Fuerte Avocado Grow Guide

Holding a perfectly mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

In my humble opinion, if we were to judge avocados purely on flavor, I would personally crown Fuerte as the world’s best. There is simply no other avocado out there that offers the same flavor spectrum as Fuerte.

So if you live in California, and can only plant one avocado tree, I would HIGHLY encourage you to plant a Fuerte!

That being said, this grow guide will cover everything that you need to know about Fuerte Avocado:

Table of Contents

Fuerte Avocado Tree Characteristics

The Fuerte Avocado Tree is a Flowering Type B Avocado. In other words, the female flowers open in the afternoon and male flowers in the morning. In order to maximize Fuerte’s fruit production, the tree should be planted near a Flowering Type A Avocado with a similar fruiting season.

This includes avocado cultivars such as:

A cluster of Fuerte Avocados on the tree
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

In California, Fuerte’s fruit production consistently ranges from fair to average. Additionally, Fuerte tends to alternate between stronger and weaker crop years, exhibiting what’s known as alternate bearing tendencies.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be a positive correlation between Fuerte’s fruit production and warmer temperatures during flowering. Translation: if you are in an area where growing avocado trees is a bit of a stretch, you probably won’t get bumper crops of Fuerte.

A mature cluster of Fuerte Avocados on the tree
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

So, does Fuerte thrive in Florida then? Well, no.

In Florida, Fuerte’s fruit production consistently ranges from poor to fair. While Florida’s climate might initially seem suitable for a good Fuerte crop, the truth is, Fuerte can’t reasonably handle Florida’s extreme heat and summer rains. These unideal climatic factors often lead to a lot of fruit drop and/or cracked fruit.

A cluster of Immature and unripe Fuerte Avocados on the tree
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

Regardless, the avocados themselves are small-sized fruits that typically weigh between 0.5 and 0.75 lb. Despite Fuerte containing a pointy, medium-sized seed, Fuerte has a good flesh-to-seed ratio.

The Fuerte Avocado is a Guatemalan X Mexican Hybrid. Similar to other Guatemalan X Mexican Hybrids like HassLamb HassSuper HassBacon and Winter Mexican, Fuerte is highly cold tolerant and able to withstand temperatures as low as 22º F, making it one of the most cold hardy avocados available.

A pile of freshly harvested and mature Fuerte Avocados
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

Finally, the Fuerte Avocado Tree has a vigorous and spreading growth habit. The tree’s leaves also have an anise scent when crushed and the stems of new growth have small, yet beautiful red flecks.

Fuerte Avocado Flavor Profile

The Fuerte Avocado features smooth, soft, pliable, dark green skin of medium thickness that peels very easily and doesn’t adhere to the fruit. Additionally, Fuerte’s skin also has tiny yellow specks, similar to those of Zutano.

Holding a perfectly mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

Slicing into the fruit reveals light yellow flesh that is thick, smooth, and deliciously creamy like butter, with very little to no fiber.

While Fuerte is noticeably less oily than other California-grown Guatemalan X Mexican hybrids, with its oil content hovering between 12% and 20%, it is still exceptional and complements the overall flavor very well.

A mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado cut in half and exposing the seed
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

Speaking of flavor, as I mentioned in this grow guide’s introduction, I believe that Fuerte is one of, if not the best, avocados in the world when it comes to pure flavor.

The fruit’s flavor is rich and nutty with hints of hazelnut throughout and a delicious, sort-of lemony citrus aftertaste.

A mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado cut in half and exposing the seed
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

In fact, when I think of the ‘nutty flavor’ often used to describe different avocados, Fuerte really sets the standard.

Even among avocado cultivars with strong Guatemalan genetics, it’s honestly hard to find another avocado that comes close to the ‘nutty flavor bomb’ of Fuerte. That being said, in my opinion, the avocado cultivars that come closest to Fuerte’s nuttiness are Sharwil and Hass.

Several mature and ripe Fuerte Avocados that have been cut in half, exposing the seed
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

Fuerte Avocado Season (And When To Pick)

In California, Fuerte’s season ranges from December – April.

For the adventurous grower in Florida, Fuerte’s season ranges from November – March.

A mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

For the best-tasting fruit, I highly recommend waiting until later in the season to harvest Fuerte. This allows the fruit to develop a higher oil content and deeper flavors.

Fortunately, this shouldn’t be much of an issue as the fruit tends to hang on the tree fairly well.

Two freshly harvested mature and ripe Fuerte Avocados
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

The best time to pick Fuerte Avocados are when they are mature on the tree. From a color perspective, Fuerte will transition to a dull dark green color but will not turn black like Hass. One should also check if the fruit 1) is full size and 2) can gently be removed from the tree.

And while I typically advise checking if the fruit is soft prior to harvest, the truth is that Fuerte Avocados are at their peak flavor when picked firm-ripe rather than soft-ripe.

A mature but not ripe Fuerte Avocado hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

That being said, Fuerte is still absolutely delicious regardless of whether they are firm ripe or soft ripe.

However, if you want the true Fuerte experience, I encourage you to harvest a few fruits in that narrow harvest window (it’s 100% worth it).

A mature Fuerte Avocado hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

And while determining any avocado’s maturity can be difficult and require some trial and error, I have developed a repeatable process that has worked great for me:

  1. Assuming the fruit is full-size and has transitioned to a dull dark green color, starting October 27 (CA), pull a single fruit off the tree and allow it ripen for 3 – 8 days (at room temperature)
    • Delicately create small indents all around the fruit using your fingers.
      • If you detect a mixture of hard and soft spots, the fruit is not yet ripe. 
      • Conversely, uniform softness (not super soft) throughout the fruit indicates that it is ready for consumption.
  2. Taste the fruit – is the taste or consistency off ?
    • If the fruit tastes great, the rest of the avocados on our tree are ready to be harvested
    • If the fruit tastes sour/foul/rancid, wait another month and repeat the process with another single fruit
      • Fruit that are picked too early will often become black/inedible.

Side Note: I promise I didn’t just pull ‘October 27’ out of thin air! That’s actually the recommended first harvest date for Fuerte set by the California Avocado Commission.

A immature Fuerte Avocado hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

After confirming that the avocados on our tree are mature, we can begin developing our ‘avocado pipeline.’ This involves picking some fruit to ripen on the counter for more immediate use while also placing others in the refrigerator to be used later. By adopting this approach, we can ensure a continuous supply of ripe avocados.

Fuerte Avocado History

The Fuerte Avocado was discovered in Atlixco, Mexico by Carl Schmidt in 1911.

A pile of Fuerte Avocados with one Fuerte Avocado cut in half to expose the seed
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

The story goes that Fred Popenoe, owner of the West India Gardens Nursery in Altadena, California, hired Carl to search for avocado cultivars in Mexico that could thrive in California.

Among the scions that were sent back to California, upon being grafted, the scion originally labeled ‘Number 15’ stood out for its vigor. According to Wilson Popenoe, Fred’s son, his father remarked, “That’s the strongest grower of the lot. We’ll call it ‘Fuerte,'” which translates to “strong” in Spanish.

A mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado on a tree that's been cut in half to expose the fruit's seed
Image Credit: Cahit Dedemin Bahcesi

The scion was originally harvested from the property of Alejandro Le Blanc in Atlixco, Mexico.

Fun Fact: Before the introduction of Hass, Fuerte was the world’s primary commercial avocado. Remarkably, to this day, Fuerte continues to maintain its status as the world’s second most popular avocado cultivar.

A pile of mature and ripe Fuerte Avocados
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

Fuerte Avocado Tree For Sale

For Florida growers, I would advise against growing Fuerte.

Given the tree’s vigor and its tendency for poor fruit production, one would be lucky to obtain a decent crop. Consequently, Fuerte Avocados are uncommon to rare in the Florida Nursery Trade.

A pile of mature and ripe Fuerte Avocados
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

On the other hand, Fuerte would be an excellent addition to any California landscape. While there are cultivars with better production, such as Reed, Fuerte is extremely delicious and can also assist with pollinating Flower Type A Avocados, such as Hass.

Fortunately, Fuerte can be commonly found at most reputable garden nurseries.

Holding a mature and ripe Fuerte Avocado in hand
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados


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Matthew Rowlings

I have an Associates Degree in Biology from the University of Florida and am also an active Florida Master Gardener. I am located in Central Florida (Zone 10A) and have 6+ years of experience with growing 20+ types of tropical trees. You can learn more about me and why I started Tropical Tree Guide on my about page.

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