En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - January 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, User Comments, Trees
Title: Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Weslaco, in the Rio Grande Valley and there are avocado trees as high as houses all over town.

ANSWER:

Here is the previous Mr. Smarty Plants question to which you are referring. It was published first in the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants section of our website and then reprinted in the Austin American Statesman, which we very much appreciate.

You are correct, southern Florida is not the only place in North America where an avocado will grow. If it were in our Native Plant Database, which it is not because it is not native, we could go to our webpage on the plant and discover which states it would grow in and, again, follow the link to the USDA Plant Profile Map to see if it grew in Travis County.

The original question was "will it grow outside in Travis County?" From GardenGuides.com., here is an article on Hardy Avocado Trees in Austin. As you said, they point out:

"Traditional cultivation of avocado trees (Persea americana) takes place in the lower Rio Grande Valley in the southern tip of Texas around Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Austin is much farther north, and typically gardeners there deal with thin alkaline soil--much more challenging for successful cultivation of the subtropical avocado. Avocado can be grown in containers but inevitably becomes a tree taller than 30 feet. Austin is in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 8b, although a warm winter may temporarily make it zone 9--cautiously good for avocado culture."

To take this just a step further, Austin, TX is in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, the southern tip of Florida is in Zone 10b, and Weslaco, in Hidalgo, right down in the southern tip of Texas, is in 9b to 10a. If you notice in the quotation above, the thin alkaline soil of Travis County is also difficult for the avocado. We don't pretend to be right about everything (a tough thing for Mr. Smarty Plants to admit), but we just answer the questions, and our answer was basically, we don't know. We told that customer that if the only choices were keep it inside where it had outgrown its space or move it to Travis County, then there was very little to lose in transplanting it outside in Austin, but we did not guarantee that it would survive our soils and winter temperatures.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Care for non-native indoor plants
October 20, 2007 - My cousin in Pa. asked me to see how to care for 2 plants in the winter. The first is a Voo Doo Lily and the second is a Bengal Tiger plant. If you would please help I would be able to pass it along...
view the full question and answer

Keeping non-native invasive bermudagrass out of yard in Austin
May 30, 2012 - My neighbor just sodded a huge lawn with Bermuda Celebration. I don't want it coming into my St. Augustine. From what I've read on your site and others, I need a deep barrier. Has anyone tried pu...
view the full question and answer

Dry, brown leaves on non-native weeping willow
August 03, 2008 - Hello! I live in Pennsylvania I have 5 weeping willows I planted 3 years ago. All seemed well until last week I noticed suddenly one looks like it might be dying!? All the leaves are dry & brown. T...
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Bryophyllum spp. in Austin
May 13, 2010 - I was given two varieties of what I now believe are 'Mother of Millions' and saw that they're considered a noxious weed in Australia. Are these plants considered dangerous to TX if I keep them in ...
view the full question and answer

Insects in non-native weeping willow
September 17, 2008 - My weeping willow is dropping small black insects. Thousands of 1/16" cover the ground etc. Insects stain a raspberry, purple color when smashed. Insects are very soft.Insects present about 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center