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Caring For An Avocado Tree

Ask the Expert: Soil for Avocado Tree
I have been growing an avocado tree from a pit and its doing very well. The leaves and root system are quite large now, and I want to pot it before the roots start to deteriorate. The only problem is, every website i go to for help gives me a different answer on the right soil to pot it in! I would really appreciate it if someone could tell me the best soil for it. Thank you!!!  Ains



If the avocado is planted in a container use a general purpose potting that is sand, bark and perlite based rather than an a heavy peat based potting soil.  This type of soil will give the plant what it needs along with the drainage it needs. It is imperative that your container drains well.  Be sure to place it in a container that has drain holes. Ceramic or natural (breathable) containers are preferred over plastic containers.  Keep it sheltered from strong winds but exposed to full sun if possible.  Water lightly during the winter months and heaver during the growing season.  It is important that the plant isn’t exposed to temperatures under 55 degrees for any length of time.

I have always wanted to start an avocado from the pit, so please keep me posted.  It might help me get the courage to try growing my own.


  1. Haha! Good luck, Jeffery!

  2. Jeffery Corder says:

    I noticed this gradual browning on a couple leaves, I’m not sure what could be causing it, cause I haven’t been over watering and from what I understand the leave will turn yellowish if they’re overwatered, but I really hope this doesn’t mean my trees dying, it’s still got a super green stem, not of he leaves feel dry or brittle, but sorry to post so much, this is just my only source of advice.

    Attached Image: image.jpg

  3. Jeffery, are these new leaves or older ones? As long as your new leaves are healthy and disease free, your plant is probably fine and may just need more time to recover. One thing you might consider is taking one of the damaged leaves to your local nursery or garden center. (Not a chain store, one with knowledgeable plant experts) Show them your leave and ask if there is anything that we might miss from photographs. Hope this helps.

  4. Jeffery Corder says:

    So my tree has lost every leaf it has, but the trunk is still fully green and upright, there’s not sag in it at all, and there’s no brown spots, what does that mean? Do avacado trees lose their leaves in the winter?

  5. have an avocado tree in ground already about six feet tall can i replant it somewher elses

  6. Joel,

    Yes you can. Keep in mind that the plant will go through transplant shock when you move it. This will vary depending on the length of time the tree has been planted and other environmental conditions.

    If it was grown in a container and planted recently you should still be able to see the root-ball. In this case you can simply dig it up and move it. Transplant shock will be almost non-existent. If the tree has been in the ground for any length of time, you will need to get as much of the root-ball as possible. Luckily Avocado trees have a shallow rooting system. So it will be more about width than depth. Start digging at the drip-line point and follow the drip-line completely around the tree. Then dig at angle until you can easily pop the tree out of the ground. Plant the tree no deeper than it is plant now. Once you have re-plant the tree, water it in with root-stimulator to help with transplant shock.

  7. We grew our plant from seed, once it grew nicely in pot we transplanted to ground. Then we needed to move it to another area. We did and the leaves are limp. We gave it nutrition, lots and lots of water but still limp. What should we do now???

  8. Lorie,

    It is going through transplant chock. To help it through the process make sure you are not over-watering it. Many people associated wilting with lack of water which is not always the case. The soil should be moist but draining excess water away from the plant. Also, make sure the plant was not planted too deep in its new location. It should be at the same level as it was in the previous location. This means that the top of the original rootball should not be covered with new soil. Now the most important thing you should do is be patient. The plant needs time to recover — so leave it alone. Only water it when the soil starts to dry out and DO NOT give it any fertilizer. It needs to recover before it tries to actively grow therefore it doesn’t need fertilizer to stimulate growth. The only thing you should give a plant when you transplant it is Vitamin B1 or root stimulator. Good Luck and keep me posted.

  9. When I repot my avocado plant, should I still keep the pit sticking out, or should I cover it?
    The plant is about 6-7 months old and has gotten top heavy so I know it needs a larger pot, just don’t know if the pit should ever be covered. Thanks!

  10. Andrea,

    So about the delay in my reply – some how your question was overlooked. Always keep your plant at the same level as the original pot. Sometimes you can go deeper, but those are very rare instances. If you would feel better about it, send me a picture and I’ll see if this is one of those cases.

  11. Amanda Jane Finnegan says:

    My advocado tree is about 5 1/2 ft tall with plenty of leaves and looks pretty healthy.However the pot it is in doesn’t look big enough. Can iI plant it inthe ground now (it’s probably 2 years old) as it’s been outside most of the Summer. Or should I bring it in and repot it next year?? Thank you

  12. Amanda,

    It depends on where you live. Avocados need a frost free climate. The only places in the United States safe for avocados are California, Texas, Florida and Hawaii.

  13. Hi,
    I recently purchased this avocado tree at a local store and while it did not look perfectly healthy when I got it, it seems to be getting worse. Many of the leaf tips are getting dark brown and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Some of the leaves are getting this red or rust coloring on them. I am in Southern California, we have had some wind and recently a lot of rain. I have fed it a little plant food recently but the plant seemed to just be getting worse from the day I received it. Please help!

    Attached Image: image.jpg

  14. Jesse,

    Not sure what is going on with your plant. Could be a multitude of things. First check the roots to make sure they are not in the throws of root rot. Another problem could be related to a fungus. If possible remove all the leaves showing signs of distress. At the same time, take a magnifying glass and look for insects. If you see no insects and the roots are ok, then it is most likely a fungal issue. Removing the leaves can help eliminate the fungus from the plant. Once the leaves are removed give the plant a wait and see approach for a few days. If the newly emerging leaves look ok then the plant should recover and do well.

  15. Hi ,Last year I planted the pit of what was the last bloom of my mothers avocado tree. She is in my yard at the home I am presently renting. Question; Want to move , can I transplant this tree in a container? If so how wide? She is beautiful about 5 feet now with large deep green leaves. P.S moving from Miami to Tampa,Fl. Thanks

  16. Rose,

    I would select a pot that is slightly bigger width wise than what the rootball will be when you dig the plant up. An easy way to determine how wide you would need would be to drawn a circle around the drip line of the tree then measure from the trunk to the edge of the drip line. Take that number and double it. This will give you the width that you will need. Select a pot that has that width and is at least that depth.

  17. I have a two year old avacado tree I started from seed. Problem is it’s almost 8′ tall and in a pot in my living room. It is still skinny and I have to prop it against the wall so it won’t fall over as it has now decided to send out ‘limbs’. Can I transplant it from this pot to another? Should I trim it somehow so it gets a thicker trunk? I tried this once when it was only about 4′ tall and it just kept growing. thanks

  18. Lynn,

    You can trim it and re-pot it. Keep in mind this is a tree and may not be suited to living indoors for the long term.

  19. Hi, I live in South Florida and had a healthy 7 ft avocado tree growing in my backyard until I had to dig it up and throw it in a pot so I can relocate it. I tried my hardest not to break the roots but while picking it up, half of the roots fell apart. It’s now in the pot and looking extremely droopy. Its been raining a lot as well. Its kept in the same place it was before however in a big plastic pot with drain holes. Do these trees come back from root damage easily? How long will the tree be in transplant shock? Should I water it more than usual or less than usual while it goes through the shock? Would it be better off being planted or let it come back in the pot? Thanks!

  20. Nik,

    The plant will be in distress for quite sometime. Best practice would be to keep the moisture the same as you did previously. I recommend planting the tree in the ground as long as it will be in it permanent spot. If not leave it in the pot until you can plant it in its permanent home.

  21. I bought 5 avocado trees 3 have small fruit on them. The leaves are brown at the tips should I give them a little food? or will it hurt the fruit if I do?

  22. I have a 5 month old avocado plant I grew from a seed. It was doing great when it was sitting in a jar of water, grew to 2 1/2 ft. but once I transferred it to a pot, the leaf tips are brown, and now the new growth came in brown, brittle and falling off. The stem looks healthy, and there are no insects. What can I do to nurse it back? I’m wondering if I placed the root too deep into the soil? Thanks!

  23. Leondra,

    Need to determine first what is causing the brown tips before adding fertilizer. Check you watering practices and adjust if need be, then when the plant has come out of the water shock issue you can give it fertilizer. However, I would read both information from both of these sites first http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/C008/m008bpdisease.html http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/fruit/avocado2.html

  24. Evelyn,

    Your plant is going through transplant shock. Moving it from an aquatic environment to a soil environment can be tricky. Keep the soil moist not soggy until it is established – a couple of weeks – then you can start to put back on the water.

  25. I have a young avocado tree that I grew from seed. It is only about a year old. It recently lost all of its leaves due to sunburn or the dry arid conditions of Southern California but it also was beginning to produce new growth and branches. I decided to transplant it into a larger pot, but since then all the new growth died. I moved the plant to a spot where it wouldn’t be as exposed to the elements, but I’m not sure if it’s getting enough sunlight now. Also, the tip of the main branch/trunk has turned brown, should I cut the dead end off and move it into more direct sunlight? I hope that it can saved.

  26. Eddie,
    The plant is probably going through transplant shock. Check to make sure it was not planted too deep when you transplanted it. Also, if the tip is not showing any signs of green healthy tissue, it might need to be pruned out. This article might help http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/AgNatRes/Pubs/Pruning_Avocado_trees.pdf.

  27. Hi,
    I grew my avocado tree from seed and it’s 3 years old and almost 4′. It was in a shallow clay pot and the roots were coming out the bottom so I transplanted it yesterday. The leaves are droopy but I expected that but I just wanted to make sure I didn’t transplant it into too big of a pot. I pick an inch wider pot but probably 5″ taller and tapered to give it more support. When I took it out of its original pot the roots were not root bound but very long and kind of stuck to the bottom. Do avocado trees like root bound pots or room to grow? Also, I watered it well but with fertilizer (hope that doesn’t harm it much). I’ve tried to attach photos but to no avail. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  28. Sunny,
    Any time a plant transitions to a new “home,” it goes into shock and needs time to adjust. Give it some time to wait and see. Most say about a month to properly decide if the change was incorrect.

  29. I use any and all potting soil for my Avocado trees; I now have 5 saplings with leaves & solid growth. all from pits. I will mix in some sand for the drainage. Also most info I’ve found sites that they grow best in Mexico/California. So with the nutrients of whatever potting soil & the texture/drainage of the rocky sand it works great to replicate there natural soil. I like to pan for gold so I keep the surplus sand & sediment from that to stir into my soil.

  30. romafluxe says:

    Hello! I have a 6-month avocado indoor plant (about 1.5ft high) that I grew from seed in water. The plant looks great although we have a rather problematic black fly infestation, in the soil, on the leaves, etc. I was advised to re-pot immediately (albeit wintertime in Belgium) and remove as much of the infested soil as possible. As I’ve never repotted an avocado plant, I am fearful of harming the roots as I remove the soil. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you!!

  31. Romafluxe,
    Just be gentle. It helps if you lean it on its side and loosen the area between the soil and the pot with a plastic knife or similar utensil.

  32. Greg Correia says:

    I have a very young avocado (about 18mo) and basically the entire time I’ve had it has been spent in some sort of recovery. Someone in my complex has pulled it out of the pot twice. All of the leaves have fallen off and I’ve been trying to bring it back to life. A month ago I noticed little buds forming and was relived and hopeful that it would grow again. Well a month later and only one of the buds grew into leaves with this biggest about 1cm only to wither up and die. And what looks like brown/Black Death creeping down from the top taking buds with it. I don’t think I’ve over watered, maybe twice this month. What do I do now? Is it doomed?

  33. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Greg,
    It sounds like your avocado tree has had quite a tough time! At this point, I think your tree may be in trouble. If your branches and trunk are browning, you’re going to have to do some rescuing. Find out exactly how far your tree’s dieback has progressed. Cut into the wood just a bit to see where your tree’s brown turns into fresh green. You’re going to need to cut everything dead off at this point. It’s tough love, but someone’s got to do it! Before you to this extreme of a cut back, try visiting a local nursery or garden center, if there is one near by, and let them have a look. Hope this helps!

  34. Elisabeth Beckman says:

    Hi Jamie, I live half the year in Paris, France (latitude 48° 51’) Fifteen years ago planted a pit in a small cement planter above the cobble pavement of our little courtyard that enjoys a mini climate (no wind). It has survived 15 winters with occasional snow and even ground frozen solid for several days. The avocado is now over 14 feet tall and for the first time producing flowers (tiny yellow). The circumference of trunk base is 7 ¾” . Unfortunately the avocado seems to have developed a disease on the trunk that might be bacterial, perhaps Wetwood. An area of the trunk (2 inches high and all around) is black and has a band of sticky stuff with white specks that could be fungi (??). This part of the trunk appears shrunken in relation to the still healthy looking parts above and below.
    This tree has grown in almost pure coffee grounds which is all I have fed it during 15 years.
    I am puzzled the tree simultaneously produces flowers and suffers an illness. I have photos but don’t know how / where to forward them. I have though of washing that area with chlorine, to be frank, but it sounds ghastly and hope you know something I can do to prolong its life as is or do you recommend cutting the tree trunk down to the healthy part?

  35. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Elisabeth,
    You can send me photos at jamie.woods@flowershopnetwork.com. I’ll take a look and see if I can’t help you out!

  36. SHARON HARVEY says:

    I have several questions. I live in So CA, Inland Empire. I started an avocado plant from seed a year ago, then after it was leafier I planted it in my back yard. About 3″ above ground level the single stem split into “twin avocado trees”; I’ve never topped it so there’s two 7 foot trees, straight-up branches with lush, big leaves and the stems are bigger around than my thumb. I recently discovered (after living here for 24 years) a large fruiting avocado tree 150 feet from our house, hanging over a block wall, with active-growing avocados – was going to cut two “graft ends” from IT, but now decided we can’t continue our tree in our small 15×20 backyard area; the plant is about 3-4″ from our concrete patio in a dirt space width of less than 18″. My questions are: I want to dig up & move the entire twin 7′ tree to the front corner of our house where it can grow large. When I do this, should I cut the toop of both trees down to about 3 feet–does that help the root system to take the transplant and the shock? Then, after it recovers from transplanting, I want to then graft ONE of the twins, but CAN I graft BOTH trees, even though they come from ONE main stem into the ground? AND, what month is best to do the transplanting to the front? It’s Mid-August now here in Zone 9, we still get near 100 degree weather… please advise.

  37. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Sharon,
    As far as topping your tree before transplanting, I don’t feel that this will help much with the shock from transplant, as the food and nutrients are stored in the leaves, and generally, you don’t prune avocado trees very frequently. Transplantation should take place in the spring. On the grafting, I have never personally grafted an avocado tree, so I am unsure what will be best. I am linking to the California Avocado Growers website. I think you’ll find some great information for growing your tree. http://www.californiaavocadogrowers.com/growing-avocados

  38. SHARON HARVEY says:

    Thanks, Jamie Woods for your response. I know IF it survives the transplant I will HAVE to prune both twins as they are just one straight 7′ branch and will NEED to branch out into other branches. I know I’m late, being August, instead of Spring in doing the transplant – but HAVE TO… 7′ is too tall to let it go until NEXT Spring. Well, Sun. Aug 20 I did it! It’s now transplanted to the front corner of our house. So watching, giving it extra water… [has good drainage] and hoping for the best. Propped it up with a long stake. No option here to attach a photo, so will email to you (if that’s ok). When the time comes, there’s an excellent, thorough YouTube videos of a man explaining in detail the “grafting process” which will be helpful. In the meantime, fingers crossed! [I meant to reply to your post… but there’s no “reply to” icon under it, so I guess this may go up as a New Post…]

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