Looking to plant the common Hass variety of avocado in your yard? Looking for the less common Reed? Searching for where to buy a rarely grown avocado variety like Nabal, GEM, or Jan Boyce?
Let me try to connect you with the grower or seller of the avocado variety of your choice.
Where to buy common avocado varieties
Most retail nurseries throughout California don’t grow the avocado trees that they sell. Rather, they get their avocado trees from wholesale growers, especially La Verne Nursery in Ventura County and Durling Nursery in San Diego County. Between these two, about a dozen avocado varieties are made available to hundreds of retail outlets: Bacon, Fuerte, Hass, Holiday, Jim Bacon, Lamb Hass, Mexicola, Mexicola Grande, Pinkerton, Reed, Stewart (also sometimes spelled Stuart), Wurtz (also sometimes called Wertz, Little Cado, and Hybrid Dwarf), and Zutano.
(La Verne has recently started growing Sharwil and Jan Boyce avocado trees, but they have yet to show up in retail nurseries consistently.)
(Click on any of the blue names to see my profile of that variety, which might help you decide if it’s the right variety for your yard.)
So if you want to buy one of these varieties you have many choices in retail outlets. Here a few of the larger outlets that sell Durling or La Verne avocado trees and have multiple locations. Maybe you already know one of these near you. (Click on the name to find the nearest store.)
Another way of locating a retail outlet through which to buy a La Verne-grown avocado tree is through their website. Click here to go to La Verne’s store locator webpage if you don’t have one of the above mentioned stores near you. You’ll likely find a smaller, independent nursery near you who sells La Verne avocado trees.
For example, in San Diego County, we have the independent Walter Andersen Nursery with two locations. One is down near Point Loma and the other is up in Poway. They usually have a good selection of avocado trees on hand, coming mostly from La Verne and Durling.
By the way, if your local nursery doesn’t have one of the above avocado varieties in stock at any one time, they can almost certainly request it from the wholesale grower (Durling or La Verne or elsewhere) and get it for you within a couple months — sometimes longer. Just ask.
Over the years, I have bought avocado trees from all of the outlets mentioned above, and I can vouch for their quality generally.
In Orange County, a good source of avocado trees is Laguna Hills Nursery. Their trees come mostly from a wholesale grower called Brokaw. Depending on the time of year, Laguna Hills will have different size trees available and many varieties, such as Hass, Lamb, Reed, Holiday, and Carmen.
Maddock Nursery in Fallbrook is one final place that I’ll mention where you can find the most common varieties. The distinction of Maddock is that they grow their own trees. They have been doing so forever and they do it very well.
Where to buy uncommon avocado varieties
To find uncommon varieties of avocado trees for sale you must visit smaller, sometimes peculiar, places.
In the avocado epicenter of Fallbrook, you find Atkins Nursery. Established by Oliver Atkins, who long served as the chairman of the California Avocado Society’s Variety Committee, the nursery is now owned and run by Victor Gonzales, but propagating rare avocado varieties continues. They are truly one of a kind, offering varieties found at almost no other retail nursery, varieties such as Queen, Sharwil, Nabal, Gwen, Nimlioh, Ardith, and on and on.
Atkins doesn’t have a website, but they do have a Facebook page. The nursery’s address: 3129 Reche Rd, Fallbrook, CA 92028. Their phone number: (760) 728-1610. I would recommend calling before you go because their inventory of avocado varieties is always changing.
Not far from Atkins in Fallbrook is Subtropica Nurseries. This is an operation that supplies farmers with orders of thousands of trees but also sells to home gardeners, and here you can buy avocado varieties that aren’t widely available, such as GEM, Gwen, Pinkerton, Sir-Prize, Sharwil, Edranol, Ettinger, Hellen, Julia, and Carmen, in addition to Hass, Lamb, Reed, and Fuerte.
(Click on a variety in blue to see my short video profile of the eating qualities of that avocado.)
From Subtropica, you can also buy avocado trees on clonal rootstocks. These are specially propagated rootstocks that have demonstrated tolerance to problems that commonly affect avocados, such as salinity and root rot.
Conveniently, Subtropica carries avocado trees in small 3.5-gallon plastic sleeves, which are very easy to plant, and they also carry larger trees in 15-gallon containers.
If you’d like to buy a tree from Subtropica, the trees are sold across the street from the nursery at Eli’s Farmstand. If you don’t find the variety there that you’re looking for, ask to see if there are more over at the nursery. Or, before showing up, contact the manager, Eli Hofshi, through the website (linked above and here again), letting him know which variety you’re interested in so he can locate it and move it over to the farmstand.
One other place where you can buy rare avocado varieties only pops up once a year, in April (a good time to plant a new avocado tree). The great people of the California Rare Fruit Growers Orange County chapter have a booth at the Green Scene at the Fullerton Arboretum where they sell small avocado trees they have propagated themselves.
There you might be able to talk to the very person who grew the tree you want to buy.
Varieties I’ve seen available at Green Scene and almost nowhere else include: Herd, Daily 11, Kahalu’u, Choquette, Jan Boyce, Esther, Linda, and Shindler.
If you’re in the Bay Area, you might check the stock at Golden Gate Palms Nursery in Richmond, as they often have around a dozen varieties available, lately including some GEM trees.
Buying avocado trees online
If you live outside of Southern California or don’t have a good retail nursery nearby, consider buying an avocado tree online to be shipped to your front door. The only such vendor that I have used and that I can recommend is Four Winds Growers.
Four Winds is located in Northern California but they purchase the young avocado trees that they’ll eventually sell to you from Brokaw Nursery — the same Brokaw whose trees are sold at Laguna Hills Nursery in Orange County. Four Winds offers more than a dozen, excellent avocado varieties for sale through their website (linked above), and they even carry some hard-to-find varieties such as Carmen, Sir-Prize, and Gwen.
One small note: Don’t be misled by the photos of avocado fruit on the Four Winds website as — at the time of this update (March 2020) — some are not those of the variety name listed below them. For example, a photo of Hass fruit is shown above the Stewart variety name.
I hope this post’s information connects you to someone who has grown the avocado tree that you want to plant in your yard. Once you have your tree, have a look at my posts about planting and watering new avocado trees.
(Unsure of which avocado variety is best for you? See my post, “What’s the best kind of avocado to grow?”)
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