Avocado Trees That Are Cold Hardy To 15 Degrees???
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
And yes there really is such a thing as a Cold Hardy Avocado Tree -- down to 15° F!
Found in the mountainous regions of Mexico, there are several varieties of avocados that can truly be called "cold hardy" enough for North Central Florida -- cold hardy enough to withstand hard freezes with some sustained damage.
That also means they are suitable for growing in other parts of zone 9 where freezes may only be an occasional concern, but real nonetheless.
That said, it's still prudent to protect a young avocado tree from hard freezes, giving it time to mature and harden. The more established the root system, the hardier the plant.
Avocado fruit hanging on an avocado tree
Typical 15gal Avocado Tree:
Grafted / Bearing age
Cold hardy avocado varieties we suggest include:
Cold hardy to 15°, Lila has a smooth textured flesh, with a rich nutty flavor, and tastes like an avocado should 😀 It produces a medium sized, pear shaped fruit about 6-10oz in size that remains a pretty green when ripe. Ripens July-Sept.
Not to be confused with the very popular south Florida variety known as Lula: Lula is only hardy to 25°F.
PANCHO or PONCHO
Cold hardy to 15°, Pancho tastes more like the Fantastic than the Lila, but produces a green fruit with a bit of red blush when ripe. Also a pear-shaped fruit, approximately 6-8oz in size. Ripens July-Sept.
Cold hardy to 15°, Fantastic is true to its name! It produces a small oval, all-green fruit with paper thin skin. The fruit has a creamy texture with "fantastic flavors". Has the highest oil content of these 5 cold hardy avocados. Ripens Aug-Sept.
Cold hardy to 15°, Joey is a medium sized, egg-shaped fruit with great flavor, but the exterior skin is naturally purple black in color, making it difficult to see bruises. Ripens Aug-Sept.
Cold hardy to 15°, Brazo Belle is another medium to large sizedfruit that has purple-black skin and weighs 6-8oz at maturity. Ripens Aug-Oct.
new avocado leaves up close
Lila avocados in a basket
Growing Tips for cold tolerant avocados:
These cold tolerant varieties thrive best if planted in an environment protected from wind, cold, and sun. Here in North Florida, partial shade is far more desirable than full sun, unlike their tropical cousins. It is the trees with 8-10" trunks that have survived low temperatures into the high teens -- and they DO lose about 30% of their foliage and branches at those temperatures, but have been known to grow back heartily the following year.
All avocados need good drainage: standing water will smother the roots and results in death of the tree. If you are in a low lying area, build up a mound to plant your tree on higher ground.