The avocado tree, also known by its Latin name of persea americana, is an evergreen fruit tree that loves warmth and light. An elegant houseplant with bright green foliage, it thrives in our homes as long as it is provided with good humidity. With a lot of patience and some careful care, it is even possible to harvest beautiful avocados and make a guacamole that you can be proud of!
Latin name: persea americana
Synonyms: laurus perseu, persea rubigena
Origin: Mexico, Central America
Flowering period: June, July
Flower colors: yellow-green
Plant type: tree / houseplant
Type of vegetation: perennial
Type of foliage: evergreen
Characteristics of the avocado tree
Native to Mexico, Guatemala, but also the West Indies, the avocado tree is an evergreen fruit tree with perennial vegetation, flourishing in warm, sufficiently humid and sunny lands. Cold, drought and too much water can jeopardize its survival. Grown in the ground, it can reach 10 to 15 m in height, but turns out to be much smaller in pots: only 2 to 3 m, after a few years of care.
Before becoming a real fruit tree that greedy avocados delight us with, it is a lovely houseplant, with bright, shiny green foliage, lanceolate (lance-shaped), with pale green reverse.
The flowering of the avocado tree, white to yellow-green, occurs in two stages: the first flowers are female, before giving way to males. This hermaphroditic flowering allows it to ensure its reproduction on its own. They are small discreet flowers, each with 3 petals and 3 sepals, gathered in clusters developing at the end of the branches.
Avocados generally develop in December-January, and have the particularity of not ripening until they are picked. However, it takes up to 10 years of cultivation to obtain its first fruits.
How to maintain the Avocado tree?
- Lots of light exhibition
- Winter watering: regularly mist its foliage
- At the beginning of life: frequent watering, always damp soil. Then, let the soil dry between 2 waterings
- Spring – autumn fertilizer: fertilizer for green plants
- Growth 2 to 3m maximum
- Diseases Anthracnose, phytophthora cinnamomi, red spiders, sciarids
Exhibition / Location
The avocado tree needs a lot of light. Indoors, it should be placed directly on a window sill. Take it out when all risk of frost is gone, between May and September, and gradually expose it to the sun’s rays, otherwise its foliage may turn brown.
It thrives in neutral to acidic soil (the ideal pH being between 5 and 6), and well-draining soil, composed of heather soil and humus.
How to water the Avocado tree?
Watering is especially important at the start of an avocado’s life, when its soil needs to be kept moist. Subsequently, you can space the waterings and let the root ball dry. The avocado tree tolerates drought quite well.
Too much water can cause yellowing of the leaves. A lack of water can make them brown: it’s up to you to find the right balance!
From October, when your avocado tree has resumed its winter quarters, regularly moisten its foliage using a sprayer to maintain a good humidity level.
Necessary material :
- glass mist
- organic soil for vegetables and herbs
Which fertilizer to use?
Between spring and fall, add green plant food every now and then. Here are some great eco-friendly fertilizers that you can easily get online:
- Botanic green and flowering plant fertilizer
- Liquid vegetable fertilizer based on algae
- Herbal organic and vegetarian liquid fertilizer
The avocado tree is sensitive to too sudden temperature differences: avoid any thermal shock, and gradually expose it to the sun’s rays when you take it out. Too much wind or sun can cause burns on its foliage. A lack of water can also brown or blacken the leaves at the edges.
Maintenance equipment during winter:
- During winter, it is recommended to protect your avocado tree (if it is outside) and its leaves with a wintering veil
How to repot it?
Repotting is done every 2 to 3 years, in a larger pot. Always leave a layer of gravel or clay balls at the bottom of the pot, before pouring in its potting soil.
Material needed for repotting:
- gravel (Botanic)
- organic clay balls (Botanic)
To grow a new avocado tree, you can use a well cleaned avocado pit, which you have allowed to dry in the sun to remove any moisture. Then poke 3 toothpicks and balance it on the edge of a glass, point up. Immerse the lower part of the core in water. When the roots have reached 1 or 2 cm, you can plant the pit in a pot full of potting soil, keeping its soil always moist. A significant number of gadgets exist today to facilitate the growth of an avocado tree from its pit, here are a few examples: the Mosracy planting kit, the Avoseedo, the Seed Guard avocado buoy and many more …
The pit can also be planted directly in moist potting soil, but this technique offers poorer results.
You can also sow in the hot season, in a always hot and humid atmosphere. To do this, if possible, use biodegradable seedling pots. The same principle also exists in biodegradable sachets.
How to prune it?
Pinch the head regularly, but only after the avocado tree has reached a height of 30 cm. This is how you will encourage branching of the plant, and prevent it from growing all the way up the stem, and only upwards.
Subsequently, a maintenance pruning of dead twigs and suckers is recommended. After a few years, the potted avocado tree can grow to 2 to 3 m. From a green plant, it will then become a real indoor tree.
Material required for pruning the avocado tree:
- a secateurs (here)
- pruning scissors (here)
How to cultivate it?
There are plenty of solutions for this, but we offer you a rather original idea: Avoseedo. This avocado kit (in gadget form) allows you to grow this fruit without requiring a lot of effort. All you need to do is collect an already consumed avocado core, place the Avoseeda on a damp surface with the core resting on it, and watch the magic work. To find out everything, take a look at this site, it is very detailed!
Diseases and Parasites
Avocado trees are sensitive to certain fungi, including Anthracnose and phytophthora cinnamomi. The first can be treated with nettle or horsetail manure, sprayed twice a week. The second, more destructive, requires a fungicidal treatment.
Spider mites can also take root: wash the plant with plenty of water, as these mites hate moisture.
Sciarids, a kind of midges, frequently develop in moist and warm soil. Try to reduce watering a bit, and protect the soil by covering it with stones, sand or pieces of slate. A treatment with a strong-smelling essential oil, such as peppermint, can be a good repellant: pour a few drops on the soil of your avocado tree.
Materials needed to fight against these parasites:
- organic nettle manure (Botanic)
- pieces of slate (Botanic)
- peppermint essential oil
Avocado leaves and bark are toxic to your pets.
Some species of Avocado
Persea americana Zutano: A vigorous variety that is fairly resistant to cold, giving light green fruits with thin and shiny skin.
Persea americana Fuca: species giving avocados with purplish green skin, oval in shape.
Persea americana Hass: purplish fruits when ripe, of very good taste quality. They are picked hard and then left to ripen, like bananas. Be careful, this species is very sensitive to cold.