Dwarf Avocado 'Don Gillogly' - is it worth $50.00

eukofiosJanuary 2, 2006

Reading the other avocado commments, I remembered that Wayside/Parks has a dwarf. Looking that up, it's almost $50 - probably closer to $60 with shipping.

My mixed feelings about that supplier aside (which has been a mixed experience, some good, some bad), I was wondering if this avocado actually can bear fruit in a container and be overewintered inside (as Park's claims), and if so, are there sources of the same (or equivalent) variety for, say, under $20?

So far my search has been "fruitless" - so to speak - but it would be interesting to grow avocados here in WA. I just cant see paying that much for any fruit tree, let alone one that may be worthless.

Thanks for any comments.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

When they had a demonstration tunnel set up at WSU Mt Vernon I think avocado was one of the inhabitants (along with citrus). The idea was to show that such fruits could be overwintered here with a comparatively inexpensive setup.

Anything grown outside in any but the most mild parts of southern California has to be able to take temperatures at least approaching freezing sooner or later. A family friend who once lived in Ballard neighborhood of Seattle claimed to have eaten fruits off of an outdoor tree there, must have been one of the hardier Mexican cultivars.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 3:49PM
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pitangadiego(San Diego, CA)

Save yor money.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

Pitangadiego, LOL.
Well the few reports on Don Gillogly has been that its all hype.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 5:41PM
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bendrl(z9 Oakland, CA)

I was also interested in that avocado, but decided to go for the Holiday (also known as the XX3) avocado instead. The Holiday is also a dwarf avocado, but it has been evaluated by universities like the University of California, Riverside (see link below). I've seen the avocado at 2 local Home Depot stores and at a Long's Drugs store near me. There were about $25 for a 3-4 foot tree. There's also a website that sells holiday avocado trees, and the website contains information about holiday v. the Don Gillogly:


For $60, you should get more than just a tiny tree that will take years to grow fruit.

I have seen an article a while back by the San Jose Mercury News that does praise the Don Gillogly however...

Here is a link that might be useful: UC Riverside's Avocado Database

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 4:45PM
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kuffelcreek(z5 So. Calif.)

My wife had her heart set on Don Gillogly, so I ponied up for it. I will say that it survived our brutal summer in a pot and several freezes down to 30 degrees. It is in a 15 inch pot and is about three feet tall now.

On the other hand, $50 will buy a lot of Haas avocados from the supermarket...

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 11:45PM
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You have convinced me. No Don Gillogly. I doubt that I have spent $60 on avocados in my lifetime. It seemed like an interesting project and for a significantly lower cost, I probably would buy one.

Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 3:39PM
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Save your money. I bought one several years ago and it has never produced an avocado. Sure, it can handle temps outside in the summer, and it will sprout new leaves but it's not that impressive.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 2:05PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Avocado trees are said to require cross-pollination. An isolated specimen might not produce even if it was doing great otherwise.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 7:37PM
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kittyl(8/9 Calif)

I'm about to buy either the Holiday dwarf avocado or the Don Gillogly. Anyone with more recommendations on either?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:43PM
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I live in Orange County, Southern California. I bought a Holiday and a Don Gillogly ("DG")avocado tree in February of 2006. At that time the Holiday was about 5 ft tall and the DG was about 4 feet tall. Today, November 14, 2006 the Holiday is almost 10 ft tall and the DG is only 4.5 ft tall. The Holiday is robust, healthy, full and beautiful. The DG is sparce, insipid, delicate, yet still green. They were planted in the same month and are about 10 feet from each other.
I researched both as much as I could. I bought the DG first and the Holiday only as an after thought and as insurance in case one didn't do well. I have wanted my own avocado tree all my life.
For the DG, all the information that I read on the web was limited to hearsay a few and representations from Rogers nursery and from Don Gillogly himself. Nothing from anyone who actually owned and grew one and then ate the fruit. Now I think I know why. This is a totally unproven commodity. I have asked every nursery I have ever dropped in on and no one, not a sole has had any first hand experience with the DG. I have yet to hear from anyone who has actually eaten a DG avocado, much less even grown one themselves.
Think that the DG is a fake. I think that much if not all of the information out there is wrong, not substantiated, inaccurate, and constitute only "representation", not fact. IOW, Hype with a capital H.
Please, if anyone out there has actually grown a DG and harvested fruit, please, tell us!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 1:15PM
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Planted in 2005.

  1. The ends of last yearÂs growth threw out flower stalks. It seems like it was in about February (Kathy thinks it was March). I thought it was new leaf growth and Kathy thought they were flowers. They turned out to be flowers and it took a few weeks for any of them to open. They are very smallÂabout a quarter inch. In the interim, the branch grew and a bunch of leaves extended beyond the flower stalks. I check for signs of successful pollination often and noticed a few small avocados on April 20th. They were about a 1/16th of an inch to maybe 1/8th inch. The new leaves were pretty large by the time the avocados appeared. I also redid the drip basin (make it a bit larger) and added more coco-husks in early April.
    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 8:51PM
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I got my DG froms Parks as a season end sale for around $7 or not much more. I keep it on my back deck in a 14" clay pot alongside my dwarf citrus, and after 1 1/2 years it is about 4-5 ft tall. I take it inside for a few months every winter and it is a vigorus plant. This winter was the first time it had any blossoms but no fruit. For the little I paid it was worth it, but I would never pay $50+ for it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 10:41AM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

I would add that Julie Frink, the well-known Southern California avocado expert, does not recommend "Don Gillogly." She does, however, highly recommend "Holiday", particularly for those who want smaller trees. (This is all in the context of in-ground, outdoor plants.)

I have seen advertising material for the "Don Gillogly" cultivar implying (I think) that it is capable of producing fruit when grown indoors as a houseplant. As anyone with any experience with plants could tell you, this is just not possible, unless perhaps you have the functional equivalent of a greenhouse (e.g. a large solarium). I suspect that there are lots of disappointed buyers out there.

For those who plant it outdoors in places like California, I would bet that it would eventually produce (at least) decent fruit ... but probably not the uber-tasty crop that the promoters promise.

As I recall, Frink (who has probably tasted more avocado cultivars than anyone else in the state), lists her "Top 5 for Flavor" avocado cultivars as follows:

"Jan Boyce"

(I think that "Jan Boyce" may be her current top favorite for flavor, but the others are in no particular ranking order.)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 10:13PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Last summer, I was in Texas, and had to stop at Devine avocados near San Antonio. The owner Bill took me on around his avocado orchard. All his avocados are the mexican varieties he grew from seed.
I bought a variety named "Opal". It flowered in it's 1 gallon container, but it's too small to set fruit. I paid $30 for it.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:39AM
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Can you find out somehow if the Jan Boyce originates from a property immediately adjacent to the UCR botanical gardens in Riverside? If so, I have eaten avocados there on several occassions, as I know the current owner. And I think he bought it from a man named Boyce, who had been the curator of the gardens until he passed away.

The fellow who owns it now gave me a fig selection which Boyce had raised from seed. The only name I call it is Boyce.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 12:08PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)


I just checked the U.C. avocado variety information page (just Google avocado + "jan boyce" and you'll find it), and there's no information on the origin of the cultivar.

It certainly could be possible that the cultivar originates from the property that you've visited. Or perhaps Boyce (the botanical garden curator) found a superior seedling somewhere out there in Southern California, and then propagated and promoted it.

I do know that "Jan Boyce" is not really commercially available. A tree or trees exist at the U.C. South Coast Field Station in Irvine (Orange County), and that's where Frink would have encountered the cultivar.

(The Orange County CRFG chapter propagates trees using scionwood from the Field Station collection, and they usually sell lots of them at the Fullerton Arboretum "Green Scene" plant sale. I believe this sale will occur shortly, so those in Southern California might keep this in mind if they want to pick up some unusual avocado types. And no, I don't get any kickbacks!)

If you want to get more information on "Jan Boyce", I suggest that you write Frink directly. I don't have her e-mail address on hand, but you could send a message to the general CRFG "Information" address and ask that it be forwarded to her. I think that she would probably respond to a polite query, particularly one as intriguing as yours. If anyone can answer your question, it would be her.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 2:10PM
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For the sake of someone doing a search and looking into buying a dwarf avocado and its price:

I bought a Holiday in a 15 gallon (about 3-4 feet tall)container for $20 at Home Depot in Monrovia, CA. Or is it Duarte? anyways... I planted it and it looks good so far. Added a tomato cage around it just for safety from my tiny dog. It worked, he doesnt even look at it.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 3:56PM
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DG Update: Year 3. I posted in April last year. Last year's little DG avocados dropped within a month. My tree was planted in 2005. The tallest branch is 6 feet high and I just saw lots of flowers sprouting today. Maybe we'll get fruit this year!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 10:53PM
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I bought a DG at Rogers Nursery several years ago, planted it in a 15 gallon pot. It grew slowly outside for two or three years. We live in what is supposed to be safe avocado country, so I never thought of giving it special protection. The freeze of January '07 killed the tree, but the rootstock came up, is now around 4 feet tall. I was hoping to get to a scion exchange this year and graft it, but wasn't able to make any.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 9:38AM
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I bought 2 probably 6 or 7 years ago. up until this year i was ready to drag both of them into the gom for really good salty soak. I bought them from wayside and spent too much. fought that nasty phyto root rot by unplanting cutting bad roots and replanting. the die back from this disease brought down almost to the graft. One is barely a foot and the other maybe just over 2 ft. I called a research center in the texas valley and he had suggested using peters triple 20. Well during this winter those two spastic little plants started flowering like mad when before they never did anything. Haven't seen any evidence of fruit yet, we'll see. While this is a self pollinating variety, so they said, I have a wurts flowering and it may help.

if i had it to do all over again, I would have bought another variety for less. I will also have to add that I have over 50 containerized trees and the avocado's (7 total) proves to be the most challenging.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 12:47PM
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I've posted a couple times before-each year is a bit more successful with my DG.
A wind storm in May knocked most of the little avocados off. Three are left and they are on the tallest branch (height is 6+ feet); the biggest avocado is 1 inch long and 0.375 across and has the shape of an avocado. The remaining two avocados are a bit over a half-inch long. The trunk below the graft is ~1.5 inches. Avocados take time. I'll report again if any reach maturity, or again next year.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 11:57AM
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I live in So Cal in Long Beach (Sunset zone 22). I bought a DG from Roger's Gardens about five years ago. I kept the poor thing in a pot for almost two years and it suffered a lot from underwatering. It flowered at least a couple of times and got a few tiny fruits, but dropped everything when I would forget to water it. I planted it three years ago and it grew pretty steadily to about 14 feet.

The first year it was in the ground, I don't think that it flowered. The second year, it was covered with flowers, but never set fruit. At least I thought so, I discovered a big one, hiding in the leaves last year. It was about six inches long and elongated with a slightly curved neck. I didn't even see any fruit form at all, so I was pretty surprised. The taste was similar to a really ripe Hass, not as "avocadoey" (that's not a word), but more buttery. It was really good. So when it flowered this year (Jan or Feb ?) I was going to try to hand pollinate it because there was just one fruit last year and I don't know of any avocado trees nearby. I never got around to it, but I didn't have to. The tree is covered with one to two inch fruit. Amazing. I don't know if this tree will fruit every other year, or if last year was just a bad year and it is making up for it this year (as I have read avocado tend to do). We did have a freak cold wave last year and I can't remember if the tree had flowers on it then. Crossing my fingers that all the fruit stay on the tree!!!! I have included a link to pictures of the tree: http://web.mac.com/bryansierra/iWeb/Garden/Don%20Gillogly.html


Here is a link that might be useful: Don Gillogly Photos

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 4:28PM
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An update to my previous post:

The tree is losing leaves and dropping avocados, probably due to my lack of watering. I have two kittens that use the tree as a jungle-gym, that's not helping either, but it's fun to watch. The fruits are growing slowly. They are about 3-4 inches and there are still a lot of them on the tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Gillogly Photos

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 4:03PM
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I have this avocado and it does great for me in a pot on my lanai. You can not let it get too wet. I can't imagine how you would get anything with it as a houseplant. BTW ChrissyStar, did you once live in Bonita Springs, FL

    Bookmark   October 19, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Barbara Richardson

I live in Southern California and bought a Gillogly tree rather than a Holiday because I wanted an avocado tree that wouldn't get too big. I have a small backyard. I was told by Rogers Gardens that the tree could grow in a pot. The tree was in a pot for a year and was doing so badly that I had a planter built for it. This year, the tree is growing; it's about 6 1/2 feet high, about 4 feet wide, and is shooting out new leaves. So far, the tree has never flowered. How long does it take for an avocado to produce friut? Supposedly, the Gillolgy needs no cross-pollenation. For those growing this tree, how big did yours get? I was told it shouldn't get much bigger than 8 feet. Is this true?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 12:26AM
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I bought one several years ago. I successfully grow a lot of indoor tropicals, but the DG avocado never did well, and eventually died. As others have mentioned, save your money.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 10:33AM
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lifespeed(9B San Jose)

Here is a link in this forum to a picture and question about my Don G tree.

Thanks for your help,


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Update: Planted and sunburned in 2005. Took off in 2006. See my other posts above. 2008 was best year with one getting to be 1.75 inches long before it fell (yes it had a good seed, not like lifespeed's cucumber in another forum). 2010 was a dud year. I only got a few short flower stalks (weather???). 2011 is looking much better with lots of flower stalks, but flowers are not blooming yet. Very frustrating to wait this long for even my first real avocado. Tree is about 8 feet high.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 3:41PM
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So...was it the Great Green Hype?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:15PM
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I planted a Don Gillogly sapling about 6, maybe 7 years ago. I drove 400 miles to get it at an Orange County nursery, and bought another for a friend. Hers died, but mine lived and since we live only two blocks apart, I can't say why I had better success- I would guess because I practice benign neglect and don't water very often :) The tree was about 5 feet tall when I moved 4 years ago and I returned to my house in Cupertino, CA in March of this year to find my avocado tree had grown considerably and had fruit. The tree is about 12 feet high, so it is either going to stay relatively short or it's going to grow very slowly. The fruit is absolutely wonderful- no strings, a true avocado flavor, not watery flesh, buttery and rich and about 7 inches long. A weird thing about the fruit- they have a channel, like a skinny conical envelope from the seed to the stem. The tree now has a second crop for this year. My tree has spread horizontally (maybe 10 feet from left to right) so it seems like a tall bush in some ways. It is near my house and may get a little protection from cold and wind because of that, but our winters get into the low 30s at night and the tree has done well without any special care or fertilization. When I came back this year, I did throw some avocado fertilizer on the ground under the tree.
I'm very happy I planted it.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 4:52PM
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cosmogracie(So Cal)

I have waited several years to add a valid comment to this thread. I live in Orange County, California. 10 years ago I bought a five gallon Don G tree at Rogers Garden for $50. Took the time to plant it properly. It has grown very nicely and is a small to medium-size tree. Maybe 12 feet tall. Had an abundance of fruit in the third year. A little bit of fruit fourth-year. Fruits were very long and skinny. Taste was ok, buttery texture. But after those first few years, the tree stopped producing. That's right, no fruit in six years. It gets the proper water, the proper feeding, everything it needs. I regret the purchase.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Home Depot now has grafted avos that grow 12-15 tall.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:23PM
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Home Depot now has grafted avos that grow 12-15 tall.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:25PM
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