As popular as avocados are around here, they are not popular as backyard trees. The main reason is that they do not grow very well in Northern California. Since avocado trees are subtropical, they would not survive our freezing winter. But go down to southern California and you will be surrounded by groves of them.
I did a little digging (around the web) to search for an avocado that would be suitable for our area. And came upon 2 variety: Jim Bacon and Mexicola Grande. It seem the first few years are the most difficult, as they require lots of care. But once the roots are established, all is well.
Jim Bacon is self fertile (flower type B), medium size tree, harvest is from October-January. Frost hardy to 24 degrees F. I believe the coldest it got last winter was 21 degrees F. I’m hoping a warm blanket would keep Jim safe this coming winter.
Mexicola Grande is the hardiest at 18 degrees F. Self fertile (flower type A). Larger producer of fruits from August-October. The downside is that it’s a large tree. Another neat thing about this tree is the edible leaves. It’s used in Mexican cooking and gives off the taste of anise.
I would like to plant only 1 tree due to the lack of space in our backyard. But I am having a hard time parting with this Mexicola Grande. So in the meantime it’s still waiting for a spot.
Note: All avocado tree have both male and female flowers. But they open at different times of the day. Growing both Type A and B flowering type will increase pollination.
As explained best by Peaceful Valley nursery:
“A flowers” are female (receptive to pollen) in the morning and male (shedding pollen) in the afternoon.
“B flowers” are male (shedding pollen) in the morning and female (receptive to pollen) in the afternoon.
Production is best with cross-pollination between two cultivars, one with A flowers and one with B flowers.
But the reality is, most cultivars of avocado seem to get better and better at producing fruits as they get older, another pollinator or not.”
Note: Jim Bacon, Lowe’s Nursery $23. Mexicola Grande, Home Depot Nursery $23
Update: June 1st, 2014. We finally planted the Mexicola Grande in the early evening. Had to plant it now before the summer heat kicks in.