How Do You Prune Indoor Avocado Trees? (+ Take Care Tips) 

Avocado trees are great indoor plants. They have dark green foliage and can grow to be seven feet tall. You may wonder, “How do you prune indoor avocado trees?” 

If you fail to prune your avocado tree, it can get leggy, grow too tall, or may get diseases. This guide will help you prune your avocado. 

How Do You Prune Indoor Avocado Trees?

When the avocado is six inches tall, prune it to three inches. When it reaches twelve inches tall, prune it to six inches. When the tree is larger, you prune out dead, diseased, and damaged branches and can prune the top to make the tree branch out. 

What Happens If You Do Not Prune An Indoor Avocado Plant?  

If you do not prune the tree, the tree will not be healthy.

Pruning causes the tree to create branches, so it looks nicer and has a better chance of producing fruit. Avocados produce fruit on new growth, so you want to prune it to encourage the new growth.

If you do not prune your tree, it will get very large. In addition, weak, diseased, or dead branches will reduce the lifespan of your avocado tree.

Pruning also helps allow air to circulate around and in the foliage, reducing disease problems.

When Should You Prune An Indoor Avocado Tree? 

You should prune the plant the first time when it is six inches tall. Cut the stem back to be three inches tall. Cut it back to six inches when the seedling is twelve inches tall. Each winter after that, you should prune your tree. 

How Do You Prune Indoor Avocado Trees?  

After the avocado tree is over a foot tall, you will only prune it once a year in the winter. Follow these tips.

  1. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches.
  2. Pinch off the very tip of the top of the tree to encourage the tree to branch out the first two or three years you have it.
  3. You can also cut off the tip of the tree to keep it from getting too tall.
  4. If a branch is getting too long, cut It back a little.
  5. Never trim more than one-third of any branch you want to keep.
  6. Prune off any suckers which are growing at the base of the tree.
  7. Remove any branch that is growing down.

The video below will show you how to prune your young avocado to give it a good start in life. 

How Often Should I Prune My Indoor Avocado Tree? 

You should prune your tree twice when it is less than 12 inches tall and yearly. If you have a dead, badly diseased, or broken branch, you should remove it immediately, even if it is not the usual time to prune your tree. Most years, you will not remove much of the tree during pruning.

Tips on Taking Care of Indoor Avocado Tree After Pruning 

After pruning your avocado tree, do everything you can to keep it healthy so it can recover. Follow these recommendations. 


Avocado seedlings should be in a large pot twice as deep as the roots. As the avocado grows, you will need a big, heavy pot to keep it from tipping over. Put wheels on the pot so you can move it easily. Always use a pot with drainage holes. 


Use a sturdy plant stake to make sure your avocado grows a straight trunk. Avocados have shallow roots and may pull out of a pot and fall over if not staked. 


Avocados need bright light. They get leggy and do not grow well if they do not get enough light. 


Use a potting mix with lots of organic matter and sand, so it drains well. Most commercial potting mixes for indoor plants will work. 


Overwatering will kill your tree. Instead, water once a week or when the top inch of soil is dry. Run water into the pot until it runs out of the drainage holes. Let the pot sit for fifteen minutes.

Empty any water out of the saucer; leaving it in the saucer will cause root rot. In the winter, let the soil dry out more than in the growing season, but never let it dry out completely.

Yellow leaves usually mean you are overwatering. Wilted leaves usually mean you need to water. 


Avocados are tropical plants and like more humidity than most homes have. Place the plant on a pebble tray to fix this. Take a saucer larger than the one under the tree’s pot. Fill it with pebbles. Fill the tray with water until it almost covers the pebbles. Place the avocado’s saucer and pot on the pebble tray. As the water evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the plant. Make sure you refill the water in the pebble tray regularly. 


Avocados like temperatures between 60-85 degrees. Most homes fall within these temperatures. 


Fertilize your avocado with a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for house plants once a month during the growing season. Do not fertilize the avocado in the winter. 

Weekly Maintenance 

Once a week, use a clean, soft cloth to dust the avocado tree’s leaves. Inspect it for any signs of diseases or pests. Turn the plant a quarter turn, so it does not try to grow towards the light. 


Repot the avocado tree in the early spring every two to three years. Move up to a pot two inches in diameter larger than the pot the avocado is in and use fresh potting mix. When the avocado gets too big to repot, remove the top two inches of potting mix from the pot and replace it with fresh potting mix. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Should I cut the dead leaves off my avocado tree? 

Yes, you can cut dead leaves off your avocado tree when they occur. You do not need to wait for the yearly pruning to do that. 

Should I cut my avocado plant in half?

You do this twice, once when the tree is six inches tall and once when it is twelve inches tall. After this, you do not cut your avocado tree in half again. 

When will my tree bear avocados? 

Avocado trees do not produce avocados until they are about ten years old. Avocado trees grown from seed will probably not produce the type of avocado you got the seed from. This is because most avocados are grafted hybrids and do not produce avocados that taste like the parent avocado. 

Avocados purchased as young trees, particularly if they are dwarf varieties, will probably have avocados in three or four years. Unfortunately, avocados only bear fruit if conditions are perfect, so many indoor avocado trees do not fruit. 

In conclusion, You should prune your avocado tree twice when it is very young and then once a year. Pruning keeps your avocado tree healthy and gives it a more pleasing shape.

Photo of author

Stephanie Suesan Smith

Stephanie Suesan Smith has a Ph.D. in psychology that she mainly uses to train her dog. She has been a freelance writer since 1991. She has been writing for the web since 2010. Dr. Smith has been a master gardener since 2001 and writes extensively on gardening. She has advanced training in vegetables and entomology but learned to garden from her father. You can see her vegetable blog at

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