Pruning Avocado Trees: Trimming An Avocado Houseplant

Avocado Plant Leaves
(Image credit: Helen Cook)

The average outdoor avocado tree can grow to be 40 to 80 feet (12-24 m.) tall. This is a huge tree! However, you can enjoy a smaller version of this beautiful tree inside your home with little to no fuss. Furthermore, they are fun to grow! With just the seeds from the avocados you have eaten, you can grow an avocado as a houseplant indoors. Starting an avocado at home is simple enough. Read this article for instructions on sprouting avocado seeds. Once your indoor avocado trees are good sized, you may wonder exactly how to prune an avocado tree in order to keep it small and houseplant size. This is not a problem. Because of the amount of pruning needed, keeping the avocado as a houseplant just means you won't actually get any fruit off the tree. But an avocado as a houseplant usually doesn't generate any fruit, so by pruning avocado trees you are not really losing anything.

How to Prune an Avocado Tree

The avocado as a houseplant shouldn't be treated any differently than those grown outdoors, so pruning avocado trees indoors is no different. If you want to trim back the height, trim the tallest branch off the tree. The following year, trim the next tallest, and so on. When it comes to the width of the tree, start with the longest, most unruly branch first and work your way in each year with another branch. In either case, when pruning avocado trees, never remove more than one-third of a branch.

When to Prune an Avocado Tree

The best time when to prune an avocado tree is really anytime, as long as you are doing light pruning. If you wish to do heavy pruning on your avocado tree, then you may want to wait until late winter or early spring, which is right before the active growing period for the tree. This will ensure that the tree regains its full shape faster. These trees will live a long healthy life indoors if you take proper care of them. Water them when the soil gets dry and make sure to watch for any signs of pests that may have moved indoors to get at the tree. Otherwise, enjoy the beauty!

Kathee Mierzejewski

Kathee Mierzejewski was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, writing many of the site's foundational articles.