You may have come across the new trend of planting an avocado tree in a pot indoors and want to give your green thumb a go. Who knows, maybe in a few years you’ll be growing some incredible avocados? Whether you start with an avocado pit or graft, you can grow a healthy tree indoors with some upkeep.
Since avocado trees can reach up to 80 feet tall, you’ll need to put some extra care when it comes to growing them indoors. However, it can be done! There are plenty of dwarf trees that look beautiful and even produce great fruit.
What You’ll Need:
- Avocado pit (Hass is standard or Mexicola for cold climates) OR grafts from an avocado tree (produces the best quality fruits)
- Pot with drainage hole
- Well-draining soil
- Window with great lighting
- Avocado food (optional)
How to Grow an Avocado Tree Indoors
Growing an avocado plant indoors is simple, but takes patience. There are also a few ways to start your tree, some of which are more successful than others.
If you just want to take a pit and throw it in a pot to see if it grows, this method is for you.
- Remove the pit from an avocado
- Wash the pit off
- Plant it about 2 inches deep in a pot with great drainage
- Place in the sun and thoroughly water daily.
Sprouting the Pit First:
This method is also simple and involves sprouting the pit before planting it. You only need toothpicks, an avocado pit, a glass of water, and a sunny windowsill. You can also get an inexpensive pit sprouting gadget that makes it easier.
- Remove the pit from an avocado
- Wash the pit off
- With the narrow end facing up, stick several toothpicks around the center of the avocado pit
- Place the seed (with the broad end down and narrow end up) in a glass of water
- Place the glass in an area that will give the pit plenty of sun
- Once the roots are about 2–3 inches long, transfer the entire pit to a pot with well-draining soil
Grafts (best for high-quality fruit):
If you really want to grow an avocado tree that will produce great fruits later down the line, you’ll want to buy grafts from a quality avocado tree (you can even purchase a small tree that was made from grafts).
Although pits can grow a beautiful tree and perhaps even fruit, you have less likelihood of getting good fruit from it. It will either never fruit, or the fruits it does create will taste strange or even be inedible.
- Buy avocado tree grafts from a reputable online source
- Follow their instructions for planting
- Place the pot on a sunny windowsill
Grafts vs Pits
Do you want an avocado tree that is more likely to give high-quality fruit? Many people plant avocado pits without caring about fruit (they do take 6+ years to fruit, so that’s a long time to wait).
Unfortunately, store-bought avocado pits have been engineered to produce lower quality fruits when you plant the pit. It’s also more likely your tree will be susceptible to disease and salinity when grown from seed.
If you do want an avocado tree that will eventually produce good fruit, the best way to plant your tree is through grafts rather than growing it from a pit. These are simply branches taken off high-quality avocado trees. You can purchase these on various plant stores as well as Etsy, many of which cost under $20. Make sure to read the reviews.
You can also purchase a small grafted avocado tree that has already been started for you.
Grafting speeds up the process of fruit bearing and has a better likelihood of producing high-quality fruits. Even if you choose a pit from the most amazing avocado, there is no guarantee that the tree will produce similar fruits.
Growing an Avocado Tree From Seed/Pit
If you do choose the pit method, there are a couple of ways to do so (jump up to the instructions). You can either plant the pit right away or use the sprouting method and then plant it.
When planting, you’re going to want to make sure that the soil and pot you plant your avocado tree in has plenty of drainage so you avoid root rot. This will also allow you to see when you’ve watered the plant enough.
Since you’re planting indoors, you will want to have a drainage tray to avoid getting water wherever the tree is going to sit. Your starter pot should be at least 10 inches across and 20 inches deep for the roots.
Fill the pot up with well-draining soil and make a small hole about 2 inches deep, then place your avocado seed in. Make sure that the seeds point is facing up, this will ensure that the roots grow down not up and out.
Avocado Tree Care
Avocado plants can be temperamental. You will need to water, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight, prune the tree to ensure it doesn’t grow too tall, transplant into larger pot every so often, and even more.
Watering Your Indoor Avocado Tree
Make sure that the water is getting to the bottom of your pot. This will ensure that all the roots are getting water – if you under water, the water will only make it halfway down the pot, then the bottom rooms won’t grow and will get weak.
Don’t Overwater or Underwater. Avocado trees are very temperamental, especially with water. When you water your avocado too much, it will wilt. When you don’t water enough, it will wilt. So, how do you know the difference?
Finger check. Take one finger and stick it about 1 inch into the soil. If the soil is moist, you should stop watering. If the soil is dry, you’re most likely not watering enough.
Sodium Buildup: You may be using tap water that contains minerals that rain water doesn’t contain, one of these being sodium. Avocado trees don’t like sodium – you’ll notice tips of the leaves being burnt from sodium in the water.
To avoid the sodium buildup, make sure you do a heavy watering once a month. Run the avocado tree underwater continuously until water is running out of the drain holes, this will take all of the sodium built up around the roots and flush it out.
When to transplant your avocado tree?
Once a year, get a pot that is three inches bigger in order to give your tree more room to grow.
How to Prune your Indoor Avocado Tree
If you plan on keeping your tree indoors its entire life, you’re going to need to prune it or it will get ridiculously tall (they can reach 80 feet tall).
The easiest way to do this is to trim the top leaves off of the tree. This will force it to grow more bushy rather than grow too tall.
Overall Avocado Tree Care Tips
- Water daily – make sure it maintains moist soil and has plenty of drainage
- Deep soak once a month to flush out sodium buildup
- Make sure it has plenty of sunlight
- Prune the stem back every 5 inches to ensure it doesn’t grow too tall and grows out instead
- Transplant into a slightly larger pot every year (3 inches larger)