Avocado trees make a great indoor plant, as long as you have the proper growing requirements in your location. The key to growing an avocado plant indoors is finding dwarf varieties that fit in your living space. Even a dwarf avocado plant can reach 8 feet tall (2.4 meters), so you’ll need a lot of space. After that, it’s just a matter of making sure your indoor trees get enough direct sunlight. Your avocado tree needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. As long as your avocado houseplant gets enough sun and water, it will grow well indoors.
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How Long Does it Take to Grow an Avocado Indoors?
An avocado pit will sprout into an avocado seedling after only 6 weeks. After that, it can take anywhere from 5 to 15 years for your tree to reach full maturity. However, an indoor avocado tree can take up to 10 years to bear avocado fruit.
- Avocado pits will grow into seedlings after only a few weeks.
- Avocado trees reach maturity by 15 years.
- Avocado trees often do not bear fruit until nearly 10 years old.
- Buy an avocado tree from a nursery to decrease the time until the tree bears fruit.
If you’d like to enjoy fresh avocados from your own tree sooner, consider purchasing a tree from a nursery. By buying a dwarf avocado that is already several years old, you won’t have to wait as long before it begins producing avocados.
Will an Avocado Tree Produce Fruit Indoors?
Dwarf varieties of avocado can be easily grown indoors and will bear fruit. As long as the tree gets lots of light (at least 6 hours of sunlight per day), you’ll have a healthy, attractive plant. It should be noted that “dwarf” is a bit of a misnomer. Even a dwarf variety can reach 8 or more feet tall (2.4 meters).
- Avocado trees will bear fruit indoors if they get plenty of sunlight and water.
- Be sure to plant a dwarf variety of avocado fruit tree if you are growing indoors.
There are some benefits to growing indoors. An outdoor plant will only really succeed in a sunny spot like Southern California or Central America. However, indoor avocado varieties can weather winter months pretty much anywhere if your house has a warm spot for it.
How Do You Grow an Avocado Indoors?
Growing an indoor avocado plant takes a fair bit of care and time. These attractive houseplants are well worth it for their delicious fruits though. An avid gardener can experience quite a bit of success in growing a dwarf tree if you follow a few simple steps.
Step 1: Sprouting Your Seed
You can buy a tree from a nursery (if so, skip to step 4) but planting your own seed is another way to go. If you want to grow a dwarf avocado from seed, be sure you have gotten a Wurtz variety seed. Wurtz avocados are the only true dwarf variety of avocado trees. They’re the best choice for growing indoors.
- To grow an indoor avocado from seed, plant a Wurtz avocado seed.
- Wurtz avocados are the only avocado variety small enough for indoor planting.
- Plant a cracked avocado seed for faster growth.
When choosing an avocado seed to plant, look for seeds that are cracking. Cracked seeds are healthy and already starting to sprout. Planting a cracked seed will speed up tree growth.
Step 2: Starting Containers
Avocados need moist soil and a container with adequate drainage for the best growth. It’s recommended to start off with natural terra cotta for your potting material. Terra cotta is porous enough to allow air and moisture circulation.
- Terra cotta makes for a great container.
- Start with a 6 to 8-inch diameter container.
Pick a container with good drainage holes and acquire a drainage dish to collect runoff. Your first pot should be 6 to 8 inches in diameter, but you will need a bigger pot over time.
Step 3: Soil Types
Avocado trees will need slightly acidic soil that is well-draining. They may also need the soil to be a bit sandy to combat root rot and other fungus growth.
- Use well-draining and well-aerated soil for planting.
- Limestone, sandy loam, and decomposed granite are all great choices.
The best potting mix ingredients are soil types like limestone, sandy loam, and decomposed granite. All of these make for loose, well-aerated soils that will encourage faster growth.
Step 4: Fertilizing
Young avocado trees need to be fertilized with somewhere between half a pound and a full pound of actual nitrogen per year. It’s best to spread it out over three applications throughout the year rather than in one application. Plan to fertilize in spring, summer, and fall for best results.
- Fertilize your avocado with an organic fertilizer formulated for avocados.
- Apply fertilizer 3 times per year—spring, summer, and fall.
- Follow the bag instructions for this organic fertilizer in order to provide the correct amount of fertilizer each time.
Zinc is also an important nutrient for avocados. You can get this ingredient from organic fertilizer for houseplants. It will lead to a healthier, stronger tree.
Step 5: Positioning
Avocados need up to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, which can be tricky to get indoors. It’s best to find a bright spot in your home, preferably a south or west-facing window.
- Place your plant near the sunniest window you have.
- Avocado plants need 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- In summer, consider leaving your potted avocado outside so it receives more sunlight.
If you do not have a sunny window to work with, you may need to physically take your plant outside during warmer months. A potted avocado can live in the yard or on the porch in summer. Just make sure to bring it indoors before cool weather arrives.
Step 6: Watering
Avocados need up to 2 inches of water a week (especially in summer) to stay healthy. Be sure to moisten the soil fully down to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm). Then, let it dry slightly before your next watering. Freshly planted trees can require 2–3 waterings per week for their first year.
- Water your avocado 2–3 times each week.
- Moisten the soil down to a depth of 6 inches (15 cm) each time you water.
- Most avocado roots grow in the top 6 inches of soil, so there is no need to water deeper.
Avocado roots rarely grow deeper than the top six inches of soil and this region dries out quickly. So, make sure to check the moisture level in your soil daily when your avocado is young and fragile. Very hot weather may cause the soil to dry out more quickly.
Step 7: Pruning
Avocado trees can be pruned anytime you feel the branches are getting unruly. To trim back the height, pick the tallest branch off the tree and shear it down to a manageable size. Continue to trim down the tallest branches each year.
- Never prune more than one-third of your branch’s length.
- Always start by pruning the longest branches and work your way in.
For lateral branches, once again pick the longest, wildest branch first. With each following year, pick the next wildest outgrowing branch to trim down. There is one important caveat here though: never prune more than a third of the branch’s length. Any more than this and you can risk killing the branch.
Step 8: Repotting
Eventually, your avocado tree will grow too big for its first container. Most avocado plants will not need to be repotted for at least a year after sprouting. However, once they do need repotting, there is a simple system to use. Increase the pot diameter by no more than 4 inches (10 cm) larger than the previous pot.
- Avocados may go years between repotting.
- Always repot into containers that are only slightly bigger than the previous container.
- Repotting an avocado into a container that is too big may cause root rot.
Avocados need to be eased into new, bigger pots. Always go for a new pot that is only a few inches bigger in diameter than the previous pot. Potting your avocado in a container that is too large for it will cause the soil to remain moist for extremely long periods after watering. This is because the small tree’s root system isn’t large enough to absorb all the moisture. Being potted in a large, damp pot will cause root rot and other tree diseases.
Will a Cracked Avocado Seed Grow?
Avocado seeds that have started to crack are ideal for planting. Cracks form most often when the pit is undergoing root growth. A crack typically means you have a healthy seed. Most avocado seeds will have a flat bottom and a pointed tip (the top). Usually, the bottom will crack first.
- Cracked seeds are ideal for growing avocado plants.
- Plant cracked seeds bottom side down and cover up to the tip with soil.
Once you see cracks, plant in soil with the seed tip pointing up. Make sure you have well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Cover up to the tip, but do not cover. Keep the soil where the seed is planted moist (don’t deep soak) and in a few weeks, you’ll have a seedling.
What is the Best Dwarf Avocado Tree to Grow Indoors?
The best dwarf avocado tree is the Wurtz variety, also nicknamed “Little Cado.” This is because it is the only true dwarf variety of avocado trees. The Wurtz is a hybrid of two different cultivars of avocado trees in Latin America (Guatemala and Mexico).
- The only dwarf avocado is the Wurtz or “Little Cado” variety.
- Indoor gardeners will not be able to grow any other variety.
Outdoor avocado trees can reach a staggering 80 feet in height (24 meters). By contrast, Wurtz varieties reach a more manageable size of 8 to 10 feet (2.4–3 meters). This is small enough that you may be able to grow it in your home with other potted plants.
Can an Avocado Tree Survive Indoors?
A dwarf avocado tree can easily grow indoors with some simple tricks and regular pruning. Though these plants are slow to produce avocado fruit, they are quite fetching plants. This makes them very popular to grow indoors despite the lengthy wait till avocado harvest. Just remember these tips and you’ll be growing an indoor avocado plant in no time:
- Avocados can sprout from seeds in a few weeks but take a decade or more to reach maturity
- Avocado trees won’t bear fruits for at least 10 years
- Cracked avocado seeds make ideal seeds to plant
- There is only one variety of dwarf avocado tree that can be grown indoors
With some patience and careful work, your little seedling will grow big and strong faster than you can believe.