Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dwarf Avocado Trees

Here in Southern California we are blessed with a climate that is great for growing Avocados (Sunset climate zones 17 through 24). The only drawback of Avocados is for the most part they are large trees that will easily reach 25 feet high & wide if left to grow unpruned. Pretty much all full sized Avocado varieties can be kept at a manageable 10 to 15 feet high & wide. However there are several varieties of Avocados that are smaller (dwarf)in size. These Avocados are perfect for large containers. A half whiskey barrel of other container larger than 24 inches high & wide is recommended for growing Avocados. When planted in the ground these dwarf Avocados make a dense leafy shrub or small tree. Dwarf Avocados tend to have a "droopy" almost weeping habit, often times their branches touch the ground. this weeping shape makes these Avocados as good candidates for Espalier. In general, dwarf avocado trees are less vigorous than normal sized trees, however their fruit if full sized & tastes great.

Dwarf Avocado Varieties:

Little Cado (also known as Wurtz)- This is probably the smallest of the Avocados. This variety was developed in Encinitas, Ca in the 1930's. Little Cado has a fruit that is similar to that of a Bacon in size & shape. Interestingly the 4 to 10 oz fruit has a flavor reminiscent of a Hass. Little Cado grows 6 to 13 feet high & wide. The flesh is yellowish green with a creamy smooth texture. The flavor is average to good & ripens April through September. The skin darkens as the fruit ripen. This is the best Avocado for growing in containers.

Holiday - Holiday is one of the best tasting dwarf varieties of Avocados. This variety was developed from a seedling of the Reed Avocado. It has a large fruit weighing 8 to 12oz, the fruit is oval to oblong in shape. The flesh is light & creamy being of fairly high quality for a dwarf Avocado. The flesh darkens as the fruits ripen, this happens September through January. Holiday is great for espalier as it has "weeping" branches that grow out horizontally. Holiday is a good choice for growing in the ground, but can also be grown in large containers.

Gwen - This is the most productive of the dwarf Avocados. Gwen is a dwarf Hass variety that originated in Riverside, CA. The fruit are smallish growing up to 8oz. The fruit look & tastes like a Hass. Gwen will grow up to 15 feet high & wide but can bet kept smaller. The fruit is of good quality & is versatile in its uses. The fruit darken when they ripen, the fruit come into season February to October. Gwen is a great shrubby Avocado that is best suited for being cultivated right in the ground. This variety can also be espaliered.


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