Trimming leggy indoor avocado plants

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Tiago, Jan 13, 2022.

  1. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Hello,

    Apologies if this is not the correct forum for my question. (If the moderators could please move it accordingly, if this is the case, indeed)

    I've recently started growing these from seeds, and read the other day online that in order to maintain the plants better, they should be trimmed. I've found instructions online, which are all along the lines of "Properly sanitize the trimming tools for 30 mins (in 1 part bleach and 9 parts water). To prevent a young plant from becoming weak and spindly, trim the central stem to about half its height when it reaches 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.). This should force the plant to branch out."

    However, as you can see from the photos, two of my plants are already above that level, and I'm not really sure how much to trim them down to, at this stage, and also - if the trimming should involve the entire central stem. I really wouldn't want to hurt them or kill them by mistake.
    I haven't been able to find photos/videos online of this initial trimming. All the videos, which I have been able to find, show more mature plants (at least one year old, it seems), with much larger leaves.

    I hope my description is not too vague or ambiguous.

    Thank you very much for your time!
     

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
  2. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I tried it too, when my kids were young, and we had the same problem.

    I'm afraid they don't make very good indoor plants. Maybe they need a period of dormancy in winter, in a cool but not freezing environment.
     
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  3. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you for sharing your experience! Could you, please, confirm if you performed any trimming at all, and if you would recommend that I trim (e.g., down to about 5in /13cm) the central stems at the current stage?
     
  4. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I didn't. But if you want the plant to look more compact and fill in, you should prune it above dormant buds. That is, if you can see any: trimming without buds down the "trunk" is very risky I think.

    On the tallest one, I would cut about 5 cm (2 inches) above what looks like possible dormant buds (green arrows).

    I would perhaps wait for late spring, when there's more light, when the the plant is starting a new cycle.

    Avocado_trees_.jpg

    ... And I think (just a guess) that like many subtropical plants, perhaps you could let the top of the soil dry before watering again.

    My 2 € cents... ;-)
     
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  5. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you very much once again - really appreciate your advice! Yes, those are indeed dormant buds, and I'll wait a bit more - as per your advice - and apply the same reasoning with respect to the other two plants as well.
     
  6. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    I did not trim my avocado. It started to branch on its third summer without any trimming. Now, 4 years after planting the seed, my avocado is close to 1 m high, so it hasn't been fast grower. It had fastest growth on its first year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  7. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Any pics ?...
     
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  8. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Yes, please, if possible. It would be nice to see what 4 years of avocado plant care could result in :)
     
  9. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    My avocado spends summers in ground, winters in a container. Last summer it got pecked by some bird or chewed by a Wart-biter. This December we had cold wave and the plant got some damage - all fresh leaves from the very top were destroyed, so did some older leaves. That's why I haven't took any photos of it recently. I will still take a new photo tomorrow. The tree is currently packed tightly together with mandarins in its storage room.
    A year ago it looked like that:
    avocado.jpg
     
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  10. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Any photo from the side ? Not only from above ?...
     
  11. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    Tomorrow I will take some photos. From top, from side, from where ever you need.
    The plant is not photogenic now, because of recent damages.
     
  12. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Cool...
     
  13. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    I did not move it, it has poor lighting (here is night at the moment), but I still made a photo of it, without moving any containers. Some leaves are badly chewed. Some browned by cold.
    avocado1.jpg
     
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  14. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you! It still looks well - great to hear it's survived the difficulties!
     
  15. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    I have a question about this - do you mean that you take it out of the pot and move it to a garden, during summertime, and then it gets re-potted again once the summer finishes? I'm a complete beginner in gardening, and was wondering if that wouldn't cause too much stress to the plant/tree? Evidently, yours has been doing quite well, and if that's a good way to take care of it, then I'll try your method as well.
     
  16. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    Yes, that's exactly how I grow my avocado. I try to keep root ball intact, when potting and transplanting, so stress would be minimized.
    I did not dare to leave it in ground for winter. Last year we got -30ºC for couple of nights. My figs did well outdoors, but avocados are less hardy.
    Maybe next winter I have to leave my avocado and some pomegranates outdoors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
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  17. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I doubt it : even if the climate gets milder, I'm not sure they can survive the cold spells you're bound to have anyway.

    Plants and trees from "temperate" climates can thrive outdoors with a minimum of care, but I'm not so sure that sub-tropical plants can survive a winter outside where temperatures can go down to -5, -10, -20, -30°C....
     
  18. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    I think pomegranates can handle my winter protection method outdoors.
    Last winter temperature inside my fig shelters never dropped below zero.
     
  19. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    If you wouldn't mind, could you, please, elaborate on what your method is (in case you were referring so something that you haven't mentioned already, in your previous responses)? (I'm trying to equip myself with as much knowledge as possible, since - as I'd said above - I'd hate it if hurt/killed plants, due to negligence).
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
  20. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    I'm not sure, if my method is suitable for avocados.
    For figs I'm using tubes, soil and snow. I hope, that this photo series is self explanatory.
    2021-10-31 00.51.32.jpg
    20201026_151659s.jpg
    20211031_154000v.jpg
    2021-12-11 15.12.34.jpg
    20220106_130831v.jpg
     
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  21. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Indeed, the photos are quite descriptive! Wonderful stuff - thanks very much for sharing, really appreciate it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022
  22. Sulev

    Sulev Rising Contributor

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    I dug my avocado out from mandarins and pomegranates, and took some shots outdoors under natural light and with neutral background.
    My avocado has 5 branches, more to come.
    Leaves are pretty wasted. These holes appeared in the end of last August. Before that I thought, that avocado is pretty much pest free. I did not found any bugs, worms or caterpillars on its leaves. but there was one Decticus verrucivorus, who could be the culprit. There are two kind of damages - multiple smaller irregular shaped holes on a leaf blade or larger missing parts of leave edges. No other fruit trees (figs, pomegranates, pears, cherries, plums, apples, mandarins, currants, gooseberries) nearby had such damages.
    20220114_123125v.jpg 20220114_123105v.jpg 20220114_123201v.jpg 20220114_123216v.jpg
     
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  23. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    Thank you very much for sharing the further photos! I hope your avocado tree will be able to recover from the damage and overcome the difficulties! It's a bit odd that only the avocado tree got affected and everything else appears to be intact.
     
  24. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    The appeal of avocado 'house plants' has always been a mystery to me. I feel that they are, at best, a novelty for beginning gardeners and children.
    Even at their finest, they aren't very attractive as house plants especially compared to the very many others that could more beautifully occupy the same space.
     
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  25. Tiago

    Tiago New Member

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    As admitted above, I am a beginner gardener, and would be interested if you could, please, recommend some of the plants which you had in mind when writing the last part of your comment. Thank you!
     

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