Can You Grow Avocados In Jacksonville Florida?

The map of USDA growing zones for Florida shows Jacksonville is in zone 9a. So, growers struggle to cultivate tropical crops. The weather in Jacksonville is still lovely! Jax has four seasons. And the winter is very mild. But growing some heat-loving plants will require extra steps.

Can you grow avocados in Jacksonville, Florida? Well, yes. With a cold-hardy Persea Americana cultivar, you can grow avocados in Jacksonville, FL. In detail, the only varieties that can withstand the chilly winter temperatures in the low 20s are Mexican ones. The best cultivars include Brogdon, Ettinger, Gainesville, Lila, Mexicola, and Winter Mexican.

Understanding The Three Avocado Botanical Races

Can You Grow Avocados In Jacksonville Florida?

Not every avocado tree is the same. Above all, you need to learn about the three avocado races to cultivate this tropical crop successfully in a subtropical climate. Only then can you grow avocados in Jacksonville, Florida.

The three avocado botanical races are:

  1. Guatemalan
  2. Mexican
  3. West Indian

The Mexican avocado trees produce fruits with dark purple or black skin. If you rub their leaves between your hands, you will smell a strong licorice aroma. Generally, they make smaller avocados with higher oil content.

Equally important, several Mexican cultivars exist. And since these plants are cold-hardy, Mexican avocado trees are the only ones you can successfully grow in Jacksonville.

The other two botanical races are usually grouped in what most people call Florida avocados. On average, they make bigger fruits with smooth green skin when ripe. And as you might have guessed, they are the more tropical species, which also have their own cultivars and grow only in the warmer USDA zones (10 and 11).


Where Can You Grow Avocados In Jacksonville, Florida?

Can You Grow Avocados In Jacksonville Florida?

An essential characteristic of Mexican avocado trees is that they are not salt-tolerant. In brief, they can withstand the higher humidity level that would kill most Florida cultivars in two years. But they will not be able to survive for more than nine or ten years in salty conditions. So, avoid growing them next to the ocean.

The Persea Americana species generally prefer a dry environment over a wet one. For one thing, one factor that kills most avocados in areas like Jacksonville is too much water. If you overwater your avocado trees, their leaves will turn brown. But that is not the only concern about watering either.

Depending on what kind of water you use to irrigate your fruit plants, the water might impact the trees’ salinity tolerance.

Growers with enough space can grow their avocado trees in large containers. But planting them in the ground usually leads to better fruits. Of course, your trees also need a well-draining, moist, acidic (pH 5-7) soil mix.

6 Tips For Growing Avocado Trees In Jax, FL

Can You Grow Avocados In Jacksonville Florida?

  1. Avocado trees have a shallow root system. So, if your plants are struggling to recover after the winter, amend your soil with sand and peat moss to improve drainage and make it lighter.
  2. Do not wait for the fruits to ripen on the tree to harvest them because it will never happen. Once the fruits become the size of a pear, avocados stop swelling. Mexican varieties produce avocados with dark, black skin. So, once the size and color are right, pick them!
  3. Most Persea Americana cultivars grow up to 20 feet tall. So, pruning them to a manageable size is paramount. Otherwise, you will need a ladder to pick its fruits. Start pruning them during the first two years to promote later branching.
  4. Plant both type A and B Persea Americana in your garden. For example, get a Brogdon next to a Lila. Why? Because if you do, you will get significantly more fruits from each of them.
  5. The first time you harvest can be tricky. So, pick one avocado and put it in a paper bag with a banana. The two fruits will release gasses that will make them ripen faster. After three days, check if the avocado is ready. You might have to remove the banana sooner.
  6. When sowing avocado seeds, be sure to place them correctly. In brief, every seed has a rounded or pointed top with an indentation at the bottom. Make sure the belly-button-looking part goes down into the soil because that is where the roots will sprawl. Also, only cover about one-third of the seed and water it. Keep the soil moist but not wet for the following weeks. In Jacksonville, this generally means watering it every three days.

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