A friend of mine gave me an avocado plant that she grew from seed. She kept it primarily in a well-shaded patio. I don't have such a patio... in fact, I have a non-shaded house with frequent strong winds. I really want to keep this plant outside without resorting to constructing a green house. How can I best accomplish this?

  • It is going to need quite a bit of water - especially for a desert. Also do you get frosts? Avocadoes are not frost tolerant although some of the Mexican varieties might survive the occasional mild frost.
    – winwaed
    May 31, 2012 at 12:30
  • I don't think it is frost tolerant... in fact, even now, it looks very fragile, despite being 2 ft tall. I'm keeping it in a pot indoors right now, but I'd like to move it outdoors. If I take it out immediately, it's going to dry out (from heat) and/or sun-scarred. Is there a way I can move the pot outdoors in such a way to reduce these effects?
    – Paul
    May 31, 2012 at 18:26
  • You should harden the plant by leaving it out for progressively longer times.
    – Om Patange
    May 31, 2012 at 22:00
  • @OmPatange: How long should it take before it can be left out indefinitely?
    – Paul
    May 31, 2012 at 23:32
  • I have no experience with growning an avocado plant, but from experience with other plants you should wait till the colour of the leaves starts becoming darker. For tomato and pepper plants about a week is enough. The tests and times might be drastically different for avocado plants. Perhaps you can ask that as a separate question here.
    – Om Patange
    Jun 1, 2012 at 0:13

1 Answer 1


First off, if its grown from seed you may want to consider grafting while its still a manageable size. If it frosts in your area this may be a consideration in getting a suitable graft, in the comments it mentions some mexican varieties that may be more frost resistant. You can always graft individual branches later. Fruit from ungrafted plants (from seed) can be unpredictable. There is no way to know until it starts fruiting. Grafted branches usually fruit sooner, as soon as 18 months where I am (Colombian Andes, 1840msnm).

If it is used to the shade, consider some polisombra, or mesh that lets some but not all light through. A square of mesh on four posts is far short of building a green house, and may allow you to adjust the light overtime.

It will need water, as mentioned in a comment. If you have a site thats semi protected from the wind and close to a grey water or other water outlet, consider putting it out for progressively longer times, and then planting it. Planting it will allow it to begin to change its own soil structure, with lots of help from you of course (water, some compost probably). If possible, locate it near other plants.

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    Welcome to the site Alex! Apparently, usually daytime June temperatures are in the range of 35 to 40 °C or 95 to 104 °F) and cool or cold winters with occasional frosts, in the Chihuahuan desert, so you'd be right about grafting a cold tolerant variety. Is the recommendation for planting near other plants a wind related idea?
    – J. Musser
    Aug 24, 2014 at 23:36
  • 1
    I see you are into permaculture. See this Area 51 proposal. And is polisombra another word for shading plastic?
    – J. Musser
    Aug 25, 2014 at 0:49
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    Planting near other plants should help a bit with wind but also with soil quality. I don't know how sandy his backyard is, but patches of plants often group together and raise the organic content of sandy soil together. I'm note sure of the exact english for polisombra, your idea sounds right, here's a picture of what I'm thinking of: homecenter.com.co/homecenter-co/product/82348/… Its just woven together pieces of plastic. I'm signed on for that new permaculture stack, thanks for sharing!
    – Alex
    Aug 25, 2014 at 21:54

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