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Avocado as a Container Plant III

Posted by greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 17:53

Well, another wonderful Summer is passing, and there was much progress with the Avocado. I pruned the top branches three times, possibly four, to keep the canopy as symmetrical and bushy as possible. I'm sure the plant is very root-bound by now, as it requires watering every other day. I fertilize once a week with full-strength Foliage Pro 9-3-6.

For the detailed history of this plant, from a volunteer seedling in the garden to a full-time container plant, check out the previous Threads. I apologize that the photobucket pics don't display anymore - the service has gone downhill. I'll be posting images from the computer, one at a time, from here on out. The photobucket slideshow is still available, though - Avocado seedling slideshow

Avocado converted to Houseplant (first Thread)

Avocado as a Container Plant (second Thread)

And, of course, an update pic of the Avocado :-)

Josh


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I think you have done a SUPERB job Josh...What a change in your plant since its inception...Beautiful pal!!

MIke


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks, Mike! :-D
I don't know how it'll do this Winter...I'm going to have a hard time finding room for it. Even with all the pruning, the tree is growing tall...and wide. Here's a shot of the canopy.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

josh,
i've been following your progress for a while now. your little tree looks great!
and i have a few questions.
so this is about 3 yr old tree? can you say how tall from soil it has grown and how wide?
as far as branching: it is rather hard to see the structure with all the healthy leaves. how many Y branchings do you have and to what level: secondary, tertiary.etc
also i saw that you put it 1st in one gallon plastic pot when you lifted it. and about a year? ago you xplanted into a clay pot. how large is that pot? and how long do you think you'll keep it in it?
i am also trying to gauge my own progress: couldn't resist sprouting a pit myself last jan: florida large variety. not that i am thinking of getting the fruit:)! but i saw that they have leathery kinda shiny pretty leaves, much sturdier then mex hass variety. also thought that since they are almost tropical, they should do better indoors in winter.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Hello!
It's about two feet tall and two feet wide, I'd guess without measuring (will do for next update). If I hadn't pruned the tree multiple times each season, it would be very, very tall indeed :-)

Right now, the tree has four main branches - which would be tertiary, I believe. It's already bigger than I want....but I knew this day was coming. I really don't know if I'll put it into a bigger pot, or do a hard chop and take it down to a stump...then re-pot into the same size container.


Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

oh, i went all the way back to 1st post and actually it's not 3yr, but more like 5yr! old tree, if you include 1st season in sum 09 in the ground.
that's impressive!
and it looked as if your clay pot was smaller then your blk nursery pot?! obviously you pruned the roots heavily (which i would not dare to do, i am planning to uppot mine with just a bare min of root trim).
so you are purposefully dwarfing it? am curious at what size pot it would stop growing out?
i do not have much room indoors to keep mine, so am wondering what would be the absolute min pot size to attempt? and whether i should first go up to 2 gallon nursery over next sev years and then start slowly downsizing?


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Yeah, I hate re-potting avocados...or disturbing the roots at all! They always sulk for a long time and look worse before they start to look better again. This Winter, I'll just prune (even though it won't be the "right" time of year), then I'll do a hard chop next Summer as the tree really kicks into high growth. I am purposefully trying to minimize my tree, but not trying to decrease the foliage size - I do want a thick trunk, however I'm not set up to allow the tree to grow unchecked for a couple seasons then chop it down (which would be the fastest means of increasing trunk caliper).

The clay pot is about 30% larger than the black nursery pot, which was .71 gallons.

I don't think the tree will stop growing out until it is so root-bound that it is also shedding all of its older leaves and on a severe decline. If you have the room, I think a 2 gallon pot would be fine...it will allow for a lot of growth.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I kept mine for 4 mo in water, the last 2 mo I added glass marbles to water - read that it helps to branch/strengthen the roots. it's in west window in good sun - put behind the verticals just for the pic to reduce glare.
then after 4 mo once the leaves matured and got harder i potted it up in a large yogurt container with water-wick for self-watering (mix has 50% perlite). feed liq. dyna-gro 10-5-5 with micros. some Epsom salts too.
so it has nice 6 large leaves and has been busy producing fat buds: I removed the tip bud when I potted it up and then once I had 4 buds , I removed the topmost one.
so the buds are slowly getting bigger and bigger - I should have 3 nice branches(at some point :)).
I never cut the trunk - it's at 8". but I can see nice buds all along the bottom portion.
am not sure to pot it in larger pot now or wait. I will not be trimming the roots, just increase to nursing pot 1 gal, also on the water-wick. it is wicking water quite slowly, I don't have to refill often.

This post was edited by petrushka on Tue, Oct 1, 13 at 14:17


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

close-up of the buds


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Very nice!
I'd keep doin' what you're doin' and pot it larger next Summer. Love the new branchlets!

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 17:42

Hey Josh. I havent followed this plant very much and wow you have done great. My seedling avocado never grew very well. Now my mango seedling is about 4 feet tall and is doing great. The only issue with is that the root crown has a sharp 90 degree bend in it from the way it sprouted. doesnt effect anything but it doesnt do well supporting itself.

good job buddy

Mike


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thank you, Mike!
My avocado is putting on another flush of growth, and I really must prune it again. In my area, these plants don't pick up speed until deep into Summer.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thought I would share my avocado experience so far. I read this string of threads on here about it before i started. You all have some impressive avocados indeed!!

I decided to try and grow one because I think they are an attractive plant if pruned correctly. They seem to grow fairly fast and would give me a chance to "practice" pruning to achieve a shape that I want. And I am by and large, fascinated by plants and their growth. Its been fun watching this huge seed germinate.

September 3rd, 2013. We made guacamoly, and this seed felt like the right seed. I kept it. :-) Decided to start in water, and placed it in a north window.

A week later, on the 9th, i noticed the split in the cotyledons becoming more apparent. A root was visible at the bottom about a week after this, though only maybe 1 or 2 mm out of the seed. I decided later that day to transplant to soil. I put it in an approximation of 5-1-1 that I could make with what I had on hand. A mix of 5 parts orchid mix(pine bark fines, sphagnum chunks, charcoal, and lava rock), 1 part peat moss and 1 part perlite.

It never did much of anything until October 14, when it a mater of 2 days it went from a sprout down in between the cotyledons to this!

By October 20th, the tap root was exiting the bottom of the pot. Gaining a little height. Also, i watered heavily for the first time when i saw the tap root.

And yesterday november 13th. I whacked the top off. Took off about 1/2 inch. Just enough to remote the growth tip and the first 2 leaves(they were very close together). I am hoping it just limps slowly along until summer. Can't wait to take it outside. Will probably have to get a bigger pot. It dries out very quickly as it is.

Thanks for reading!
-Jess

This post was edited by smishgibson on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 8:36


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Awesome, Jess!
Very nice work! If you want a fat trunk, definitely pot it up next season...otherwise, this seedling will easily grow another year in that container. Don't forget to fertilize regularly, as well, maybe 1/4 or 1/2 strength all winter long. Good job on the early pruning, too!

I pruned my Avocado exactly a month ago. Here's the before:


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

And the after:


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks for the update on yours josh, looking great!

I was considering potting up to lengthen watering times, however it can help put some mass on the trunk as well? I guess increasing the root mass helps encourage the trunk to expand?

Currently i am dosing with 1/4tsp of FP and 1/4tsp of pro-tekt per gallon for all our plants at least until winter is over and some real growth kicks in. I made the mistake of using 1tsp per gallon of FP when i first got it in september and got some brown tips on a few plants. :-) Once we are into summer i will start with 1/2tsp per gallon and go from there.

Happy growing!


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks!
One thing you'll notice is that avocados develop brown tips even without excess fertilizer/salts in the mix. Those huge leaves lose a lot of moisture, and indoors during the Winter it is nearly impossible to avoid. But don't worry, just flush the mix every once in a while, keep it moist, and fertilize consistently. And, of course, as much light as possible!

The bigger the pot, the faster the growth, the quicker the trunk develops caliper. Grow it big, chop it down, re-pot, and so on and so forth.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Hello,

Have you all ever heard of multiple avocado plants sprouting from the same pit? I planted several pits a few months ago and many now have multiples-- some even have 5 sprouts. I will have to separate the pits from each other soon in any case (I didn't expect so many to sprout), so do you think it would be worth trying to separate the pit-siblings from each other?


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Yes, multiple stems can/will arise from a single avocado pit/seed. I see it in my garden every Summer. In general, they tend to die back to the strongest stems. I would not attempt to separate them, unless they are actually separate pits.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks. I will just separate out the different pits, then.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I have a 6.5 feet tall avocado growing in a 5 gallon container. I started it from a pit about 6 years ago.

The poor thing has gone through a lot. Twice I had to replace the container it was in because the winds were too strong and they knocked it over and broke the pot. Then vandals came through one summer evening and they pulled it out of the pot and dragged it into the middle of the street. It has survived through all these mishaps and every year it looks better than it did the previous year.

I wish I could plant it in the ground and watch it explode, but it gets too cold in northwest Oregon. As winter rolls around every year, I bring it into the garage in the evenings and put it back outside in the mornings. I find it is getting more difficult to carry out this task on a regular basis as I get older.

In retrospect, I wish I had planted the pit in a smaller container to limit the size of the plant.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Bear, you could always chop the tree down to a more manageable size next season, and then re-grow the upper canopy from the trunk. It's never too late.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Not bad Josh! The tree looks a little "chlorotic" though... I would use a combination of two things to cure this. More sun light if possible and lastly Bio Flora Dry crumbles a half hand once a month. good luck


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks, John.
This Avocado gets as much full sun as possible, during the Summer. I think it was a bit chlorotic....lots of flushing, not enough fertilization. I'll try to be more diligent next Season. Typically, I fertilize with my Citrus....but the mix is different for the Avo - bark, pumice, and turface - doesn't hold much nutrient.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

The ol' Avocado is starting to wake up....
I've taken it outdoors on warm days, and even let it get a rain-soaking a time or two.....


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Can anyone tell me where I can buy a 15 gallon Holiday Avocado tree?


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

The Avocado is bursting with new growth, but the growth is out of balance....and so you know what that means! I'll soon be chopping off branches. I am considering removing half of the foliage from one of the main forking branches. If that doesn't get the results I want, I'll probably whack the entire thing down to a bare trunk just a few inches tall....and start over. We'll see where the mood takes me.....

Overall, I think I've been fairly successful with this apically dominant tree. Good branching and a decently thick canopy, though not as compact as I'd like.

.

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Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

it just looks so healthy! all leaves so nice and green, no spots no discoloration. how do you manage it?
i try to give mine micros and all, and feed it regularly, but this spring it developed very strange 'mosaic' like spotting.
best i could figure out -zinc? deficiency? it looks like it's withdrawing whatever from older leaves into new. the new ones are huge and healthy.
i gave it epsom salts, i added some cactus ferts with calcium. unfortunately i dont' have specific citrus/avo ferts.
have you seen anything like it?


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

here's a close-up.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Petrushka, I'm so sorry that I missed your latest posts and questions. For some reason, GardenWeb is no longer notifying me of updates to my Threads....

I'm not sure what the issue is with your Avocado, but it is clearly some sort of deficiency. What do you use as a fertilizer, and what is the potting mix?

I use Osmocote and Foliage Pro for mine.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Time for an Avocado update...the tree is really growing out of balance, and getting pretty tall. A stiff wind will blow it over any day now. I will have to do some pruning very soon, but I'm still not sure how hard I'll chop it.

Josh

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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

oh, it's ok, i figured you're busy in spring...but sooner or later will post the update ;)
so how old is it by now?
it's nice that it is still in manageable small pot.
mine is strictly indoors - it's just an experiment, no big deal. but i am learning all kinds of stuff for the future.
i use dynagro hi-n-pro 10-5-5 with micros: calcium 2%, magnesium, molibdenum and cobalt 1/4 dosage with liq.feed continuously.
so it improved with ironite 7-6-6 sulfur, boron,iron, manganese and zinc. but still not good enough.
i looked at palm/citrus ferts 8-4-12 (that people use for avos) and they all contain much larger dosage of manganese/magnesium ..3%. which is very high.
i also read that avos do not like hi N.
i just got new osmocote plus 15-9-12 - so i will try that for this summer.
i removed about a dozen older marbled 'half-spent' leaves too.
problem is, i'd like to prune it somewhat, but since the older leaves are used to extract missing micro's for new leaves...removing new leaves seems like a wrong thing to do....


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Hello! Yes, end of the school is always busy with finals, grades, check out, et cetera.

In November, this tree will be 5 year's old...so that would make it about 4 and a half year's old right now. I prune fairly often, and I fertilize with 19-6-12 and 9-3-6 fertilizer. This tree seems happy all the time, other than discarding some older lower leaves during the late Winter.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

The time has come.

This morning, I removed quite a few branches....but still left more than I should have.
I really wanted to correct the out-of-balance growth by chopping the Avocado down to a bare trunk, maybe 6-inches at most....
...but I chickened out :-)

Josh

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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Looking good! I'm surprised the roots haven't cracked that pot yet :)

How much sun does it get? Looks like part shade -- is that all day? My avocados were in direct sun for maybe 6 hours a day but I'm noticing what appears to be sun burn. It's not bad, more like a black rash. It's hard to tell with young avocados how much light they should be getting.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Always great to see an Avocado update Josh! Yours looks amazing. We moved to a slightly warmer area, with slightly more humidity, and MUCH more light. I am thrilled to have a large south facing balcony and 3 large south facing windows.

Avocado is loving it, its put on 4 news leaves this month.

I am slightly concerned about one thing though, it wilts very easily in even partial sun. 2 hours of partial sun under some tomato plants and it looks sad! I have been keeping it out of all direct light for now.

I feel my pot may be desperately too small, and this guy sprouted in the darkest of windows, so i am sure it will take him some time to get used to such bright sun.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks, Jay and Smish!
My Avocado was wilting in full midday sun....thankfully the deck gets blasted for a few hours only, then back to mosaic sunlight. Smish, keep your Avocado in bright shade or partial sun...no need for direct sun until later in its life. It will take some adjustment.

Jay, those black spots sound like sunburn to me, too. As the sun moves through the trees at different points in the season, some plants will take damage....feel free to pluck any ugly leaves, and new ones will grow.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I think you are rowing against the current Josh, trying to make your avocado into a nice neat central leader tree. They naturally want to grow limbs right down to the ground. In our old place on the coast we had one with no limbs within 10 feet off the ground, but it had a 12 inch diameter trunk. Here our 20 year old tree was still growing limbs to the ground. Al


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I think Josh is trying to do an avocado houseplant bonsai. Doing it with a hass seed is like trying to bonsai a sequoia, but it looks like it's working so far.

That said, I think it'd be awesome to let it grow out until it fruits. You'd only need a ten gal container or so to get a couple of fruit off of it. Who knows, you could have an awesome undiscovered variety :)


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Hehe, thanks, Jay :-)

Yeah, I'm trying to keep this thing as low-profile as possible....but it wants to grow UP! Very apically dominant species. The issue with growing it to fruiting size is that I have no room for it indoors, and I'm certainly not going to give it the prime real estate occupied by my Citrus or my Pachira ;-)

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

  • Posted by slowjane LA CA USDA10-Sunset (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 9, 14 at 19:38

Hi all - glad to find this thread! We've been scratching our heads about our avocado grown from seed. It's about 2 years old - I potted it up to a 12" pot earlier this summer - and after I flushed it really well, the salt burn went away. Recently we noticed millions of tiny little buds all up and down the trunk.

From what I've been reading we should be pruning it - but should we really cut off all it's leaves? Or just start pinching the top leaves now? Will the buds turn into branches without topping it? Looking forward to hearing your advice!!


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Hello, and welcome, Jane!

If you only pinch the very top, new growth will tend to appear at the top, close to where you pinched. Sometimes, those little buds further down the trunk will turn into new branches, but it's not guaranteed. Typically, the top of the tree takes all the energy, and those lower buds just shrivel and drop off.

That is why I prune the trunk down to the point where I want the first branching to occur. You will usually get a few branches, and then you will prune the tips off of the new branches to encourage them to branch again, and so forth. This is how to make a bushy, multi-branched canopy. Avocados have a mind of their own, though, so constant maintenance is required.

I whacked my Avocado pretty good three weeks ago, and it is bursting with new growth. I should take an update pic.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

  • Posted by slowjane LA CA USDA10-Sunset (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 21:30

okay - so it's okay to cut off all the top growth? seems like it could really stress the plant to lose all of its photosynthesizing leaves? but it's too tall for any other kind of pruning...hmmm...

just want to confirm that that will work - say if i chop it at a couple feet high - it will get new braches and recover? also, is this the right season to do so?

thanks much! look forward to an updated photo of yours.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Let me say that in *my* experience, you can chop all the leaves off of an avocado and it will shoot out new buds. Sure, it stresses the plant a bit (just as a re-potting will stress a plant), but my plant has shown incredible recovery within a few weeks when I've lopped it in the past. I've lopped other trees of mine, too, and they respond well.

After this first significant chop, you won't need to chop so hard again. I think I'd chop your tree about three or four inches below that kink in the trunk. Oh, and yes, this is the perfect season to be chopping! I've chopped in the Winter, and it takes much longer for new growth to appear. I prune several times during the Summer, until about September.

Okay, so here's an update pic....I didn't get a pic of the entire tree. I wanted to focus on the new growth, which is still difficult to see. Bear in mind, this is only one part of the top of the tree, but there are new leaves / branches bursting along the older branches.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Wow... nice, Josh! :-)


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks, Jodi! ;-)

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

  • Posted by slowjane LA CA USDA10-Sunset (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 16:34

okey dokey. now we shall see if i can muster the courage to do it. ;)


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Just wanted to keep this thread alive, as I love growing things from seed. This avo was started in January, and has made leaps and bounds. I have purposely dwarfed it because it will have to go indoors for the winter....
I also have two more roughly the same size that have have received the same treatment. Always looking for a trade;)
-josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Oh, hey, Josh! Speaking of avocados...

My grandson and I saved a pit from the last one we used, and we did the toothpick and jar of water trick... hoping it would sprout, but not actually thinking it would.

Lo and behold... we have a small root coming out the bottom of the pit... and I may have jumped the gun, but I very carefully and gently potted it into a very decent medium mixture, and placed the small pot on the deck so it could get decent sunlight!

I think I might be more excited than my grandson! This is the first avocado seed in a very long time that has actually shown signs of growing!

Yay! :-)


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Pic is sideways....difficult to view.


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Josh, my pic is sideways..? I didn't think it was, but I would be happy to post another


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Yeah it's sideways, even when I click and it opens in a new tab.

Josh


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Well here is a follow up... I hope it stays right side up...


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I love growing growing avocados from the pits. But mine inevitably get brown crispy leaves.

Josh, you have the nicest potted avo I've ever seen! Thanks to this thread I'm really wanting to try it again.
Now if the darn fruit would only come down a bit in price!


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

I think it just depends on the pit... When I started mine I had six and two of them got the brown crispy leaves and they all got the same treatment. Who knows


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RE: Avocado as a Container Plant III

Thanks!
Yes, the pic is upright now! ;-)

Avocados are notorious for the browned leaves, especially when kept indoors over the Winter in dry, heated conditions. The key is to grow them in a free-draining mix so that fertilizer salts do not accumulate and burn the roots....and so that the root-tips don't die from sitting in saturated mucky potting mix.

My Avocado is far from pristine, but I know that new leaves will replace older ugly leaves in time, which makes it easier to yank off anything displeasing leaves.

Josh


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