Avocados have both male and female blooms; this is known as hermaphroditic. But to confuse us more, they cannot self-pollinate. Are you confused yet? You are thinking well if there are male blooms and female blooms what is the problem? Avocados have a very elaborate fertilization system and a very highly structured blooming pattern; because of this you need two different plants of different varieties.
Types of avocados
There are two types of avocados. There are the types that fall under the A list and another type that fall under the B list. Each one of the types has their own way of blooming that is different from their counter part.
Type A Avocados
There are different varieties of avocados that fall under the A category. You have the Gwen, Hass, and Reed cultivars. Type A varieties have a different blooming system than the B counter part. Type A’s blooming system is as follows; the female flowers open up in the morning of their initial day of blooming and after they close the first day they do a transformation act. Yes, like magic they re-open in the evening as males on the following day of blooming. This pattern continues in subsequent days.
Type B Avocados
Ettinger, Fuerte cultivars and the Bacon make up the type B avocados. These flowers do the same as their type A counter parts. The difference with these varieties is the male flowers open in the morning on the first day and re-open as females in the evening of the second day.
Are you more confused or starting to see the picture? So, to have a higher probability of your avocado trees bearing fruit you should invest in several different kinds under the A list and the B list.
I rooted Hass from list A and Fuerte from list B. No reason for matching those two, these were the only two different kinds I could find here in the local stores. Depending on where you live, will it dictate what kind you find to work with. I will say the Fuerte seemed to grow roots a little faster, but Hass did catch up with the Fuerte as time went by. So, the Hass female bloom is open in the morning and the Fuerte male flower is open in the morning; thus making it easier for the female to be pollinated. This pattern will follow the next evening but with the different blooms (Hass male flowers in the evening and the Fuerte female flowers open in the evening of the next day. The second day will be the first time for each bloom opening as either male or female. How is the confusion coming, better or have I muddy the water a little more. Took me a few minutes to get the pattern in my head straightened out.
You should have a high level of success if you have two different varieties together as stated above. That being said, if you grow them inside or out and the temperature falls below 70 this will cause your plant’s flowers to become more confused, causing the plant to have some blooms open as male and some as female giving your plant a better change of pollinating itself.
Growing avocados from the seed is a great project for kids also. Makes a great science project along the way learning the flowering system of the avocado.