Avocado Propagation: advice from experts, please!
I've gotten really into growing avocados lately. I love to eat them, and love growing plants, so I figured it was a great project! Despite doing TONS of research online, I still have some questions about avocado growing/propagation that I just couldn't find definitive answers to elsewhere online.
Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
1. Pollination. I've read conflicting things about whether or not avocados are self-pollinating. As I understand, they contain flowers that are both male and female, but at different times (A and B flower types being opposite of each other). I would think it is theoretically possible to get fruit from one plant, but not likely. If you have two plants for cross-pollination, can you have two A flower types (i.e. two Hass plants) successfully pollinate each other and set fruit? Or is it required that an A flower type be cross-pollinated by a B flower type (say, Bacon or Fuerte) in order to set fruit?
2. Grafting. I really don't want to wait 15 years for my Hass plants (started from seed) to produce fruit. As I understand it, the primary goal in grafting is to bypass the juvenile plant phase that seedlings and young plants go through (during which they will not set fruit). If I have a seedling (say, a year old), and I graft a bud from a mature plant onto the seedling (using the seedling as my rootstock), will this effectively bypass the juvenile phase and give me fruit sooner? (also the other way around, if I graft a young bud onto a mature rootstock, will this bypass the juvenile phase and set fruit sooner?) Or would I need to graft a mature bud onto a mature rootstock in order for the shortened fruit waiting time to be effective?
(Also, could I successfully graft a B type onto an A type? Say, Fuerte grafted onto Hass?)
I hope that all makes sense. I know starting them from seed isn't the preferred way to propagate avocados, but I really can't afford $80-$200 for a mature plant, and even if I could, I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it on my own! I'm sure some or most of you can relate to that ;)
As an aside, some of you may have noticed I'm in zone 4b. Not avocado climate. I am growing them in pots, which presents its own difficulties, but I know it's at least possible! Fortunately we have hot, humid summers in 4b, and my apartment gets great southwestern sun exposure for when they're indoors during the winter.
Thank you so much in advance, everyone!