Are you considering planting avocado trees in your garden? Choosing the best soil for avocado trees ensures you enjoy a bountiful fruit harvest and healthy-looking trees. Many amateur gardeners find it easier to plant smaller items, like herbs, flowers, and smaller vegetables.
But, the thought of planting larger crops, like fruit trees can be intimidating. The good news is that fruit trees, like avocados, aren’t all that tough to plant. In fact, many gardeners who’ve planted this versatile tree report enjoying the experience.
Whether indoors or outdoors, these fruit trees’ versatility makes the planting process extremely simple. Nonetheless, you must know the ideal soil conditions required for avocado trees. Soil plays a crucial role in determining the tree’s growth, disease-fighting, and ultimately, its fruit-bearing ability.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick chart with our top picks:
|Hydroponic City FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
|Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
|Best Bang For Your Buck
|Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Organic Potting Soil
|FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil
|Proven Winners Premium All Purpose Potting Soil
|Best for Outdoor Applications
|Harris All Purpose Potting Soil Mix
|Glee All-Purpose Potting Mix
|Best for Clean Planting
Here’s a complete guide to the ideal soil to use for planting avocado trees to help you get started with this exciting journey.
Table of Contents
Types of Soils for Avocado Trees
The best soil for avocado trees should be well-drained soil with a pH value between 6 and 7.5. Further, the ideal soil for growing avocado trees should boast impressive moisture-retaining properties. This soil requirement gives you a variety to choose from.
Loamy soil is perhaps the most popular choice of soil used by gardeners for avocado trees. This soil features a mixture of sand, silt, and clay. It also packs impressive water-retaining abilities and excellent drainage. Plus, loamy soil is pretty easy to work with.
Sandy loam soil is the second most popular soil type for planting avocados. As the name suggests, this soil combines a mix of sandy and loamy soils. Like loamy soil profiles, sandy loam soil provides excellent water retention abilities, and drainage, and is easy to work with. However, sandy loam soil also packs a good amount of nutrients.
As you would expect, volcanic soil packs a range of minerals and organic matter that avocado trees love. Yet, these soils remain well-drained and promote adequate water retention. You will typically find these types of soil in volcanic areas, whether in Hawaii, in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, or in Michoacán.
This explains why avocados originate in Mexico, Central, and South America. You will notice that most of these native avocado regions offer some of the richest agrarian lands with rich volcanic deposits and high nutrient content. These areas also enjoy generous rainfall to provide some of the most fertile lands in the western hemisphere.
Alluvial soil is another soil category that does well with avocados. This type of soil contains a good amount of organic matter and is usually found near river banks or flood plains. Due to its geographical location and nutrient content, this soil type also offers good water retaining abilities and drainage.
Red Clay Soil
Red clay soil is relatively heavy and rich in resources. Yet, it offers good water retention to make it great for avocado trees. While avocado trees can grow in this soil type, you have to be extra careful with it. Before you plant your avocado trees, prepare the soil by treating it with some organic matter. This helps to enhance its drainage abilities while reducing the risks of compaction and waterlogging.
What Soil to Avoid Planting Avocado Trees in?
Naturally, you want to avoid planting avocado trees in soils with poor drainage and water retaining abilities. Typically, these soils are heavy and normally stay wet. A good example includes heavy clay soil or any type of wet soil.
Avocado trees also prefer slightly acidic, neutral, or slightly alkaline soil. If your soil exceeds the pH of 7.5, you want to avoid planting your avocado trees. But, you also want to avoid soil pH of less than 6.
Nonetheless, you want to prepare your soil even if it’s the ideal type. Mix it with compost or other organic matter to improve its quality and water-retaining abilities before adding your plant. Choosing the best soil type doesn’t only ensure your seeds or seedlings will grow. It also ensures optimal growth and bountiful fruit harvests.
Ideal Growing Conditions for Avocado Trees
As mentioned earlier, you can choose to grow avocado trees either indoors or outdoors. Avocado trees will effortlessly survive most hardiness zones, although they don’t like freezing conditions. This makes them reasonably low maintenance.
Avocado trees can usually grow to about 40 feet tall. They take a minimum of 3 to 4 years to start bearing fruits but get to their peak fruit production at 10 years old. Now, growing avocado trees indoors means you are using plant pots. So, don’t expect your tree to grow to the fruit-bearing capacity.
Growing the plant indoors in a pot limits its size. Therefore, indoor planting only works if you want it to double as a houseplant and décor. Alternatively, you can plant it indoors for a while (about 6 months to a year) and then, transfer it outdoors on the ground and it will grow to its full potential.
Growing avocados indoors will still require similar soil types. When grown indoors, you will also need to expose the plant to a reasonable light source. Keep the tree at a west or south-facing window to expose it to at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight.
Remember, avocadoes prefer moisture-retaining soil – so you want to position the plant where the soil will be encouraged. The indoor temperature should be between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and with high humidity (get a humidifier if you need to). While avocado trees love moisture-retaining soil, they don’t like wet or soggy soils.
So, be intentional with your watering – allowing drying in between watering. As a general rule of thumb, soak the plants at least once a week. Look at wilting leaves as a sign that your plant needs watering. Even with the best soil, avocado trees still need fertilizer. You can use general-purpose fertilizer in moderation for plants growing indoors.
Note: To prevent water logging when you water your plants, ensure you use a pot with drainage hole(s). Additionally, pruning and pinching back leaves will strengthen your plant, particularly the stems. This, in turn, promotes better growth with a bushy profile.
Planting avocados outdoors follow similar patterns with very small variations. First, you want to select a site in your garden or yard with well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of sunlight exposure daily. Make sure to avoid areas prone to flooding. You don’t want your avocados growing in waterlogged areas.
How to Plant Avocado Trees in Soil
To plant your avocadoes, start by conducting a soil test to determine the pH and nutrient content. This will help you know how you need to balance the soil. To amend your soil, dig at least twice the size of the root ball of the seedlings and remove any risk or debris you find.
Add compost or other types of organic matter to the soil. A good example of other organic matter includes aged manure (a rich source of nitrogen and other nutrients) or organic granular fertilizer prepared for fruit trees (triggers and promotes healthy growth).
With a proper organic matter balance, add slow-release fertilizer to provide ample nutrients to promote growth. The application of the fertilizer should be based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Once done, thoroughly water the soil to make it moist, and add your plant to the ground.
Lastly, add mulch around the plant’s base to entrap moisture and prevent weed growth around the plant. The mulch you add at this time is enough and you won’t need to add anymore as the plant grows into a small tree. Mulching also aids in soil erosion prevention and soil temperature regulation.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can skip the soil preparation process and simply use the best soil mix or potting soil for avocado trees you can find on the market. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to plant the avocado in container gardens, houseplants, or established ground gardens.
You can also plant avocado trees using the large seed or pit you find in the middle of the fruit. But, this is a less popular method of planting trees. Nonetheless, the next time you make guacamole, you can organically repurpose the seed.
The only downside to this method, however, is you will not see the roots form. This is because the pit will be underneath the soil, so you will only see the plant emerge when it grows. Therefore, patience is important.
To grow the pit, extract it from the fruit, remove any flesh residuals without damaging it, and wash it off. Don’t worry if you notice any brown skin still attached since it won’t affect the growth. Once done, prepare the soil the same way you would for seedlings, whether with organic soil or potting soil, you purchase.
After watering the soil, gently press the bottom part of the pit into the ground. Half of the pit should be visible and halfway through the topsoil line. The bottom of the avocado pit is the less pointy side where the roots emerge (the top side is pointier with the stem emerging).
Ensure the ground or pot where you plant the pit has access to at least 6 hours of sunlight and enjoys temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue to water the plant (keep it moist and not wet or soggy) to stimulate the seed to transition through its dormant stage. After about 2 to 8 weeks, you will notice the seed beginning to crack and ultimately, sprout.
Tip: The best time to plant an avocado tree is springtime. This is because by then, the danger of frost would’ve passed (during winter), allowing the plant enough time to grow and establish its roots.
Can Avocado Grow Without Soil?
Avocados can grow in water. In fact, the best way to grow avocado in water is by using its seed or pit. However, the seed produces roots or seedlings which you have to then transfer to the soil to continue growing into a plant and tree. Unlike in soil, growing the pit in water is a fun experience as you have a front-seat view of the pit’s transition from dormancy to developing a taproot.
To grow the seed in water, start by extracting it from the fruit and washing off any remaining flesh or skin. Identify the bottom part or root end of the pit and insert four toothpicks evenly spaced out across the bottom part of the pot. Inserting the toothpicks into the avocado helps to position and stabilize it in and out of the water.
The top half should be out of the water while the bottom part (root end) is submerged in water. For this reason, make sure the toothpicks are long enough to cover the length or circumference of the pit. Fill a jar or glass with water and place the seed at the top. Position the vessel in a warm and humid area with at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight exposure daily.
As the seed continues to develop, you may notice the water color becoming a little cloudy and slimy. If you notice this, change it to prevent bacterial or microbial activity. Alternatively, you can simply change the water every week.
After some time, you will notice the seed crack with roots beginning to emerge and the seedlings forming. When you notice the seedlings, you can then transfer them to regular soil or soil mix, whether potted or in the ground.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Soil Mix for Avocado Trees
Whether you go for traditional soil or commercially available soil mix, you have to pay attention to the same factors. Doing so ensures you pick the right option for growing your avocadoes. Here are the essential factors to consider;
Always go for loose, well-aerated, and draining soils. Depending on the area you are in, you can choose loamy, sandy loam, volcanic, alluvial, or red clay soil (when properly amended). Alternatively, you can opt for commercially available soil mix or potting soil.
While different brands carry varying mix components, you want to pay attention to several essential components. These include sand, loam, peat moss, coconut coir, bark, forest humus, limestone, crushed granite, and perlite. These soils promote proper drainage, moisture retention, and root stability. They also ensure the plant receives adequate nourishment to grow tall and produce abundant fruits.
Keep in mind that with poor drainage, the soil suffers from water logging. This, in turn, increases the risks of the plant’s root rot due to excess moisture. On the other hand, proper drainage allows the roots to retain just the right amount of moisture. This doesn’t only protect the plant from issues, such as root rot. It also ensures the tree yields a generous amount of fruits and remains healthy.
Tip: When you plant your seeds or seedlings, leave at least 30 to 35-foot space between each plant.
As mentioned earlier, avocado trees survive in slightly acidic and alkaline soil. They can grow comfortably in pH levels of 6 to 7.5. However, if your soil has a slightly higher or lower pH, you can balance it by adding lime, calcium carbonate, or sulfur.
Even with the right soil type, you have to ensure the salt levels are low. Soils with a high salt concentration can pose problems for avocados. In particular, you will notice the leaves turn brown and look like they are sunburned.
If nothing is done about this problem, the plant can eventually die. If you notice this problem, you can water the tree consistently to level the concentrations out. This is because water is effective at clearing soil out. But, you have to water the plant deeply over a certain period.
This method is not always effective. This is particularly true if the tree is planted in areas with naturally high salt concentrations, for example near the ocean. In this case, such conditions are just not ideal for growing avocados unless you grow them in a pot (which also restricts growth and size).
Companion planting is another excellent way to keep your avocado or trees thriving, whether in pots or on the ground. For instance, growing avocado trees in pots can sometimes increase their risk of root rot. You can mitigate these risks by growing avocado trees with thirsty plants or flowers to balance out the water.
Beyond balancing the growing conditions, pairing avocados with other plants comes with a variety of other advantages. These include attracting pollinators, repelling pests and diseases, and providing ground cover to keep soil temperatures low and moisture content high. Some of the best companion plants for avocado trees include basil, lavender, alliums, comfrey, and strawberries.
Top 7 Best Soil Recommendations for Avocado Trees on the Market
The best part of using commercially available potting or soil mix is it eliminates the guessing game and time-consuming soil amendment task. Not every gardener is an expert at amending soils for different plant profiles.
So, if you are not confident enough, ready-to-use potting soil mixes are the next best things after traditional soil. Here are our top rated, gardener-approved recommendations for soil or potting mix to use for your avocado trees;
Size: 12 Quart/13.2L
Contents: Sandy loam, aged forest products, sphagnum peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish emulsion, and crab meat
If you are searching for the ultimate potting soil for avocado trees, you can’t go wrong with the Hydroponic City FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix. The potting soil mix combines a powerful blend of organic material and well-drained soils.
This superior soil mix gives it a light and ultra-aerated texture for the perfect avocado-growing soil conditions. Further, the soil mix is pH adjusted from 6.3 to 6.8 to cater to the slightly acidic soil needs of the planted.
This pH adjustment also allows for optimum fertilizer uptake. In fact, this ready-to-use soil mix contains everything an avocado tree needs to grow and thrive. All you need is to plant your seedlings and let the soil do the rest.
- Light and aerated soil texture
- Packs nutrients that promote strong branches and sturdy growth
- Great for indoor and outdoor planting, in containers and established gardens
- Contains everything an avocado tree needs to grow
- May attract some spider mites
Size: 1 cubic foot/28.3L
Ingredients: Sphagnum peat moss, processed forest products, peat, or compost, coir, perlite, fertilizer, and wetting agent
The Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix is what you should get if you want to enjoy great value for your money. The potting bags come in a generous sizing but, at a fraction of the price. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean quality or functionality are compromised.
In fact, the potting mix is specially formulated with moisture control to protect the plant against under or overwatering. The potting soil includes a blend of organic matter, such as sphagnum peat moss, coir, and wetting agent.
Combined, these components allow the soil mix to absorb up to 33% more water than basic planting. This, in turn, gives your plant adequate and consistent supply without turning the soil wet. The moisture control properties and a blend of nutrients in this mix give it the ability to grow plants twice as big compared to regular soil.
- Contains enough nutrients to feed up to 6 months
- Impressive moisture-retaining functions
- Works for flowers too – it beautifies them
- Works indoor and outdoor plants
- May attract gnats
Size: 8 Quart/ 8.8L
Ingredients: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, composted or aged bark, compost, earthworm castings, horticultural grade perlite, pumice or cinders, and organic grade fertilizer
The Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Organic Potting Soil is specially mixed for gardeners that want to keep everything organic. This potting mix uses one of the best soul types, i.e. rich loamy soils. Further, the soil mix combines an invaluable blend of organic matter and fertilizer to produce the best quality mix – with a proven track record of performance.
This brand is even listed by the organic materials review institute for the production of organic food and fiber. The potting mix’s applications are also quite versatile. You can use it in any growing setting, whether hanging baskets, pots, patio containers, or even vegetable garden plantings.
- Perlite and pumice promote enhanced pore and airspace for sturdy growth
- 100% organic formulation
- Loose and aerated texture
- Works for all garden applications
- May facilitate fungus gnats
Size: 1 cubic foot/26.2L
Ingredients: composted forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano, humic acid, oyster shells, and dolomitic lime
FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil is formulated for gardeners looking for a soil mix that’s rich in micronutrients. This rich soil mix comes ready to use with fine-screened soil and rich nutrients. It is particularly formulated for container plantings, although it works for other applications too.
The potting soil has also gone through a pH adjustment process using dolomitic lime for easy nutrient uptake and optimal results. Further, the potting mix features a unique blend of beneficial soil microbes, mycorrhizal fungi, and sediment to promote root development.
- Packs macronutrients, good bacteria, and fungi
- Boosts plant structure, vegetative growth, and fruit & flower production
- Enhances plant growth rate
- Ready-to-use formula
- May be susceptible to mites and flies
Size: 1.5 cubic feet/ 42.5L
Ingredients: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, processed softwood bark, horticultural-grade perlite, dolomite lime, and professional wetting agent
The professional grade Proven Winners All Purpose Potting Soil is formulated with strong fertilizer to boost plant growth and development. The mix is also specially formulated to produce vibrant flowers while strengthening the overall plant’s structural growth.
The mixing soil features a 50% to 60% blend of Canadian sphagnum peat moss, processed softwood bark, perlite, dolomite lime, a controlled-release fertilizer, and a wetting agent. This mix gives it a medium-weight blend with superior air porosity and drainage. On the other hand, the wetting agent helps to improve absorption by peat moss to ensure full nutrient uptake.
- Works for most outdoor garden applications
- Boosts a variety of vibrant flower growth
- Offers incredible air porosity and drainage
- Ready-to-use mixture
- Not the best option for indoor planting
Size: 4 quart/4.4L
Ingredients: Coconut coir, sphagnum peat moss, pumice, perlite, earthworm castings, compost, forest humus, fish bone meal, feather meal, blood meal, oyster shell, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, and limestone
The Harris All Purpose Potting soil Mix stands out for its superfood formulation. Packed with worm castings, the potting mix guarantees maximum health. Adding the worm castings further promotes root development and overall growth.
Worm castings are also a plant superfood packed with essential nutrients, such as iron, sulfur, calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. On the other hand, its diverse mix of organic soils and matter, such as pumice and perlite, improves aeration and drainage. The mix also features coco coir which boosts moisture retention.
- Packs a good amount of essential nutrients
- Impressive moisture retention for vegetables, flowers, fruits, and herbs
- Contains pH-adjusting limestone for optimal nutrient uptake
- Improves root aeration and drainage
- A little expensive
Size: 0.4 cubic feet/11L
Ingredients: Canadian sphagnum peat moss, limestone, renewable pine bark, HydraFiber, gypsum, wetting agent, and fertilizer
The Glee All Purpose Potting Mix is worth the investment if you are committed to clean planting and gardening. The all-purpose potting soil mix works for all indoor and outdoor plants, whether in raised beds or containers. The mix guarantees stunning blooms, lush foliage, and vibrant growing plants. However, the mix stands out the most for its advanced formulation.
Integrating a patented HydraFiber technology, the soil mix guarantees optimal results. The potting soil promotes aeration for root growth while its moisture-controlling abilities are more forgiving on forgetful gardeners. The moisture control feature protects your plants, retaining moisture in the soil even when you forget to water your plants.
- Packs nutrition for up to 6 months’ worth of feeding
- Requires less watering than traditional soil
- Porous fiber technology for mess-free working
- Patented technology improves aeration, drainage, and overall growth and development
- May have a strong odor
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Avocados Prefer Acidic or Alkaline Soils?
Avocadoes prefer both slightly acidic and alkaline soils with pH levels between 6 and 7.5. But, if you have slightly higher or lower soil pH levels, you can balance them by adding limestone, calcium carbonate, or sulfur.
When Should I Plant My Avocado Tree?
You should plant your avocado tree around the spring period. This is the ideal time as you would have avoided the frost danger during winter. The springtime planting also gives the plant enough time to develop its roots before the cold winter season returns.
Can I Grow Avocado Trees in a Pot?
You can certainly grow avocado trees in pots. To maintain healthy and bushy growth, you want to regularly prune the leaves and repot the plant into bigger pot sizes as it grows. But, chances of fruit-bearing in pots are slim as the vessel restricts size growth. For the most part, potted avocado trees make for excellent ornamental plants and trees.
How Long Does It Take An Avocado Tree to Grow and Produce Fruits?
It takes about 3 to 4 years for an avocado tree to grow and start producing fruits. However, it can take up to 10 years for a particular tree to reach its peak fruit production.
How Do I Know My Avocado Fruits Are Ready for Harvest?
You can tell avocado fruits are ready for harvest when they turn dark green or black and remain firm. You should harvest avocados when they are fully mature before they ripen. It takes about a year for an avocado fruit growing on its tree to mature.
Choosing the best soil for avocado trees for your planting ensures a smooth experience. The right soil doesn’t only promote healthier and bountiful growth with generous fruit harvest. It also prevents hiccups, such as plant disease, stunted growth, and even plant death.
If you want to plant healthy avocado trees with as much fruit production as ornamental value, go for well-drained soil with excellent water retention. Options such as loamy, sandy loam, volcanic, or alluvial soils are great options.
Boost their quality and nutrient value by first amending them with organic matter or compost. Then, finish them off with fertilizer and mulch during planting. Alternatively, you can take a slightly easier route by opting for commercially available soil mix or potting soil for avocados.
Our personal favorite mix is the Hydroponic City FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix. However, if you want an organic option that closely matches traditional soil, go for Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold Organic Potting Soil. If you are on a budget, the Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix won’t disappoint you.
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