Holy Guacamole! How To Grow an Avocado Tree in a Greenhouse

  • Botanical Name: Persea Americana
  • Common Name: Avocado
  • Type: Tree, fruit
  • Zone: 10-12
  • Soil pH: Acidic, neutral
  • Size: 10-15’ tall  (Greenhouse variety)

To add shade to your dome greenhouse, consider an avocado tree. Growing two avocado trees is even better for pollination.

avocado blossoms

Growing an Avocado Tree

Dwarf Bacon Avocado tree ready to plant Photo Credit Leslie Kearney

Growing an avocado tree is a long-term commitment. A newly planted tree will take between 3-4 years to bear fruit. If the goal is to harvest avocados, plant a tree…or two. To increase an avocado tree’s yield, grow type A and B avocado trees. Below is an explanation of both types. 

Avocado trees have two types, A and B. No, not personality types!

Type A is a female morning blossom…good morning sunshine! The flowers of Type A trees open as a female blossom one morning and reopen the next day as a male blossom. This is what the timeframe is for pollination. Examples of type A are Haas, Reed, Wurtz and Duke. (Sounds like a law firm!)

Type B is an afternoon female blossom…some of us like to sleep in. Type B tree flowers open as a female blossom one afternoon and reopen the next day as a male blossom. Nature is very impressive! Examples of type B are Fuerte, Jim and SirPrize (that’s not a typo).

For an avocado tree to reproduce this pattern it needs ideal temperatures, which are above 70 degrees F day and night. If temperatures drop below 60 degrees F and the female and male blossoms are open, the likelihood of fruit is poor.

Most avocado trees are grafted in nurseries, which speeds up the fruit-bearing process. Grafting is joining two trees biologically; connecting one branch of a cultivar with the rootstock of a different tree.

What Is The Best Location in a Dome Greenhouse?

Avocado trees grow well in full sun and do best with 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Plant your avocado tree directly in the center of the bed where it has room to grow tall. (There are dwarf varieties.) Your avocado needs soil temperatures between 50-80 degrees and will not tolerate frost. The center bed near the above-ground pond will help keep your avocado warm and happy.

If you decide to grow your avocado tree in a pot or container, start with a 6″ to 8″ terra cotta pot. Terra cotta pots are porous and allow water to drain. Be sure it has drainage holes.

Be sure to use an appropriate soil mix for your avocado tree. A good option is a rich, well-draining soil. A mix of loam, sand, peat moss, limestone, perlite and crushed granite is going to provide for your tree’s needs.

Each spring you will need to move your avocado tree to a new larger pot to keep it happy and healthy as it grows. If you want your tree to grow into a bushy plant, trim it each year. If your avocado tree is living in a pot, consider placing the pot outside in the sun during the summer. It will need to be back inside before the first frost. If you live in colder climates you may need to bring your tree back into your greenhouse in the evening.

How To Plant Your Avocado Tree

avocado tree

Here are some avocado planting tips:

The soil should be rich, loamy and well-draining to keep avocado trees thriving. An acidic to neutral soil pH between 5 and 7 is best for avocado trees.

An avocado plant can be grown from the seed or pit. To grow a plant from the seed or pit, follow this link. To produce fruit, it is better to graft one branch of a cultivar with the rootstock of a different tree.

Water the tree deeply once the soil is dry to the touch. Be sure to have good drainage so the tree is moist but never soggy. This encourages deeper and stronger roots.

Give the plant water when the soil is dry to the touch. Avocado plants should be kept continuously moist, but never soggy, and adequate drainage is essential. Watch for leaf yellowing, which is a sign of too much water.

What Companion Plants Work Best?

Companion plants are a bonus to any garden and offer these benefits. First of all, they attract pollinators and beneficial insects. They help retain moisture and offer weed control. Lastly, they can add nutrition to the soil and thereby increase productivity.

Below is a list of some of the plants that grow well with avocado trees:

Avocado Tree in a Growing Dome Greenhouse
  • Basil – Basil is a wonderful herb to have in your garden. Plant an extra basil plant and let it go to seed to attract pollinators.
  • Cilantro/coriander – Cilantro is similar to basil in that it grows well in the partial shade of avocado, attracts pollinators and is a wonderful addition to your herb garden (fresh salsa!). With a shallow root system, cilantro will not disturb tree roots.
  • Citrus trees – The Meyer lemon and other fruit trees are great companions to avocados as they have similar soil and water requirements. Including a citrus tree in your dome will enhance pollination.
  • Comfrey – This herb acts as a dynamic accumulator and draws minerals up from deep within the soil. To improve the soil fertility and provide nutrients for your tree’s growth, consider planting comfrey near your avocado trees.
  • Garlic – Well, it doesn’t just keep vampires away! It repels mites, aphids, mosquitoes and naughty beetles! Garlic has shallow roots and doesn’t interfere with the avocado tree’s roots. Plant garlic cloves 1-2” deep with about 4-6” spacing.
    • Pro Tip: Crush garlic cloves to make an insect-repellent spray to use in your greenhouse.
  • Marigolds – With their strong smell they help repel nematodes which is important for the health of avocado tree roots.
  • Nasturtium – Beautiful and edible, these flowers can be used to repel aphids and white flies. Nasturtiums make a lovely ground cover, which helps to keep weed growth down.

Avocado trees don’t do well with root vegetables or other plants that will disturb and damage avocado tree roots.

Avocado tree in a Growing Dome

Avocado Tree Care

  • Sunlight: Avocado trees prefer a lot of sunlight. Preferably 8 hours of sunlight a day. 
  • Soil: Keep your avocado tree happy with rich, loamy, well-draining soil. Avocado trees like an acidic to neutral soil, with a soil pH between 5 and 7. Avoid alkaline soil for your tree.
  • Mulch: If you mulch around the tree, keep the mulch 6 inches from the trunk.
  • Water: Avocado trees like infrequent, deep watering. In the heat of summer, more frequent watering is required.
  • Temperature: Again, these are trees from tropical and subtropical regions. If you want to grow an avocado tree in your dome, you will need to heat your dome if you live in a cold climate. Avocados can sometimes tolerate a very brief freeze.

How To Prune Avocado Trees

Early spring is the best time for heavy pruning. Light pruning may be done at any time of the year. Pruning is best done to allow for light and airflow. Trim any dead wood or V-shaped branches. It’s best to only trim away one-third or less of a branch length.

At 12 inches in height, trim your avocado seedling back to 6 inches to allow for more growth. As it grows in the summer, pinch off new growth to help new branches form. This allows the plant to grow bushy and control the size for your greenhouse.

How To Manage Pests

Avocado trees can attract mites, caterpillars, thrips, and others. This is why companion plants are crucial! Companion plants deter pests and attract beneficial insects and pollinators. Refer to the Companion Plants section above for some suggested plants for avocado trees.

How long does it take for an avocado tree to bear fruit?

An avocado tree is mature at about three to four years old and, it should begin producing fruit. Pick the avocados when they reach full size and let the fruit ripen on the counter. If you’re desperate for a ripe avocado, put it in a brown bag with a banana or apple to ripen. Voila, savourez votre avocat! 

Avocado History

Avocado is native to Central America, Asia, and North America. Domestication possibly originated in Puebla, Mexico. The oldest avocado pit discovered was in a cave in the Tehuacan Valley about 9,000-10,000 years ago. Pro Tip: Don’t put your avocado pits in your compost pile if they take that long to break down! The word avocado is the English version of the Nahuatl word āhuacati

Avocado Trivia

Avocado ice cream
  • Have you ever eaten an alligator pear? It’s an avocado! 
  • Mark your calendars to celebrate National Avocado Day every year on July 31st.
  • In Brazil and other places, avocado is a favorite ice cream flavor. Check out this recipe!
  • Oh no, my avocado isn’t ripe! Have no fear, you can speed up the ripening process by placing it in a paper bag with a banana, apple, or a kiwi and closing the bag. These fruits produce ethylene gas (excuse you) which is a plant hormone that helps with ripening. Bananas give off a gas that helps soften your avocado.
  • Don’t be “guacward”, ask your friends for help growing your avocado trees!
  • Over 70 MILLION pounds of avocados are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday alone.
  • Aren’t you just “dyeing” to know the color avocado peels and pits make after they are boiled? A delicate pink hue!

Health Benefits

Avocados are a good source of potassium. They are high in fiber and healthy fats! These are the cholesterol fighting heroes. They help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Avocados have those amazing antioxidants that fight off those harmful free radicals hiding in your body. Avocados provide folate, vitamin E, lutein and magnesium. There are many great recipes for avocado, take a look at this link.

Feel like “guacing” out? Plant an avocado tree in your dome! You can look forward to enjoying avocado in your salads, smoothies, sandwiches and even ice cream! 🥑 


How do I get my avocado to ripen quicker?

Place your avocado in a paper bag with a banana, apple or a kiwi and close the bag.

Do you need two avocado trees to get fruit?

The trees are self-pollinating, but yields increase if you grow type A and B trees. Below is an explanation of both types. The flowers of Type A trees open as a female blossom one morning and reopen the next day as a male blossom. This is what the timeframe for pollination. Type B flowers follow the same pattern, but open in the afternoon.

Where is the best place to plant an avocado tree?

Avocado trees grow well in full sun and do best with 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Plant your avocado tree in the center bed of the greenhouse where it has room to grow tall. Dwarf varieties are a good option for greenhouses.

Will a potted avocado tree bear fruit?

Yes! A newly planted tree will take between 3-4 years to bear fruit. A potted plant will need to be moved into a larger pot each year to allow it to grow without crowding the roots.

author avatar
Tina Jones Marketing Assistant
I joined Growing Spaces in 2021 as a gardener and now work with the Marketing and Social Media department. Formerly I was a kindergarten teacher and then worked as a Gardener and Volunteer Coordinator at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens in Hawaii. Since moving to Colorado I worked in the veterinary field and have been involved in therapy dog work visiting hospitals, schools and libraries with a national therapy group. My previous dog and I also worked as a crisis response team helping those affected by crises or disasters and were deployed through Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response. Muppet and I are now a crisis response canine-handler team! Outside of working and volunteering, I love growing native plants and flowers at home, hiking, photography and hanging out with my husband and our dogs. I like to garden and volunteer with my therapy dogs in the community. My husband and I enjoying skiing and horseback riding. He helps build gardening beds so I can dig in the dirt and grow things.

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