)
  • Mid, or Summer (July-September)
  • Late, or Fall-Winter (October-February)

This diversity is great news for avocado enthusiasts! If you have a fondness for avocados and desire a continuous supply of fresh fruit from your own garden, you can achieve just that by planting different avocado varieties.

By carefully selecting varieties that ripen in different seasons, you can relish the delicious and nutritious bounty of avocados year-round, straight from your own garden. Whether you're enjoying them in salads, sandwiches, or simply as a wholesome snack, avocados can grace your table throughout the seasons!

Avocado Red Russel and cat