Reasons for Planting an Avocado Tree in a Pot
Left to themselves under good conditions, avocado trees easily grow to a height of 20 feet (6 meters) to 30 feet (.91 meters). In order to grow to this size, the tree develops a wide-spread, but shallow root system, which gathers up nutrients from the soil and anchors the full grown tree.
When you plant an avocado tree in a pot, you limit the area for roots to grow, resulting in a smaller mature tree. A potted tree grown outdoors can get big enough to produce fruit in 5-10 years. Harvesting fruit is also easier on a smaller tree.
Avocado trees grow outdoors in USDA climate zones 9-11 where freezing temperatures are rare. Growing avocados in pots allows you to move the plant into shelter in cold weather and grow in colder climate regions. Putting pots on wheeled platforms make it easier to move the trees.
How to Plant Potted Avocado Trees
To grow an avocado in a pot, you need:
- One 15 gallon (56 liter) or larger, terracotta garden pot with a catchment tray, if for an indoor tree
- Fruit tree blend planting mix, or similar, to fill pots
- One avocado sapling per pot
- Access to a garden hose
- Wheelbarrow, tarp, or outdoor area for mixing
- Hoe or shovel
Empty the potting mix into a wheelbarrow, or set it on a tarp, preferable outdoors. Dampen the mix thoroughly by stirring in water with a shovel or hoe, but do not add too much water and get the mix soggy.
Fill the pots with the damp soil mix, and dig a hole in the center slightly bigger than the avocado seedling’s root ball. Carefully place the seedling into the hole up to the base of the tree, then gently place soil mix around the seedling.
Immediately water the pot completely until water drains from the bottom.
Caring for Potted Avocados
Avocado trees need lots of sunlight. Place the pots where they receive as much sun as possible and not less than six hours daily, also keeping the plants at temperatures of 60ºF (15ºC) to 85ºF (29ºC). However, once established, some avocado varieties withstand short spells with temperatures as low as 19ºF (-7.2ºC).
Potted avocado trees need water more often than trees planted in the soil. Water when the soil is dry 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) below the surface. However, potted avocados grow best when the soil is allowed to dry slightly between watering and does not remain soggy.