Reed Avocado Grow Guide

Holding a perfectly ripe and mature California Reed Avocado
Image Credit: Fair Oaks Tropiculture

The Reed Avocado is truly exceptional in every aspect.

Not only is the tree is very productive, but the large cannonball-shaped fruits offer one of the best avocado-eating experiences imaginable: a mild, yet full-bodied and delicious avocado with a consistency reminiscent of creamy butter.

Sounds absolutely delicious, right?

This grow guide will cover everything that you need to know about Reed Avocado:

Table of Contents

Reed Avocado Tree Characteristics

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

This includes avocado cultivars such as:

A Reed Avocado Tree loaded with Reed Avocados
Image Credit: Fair Oaks Tropiculture

However, if you are planning to grow Reed in California, there’s no need to stress out about finding an adequate pollinator. That is because, regardless of whether a Type A Pollinator is present or not, Reed’s fruit production consistently ranges from good to heavy.

A cluster of Reed Avocados hanging on the tree
Image Credit: Fair Oaks Tropiculture

The avocados themselves are very round, medium-sized fruits that typically weigh between 0.75 and 1.5 lbs.

Despite the fruit having a medium to large seed, Reed has a good flesh-to-seed ratio.

Reed is a pure Guatemalan Avocado. Similar to other Guatemalan Avocados like Nishiwaka, Taylor, Tonnage and Meya, Reed is moderately cold tolerant and able to withstand temperatures as low as 26º F.

A Reed Avocado Tree pushing out new foliage growth
Image Credit: Big Daddy Fruit Trees

Finally, the Reed Avocado Tree has a moderately vigorous and upright growth habit.

Interestingly enough, when grown in Florida, it’s not uncommon for Reed to exhibit a slightly lower vigor growth pattern compared to when the tree is grown in California. Regardless of location, because of its slender growth, Reed would be an excellent choice for those with smaller yards.

A tall Reed Avocado Tree
Image Credit: Fair Oaks Tropiculture

Reed Avocado Flavor Profile

The Reed Avocado features a forest green skin, speckled with whitish-yellow flecks, that is thick and semi-smooth with a pebbled texture. Additionally, the skin feels akin to a shell, reminiscent of Nabal.

Despite being difficult to peel, the skin conveniently acts as an ‘avocado bowl,’ making it easy to scoop out the fruit!

Reed Avocados vs Nabal Avocados
Reed (LEFT) vs Nabal (RIGHT)
Image Credit: Grossman Avocados

Reed is a freestone fruit, meaning the large seed will often loosen and sometimes even rattle around the cavity when the fruit is ripe. Fortunately, much of the seed husk often remains adhered to the seed.

Slicing into the fruit reveals light yellow flesh with an incredibly smooth and creamy yet firm texture.

With Reed’s oil content ranging from 18% to 20%, the fruit’s texture resembles that of butter left outside the refrigerator for half an hour (I know, that’s super specific!).

A freshly picked, mature and ripe Reed Avocado
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

From a flavor perspective, Reed Avocado offers a smooth, clean, and mild taste with a nuttiness reminiscent of Sharwil. However, among the more mildly flavored avocados traditionally grown in California, I would rank Reed as number one, followed by Bacon and Zutano, respectively.

For someone who has never tasted a Reed, I would compare it to eating an earlier season Hass, which typically has a more mild and toned-down nuttiness flavor.

If I lived in California, I would definitely add a Reed to my yard without question.

A mature and ripe Reed Avocado cut in half
Image Credit: Produce Art Australia

Reed Avocado Season (And When To Pick)

In California, Reed’s season ranges from June – September.

For the adventurous grower in Florida, Reed’s season ranges from December – March.

A Reed Avocado on a scale weighing 14.9 ounces
Image Credit: Avoha Avocados

For California growers, while Reed undoubtedly tastes better when allowed to mature fully on the tree, I would recommend not leaving the fruit on the tree past September.

By that point, Reed can develop an ‘oily canistel’ texture that can taste ‘cheesy and dry’ due to an excessive amount of oil in the fruit. If the seed has already sprouted inside the fruit, then the fruit will likely have this texture.

On the other hand, for those growing Reed in Florida, the tree is known to drop a lot of fruit during milder winters. In other words, it appears that cooler weather does indeed help the tree maintain its fruit until harvest.

Two freshly harvested Reed Avocados
Image Credit: Big Daddy Fruit Trees

That said, the best time to pick Reed Avocados are when they are mature on the tree. From a color perspective, Reed will transition to a dull, dark forest green. In addition to color, one should also check to see if the fruit 1) is full size and 2) can gently be removed from the tree.

While I typically suggest checking to see if the fruit is soft prior to harvesting, the truth is, Reed’s thick skin makes it challenging to assess ripeness. In fact, there will only be the slightest amount of give when gently pressing with your fingers once the fruit is ripe and ready. If the fruit feels very soft, it’s likely already overripe.

A mature and unripe Reed Avocado
Image Credit: Produce Art Australia

Therefore, instead of squeezing the fruit for a ‘softness test,’ one can pop off the pedicel (stem button) and use a toothpick to poke the fruit, gauging its softness and, by extension, its ripeness.

Nature doesn’t make it easy for us, eh?

Holding a perfectly ripe and mature California Reed Avocado
Image Credit: Fair Oaks Tropiculture

And while determining an 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. On the first day of the first month when the fruit is in season (see above for location based seasons), pull a single fruit off the tree and allow it ripen for 3 – 8 days (at room temperature)
  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.
Holding a perfectly ripe and mature California Reed Avocado
Image Credit: Avoha 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.

Reed Avocado History

The Reed Avocado was initially propagated in Carlsbad, California by James Reed in 1948 and subsequently patented in 1960.

Reed was eventually introduced to Florida with the hope of meeting the demand for late-season avocados.

However, Reed never really took off in the Florida Avocado Industry. This was due to Reed not producing at the same commercial scale in Florida in addition to the introduction of other delicious late-season avocados like Lula and Choquette that did produce well in Florida.

A pile of mature but not ripe Reed Avocados
Image Credit: Produce Art Australia

Reed is a seedling of Nabal, with its pollinating parent speculated to be Anaheim.

Additionally, Holiday is a seedling of Reed.

Reed Avocado Tree For Sale

Reed is an excellent choice for those seeking a very productive and delicious avocado tree.

Additionally, you shouldn’t have any problems finding a Reed. They are very common in the nursery trade!

However, if you can’t find a Reed at your local nursery, your next best option is checking out Lara Farms Miami (not sponsored). They are one of the only legit places online where you are getting exactly what you are paying for. 

Lara Farms has over 30 varieties of avocados available. They do ship!


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If you have any questions regarding anything mentioned in this grow guide, please comment them below! This way, others can also benefit from the answer to the same question. For any other questions or growing tips that you think may be helpful, feel free to use the contact form and drop me a line.

Thank you for reading! 🙂


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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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