Russell Avocado Grow Guide

Two Russell Avocados On The Tree
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

There’s no doubt that Russell Avocado is a great conversation starter. It looks like a tree zucchini!

While funny looking as it is, the Russell Avocado is an exotic cultivar of avocado that can surely supply you and your family with a healthy amount of avocado toast 😄

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

Table of Contents

Russell Avocado Tree Characteristics

The Russell 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 Russell’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:

Speaking of fruit production, Russell’s fruit production consistently ranges from average to good. The avocados themselves are medium to large-sized fruits that typically weigh between 1 – 2.5 lbs.

A Russell Avocado Tree
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

Due to their elongated neck, which can sometimes reach 5-6 inches in length, and a smaller seed, Russell Avocados have an excellent flesh-to-seed ratio. As a result, Russell can definitely be classified as a ‘family-size’ avocado! 😄

Russell is a pure West Indian Avocado, which means that it is very susceptible to cold damage.

Similar to other West Indian Avocados such as the Simmonds, Pollock, Donnie, and Dupuis, Russell should only be planted in areas that rarely experience freezing temperatures. This makes Russell a great option for those in USDA Hardiness Zones 10B and above.

Russell Avocado Flavor Profile

The Russell Avocado boasts a thin, glossy, and smooth bright green skin with a leathery texture. Its yellowish-green flesh is smooth and buttery, maintaining a slightly firmer texture that holds up well. Additionally, the fruit carries a high moisture content, aligning with the ‘Watery Florida Avocado’ stereotype.

In terms of flavor, Russell offers a mildly rich taste with a distinctive nuttiness that isn’t overpowering. There’s also a noticeable but not overpowering sweetness, yet it’s not as sweet as what one would expect from a Lula.

A Mature and Ripe Russell Avocado
Image Credit: Luxury Fruit Connect

For those who prefer watery avocados, Russell might suit your taste. However, if you prefer oilier varieties, Russell may lean more towards the mediocre side (Russells have very little oil). Additionally, it’s important to note that Russell Avocados exhibit a tendency for uneven ripening, with the body maturing faster than the neck area.

As a result, if you have space for only one avocado tree and prefer a fruit with higher oil content, I would not suggest planting a Russell Avocado Tree. However, I will say that Russell does have its merits. Due to its larger size and ‘easy peel’ skin, the fruit has proven to be an excellent option for recipes requiring a substantial amount of avocado.

A Plate Containing a Pollock Avocado, Russell Avocado, Red Avocado, Simmonds Avocado & Derna Fuentes Avocado
Image Credit: Serendib Farms

Side Note: If you want a long-neck avocado that is the complete opposite of Russell (dense, rich, oily), then I recommend checking out the Del Rio Avocado. It’s like Russell’s twin but on the other side of the oil spectrum! 😋

Russell Avocado Season (And When To Pick)

Russell Avocados are considered an early-season avocado (July – August)

With that being said, the best time to pick Russell Avocados are when they are mature on the tree. From a color perspective, Russell changes very little during the maturation process. As a result, I usually check if the fruit is 1) full size and then 2) see if I can gently remove the fruit from the tree.

If both of those conditions are true (along with it being July/August), then Russell should be ready to harvest!

A Immature Russell Avocado On The Tree
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

When in doubt, I have developed a repeatable process that has worked great for me:

  1. Starting July 1, 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.
Two Russell Avocados On The Tree
Image Credit: D’s Fruit Trees

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.

Russell Avocado History

The Russell Avocado was discovered in Islamorada, Florida, in the Florida Keys.

While the Russell Long Neck Avocado boasts significant dimensions and distinctive elongated characteristics, it has not seen significant commercial cultivation due to challenges in shipping (weird size) and the tree’s moderate fruit production habit.

Russell Avocado Tree For Sale

Unfortunately, Russell Avocado Trees are not as common in the nursery trade due to their susceptibility to cold damage. I can’t remember the last time I saw one at any of my local nurseries.

With that being said, if you are unable to find one at a 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!

Conclusion

If you found this grow guide helpful, please consider sharing. It helps support the website 🙂

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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