I have an avocado tree that is approximately 1.5 meters tall and all its leaves are in the top 30cm. I'd like to cut the tree back to 20cm but then it won't have any leaves.

If I do this, will it die or will it be able to live and grow back leaves?

btw, its more like 2m tall and here is a picture: https://i.sstatic.net/CyzpD.jpg

  • Hi and welcome to the site! I edited the title of your post to match the question better. I also added a couple of relevant tags to help categorize it.
    – Niall C.
    Jun 8, 2016 at 19:58
  • Not something I've ever tried, but as it looks to be indoors and quite flexible from what you are showing in your pic, are you maybe able to reduce its height by training it to wind itself in a coil (maybe round a pole or something) ?
    – davidgo
    Jun 9, 2016 at 7:27
  • what happened to your avocado plant after you cut it? I have one that’s 22” long with a few leaves and I want to cut it back to 12” but I’m scared it will die if I remove all leaves. Did yours survive ?
    – Rose
    Feb 16, 2019 at 11:57
  • @Rose yes, it survived
    – Leevi L
    Feb 16, 2019 at 21:13

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can.

When the plant has its seasonal high starch reserves, it likely can be 'chopped with abandon' (so to speak). This would be when new leaves are just starting to emerge. Even then it is a good practice to cut back retaining one or two leaves to branch.

I suggest you cut back to one or two leafs. This bit of foliage will assure that there is enough of an auxin flow to continue to signalling 'life above' in the branch/trunk. It will, as well, maintain a food source (sugars from photosynthesis) with which to build buds and express new foliage and shoots lower on the branch/trunk that were previously suppressed.

  • cool, problem is i want to trim it back to 30cm and it is already 1,50m with all the leaves above 1,20m. What happens if I cut it to 30cm? The stalk is green as well, maybe it can do some photosynthesis with the stalk and grow new leaves?
    – Leevi L
    Jun 8, 2016 at 22:58
  • 1
    Since you are so cautious as to ask this question, I presume you want to do this in a way that minimizes the risk of killing your tree. One 'chases back/down' the foliage by repeating the procedure I described AFTER the new foliage has been hardened for a month or two (hardened foliage is what feeds the tree).
    – user13580
    Jun 9, 2016 at 1:14

I'm not an expert with Avocados yet, but when my goats did something similar to one of my avocados about 6 months ago, new leaves did arrive on the scene, but the avo has still not grown back - it was about 60cm high, its now still 15 cm's high - but has a lot of leaves.

It is possible that part of the reason is that I pruned it back a few times before (not nearly as drastically, and when the plant was small). If it were me, I'd probably not cut it down that drastically.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.