How to Keep an Avocado Plant Small

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Do you have an avocado plant that is starting to get a little too big for your liking?

Are you afraid that it might take over your entire house?

Keeping an avocado plant small guide
How to keep an avocado plant small

Don’t Worry – With a little bit of pruning and a small change in your plant care you’ll be able to keep that avocado plant small and under control.

Reasons to Keep an Avocado Plant Small

Avocado plants grow quickly.

The plant you’re trying to grow from seed can grow a couple of feet per year!

When you thought you were going to grow an avocado plant, this probably wasn’t what you were expecting.

There are a few reasons why keeping an avocado plant small is beneficial.

Less Space

By keeping your avocado plant small, it will take up less space.

If you have a small apartment or house, then you might not have the room for a large plant.

Avocado in a pot
Avocado tiny tree

Instead of trying to find more space for your avocado plant, make your avocado plant fit your space.

Balance

As the avocado plant grows, it will start creating branches in different directions, and you may notice that it is favoring one side.

This may cause it to lean and eventually fall over.

This applies to young plants and established trees.

With Young Plants – You could add a support while the plant grows, but when it becomes an established tree, you won’t be able to rely on that support anymore.

With a strong wind, the entire avocado tree could fall over.

Easier to Care For

A smaller plant will need less water, and less fertilizer, and will be easier to move around your house to get the right amount of sunlight or just in case you feel like rearranging your house.

Smaller plants are also easier for your plant sitter to take care of if you go away.

Small avocado plant guide
Small avocado plant

You can bring them over to a friend or family member and give them instructions, or have them come over to check on them for you.

With Larger Plants – You don’t have the option and you would need someone to come over to look after them for you.

Less Fruit

If you only want a few avocados per year, then you don’t need a large plant.

A small plant will produce enough fruit for your needs without taking over your yard or garden.

Cold Winters

Avocado plants can’t survive cold winters outside.

By creating a dwarfed avocado plant, you can leave it outside for the summer, but bring it indoors during cold months so you can still grow your own avocados.

Keeping it Small

Whatever your reason is for keeping your avocado plant small, there are some ways to do it.

Small Avocado trees tips
Avocado trees

The biggest thing you’ll have to do is pruning, but you’ll need to change your plant care a little too.

Pruning

There are two types of pruning when it comes to your avocado plant.

Pinching off any new small shoots can be done at any time. Doing this will stop the new growth of the avocado plant.

Even though nothing new is growing, the established plant will continue to grow, and that’s when you’ll need to prune.

Pruning, or cutting off branches, should only be done in the late fall or early winter months to avoid killing your plant.

The branches you’ll want to prune are the lateral branches or ones that grow off the main stem.


Works Best: You will only want to prune the ones that have grown to be 8 inches or longer, and leave the rest.


Less Watering

How To Grow An Avocado Tree That Be... x
How To Grow An Avocado Tree That Bears Fruit

Don’t overwater your avocado plant, and only water in when the soil is dry.

These mini droughts limit the amount of water your plant is getting, which means less water for photosynthesis.

Since photosynthesis is what creates the plant’s food, you’re adjusting the amount the plant will be able to grow.

Direct sunlight

Sunlight is also needed for photosynthesis, but if you limit the water you are already affecting the amount of food the avocado plant will make for itself.

It sounds counterproductive, but put your avocado plant in direct sunlight.

Potted avocado tree
Young potted avocado tree

When plants aren’t getting enough sun, they start reaching to find the sun they need.

This causes growth that you don’t want, and it leads to a weaker plant because the energy is used to extend the plant to find sunlight instead of developing what has already grown.

Less Fertilizing

Fertilizer is plant food and it helps the plant grow.

If you want to keep your plant small you do not want to fertilize your avocado plant nearly as often as it is recommended.

Indoor avocado plants should be fertilized every 3 months or 4 times a year.

Go Easy – If you are trying to dwarf your plant, you should only fertilize once or twice depending on the quality of your soil.

Keep It Cool

Remember how avocado plants don’t like cold winters?

A method to keeping your avocado plant small is to keep the plant in a cool spot.

Cold weather causes the avocado plant to go into a dormant state where it won’t grow, but it will also lose the avocados and leaves it grew during the summer.

By keeping it slightly cooler and not cold, you can cause the growth to slow but not stop entirely so you can still harvest avocados.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of reasons to keep an avocado plant small.

Maybe you like the look of it but don’t have the space for a full-size plant.

Or maybe you live somewhere that has cold winters and you need to be able to carry the plant inside for the winter.

Whatever the reason there are many ways you can keep your avocado plant small.

With a little pruning, and minor adjustments to the way you care for the plant and you’ll have a perfectly small avocado plant growing in no time.

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