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I'm growing an avocado plant from the pit (started with the toothpicks and glass method). Unfortunately I was out of town when it hit its growth spurt and therefore was not there to pinch back the first set of leaves when it was 6 to 12 inches tall.

All of a sudden it's close to 3ft tall and I'm not sure what to do. I intend the plant to stay potted, so shorter and bushier would be preferred. Is it too late to pinch (or clip) back my avocado plant?

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I have grown avocado from seed a number of times and found that it will respond to being cut back. Even the severe pruning you will have to give it will cause a new tip to start. The avocado is a tree and exhibits apical dominance. Cutting it back will not necessarily cause it to branch out. Other environmental factors such as the amount of sunlight, size of the root ball and timing your pruning are just as important.

For your plant, if you can provide direct sun for 8 to 12 hours a day and a consistent watering regime I would cut it back. In lower light conditions you will be waiting a long time for a new bud to start.

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Thanks @kevinsky. I can provide copious amounts of direct (or indirect) sunlight, and I can give a consistent watering regime. So just to confirm, would you suggest clipping it short (say 12in) right above one of the tiny knots? This would obviously remove all leaves from the tree. – netnichols Sep 26 '11 at 14:54

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