Avocado trees are long-lived trees capable of providing more benefits than just their fruit- the avocado. If you are thinking about planting a tree, an avocado tree might be at the top of your list, but how long will it take to grow an avocado tree?
It takes avocado trees planted as saplings approximately 3 to 4 years to produce fruit. An avocado tree grown from seed may take up to 13 years to grow. On average, healthy avocado trees can grow about 3 feet per year until they reach their maximum height of around 40 feet tall.
We’ll walk you through the full timeline of an avocado tree’s life, so you’ll know exactly how long it takes to grow, along with what you can expect during this timeline. We will also cover some tips to help your tree grow and keep avocado tree pests away – let’s get to it!
How Quickly Does An Avocado Tree Grow?
It takes an avocado tree a while to get to full maturity, but there are many milestones to be considered when we discuss ‘how long’ it takes these trees to grow.
Full maturity does not mean an avocado tree is going to produce fruit. It only takes 3-5 years for these trees to produce avocados when planted from a sapling while avocado trees planted from seed take upward of 13 years to grow.
Based on this timeline, you might wonder why the difference is so large. Certainly planting a sapling cannot be that different from taking a chance on planting an avocado pit, right?
As it turns out, wrong.
Avocado trees grown from saplings mature much quicker. These trees are grafted from already-mature trees, which means they have a lot less work to do to be ready to produce fruit.
Now, if we are talking about the fruit of an avocado tree itself, that takes about 9 months to get from a blossom to a ripe, edible, and delicious superfood.
How Long Does It Take To Grow An Avocado Tree? Full Timeline
So, you decided you love avocados enough to want to grow your own tree. What can you expect? Where do you need to live to make this dream a reality?
How long will it take before your tree produces your beloved avocados?
Avocado trees are not necessarily difficult to grow. They are adaptable when they need to be, so if you have a little time, attention, and research to give- you should be safe to plant these wonderful trees!
Day 1: Finding The Right Avocado Seed (Or Sapling)
The first day of our avocado tree timeline includes finding a seed to plant! Or, you could go a different direction and choose a sapling to start from.
If you want to go the seed route, this can be as easy as saving the pit of a fantastic avocado you have eaten recently.
Here are the steps you will want to be prepared to take to grow an avocado tree from a pit:
- Clean the pit: Once you have finished eating your avocado, wash and dry the pit so it does not have any of the leftover avocado fruit clinging to it.
- Prepare your pit and a jar of water: This can be two steps, technically, but we want to make it easy for you. So, fill up a large jar of water (any glass jar should work) and locate the broad end of your avocado pit. This is the part of the pit that should face down once placed in the water jar.
- Place toothpicks around the pit: Now, before you place the pit in the jar of water, you will press a few toothpicks into different sides of it. These will allow the pit to sit suspended, and not fully immersed, in the water. Place the toothpicks in a way that allows about an inch of the avocado to rest in the water below.
- Find good lighting: Place your water jar, now holding a semi-suspended avocado, in a warm and sunny place. However, it should not have direct sunlight 100% of the time. It’s all about balance!
- Replenish water as needed: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but refill the water in the jar so it does not get too low.
After 2 weeks to about a month and a half, your avocado seed should begin sprouting roots and a stem. If you do not see these appearing by 8 weeks, the seed you have been putting all this energy into is not viable.
This is why we recommend following the above process with a few avocado seeds to ensure at least one of them sprouts and can be planted.
A kit like the AvoSeedo Avocado Tree Growing Kit is a great way to start if you do not have the resources to carry out the above process. It includes a pot, the seed, and instructions. The company also offers support if you are having trouble getting your seed to sprout.
Day 1 – Day 90: Planting An Avocado Seed In March-June
Eventually, when the roots have grown thicker, and the stem has some leaves, your seed is ready to be planted!
Plant your seed in a pot of soil so it can acclimate to this new growing environment, placing it in the soil so half of the seed is still exposed. Pots with a diameter of about 10 inches are best at this stage.
After a while, once you have a viable root ball, the avocado seed with some roots, you can let the planting begin! If it is anytime from March through June, that is.
It is important to plant seeds of any tree during the right time of year. If planted in the late summer or fall months, the seed may not have enough time to establish itself before being hit by drops in temperature and other conditions in the colder months of the year.
Yes, this even applies to mild regions with less fluctuation.
Dig a hole just a bit deeper and wider than the root ball itself so you have space to situate it beneath the surface of the soil.
Avocado trees have shallow roots, with most of the major roots laying within half a foot of the surface of the soil. So, place the root ball (or a tree, if you are transplanting one) gently into its new soil, but do not dig too deep, either.
If you are looking for other shallow root trees, check out the piece 6 Best Fruit Trees That Have Shallow Roots: Identification Guide. You can grow plenty of produce with less fear of destructive roots.
Where To Plant Your Avocado Seed
Avocado trees need moderately humid environments because moisture is key to helping them grow and maintain a healthy stature.
The USDA hardiness zone they do best in ranges from zones 8-11.
If you are based in the United States and searching for the best region to plant avocado trees, or want to check whether your region is suitable for doing so, you can reference the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
First of all, what is the USDA plant hardiness (or growing) zone?
The USDA has defined different hardiness zones across the country, which can be found on the map above.
Avocado trees fall into the higher number range, so they are less-hardy trees.
Okay… and that means?
Well, these trees are not as well-equipped as some other evergreen trees that are not tropical.
Each zone of the USDA hardiness zones represents a range of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. These zones are divided into letters- just A and B though, so do not get too worried. They break down the 10-degree temperature range in half, the lower 5 degrees of the range and the higher.
For example, zone 8 represents minimum temperatures between 10 to 20 F. So, subzone 8a would refer to temperatures of 10 to 15 F and subzone 8b refers to 15 to 20 F.
While avocado trees, once established, are alright at handling temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit, it is important to avoid freezing temperatures as much as possible.
Just because a tree can handle certain conditions does not mean it can handle them consistently or should be planted in an area not be able to support its growth in the long term.
Month 3 – Year 1: Watching your Avocado Tree Grow
This first year will be a pretty vulnerable time for your avocado tree if it is a seedling, so watching for any potential wilt or lull in growth is going to be important.
If you have opted to plant as a sapling, you will bypass the vulnerability of the first year and just watch your tree continue to grow larger. Though there is always a risk with any young tree, regardless of which stage of seedling or sapling it may be at, this is another factor to consider.
How much time and attention do you have to give to your tree? This may help you determine which starting point is best for you to grow an avocado tree.
Either way, at either of these stages, your little avocado tree should remain planted in its pot unless you have deemed it large enough to be transplanted. Whether it be in the great outdoors of your backyard or any other space you decide to plant in.
Year 1 – Year 3: Focusing On Sustaining A Healthy Tree
During those first few years, when you have decided your tree is at the stage of being planted into the ground, you can call upon the section above that details where you should plant your tree.
At this point, we are going to refer to avocado trees starting from both stages as saplings, as they should both be in this stage. Your seed will have matured from seedling to sapling, while your sapling would be larger and more mature, but still young enough to be in its last years of being one.
A sapling may do well indoors and grow at a great rate. Then, when moved outside, there might be a shift in how you see your tree growing.
This could depend on many factors, the biggest of which has to do with the environment.
Indoors, you may have been able to provide a climate-controlled experience for your sapling where the air was warm and slightly humid, and it got warm sunlight without being directly placed into it.
Outdoors, the air may be drier (or too humid), the sun may feel too bright for your tree. There also might not be as much sun as there had been in front of a certain window in your home.
Essentially, a change in these factors may present a challenge for your tree, as it works to continue growing in the same way. You want to be sure your tree is ready for the elemental changes before placing it outdoors.
If you live in a region that commonly produces avocado trees, like California or Mexico, this will not be as large of a concern. However, if you are in a region with a similar (but not quite the same) climate, this may be something to take into consideration.
This period is going to be all about adjustment regardless, but there are some things you can do to help your tree acclimate quickly and successfully.
How To Transplant Your Avocado Tree Sapling
One very important factor in helping your tree adjust to a transplant is, well, making sure you do the transplant correctly, to begin with.
So, you can follow these steps in order to make this process go along smoothly and easily:
- Pick the right location. If you are hoping to get avocados from your tree, you will want to ensure the tree gets lots of sun. So, avoid planting too close to other trees and any structures. (This also should be considered with any tree, so the roots do not get too close and foundations of buildings are not affected.)
- Dig an appropriate-sized hole to fit your roots, remembering that the roots of an avocado tree do best when mainly positioned about 6 inches below the surface of the soil. This hole should be about 4 times the size of the root ball.
- Return the dirt to this hole, broken up and looser.
- Dig another, smaller hole, larger than the root ball within this newly loosened soil.
- Transport your avocado tree to its new location (easier when done with 2 people) and place it into the space you have created in the soil.
- Pack the native soil around the newly planted avocado tree, and then water heavily.
Year 3 – Year 13: Avocado Production Begins On Your Tree
Once your tree hits a certain mark, it is generally going to be ready.
Now, it is worth reiterating this point in time can be quite different depending on how the tree started.
While an avocado tree may not be fully mature by the time it bears fruit, it will certainly need to have matured enough to put its energy into avocado production, as opposed to growing taller and wider.
If you opt to get an avocado tree straight from the seed, this is something to keep in mind. You’ll need to expect a much longer timeframe in between starting your plant’s growth and getting your first new avocado production.
It takes anywhere from 13 to 15 years for an avocado tree grown from the seed to produce avocados. This method could be fun if you have young kids and want a science project that they get to watch as they grow into teenagers who will almost certainly like avocados.
Or, if you are simply a patient person and willing to wait as you watch your avocado turn into a new tree that produces new avocados. It is quite a cool full-circle moment if you have the time and energy for it.
However, there are other ways to go about growing an avocado tree that produces fruit much more quickly. If you remember from above, a tree that begins as a sapling already (bought online, from your local nursery, or any other store you find) will begin producing fruit anywhere between the three to five-year marks.
Where Do Avocados Trees Grow?
Avocados can be found growing in warmer regions of the United States like Florida and California, as well as much of Mexico and South America.
Ultimately, avocado fruit is native to Mexico and Central America, so we import many of the avocados we eat from these regions incredibly well-suited for sustaining their growth.
You may be familiar with one very popular variety of avocado, called the Hass avocado, which has dark green skin and a ridgy exterior. This variety is grown year-round in the valleys of California.
You can find other varieties growing in Arizona, New Mexico, and other states bordering Mexico. These places have a warm climate with a bit of humidity. Of course, many countries outside of the states also produce these increasingly popular green bundles of nutrition.
Keeping Your Avocado Tree Healthy
Remember, avocado plants do best in the climates they originate from. So, keep your avocado tree in a warm, sunny, and partially humid area when possible. This especially applies to the period when your tree is growing big enough in the pot to replant in the earth.
If you do not live in an area with the right climate, it may not be worth it to transplant your avocado tree until you find a place able to sustain it.
Make sure the soil drains well because you will want to water this tree frequently. Occasionally, it could use a deep soak. However, well-drained soil is important because you don’t want standing water either.
If you are hoping to foster a bushier, fuller appearance in your avocado tree, you can pinch the stem back every time it grows about 6 inches. This is just a good way to maintain any aesthetic appearances you may hope to create.
We hope this timeline helps you to understand the early life of an avocado tree.
It can be such a fun and exciting process, regardless of whether you begin with a seed or a sapling, and we know you will be happy to have those avocados when they grow.
Happy planting and remember, we are here for you as you continue to grow and change on your tree journey!
Kaneko, T. (2020). ‘Hass’ avocado tree water use and the effects of water stress on fruit development (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Waikato).
Thorp, T. G., Anderson, P., & Camilleri, M. (1995). Avocado tree growth cycles-a quantitative model. In Proceedings of The World Avocado Congress III (Vol. 76, p. 79).