One of the healthiest fruits, it can also be a successful houseplant! Surprised? Don’t be! Here’s all you need to know on Growing Avocado Indoors!
An Avocado houseplant looks beautiful indoors with its glossy and oval leaves. Growing a dwarf variety, such as Holiday and Wertz, can allow you to grow it in a limited space, not to mention the nutritious buttery fruits you’ll get! As a decorative houseplant, Growing Avocado Indoors makes a lot of sense!
Botanical Name: Persea americana
Plant Type: Evergreen fruit tree
Hardiness Zones: 10-12
Is avocado a fruit, or is it a vegetable? Find out here.
Varieties of Avocado to Grow Indoors
Although there are plenty of varieties of avocado, not all of them can be suitable to grow indoors. Here are some of the best ones that you can plant easily in containers.
Indoor Avocado Varieties: Pinkerton, Holiday, Wurtz, and Mexicola.
Small Sized and Self Fertile Varieties: Bacon, Gwen, Fuerte, Hass, Pinkerton, Zutano, and Reed.
Choosing a Container
The math is simple, buy a healthy grafted tree from a nursery and plant it in 1 or 2 sizes bigger pot than the root ball. For example, if you’ve received your avocado tree in a 3-gallon pot, which is around 10 inches approximately, transfer it into a 5-gallon pot, around 12 inches. Usually, a 15-gallon pot (18 inches) is fine for most dwarf avocado trees when they reach maturity. And, make sure your container has sufficient drainage holes at the bottom.
How to Grow Avocado Indoors?
You can grow avocado from seeds/pits and that is super easy but the best is to get a healthy, grafted avocado plant from a plant nursery close to your home or buy online.
From Seeds: Remove the pit from a ripened fruit and soak it in lukewarm water for several hours and then directly plant it in a container.
As avocado can take 5 to 10 years to fruit when grown from a pit, which is why it’s better to get an avocado tree from a nursery, which usually starts fruiting after 2-3 years.
Requirements for Growing Avocado Indoors
Avocado flourishes in full sun, so it will work best if you place the plant close to a bright window that receives maximum sunlight. The best location is a south-facing window or if you’ve got a small balcony that is sunny. The avocado plant won’t fruit without sun, but if you are growing it for a decorative purpose as a houseplant, it’ll do just fine in low light.
Water the plant infrequently but thoroughly and allow the soil to get dry before the next round of watering. The frequency depends on the climate and weather conditions. In summer, your indoor avocado will need more watering than winter. Similarly, you’ll need to reduce watering during wet weather.
For excellent growth, use a well-draining potting mix, with a lot of organic matter and aged manure. Prepare a potting soil with a mix of sand and decomposed granite for the best results. It’ll do well in both alkaline or acidic soils.
Avocado thrives best in warm conditions in the temperature range of 60-85 F (15-29 C) with average humidity. After attaining good growth, a dwarf avocado plant can bear a minimum temperature of around 28-32 F (-2 C). When growing avocado indoors, it is necessary to avoid cold drafts as it can cause damage.
Avocado Plant Care Indoors
A 3:1:2 slow-release fertilizer is going to provide all the essential nutrients and micronutrients to the plant. Fertilize your indoor avocados 2-3 times in a year, maintaining a 4 months interval or follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can also feed with a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Side-dressing the plant with compost or well-rotted manure is also good!
The leaves that get brown at the edges will eventually fall off the plant on their own. If your plant is growing vigorously, then you can prune the branches, leaving a few nodes at the end. Do this only when the plant is showing good growth, otherwise, refrain from pruning the plant unnecessarily, as it may cause the branches to die back instead of sending out new shoots.
If you’ve not changed the size of the nursery pot, when you’ve brought it home, the plant will definitely call for repotting after 4-6 months of growth. Go for a pot one size bigger than the previous one. After this, repotting the plant every 2 years will suffice.
Pests and Diseases
Commonly Avocado plant is prone to root rot, which is generally caused due to excess watering and improper drainage. Make sure to buy a disease-free grafted avocado tree from a nursery. Also, be careful about scales.
Will it Fruit Indoors?
Probably! But don’t expect too much. Growing a grafted tree will ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy homegrown avocados soon. But the catch is it’s a reluctant self pollinator and with a single avocado plant, your harvest will be low.
If you want an appreciable harvest, grow at least two avocado plants–Type A and Type B, to learn more, read this informative University of California extension article. This is important because the cross-pollination occurs between group B male-stage and group A female-stage flowers in the morning (in warm weather), and vice versa in the afternoon. And, if you can’t grow two avocado plants, just appreciate the beauty of its foliage and let it continue as an excellent houseplant.
Harvesting and Storage
While growing avocado indoors, be ready for a little to no harvest. Avocado in an indoor planter makes for a great-looking houseplant, but expecting it to fruit like a usual tree will be like asking too much. However, if you’ll provide several hours of direct sun, it can start fruits after some time. The avocado tree from a garden center usually starts bearing fruits within 2-4 years of planting.
Do not eat the fruit right after harvesting, since avocados are not ready to serve just after picking from the plant. Let the fruit sit in a bowl along with other fruits like apple or banana for 5-6 days. This process turns them pulpy and enhances the taste.