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