Buying, selling or running a home – everything you need to know about your home and garden!

Avocado trees – wild, in the UK?

Stuart writes:

How big do they grow? An avocado stone has started to grow in our compost heap and I have potted it on. I know they grow in warmer climates than Tyneside so I wondered if I could put it in a pot and grow it inside. The top floor landing has about a 20ft ceiling but it tapers so it would be a jungle.

Or should I just plant it in the garden in spring next year and let it take its chances? We grow our own plums and apples – it would be good to add avocados.

You’ll need a large flowerpot, perhaps 8 or 10 inches across, filled with good soil to about 2 inches from the top. Make a small hole in the centre and place the stone (roots down) into the hole. You will need to have the bottom of the stone in the soil, and the top half in the open air. Keep it watered, and watch it grow. Over time, you will need to re-pot the plant as it grows larger.

After some years, the tree may grow as tall as 20 feet; however, you would need to have this outside as most houses do not have enough room and you will not be able to find a pot large enough to accommodate the tree.

My suggestion would be to grow the tree to about 3 feet inside your house, then transfer to your garden.

Fruit of an Avocado

It is possible that your tree will never bear fruit. But I suspect that it will, if you look after it at the sapling stage. In warmer climates (such as the Caribbean or Australia) I would suggest that an avocado might do better than in a cold climate such as ours, but what the heck, you might as well grow it!

Some fruits are hybrids designed not to produce fruiting seed – so you’ll be able to get a plant to grow from them, but it won’t be able to reproduce (i.e. create more fruit). This is often the case with seeds that you buy for vegetables etc – F1 hybrids denote that they’re good only for producing crops, not for creating new plants – so don’t be too disappointed if you wait several years, then nothing comes of it.

Having said that, I’ve successfully grown kumquat from a supermarket fruit before, lemons are pretty easy, so I don’t see why avocado shouldn’t also be straightforward.

Good luck!