Varieties of Avocado Trees

There are many varieties of avocado trees available for purchase at your local nursery here in California. Here on this page I will detail every variety you will be able to locate (and some you probably can’t) and tell you everything I have learned about the tree AND the fruit that tree produces. You see, it’s very easy to locate information on the fruit of these particular trees but much, much harder to locate info on the trees, particularly pictures of what they look like when they’re mature! That much will be an ongoing project. But for now I can tell you about their characteristics:

Variety Tree Size Pattern Height Width Hardiness Type Notes
Bacon medium upright 20′ 23 B
Ettinger medium upright 21 B
Fuerte large spreading 36′ 20′ 30 B *
Gwen dwarf upright 12′ 10′ 30 A **
Hass medium spreading 26′ 20′ 32 A *
Holiday dwarf compact 12′ 10′ 30 A **
Jim Bacon medium upright 24 B **
Kona Sharwil medium spreading 30 B
Lamb-Hass medium upright 22′ 16′ 30 A **
Little Cado dwarf weeping 12′ 8′ 25 A
Mexicola medium spreading 18 A
Mexicola Grande large spreading 18 A
Pinkerton medium spreading 30 A **
Reed medium upright 16′ 13′ 30 A
Sir Prize medium upright 26′ 16′ 28 B
Stewart dwarf spreading 18 A
Zutano large upright 20′ 20′ 26 B **
* Alternate bearing
** Heavy producer

Most avocado trees are self-pollinating here in California, however you will ABSOLUTELY get more fruit if you have at least one tree of each type in your home orchard. Every avocado tree has flowers that are perfect–that is, they are both male and female. The difference is that the A type trees have flowers that will open as females in the morning one day, close in the afternoon, then open the next afternoon as male and then close in the evening. The B type trees are reversed, in that they open as male in the morning and female the next afternoon. So you can see that on any given morning, the A tree will have female flowers open and the B tree will have male flowers open. In the afternoon they swap. Once a flower completes this two day process and it hasn’t been pollinated, it will wither and fall of the tree, usually within 1-3 days.

Now you can see why it’s important to have both tree types! But it’s not absolutely necessary. This is because here in California our climate is a little bit colder than the tree’s native climate and this causes some of the flowers to sometimes delay their openings for a few hours, such that you will eventually have one tree with both kinds of flowers open at the same time. Some trees are better at self-pollinating than others–particularly Reed. If I only had the room for one tree, I would probably pick the Reed for this reason and because it’s one of the best tasting varieties out there.

But if you’re going the more traditional route and planting a Hass, it’s important to note that Bacon and Zutano are the two best pollinators for Hass. They flower regularly and heavily every year, but unfortunately they aren’t the tastiest varieties to grow. They have a lower oil content at their peak of ripeness and taste a bit more watery than what you might be used to. The benefit is that they ripen during the winter months when Hass is done, so having one of them wouldn’t be a complete waste. Of course, if you have the room, the Fuerte is one of the best tasting B type trees, but it’s alternate bearing. Before I explain that, let me give you a second table of info about the taste of the fruit from all of these trees:

Variety Fruit Quality Fruit Size Ripening Period Color
Bacon fair 10-12oz Oct-Feb green
Ettinger good 10-20oz Feb-Jun green
Fuerte excellent 10-12oz Nov-Jun green
Gwen excellent 6-15oz Apr-Oct green
Hass excellent 10-12oz Feb-Aug black
Holiday excellent 18-24oz Sep-Dec green
Jim Bacon good 8-10oz Oct-Jan green
Kona Sharwil excellent 8-16oz Feb-Nov green
Lamb-Hass excellent 10-16oz Jun-Dec black
Little Cado good 10-20oz May-Sep green
Mexicola good 4-8oz Aug-Oct black
Mexicola Grande good 6-10oz Aug-Oct black
Pinkerton excellent 14-16oz Nov-Apr green
Reed excellent 12-18oz July-Sep green
Sir Prize excellent 10-20oz Nov-Mar black
Stewart excellent 4-8oz Aug-Oct black
Zutano good 11-14oz Jan-Feb green

So these are pretty much all the varieties of avocado trees you would be able to purchase commercially from a retail store/nursery like Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Do-It-Center, Orchard Supply Hardware, or Armstrong Nurseries, usually 5 gallon size for about $25-$35. You can even get trees at Costco starting in February for about $18! However I have rarely found 15 gallon sized trees at any of these places. These stores don’t grow the trees themselves–they are retailers for the major nurseries that produce trees for both the large scale growers and the retailers. These major nurseries are La Verne (by far the biggest) in Piru, Durling in Fallbrook, Fourwinds Growers in Winters, C & M Nursery in Nipomo, and probably a few others that I don’t know about because I haven’t been to every retail nursery out there.

Of course Brokaw Nursery in Ventura is the largest producer of trees for the commercial growers (the orchards that supply the supermarkets with fruit). They produce trees on special rootstocks that are root rot resistant. Unfortunately, they don’t sell to the retail stores or individual buyers. But don’t get too fixated on getting a tree with that special root stock. You won’t need it for your backyard. Only the orchard growers need those trees because they are constantly pulling out old trees that have succumbed to disease and planting new ones, so they need those better rootstocks.

There are other nurseries that supply trees to the commercial growers who DO also sell to you, the home buyer, and they are not only the best deal but they are the places were you can find a good stock of 15 gallon sized trees. Most of these nurseries are down in Fallbrook which is the self-proclaimed avocado capital of California. Maddock Ranch is where I bought my two 15 gallon trees (and they were nice enough to give us wholesale pricing!), Atkins, Clausen, Evergreen, and J & J Growers Nursery are some of the best places to go. There is a boutique nursery up in Santa Cruz that sells primarily to the home buyer online. They’re called Epicenter and most of their varieties you won’t find on this page or anywhere else.

Good luck with your selection!

CRFG Orange County – Julie Fink
When to Pick Avocados – UC Ventura Cooperative Extension
La Verne Nursery