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Do Avocado Trees Grow in Hawaii? Which Varieties are Best?

Avocados are loved throughout the world for their rich creamy taste and impressive nutritional profile.

The tropical/ subtropical climate of the Hawaiian islands means that this beloved fruit can easily be cultivated in windward locations.

The fruit varies in oil content from around 5% to about 30% and often weighs between ¼ lb to 3 lbs. Avocados can be either Mexican, Guatemalan or West Indian, and one of two flowering types; type A or type B.

Type A opens in the morning, closes at midday, and opens again the following day. Type B opens in the afternoon, closes in the evening, reopening the next morning. The presence of both types will improve pollination and production.

By planting different varieties with different ripening times, it is possible to have avocados throughout most of the year.

6 Best Avocado Varieties for Hawaii

1. Kahalu’u Avocado (Persea americana ‘Kahalu’u)

Kahalu'u Avocado
Image by Plant It Hawaii via FB

The Kahalu’u avocado is a favored variety in the state that’s because of its superior taste. It’s often considered the best-tasting Hawaiian avocado, due to its high oil content, which lends the fruit a creamy and soft taste.

The skin is thin and green and the Kahalu’u ripens in the fall and usually weighs between 10 and 28 oz. The fruit is large and oblong, with a small stone size, maturing between August and October.

Kahalu’u Avocado has an upright growth habit and can be an alternate bearer, producing a good crop every other year. They feature B-type flowers and the genetics are Guatemalan and West Indian.

Other Common Names: Kahalu’u Avocado

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: Dry season

2. Sharwil Avocado (Persea americana ‘Sharwil)

Sharwil Avocados
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Sharwil Avocado is originally from Australia and is descended from Mexican and Guatemalan trees. The fruit is pear-shaped and ripens in the winter between November and February. Sharwil is usually a heavy bearer and is the main commercial variety grown in Hawaii, being the only variety that’s shipped to the mainland United States.

The fruit features a smooth and creamy texture, with a delicate nutty flavor. The oil content is high, typically around 28% and the stone is small. Sharwil is a medium-sized low-spreading tree and the fruit is medium-sized.

Other Common Names: Sharwil Avocado

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: Dry winter season

3. Yamagata Avocado (Persea americana ‘Yamagata’)

Yamagata Avocado trees
Image from My Avocado Trees

The Yamagata Avocado features a long and heavy bearing season from February to June. The fruit is large and pear-shaped with a light green skin.

The flavor is nutty and the texture can be somewhat fibrous but the flavor is universally loved and highly regarded. The skin can be somewhat rough, and the neck of the fruit is usually curved.

Other Common Names: Yamagata Avocado

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: March- April

4. Malama Avocado (Persea americana ‘Malama’)

Malama Avocado was developed by the Department of Horticulture, University of Hawaii and is a heavy-bearing tree that provides a regular crop in the fall. The skin is purple when ripe and is easy to peel. The fruit is medium-sized, with a delicious, nutty, rich, and creamy flavor with a high oil content.

Malama is a Guatemalan race hybrid and has a spreading canopy. Leaves are bright green when young, turning darker green when mature, and have B-type flowers.

The fruit is obovate and smooth and weighs between 1 and 1 ½ lbs. The skin is thick and the stone makes up 20-25% of the fruit. The flesh is yellow, blending to green close to the stone, and the oil content is more than 20%.

Other Common Names: Malama Avocado

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25-35 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: Late winter

5. Green Gold (Persea americana ‘Green Gold’)

Green Gold Avocados
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Green Gold are related to the successful Sharwil avocado and gets its name from the green color of the skin. Developed by the University of Hawaii, it features a high oil content and a good flavor, with many preferring the taste to Sharwil.

It’s a heavy bearing, capable of bearing 528 pounds a year, according to the Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service. They are a late season variety, with fruit maturing from January through to April, whilst the flowers are A types.

The skin of Green Gold is rough and thick and the flesh is yellow, shading to green closer to the stone.

Other Common Names: Green Gold Avocado Tree

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and wide

Flowering Season: Late winter/dry periods

6. Murashige Avocado (Persea americana ‘Murashige’)

Murashige is a late season avocado, ripening between June and August. The fruit is large and green skinned, pear-shaped and has a small stone.The flesh is about 20% oil and usually weighs between 24 oz and 32 oz.

The flavor is reportedly excellent, with the downside being that the fruit doesn’t store well, making it difficult to sell. The stem comes away from the fruit easily, so should be cut and not pulled during harvest time.

Murashige are type B avocados and are large trees with a vigorous growth rate.

Other Common Names: Murashige Avocado

Growing Zones: 9-11

Average Size at Maturity: 25–40 ft tall and 25-35 ft wide

Flowering Season: Late winter

Avocados For Hawaii

While the avocado is not one of the most common trees you will find in Hawaii, it is a much loved fruit around the world that can be incorporated into a wide variety of different sweet or savory dishes.

Avocado trees are beautiful, medium-sized evergreen trees that can grow on moist soil types. The most important thing is to give them good drainage to avoid root rot. They have elliptical to oval leaves and the fruit can be pear-shaped, oval, or round, with differences in color and texture.

The climate of Hawaii is suited for the cultivation of many different types of fruit trees, including avocado.

Just be sure to check the hardiness map of Hawaii before planting and pay attention to the varieties people close to you are growing as a variety that’s grown at sea level may not thrive at higher altitude.

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