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The Sex Life Of An Avocado Tree: Or Why You Only Need One Tree In Zone 9 of Florida

Because an avocado tree has both male and female flowers, it can be considered self fruitful in CA and parts of FL,  IF THE WEATHER IS IN YOUR FAVOR during its peak bloom time.

Do I Need More Than One Tree?

Well, there's a lot of mis-information regarding avocado tree pollination -- so I guess it's time for a post about pollination issues that matter in this part of North Central FL and Central FL: basically zone 9.

So let me explain a bit.    

Type A vs Type B

Our growers are telling us that the avocados we are selling for zone 9 growing are self-fruitful.

But I see a lot of discussion on the Internet regarding type A & type B avocados, and that you need one of each to pollinate the other.

To clarify:   Basically, a type A has female flowers in the morning and then those same flowers open as male flowers the following day in the afternoon. And a type B has male flowers in the morning and then those same flowers open as females the following day or day after in the afternoon.

So the presumption is that you need one of each to pollinate to the max.

avocado flowers
Avocado leaves

new growth on an avocado

15g Avocado trees

The short answer is "no: not here."

And that is true if the temperatures stay well over 70° like in the Tropics -- and like much of South Florida. There have even been studies showing a 40-150% increase in fruit set if you have a type A and a type B.

But here in Zone 9 FL, these varieties bloom in Jan to March, and the daily temperature is more likely to be 50-70°, maybe less at night, so the trees are putting out both kinds of flowers at the same time.  

And since we're not growing these commercially trying to make 'x' amount of $$ per acre, we don't have to worry so much about maximum fruit set -- there should be plenty to go around with just a single cultivar --- or so I am told.  

It all makes sense when you understand how the temperature issues influence the type of flower you get.

That said, when I've inquired of the many wholesale growers about the cold tolerant Mexican varieties, it seems that no one in either Florida or Texas actually knows (or cares) what "type" they all are. 

Poncho is a type B.  And most of the growers agree, that given the heritage of these varieties, it is likely that all five -- Poncho, Lila, Fantastic, Brazo Belle and Joey --- are a type B.  But until someone specifically studies them and publishes their findings, we are left guessing.

I can tell you that when we've only had one kind in the nursery, such as just Ponchos or just Lilas, we have had fruit set.

About the author

Green Genie

The Green Genie is the voice of AskTheGreenGenie brand -- organic, edible landscaping for home gardening made fun ! We're passionate about helping home gardeners to get more out of their gardens and enjoy the fruits of their labors -- literally. Organic gardening is a given. Fight pests effectively and actually win the battles. Oh, and palm trees -- I know, they're not all edible, but we love the ambiance!