Everyone wants to plant their food close to home these days, so why not avocados? Aside from the delicious taste of avocados, these fruits also have numerous health benefits. Due to this fact, avocado trees are prevalent in most homesteads growing outside.
Usually, an avocado tree grows to the height of 15-30 feet, depending on the type you decide to have. Luckily, with innovations also hitting the farming sector, it is possible to grow the avocado tree inside. How so?
Many gardeners are learning the art of growing an avocado bonsai tree. This is the only way they can achieve a small avocado tree to fit indoors. Sounds interesting, right? Now, let’s learn how to grow avocado bonsai and have the fruits close to everybody who loves avocados.
What Is A Bonsai Tree?
Typically, bonsai means planting in a container. Therefore, a bonsai tree will translate to planting a tree in a container hence the avocado bonsai tree. The tiny bonsai trees are not a unique species but just the regular trees that carefully undergo special pruning and training to adapt to the new nature.
Apart from the size being different from the actual tree, the idea of having a bonsai tree is to make it resemble the full-sized tree as close as possible.
What Makes A Good Bonsai Tree?
While having your favourite fruit trees growing indoors sounds like winning a jackpot, and now you want to try, you should know that not every tree can make a good bonsai tree. The best bonsai trees must be flexible, have small or balanced leaves matching the plant size, and have an attractive bark.
In the case of an avocado tree, it is not the best option for a bonsai garden because it has large leaves. But worry not! When the avocado tree is young, you can prune and trim the branches and leaves to form it into a bonsai. Also, take caution not to remove so much since the tree is very young to avoid killing it.
Nonetheless, your avocado bonsai will outgrow the container since these trees grow about 2 feet tall each year.
Variety of Avocados
Lucky for you, growing your avocados allows you the freedom to select from a wide range of varieties than those typically found in food markets.
The potted varieties should taste good as well as derive from naturally small trees. The three common types that will impress you are:
- Gwen-maturing from March to November
- Wurtz or Little Cado- maturing from May to September
- Whitsell-maturing from February to August.
Cross-pollination, a necessary procedure for planting to produce fruit, is not mandatory for avocados but does encourage yields to some extent.
Instead of growing different varieties together, you can opt to have a single tree that bears two or more varieties grafted onto it. It is easy to do grafting, but it’s not an ordinary thing for any gardener. Therefore, it would be best to get a grafted plant from a nursery.
How to Grow Avocado Bonsai
Usually, careful and proper maintenance of avocado trees will have them flourishing all year. As observed above, it is also straightforward to grow them because you can also have them indoors, in a greenhouse apart from the usual outdoors.
What you need;
- Avocado tree
- Avocado potting mix
- Pruning shears
- Scrubber/wire brush
Let’s get into the detailed steps of planting an avocado bonsai below.
- Choosing Your Avocado Tree
You plant an avocado tree from its seedlings. Finding an ideal seedling will require you to visit the seedlings store or order online if you are sure of good quality.
Like most growing things, shaping an avocado tree at an earlier stage is the best and easy way to modify it to what you want compared to a more mature one. The shaping should occur frequently but be careful not to cut out so much of the trunk as it may weaken/die or become excessively small.
Moreover, ensure you carry home a healthy avocado seedling. This means that it should not have plenty of leaves, and it should not have any discoloration of brown or yellow patches.
Also, ensure not to allow your avocado tree to grow into maturity before you start pruning like half the branches. This will make it less challenging to form it and also give it enough room to grow.
- Take Out the Avocado Plant from the Pot and Clean the Roots
Take out the avocado tree from the pot you bought from the store.
Subsequently, clean the roots as you remove those that seem strangely growing and avoid breaking the stem.
- Choosing a Pot
It would be best to purchase a pot with drainage holes to repot and grow your avocado tree. Preferably, the size of the pot should be about 2 inches wider than the root ball to allow it some space to spread. Also, it should be sufficiently deep for the plant to grow a foot tall.
Furthermore, since you are planting from seedling, a pot that can accommodate it for three years would be perfect. But if you have a ready-to-grow branch, go for a smaller container that you will need to transplant to a bigger one as it grows.
- Preparing the Pot
Because it is an avocado bonsai, it will need proper potting for indoor growth.
At the bottom of the pot, put coarse-grain soil. This type of soil will ensure proper water drainage to avoid waterlogged roots, especially for a tree that thrives in tropical climates with both wet and dry seasons.
Additionally, the top layer of the pot would need good quality soil that also drains water well. Allow sufficient space at the top to cover the root as you plant it into this layer. It would be better to use similar soil as the bottom but differently colored like the sandy type.
Make a mixture of the soil with compost to provide adequate and necessary nutrients for your avocado bonsai.
- Potting the Bonsai
Put the avocado bonsai gently in the pot. The tree should grow to about one-half to two-thirds tall, matching the depth of the container.
Make holes pushing outwards at the bottom, ensuring you space them about an inch from each other all around. This way, there will be better drainage when watering.
Fill the holes with water allowing the excess drain away, and also add some compost. Afterwards, put your avocado tree in the pot until the lowest roots settle firmly in the wet soil mix.
- Pruning the Avocado Tree
After cleaning and removing the excess soil from the roots, prune out like half the branches.
Pruning is mandatory for a growing avocado to enhance proper branching. This procedure will maintain a shorter than average avocado tree and a more robust trunk.
Because avocado has large foliage, you will need to trim them as they develop before they reach as long as 10 inches. How do you do that? Sterilize your pruning scissors using a ratio of 1:9, bleach to water for about 5 minutes. Then prune the branches and trim the leaves gently using sterile scissors. Sterilizing is essential not to transfer any infection to the young plant from the scissors.
It would be best to decide on a favourable bonsai style for your growing avocado plant to enable your pruning cuts to form an attractive bonsai specimen. Lucky for you, the types are about 10, so you have plenty of options to decide on one that is also easy to do.
- Training the Avocado Bonsai
It is crucial to decide which the frontal view is before starting the bonsai training. Moreover, flexible copper or aluminium wire specifically for bonsai gardening would be ideal for training the growth of the branches horizontally.
Ensure you wrap the wire securely but not too tight around the branch to prevent the plant from proper growth. The flexible wire will enable you to bend the branch to face the desired direction of change.
A fishing line is also a great option instead of a copper wire as a bonsai guidewire. With your fishing line, circle it around the branch and pull it gently into position, then tie it up to the pot. The best time to prune and train your avocado bonsai is twice-yearly immediately new growth appears. Also, it would be best to replace the guidewire every year to prevent marking on the tree branch.
Growing Avocado Bonsai from a Pit
The avocado pit is a long-term school project.
What you need
- Three toothpicks
- A small-mouth jar filled with water
- A bright window
You will need to insert the toothpicks near the pit’s edge, like two-thirds from the round bottom. This will ensure you rest the toothpicks on the brim of the jar and hang the pit in the water.
The water should be on a high enough level that the lowermost half-inch of the seed is underwater. Expect the avocado pit to shoot in about six weeks.
Moreover, it would help if you let your plant grow to about 6 inches tall. Consequently, nip the plant back to 3 inches high to promote root development. Once the stem shows foliage, put your avocado tree in rich soil and leave the top half of the pit exposed.
Can Your Avocado Bonsai Grow Fruit?
Unbelievably, the delicate Asian native bonsai trees can produce fruit. Even though they are tiny, they grow from the same seeds as the mature full-sized trees. Their miniature nature is because the gardeners prefer it that way hence inhibit their growth to full size. So, they plant them in small containers, pruning, trimming, and train them to grow into stunted plants as desired.
Therefore, it takes learning to know how to grow a fruit-bearing bonsai tree inside your home. However, it would be best to keep in mind that you have to foster the tree in the right conditions before you even begin.
This means that each tree will require planting in the corresponding conditions; for instance, an avocado tree will not thrive well in the states of an apple tree. But, once you select a plant that originates from your locale, all you need to do is follow the recommended growth instruction concerning light, humidity, containers, fertilizer, pruning, and other bonsai-related how-tos.
Is the Fruit of a Bonsai Tree Edible?
Yes! Bonsai tree fruits are edible. If you plant your bonsai tree under the ideal conditions, you will hardly notice any difference between the fruit from a full-size tree and that of a bonsai.
Also, the fruit yield from a bonsai tree will still be in standard size and not miniature. However, there’s a possibility that the tree can produce somewhat smaller fruit, but it will not be as tiny.
The primary factor that makes a bonsai tree small is the frequent pruning and trimming and restricted roots in the tiny pot. Generally, there is no genetic variance between that and the full-size form. Based on this fact, a bonsai tree will still produce an equal size fruit, the same as the full-size types.
Caring For the Avocado Bonsai
Growing your avocado bonsai does not end at potting, but the process is continuous and needs commitment. Luckily, it is not tiring, but your plant needs you to be there when necessary. See how to enable proper care for your bonsai below;
- Grow your avocado bonsai tree in a correctly-sized pot
- Maintain a regular watering schedule for your plant to keep the soil moist
- Feed your bonsai with the proper fertilizer weekly and water immediately after
- Ensure you keep up the pruning every time the leaves grow more extensive than you want them
- Expose your avocado bonsai to the regular sun but not direct, as some shade is also ideal
- Please avoid using any harsh chemicals such as insecticides near or on the bonsai because it will kill your plant
Any bonsai tree growing, including the avocado bonsai, is challenging due to the delicate nature and utmost care. If you plan to plant an avocado tree as an indoor tree or just for fun, ensure that it gets plenty of indirect sunshine and humidity to thrive. Also, remember that it will not endure outdoor growth conditions if the temperatures excessively drop. Nevertheless, it is possible to achieve an outstanding avocado bonsai in no time but with proper care.
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