Ohio is no stranger when it comes to growing tropical plants and trees, but can it accommodate the highly popular Avocado tree? More importantly, can you grow avocados in Ohio?
The good news is that you can definitely grow avocados outdoors in Ohio, and it will most likely have a long and productive life. Here’s everything you need to know about growing avocados.
Can You Grow Avocados in Ohio?
Avocado is native to tropical and subtropical areas in Mexico and loves the warm climate and bright, cheery sun. In the US, the fruit tree can be found in Florida and California as both states are within USDA zones 9 to 11.
Ohio is divided into three zones- 5a, 5b and 6a, with relatively mild winters compared to its zone 5 and 6 counterparts. The state is remarkable in that a lot of trees, shrubs and plants can survive its frost and winters, including the avocado tree. So to answer the question, yes, you can grow avocados in Ohio.
Another thing to mention is that you’ll have a higher chance of success when you choose the right variety. Generally, most growers and gardeners pick the Mexican variety due to its ability to withstand cold weather, particularly the dark-skinned and hass cultivars.
Established avocado trees are definitely more hardy compared to the young saplings, and it’s important to keep a close eye on your new transplant especially during the first few months of establishment. The ideal growing temperature is somewhere between 60 to 85 degrees F, and for this reason you should start planting avocados only when the danger of frost has passed (early spring).
You can start avocados even in the winter provided you start them in containers indoors. It’s essential that you get the growing conditions right, e.g., the light and temperature, so that it can thrive and be ready for transplanting when the time is right.
How to Grow Avocados in Ohio
Avocado trees will require direct sunlight of at least six hours daily, as well as well-draining and fertile soil. Choose your planting site carefully so your avocado can grow into maturity without any problems.
Aside from sunlight you’ll want to situate it where it’s protected from strong winds. Salt in soil is another noteworthy factor, but you can easily get your soil up to speed by pouring in water until excess salt is drained out and away from the plant. In terms of watering, you should allow the topsoil to dry out a few inches in level before reaching for the watering can or hose.
When winter comes you’ll want to place a heavy layer of mulch around the avocado plant to keep frost out. If you have it in a container you can ‘overwinter’, or bring it indoors to keep it warm.
It’s worth noting that growing an avocado in Ohio is not a walk in the park. Since the plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions you will need to put it where it enjoys a minimum of 60 degrees F. Choosing the right variety is important too as it directly affects how your avocado takes to Ohio’s frost and freezing temperatures come winter.
Growing Avocados in Containers
If you want to take the guesswork out of the picture then you have another option- grow your avocados in containers. This way you won’t have to worry about your plant not surviving the winter cold and you can control the temperature as needed.
To grow an avocado in a container you should fill it with well-draining and rich soil, then put the plant in. Choose a spot in your house that gets bright indirect light (full sun if possible), then allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Whenever you water, do it deeply so all the roots get to drink.
Then when the first frost arrives you can easily bring it indoors and keep the environment on the warm side. Continue to supply adequate light and water so it will thrive indoors.
The only downside to growing an avocado in a container is that it won’t grow as big as its outdoor and yard-planted counterparts, and it likely won’t produce fruit. However, you won’t have to worry about frost killing your plant.