Growing a Lush and Beautiful Avocado Houseplant
The large, dark-green foliage of avocado trees make them an attractive houseplant, and growing avocados indoors is a must, if you live in a climate with freezing temperatures. Caring for avocado houseplants is easy, as long as the tree has adequate light, good drainage, and regular fertilizing.
Starting an Avocado Houseplant
While avocados easily sprout from an avocado pit, if you hope to harvest fruit from your tree, it is best to start with a seedling purchased from a nursery. However, most avocados trees grown indoors do not produce fruit.
Because most varieties of avocado naturally grow to a large size, sometimes exceeding 60 feet (18.3 m) in height, the dwarf avocado variety Little Cado is a good choice as an indoor plant.
If you grow a larger variety indoors as a houseplant, you can prune the tree to keep it small, or you can start a new plant when the first one gets too large.
Planting an Avocado for Indoor Growing
For growing an avocado tree indoors, you will need:
- An avocado seedling grown from a pit or purchased from a nursery
- A gardening pot with a diameter of at least 10 inches (25 cm)
- Water catchment tray
- Bag of potting mix
Fill the garden pot with potting mix to 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the top. Then, dig a hole in the center of the soil to a depth equal to the size of the avocado seedling’s root.
Avocado trees have delicate roots, so as you place the roots into the soil and cover them, be gentle.
Place the pot on the catchment tray and water thoroughly. Then place the pot where it will receive bright sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours each day and where the temperature stays between 65ºF (18ºC) and 80ºF (26.6C).
Caring for an Avocado Houseplant
Water the plant whenever the soil begins to dry out.
It is important that the avocado tree receives adequate sunlight, or it will grow tall with sparse leaves as it stretches for light. As the plant grows, you may need to tie it to a stake in order to keep the stem growing straight.
By pinching off some of the growing bud tips when the plant is young, you can make the tree bushier and help it produce more side shoots and leaves, resulting in a lush plant. Avocado trees naturally lose older leaves, so do not be alarmed if there is some loss of mature leaves.
Avocado trees need adequate amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, along with other minerals. Fish emulsion, diluted according to directions on the package, provides a balanced amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as micronutrients such as zinc. Potting soil has these nutrients to start, but as the plant grows fertilize the tree several times per year. Repot the tree into a larger container as it gets bigger.