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Location: Lincoln, NE

Possible to Grow an Avocado Tree Indoors?

Is it possible to have a avocado tree grow indoors? I live in Nebraska but was born and raised in San Jose, CA. I always admired the beautiful avocado trees and have always wanted to have one but I could not afford to even rent a house much less buy one out there so here I am in the beautiful midwest. unfortunately these trees don't like this white powder we get called snow. So whats the verdict? can one be prunned and kept in a small pot to control its growth?

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Greener Thumb
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

short answer: yes, it's do-able.

somewhat more involved answer: every time i've seen it done (including a couple times i've done it), the plants tend to do fine for 3 or 4 years, and then crash hard. I'm assuming they require a particular soil symbiote (fungus, most likely) to acheive longevity.

you've got a window with good sun, or additional light for wintertime? they're easy to sprout, i'd just go for it.

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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Yes, they can be grown as a houseplant (I think Applestar has one?). But they won't bear fruit, if that's what you're hoping for. We had one in the back yard in Berkeley, and it got southern-exposure sun, but only rarely did it bear fruit for people to eat.

Part of the problem was squirrels/raccoons eating immature fruit, but the greater part of the problem was that, most years, the tree simply didn't set many fruit at all. When it set fruit, few of them made it to harvest size.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

I have grown several avocado trees. Get it started in the house. It takes about a month for the seed to sprout a root. Stick 3 toothpicks in the seed and set it on top of a jar of water. Change the water about 2 times per week. After it grows a root plant it in a 12" pot. It will take a few months to grow a good size plant inside. Set the pot in the yard in FULL SHADE it will grow fast. It takes a week for the plant to get use to sunlight. If it gets too much sun all the leaves will fall off. After a week of full shade move it so it will get about 2 hours of full sun per day. After 1 week move it so it gets about 4 hours of full sun. Then 6 hrs of sun them 8 hrs and so on. Once the plant gets accustom to full sun it will be growning fast. A larger pot will be needed or plant it in the yard. By the end of the summer the tree will be 7 to 8 ft tall. You will need to bring the tree inside frost and cold weather will kill it.

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

"One" Cynthia? :lol:
I have to keep them small or I can't keep them all.
I posted photos in [url=]this post[/url] in Dec. '10. They are bigger by about 12 inches each now but are still able to stay in front of the same window.

Key and where most people fail IMHO is to provide plenty of light while they are inside to prevent spindly, leggy growth. Aim for short internodes (lengths of stem between leaves). When taking them outside for the summer, be sure to gradually acclimate them and eventually move them to a location with noonday shade but good morning sun and short amount of afternoon sun -- as much as your plants can take. Avocados sunburn easily.

Edit: Haha. If as Gary says, they grow fast to 7-8ft in full sun, then I guess it's a good thing I'm keeping them on a diet. I wouldn't be able to being them back inside then. :wink:

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