Why do avocado trees grow best in full sun? The simple answer is that these fruit trees are accustomed to warm and sunny climates, but there are also several reasons why you should make sure your avocado trees get enough sun.
Avocado trees grown in full sun are often healthier, experience better growth, produce better quality fruit, and produce fruit more frequently. Because of this, it’s best to grow avocado trees somewhere (indoors or outdoors) that will allow them to obtain at least six hours of direct sunlight a day.
In this article, we will discuss not only why avocado trees grow best in full sunlight and the benefits of doing so, but also offer you some useful tips for making sure that your own avocado trees get enough sunlight while also not falling victim to unexpected weather conditions!
There are quite a few reasons why it is best to grow avocado trees in full sunlight. We narrowed it down to the top four reasons.
1. Full Sun Promotes Better Avocado Tree Growth
Avocado trees grown in full sun (with a minimum of six hours of direct light each day) exhibit more robust growth.
These trees often grow more quickly than trees that don’t get sufficient sunlight! Trees that receive enough sunlight will grow taller and often have better foliage.
2. Sunlight Creates Healthier Avocado Trees
Avocado trees grown in full sun are almost always healthier than avocado trees grown in shaded or partially shaded conditions.
This is because sunlight is necessary for all plants, but especially for avocado trees. The photosynthetic process for these trees requires a great deal of sunlight.
In order for avocado trees to obtain sufficient energy and nutrients to remain healthy, it’s crucial that they get plenty of sunlight.
3. Sunlight Helps Avocado Trees Produce Better Fruit
It’s fairly well-established that the avocado trees which get plenty of sunlight produce better fruit.
Avocados from trees grown in full sun often have a fuller, richer taste when compared to avocados produced by trees grown in partial shade.
4. Sunlight Brings Increased Avocado Fruit Production
Avocado trees that receive plenty of direct sunlight produce fruit more frequently and in greater quantities.
Indeed, experts such as the University of California Master Gardeners agree that trees in orchards that have become crowded or overgrown (resulting in too much shade and not enough direct sunlight) produce less fruit.
Additionally, that fruit is usually of substandard quality in comparison to trees that are sufficiently spaced out and receive full sun.
Indoors vs Outdoors: Making Sure Your Avocado Trees Get Enough Sunlight
Clearly, it’s important to make sure your avocado trees get enough sunlight if you want them to produce high-quality avocados (and plenty of them)!
While sunlight is incredibly important for avocado trees regardless of whether you grow them indoors or outdoors, there are notable differences in how you should go about making sure your trees receive that light depending on if your tree is inside of your home or out in your yard.
Sunlight Requirements For Avocado Trees Outdoors
There’s no disputing the fact that avocado trees typically grow best outdoors; after all, it’s much easier to ensure that your trees are getting enough sunlight when they are outside.
That being said, there are still certain steps you can take to help make sure that your avocado trees get enough sun to remain healthy and produce delicious fruit. With that in mind, we’re going to share with you some useful tips for growing your avocado trees outdoors.
Selecting The Best Variety For Your Climate/Region
There are a few different available varieties when it comes to avocado trees which can be grouped into three categories: Mexican, Guatemalan, or West Indian.
The trees within these three groups have different heat and cold tolerances (as well as notable differences in the flavor and texture of the fruit they produce) so it’s important to do your research to determine which variety of avocado tree will work best in your area.
In most cases, avocado trees do best in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 12.
When in doubt, you might also consider consulting with a local arborist or landscaping/agricultural expert about the best avocado variety for you and how to best take care of it.
Planting Your Tree In A Good Location
Where you plant your avocado tree is of critical importance when it comes to making sure your tree gets enough direct sunlight to remain healthy.
When planting an avocado sapling or tree, make sure that it is spaced a good distance away from any other trees. This will help prevent your avocado tree from growing in the shade of other trees while also reducing the likelihood of competition for nutrients (which can sometimes occur when trees are planted closely together.)
Generally speaking, it is recommended that you keep at least twenty-five to thirty feet of space between individual avocado trees. This should give them plenty of space to grow while also allowing them to get enough direct sunlight.
Furthermore, it’s generally recommended that you plant avocado trees in a south-facing location since this can help them to get plenty of light and warmth.
Sunlight Requirements For Avocado Trees Indoors
Generally speaking, it’s not recommended to grow an avocado tree indoors long-term.
Because these fruit trees do require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight every day to achieve optimum growth, successfully growing an avocado tree indoors usually requires a fair amount of effort, particularly if you are growing it inside of your house rather than a greenhouse.
When growing a potted avocado tree indoors, you will need to place it by a window that lets in a considerable amount of bright sunlight; southern-facing windows are usually best for this.
Remember, avocado trees need a lot of sunlight even when grown indoors, so it’s best to avoid interior corners, dim rooms, or any location that doesn’t receive several hours of bright light a day.
Another tip for making sure your avocado tree is getting enough light indoors is to rotate it periodically; this ensures that all the leaves on the tree are getting enough sunlight.
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you rotate your potted avocado tree every two to three weeks.
For more tips and ideas about growing avocado trees indoors, read our article on the best indoor fruit trees.
Sunlight Requirements For Avocado Trees In A Greenhouse
While growing an avocado outdoors may not be an option for anyone living in a colder climate, there is an alternative if you’ve got the resources necessary: growing your tree in a greenhouse.
A greenhouse can be an excellent choice for growing temperature-sensitive trees and plants like avocado trees, because it is a controlled environment where you can make sure that the conditions are as close to ideal as possible.
For avocado trees, in most cases all you need to do is make sure they get enough sunlight and water, and that the temperatures stay warm enough to keep the plant healthy.
Also, most avocado tree varieties prefer a certain level of ambient humidity (usually 50% or higher), so try to keep the interior of the greenhouse suitably conditioned.
In most greenhouses, this should not require an overabundance of effort (since most greenhouses are fairly humid by default due to the way they retain water vapor) but if your own greenhouse tends to be more on the dry side, you can install a humidifier to help increase the ambient moisture levels.
Products such as this LACIDOLL Large Humidifiers Whole-House Style Commercial & Industrial Humidifier are often the best choice because their industrial/commercial design allows them to cover large areas such as greenhouses and conservatories.
The Effects of Inclement Weather
While we’ve established that avocado trees need to be grown in full sun in order to reach their full potential and produce lots of delicious fruit, there’s also no escaping the fact that no matter where you live, not every single day will be sunny enough to provide those requisite six hours of direct natural light.
Alternatively, sometimes you may need to contend with unseasonable heat waves that expose your avocado tree to higher levels of heat and greater amounts of scorching sunlight than even the hardiest of avocado trees can handle on their own.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some information for you in order to help you be better prepared for these different weather conditions.
Cloudy and Poor Weather Days: How Much Sun Is Enough?
Even if you live in an incredibly temperate region, it is very unlikely that your local weather conditions will involve bright sun every single day of the year. There will always be cloudy and rainy days where the sun is more of an idea than a reality.
Because of this, many people growing avocado trees often wonder: how much sun is enough? After all, we have no control over the weather, so how can we be sure that our trees are getting enough sunlight during the seasons when overcast is the norm?
Thankfully, while there is not much we can do about the weather, there is also not much cause for concern when it comes to the occasional rainy day (or even a rainy season).
These trees are native to the tropical and subtropical cloud forest regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Most varieties of avocado trees are accustomed to a certain amount of moisture and can adapt fairly well to a location that experiences periodic overcast or stormy days as long as they are cared for properly.
If anything, someone growing one or more avocado trees should be much more worried about heat waves and droughts than rain!
Heat Waves: How Much Sunlight is Too Much For Avocado Trees?
While the general rule of thumb when growing avocados could best be stated as “the more sun, the better”, there is still such a thing as too much sun even for these heat-hardy trees.
Young avocado trees (particularly any sapling younger than a year old) can fall victim to scorched leaves and other forms of sun damage when exposed to extreme levels of light and heat.
In most cases, the ideal amount of direct sun for avocado trees is a minimum of six hours with anything up to eight hours being perfectly fine as well, and in some cases, even beneficial as long as the tree is also getting enough water and nutrients.
However, more than ten or twelve hours of direct sunlight runs the risk of damaging the tree’s leaves, which in turn could have a seriously negative impact on the tree’s overall health and ability to grow.
This means that if your region is experiencing unseasonably hot weather or going through a heat wave with incredibly high temperatures and scorching sunlight, you may need to take extra steps to ensure that your avocado doesn’t become damaged or overly stressed from these intense conditions.
Additionally, dwarf avocado trees can be incredibly sensitive to harsh sunlight when they’re young.
How Can I Protect My Avocado Tree From The Sun?
Trees less than a year old should be sheltered from direct sunlight during the hotter summer months in order to avoid sun damage to the bark and leaves.
Products such as RUIAN-JIAXIN Shade Fabric Sun Shade Cloth can be helpful for lessening the impact of strong sunlight and help to reduce the risk of your avocado trees experiencing sun damage.
Additionally, if you live in an area that experiences intense levels of heat and sun year-round (such as certain regions of Arizona or Nevada) it’s recommended that you use shade cloth that will provide higher levels of protection against scorching rays while also allowing enough sunlight through to allow the trees to grow.
Temperature Extremes: What To Watch Out For
Before we go, however, we also want to briefly touch on the recommended temperature range for growing avocados, so that you can be better informed about the potential impact of temperature changes on your own trees.
After all, sunlight and temperature changes often go hand in hand (with droughts being a prime example), so it’s important to understand the limitations of what your avocado trees can handle.
While the levels of hardiness vary depending upon the specific variety of avocado in question, most avocado trees prefer temperatures in the range of 60°F to 85°F.
Where Do Avocado Trees Grow Best?
Their preference for moderate temperatures is what makes avocado trees a popular landscaping choice (as well as a prolific crop) in places like southern California and Florida, both of which have plenty of sunlight and a fairly moderate climate.
Try to avoid growing avocados outdoors in any location that drops below freezing at any time of the year. These frigid temperatures can be incredibly harmful to your tree.
Growing avocados in desert climates is also not generally recommended, since the scorching hot temperatures have the potential to burn your tree’s leaves and bark, particularly if your tree is a young sapling that has not yet become well-established.
To learn more about how long it takes to grow an avocado tree as well as other tips and tricks for saplings take a look at our article on the timeline for avocado tree growth.
That’s A Wrap!
As you can see, there are many reasons for growing avocado trees in full sun. Who wouldn’t want healthier trees, better and more robust growth, increased fruit production, as well as richer and more flavorful fruit?
Because these are such great benefits, it’s important to know what steps to take to ensure that your avocado trees are getting adequate sunlight.
To summarize, here are some key points to keep in mind when growing avocado trees:
- Know which varieties of avocado are best suited for your region.
- Plant your avocado tree in a location that will allow it to get at least six hours of direct sunlight a day.
- When growing an avocado tree indoors, make sure it is kept in a location that gets plenty of bright light (southern-facing windows are often best).
AB Woolf, IB Ferguson, LC Requejo-Tapia, L Boyd, WA Laing, & A White. (n.d.). Impact of sun exposure on harvest quality of ‘Hass’ avocado fruit.
B Snijder & PJC Stassen. (1999). Pruning mature and encroached avocado trees to … – avocadosource.com.
F ARNOLD WHITE. (1949). The care and protection of young avocado trees – avocadosource.com.
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