I have three indoor avocado trees that I have grown from seed (pictured). I have cut two off after they got fairly high and both have started a new branch (the one on the right has barely started its branch and the one on the left and in front has awhile ago). The one in the back I haven't cut off the stem, but I have pruned it extensively after the leaves got really big. It is now starting with some new growth at the top. I have also been picking off the leaves of the one in the front left.

I don't want them to get very tall and I want them to branch out, but so far they don't like to grow leaves or branches unless it is more near the top. How can I do this? Is there any way to get the little bumps (that are present every so often up the stem) to turn into branches? How should I be pruning these trees - branches and leaves? Is what I have been doing so far completely wrong?

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1 Answer 1


There are a lot of questions about avocado from people with the same issue. Avocado's have strong apical dominance. This plant wants to be a very tall tree. The other factor is that when grown indoors it is rarely receiving the light levels required to put out a lot of leaf growth.

When I cut back avocados grown indoors you would get one, maybe two, buds. One would quickly become the leader and the result is that the tree would look the same, only shorter.

When grown outdoors in the ground you can get a multi stem tree by cutting back the main stem.

If you want a multi stem plant and you are growing it indoors you need a lot more light. High pressure sodium lighting should do the job. These are used for hydroponics and should be available in your area.

  • 3
    Interesting comment. Is it reasaonable to infer that the position of the light source is makes a difference, ie if the light source moves and the leaves cant follow it (I notice the leaves in one of my sapling always moves towards the light - I keep turning it around so it will grow straight !), and presumably the height of the light source can be modified, continuously changed to reduce apical dominance ?
    – davidgo
    Aug 18, 2016 at 4:20
  • 1
    @davidgo I have never read anything linking changing the position of the light to reducing apical dominance. You could certainly try it as an experiment
    – kevinskio
    Aug 18, 2016 at 10:24

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