Friday, April 15, 2011

Avocados for Kuala Lumpur

After my blog about avocados in 2007, I have been getting requests for avocado plants that I have found difficult to respond to on a case-by-case basis. Yesterday I made a deal with a retail outlet at the 1 Utama Shopping Mall. This is a small place called Hortpark Nursery on the Lower Ground Floor, next to the Mamak Corner. I have placed two plants there, which are all that I have to spare at present. Hortpark Nursery will take care of them and sell at RM25 per plant to cover their expenses. Hortpark also sells horticarbon in 5 and 10 kg bags. Shoppers should bring bring their own strong bag for big items. Hortpark is open from 10am to about 6pm.

The avocado plants being made available are seedlings from the best plant of about 20 selected clones that I have tested. The clones were acquired by MARDI (Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Centre) through international collaboration many years ago. The Research Assistant in charge of the collection offered me a duplicate set of this collection. I was at that time establishing the Fruit Tree Arboretum at FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia). He brought me a set of bud-grafted plants all the way from MARDI to FRIM, a considerable distance to cover on his motorcycle, at his own expense. This person was about to retire and felt that his many years of effort would disappear without a trace unless he could pass it on. He was right! Avocados have disappeared from MARDI’s agenda.

I planted most of the clones at FRIM, and a few around my house. Over the next 20 years, some of the trees failed to flower and fruit under our conditions. One flowered but never fruited. One remained stunted at about 3 ft tall. One fruited only after 10 years. One produced oversized fruits, but only in small numbers. The collection in FRIM gradually died out after I retired, but I had already identified and propagated the best tree.

This tree fruited at 6 years old and has been fruiting every year. The fruits are smooth-skinned, green in colour, and medium sized (supermarket size), with smooth pulp. It is self-fertile, which means a single tree is enough to produce fruits. This is the tree that I have been propagating and giving away, but I can only produce a small number at a time.

At about the same time as the avocados were offered to me, another scientist, working at an oil palm research centre, Bakasawit, was about to retire to England. He offered me an international collection of coconut varieties that he feared would be lost upon his retirement. Sadly, I had no place for coconuts in FRIM.

Those were times when scientists collaborated across institutions and did what they thought was best in the public interest. That spirit no longer exists.

There are extensive ‘germplasm’ collections of rubber, oil palm, bananas, sweet potatoes, etc in our research institutes, many acquired through exploration and exchange at great cost and effort. All are in danger of being lost upon the retirement of the scientists who built them up, but it is almost impossible for outsiders to get anything out. They are treated like official secrets.

I am working with UTAR at its university campus in Kampar to set up an agricultural resource centre where we hope to establish our own collections for research, teaching, propagation, distribution and exchange. Avocados will be on the agenda, with other fruits and plants of agri-horticultural interest. We hope to establish an ethical model of trust and collaboration between scientists and the public, without which Malaysian agriculture will stagnate.

41 comments:

Sun-ni Mi-ni Gardener said...

Dr Ng,

I have an Avocado plant about 3 years old, grown from seed. The seed was from a fruit tree grown by a neighbor. This tree produces lots of fruits yearly, in fact baby plants sprouted easily from the fallen fruits. From your experience, what is the chance that my avocado plant will never fruit or even flower but won't bear fruit?

Dr Francis Ng said...

Your tree has a good chance of being like its parent since it is being grown in the same climate and environment.

Sun-ni Mi-ni Gardener said...

Thanks for Dr Ng for the prompt feedback. What a relief !

May Yee said...

Hello Dr Ng

After a long search and anticipation, through a friend, I managed to get one of the avocado plant from Hort Park 1u.

I plan to plant it outside my house. However, would need your advise how to care for the plant - to ensure it is alive, healthy and eventually bear fruits in years to come!

Please advise

Lee

Dr Francis Ng said...

May Yee, let's keep in touch through this website. Your plant is big enough to transfer to the ground now. Select a sunny place and surround the plant with sticks or stones to protect it from the grass-cutters.

Architecture Fun said...

Oh I wish by this weekend when I get there I would still be able to get that last tree.....thanks anyway.

Anonymous said...

(off-topic)
Dear Dr Ng,

Sorry to post off-topic but I could not find your contact details on your profile.

May I know if there is a way for me to purchase a hardbound autographed copy of your book online? I wish to give this as a gift to my husband.

Thank you in advance.

Dr Francis Ng said...

Regarding the hardcover edition of my book, I will arrange for Hort Park at 1 U sell autographed copies. I will post a note on my next blog once this is confirmed.

Regarding avocados, two more plants will be available at end of next month (end of May 2011).

May Yee said...

Hello Dr Ng,

Thank you for your reply. Thank you for the tip. Will stay in touch.

Christina said...

Hi Dr Ng,
I am planning to plant an avocado tree outside my house both for the fruits and for shade. I have a 2 feet tall plant grown from a South African avocado that I bought from Giant last year. However, I am worried that it will grow very huge. My mum's friend has two very old avocado trees outside her house in Kajang. The fruits have an unusual shape, ie shaped like long curved plump cucumbers. The trees are so huge that I can't even put my arms around the trunks. They are taller than a double story-link house. You mentioned about pruning it to maintain it at a height of 20 feet. Can you please upload a picture of your good avocado tree with close-ups of its fruits and leaves so that we avocado enthusiasts can view your tree online. How do we maintain the tree at the desired height without drastic pruning that will make the tree weak?

Is it possible to plant different varieties of avocados in separate pots first and then wait a few years to see whether they flower and fruit first to check the fruit quality before I transfer the desired plant to the ground?

Christina

Dr Francis Ng said...

Hi Christina
I have never seen avocados fruiting when grown in large pots. To do the experiment, you should use a plant that you know for sure will fruit in KL. Then if it fails you can blame the pot. Otherwise you would never find out whether it is the tree or the pot that is to blame.

I will take photos of my tree and post it in a new blog next week.

Dr Francis Ng said...

Oops, I meant you should use a plant that is known for sure to fruit in your area. I had assumed that you live in KL.

Di said...

Hi Dr Ng,
I stumbled upon your site while looking for avocado plants. Im so pleased to discover that there are local varieties that can grow here! I was wondering if there are any more avocado plants at Hort Park or any more in the hear future? Went there yesterday afternoon to find out, but it was closed.

Dr Francis Ng said...

I am sorry the HortPark outlet is closed. There was not enough business to keep it open.

Di said...

Oh, no wonder. Thanks for the info anyway.

chai hoon said...

Hi Dr Ng,

I'm interested to plant the avocado,
is there anyway to purchase your seedling since you have mention earlier that the hortpark have close.

weilian said...

Dear dr ng,
I'm planning to plant an avacado tree together wt with other fruit trees as part of my new house's organic edible landscape. I'm from penang, i wonder if there is a posdibility to get a seed from dr ng by post? I'll post you a small box wt my address attached wt postage needed. Thank you! My email: lee.weilian@gmail.com cheers!

Alton said...

DR. Ng
I have an avocado tree that flowered this year for the first time. (3 years old) Small fruits appeared last week. This week they are gone. Not on the ground just gone.
Any idea what has caused them to disappear.

Dr Francis Ng said...

In my experience nothing eats avocado fruits on the trees but the fruits can abort and fall off. The evidence should be on the ground unless somebody has deliberately picked them. 3 years is a record fast time for avocados to flower but if the trees are too small the fruits will abort.

I get requests every month for seeds or plants but cannot supply. However I am establishing a collection of select fruit trees in the UTAR campus in Kampar and in about 6 years the farm manager should be able to provide plants to the public.

Alton said...

Dr. Ng,
We planted these seedlings from a producing tree 3 years ago here in South Florida. Perfect growing conditions. The trees are over 20 feet tall. Lots of flowers a month ago and then small fruit. We have seen no evidence of falling fruit. Perhaps just not mature enough to sustain the growth.

Thank you for your input.

Ding Siew Ming (datin) said...

Hai Dr Ng
I stumble on your blog while googling for info on where to find a fruiting avocado tree to source for a shoot to be grafted to 2 seedlings I grew from seeds . The seeds were from fruits I bought in Brestagi near Medan. Ì was informed that plants from seeds wont fruit or if it does it will be a 10 yr wait. Ì rea
d from yr other articles you have a fruiting plant in front of yr house. Çan you be kind enough to spare me some twigs? W here is your house in KL?
Ì retired from the Department of agriculture 16 yrs ago

EC said...

Dear Dr. Ng,

I was so excited to see your blog, but what a let down to learn that Hort Park outlet is closed!

I know you get deluged by email requests for seedlings, but I would love to buy one if it's available.

We are big fans of avocado, and would be happy to act as your nursery/distributor. My father has extensive gardening experience (durian, mango, rambutan, ciku, starfruit, papaya, banana, pineapple) and is retired, so he has plenty of time to look after the plants!

Please email me at EeCheng_Ong@brown.edu if you're interested. Thank you!

huda rahmat said...

Hi. I'm curious to know. i bought an avocado tree (small size in plastic bag) from jabatan pertanian serdang last month. i plan to plant it behind of my kitchen as i'm living in semi-D house which have about 20x30 (ft) extra land. until today, i still do not transfer it to the ground as someone told me if the tree grow bigger, the root will damage the house. What do u think? is it true?

Dr Francis Ng said...

Huda, you can 'bonsai' any tree to any size you want by pruning the tree to fit the size of your space. An avocado left to grow freely will grow to 100 ft tall but for your house I suggest cutting the top off at 5 or 6 ft to promote low branching. After that you should regularly prune the shoots to keep the tree at about 15 ft tall. The root size is controlled by the crown size. You should start the pruning programme while the tree is young and adaptable.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Ng,
I'm really excited to find that I could plant Avocados in Malaysia but unfortunately Hort Park outlet is closed. Do you have other distributors? I would love to start planting my own avocados!

My email is jasontan81@gmail.com please do let me know there are others that is providing the seedlings!! thanks!

Dr Francis Ng said...

I am sorry I have not been able to make any new arrangements for distributing avocados. The demand is too small and irregular at present.

Kok Soon Lai said...

Dear Dr Ng,

You are the expert in this area, and I think you are the right person to ask rather than me asking the wikipedia.

I am now in the initial stage of doing survey for feasibility of planting avocado in Malaysia. (Commercially) Do you think that the India Avocado fruit (big size) can grown commercially in Malaysia? The current supermarket avocado are a bit expensive and small size for normal class local people to be able to enjoy this delicious food. Please advice me:D

Yap Kit said...

Hello Dr.Ng

I like to read your blog and it is very informative.I'm interested in biochar/horti carbon.Is it still available in 1u?Or can I get it elsewhere?Thanks.=)

Tim Russell said...

Hello Mr. Ng

Where can I buy grafted avocado trees for my garden in Langkawi and also KK ??

Thanks Tim Russell
timhrussell@live.com

May Yee said...

Hello Dr Ng,

I bought the avocado plant back in 2011 from Hort Park 1utama and planted it outside my house. Now it's about 3.5 to 4 feet tall with few branches and big leaves. It's nice and healthy (shame that I couldn't post a picture). My understanding is it would grow to a huge tree before it flowers/fruits. Right now, I just leave it as it is and water it occassionally. Let me know if I am on right track.

Dr Francis Ng said...

May Yee
You can keep any tree small by pruning the top

Lyn Ash said...

Hi Dr Ng,

I'm planning on planting avocado in my house, so excited to know there are others planting in Malaysia. Noted that this post was 2 years ago but do you currently have any seedlings for sale?

Dr Francis Ng said...

Sorry, I do not produce any avocado plants now due to pressure of other work.

I have established a plot of avocados in the UTAR campus in Kampar in the hope that this will become the future centre for development of avocado and other fruit trees under UTAR's horticulture programme. But it will take a few more more years of work.

pah8000 said...

Dr Ng,

Do you still sell Avocado tree? Would like to get a few trees to plant in my dad orchard. Thank you.

Pah

Dr Francis Ng said...

I am sorry I do not produce avocado plants anymore.

pah8000 said...

Too bad, Dr. do you know where i can get Avocado plant? Thank you very much

Edward Teoh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edward Teoh said...

Hi everyone, If you are interested... we have regular discussions on avocado grafted plants:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/avocadoloversmalaysia/

Unknown said...

Appreciate very much if somebody can give the address n contact number of the nursery selling avocado n chestnut tree. I am staying in the village in bangi. Thank you. Pls email me at hamdan1955@gmail.com

B H Lau said...

Hi Dr Ng,

I have planted an avocado tree from fruits bought in KK Sabah and it started to flower last year after 4 years. Last year was not successful but more fruits have set in this year, and I am looking forward to taste the first fruit. I would like to know the name of Sabah fruit, which has smooth skin and about twice the size of Hass sold at supermarket.

Alex Ting said...

Hi Dr Ng,
I have an avacado plant about 6 years old, grown from seed. The plant grows well and starts to grow flowers and fruits. I'm hoping it grows many fruits since there's are so many flowers, but instead of many fruits, it's only grows few fruits. I've tried to put fertilizer but it's still the same and the plant can't hold flowers till it grows fruits. Anything i can do on the plant?