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Avocado Tree (Persea Americana)

-REFERENCE SHEET- -HOUSE PLANT-

In the UK avocadoes are grown as houseplants for foliage interest until becoming too large. In places where frost is rare they are occasionally seen growing outside as trees. For most, though, growing an avocado indoors from the stone is a better bet and fun for adults and children alike. Avocado is beautiful house plant that you can prune to shape you like.

GROUP: Tender evergreen tree.

FLOWERING TIME: Spring but rarely flowers or fruits as a houseplant.

HEIGHT AND SPREAD: Ultimately 15-20m (49-66ft); smaller in containers.

POSITION: Sunny position, south facing window.

HARDINESS: frost sensitive plant

DIFFICULTY: Easy to grow.

CULTIVATION: in containers at least 30cm (1ft) in diameter using soil based compost such as John Innes No.3 with added sharp sand.

FEEDING: Apply balanced liquid feed every 2-3 weeks.

RE-POTTING: When roots appear through drainage holes, repot. This is likely to be every year. Repotting is best done in the spring.

WATERING: The avocado dislikes either excessively wet or dry conditions. Water freely in summer; and thoroughly but less frequently in winter.

TEMPERATURE: In winter, keep your avocado plant in temperatures in the region of 13-18°C (55-65°F), with warmer conditions during spring and summer.

PRUNING AND TRAINING: Seed-raised plants may become tall and lanky or broad and spreading, and, where space is limited, may need pinching back from time to time. Plants which have grown too large for their surroundings will usually respond well to hard pruning but may be best replaced if showing signs of deterioration.

PROPAGATION: For home gardeners, growing from seed is the simplest and most fun, especially for children, even though the resulting plant is likely to outgrow its position after a few years. The seeds (saved from shop-bought fruit) are large and germinate after four to eight weeks. Subsequent development is rapid. You can either start them off in water or sow straight into compost.

PESTS AND DISEASES: Glasshouse whitefly, thrips and glasshouse red spider mite and mealybug may be problematic. Avocado plants can also suffer from fungal leaf spots and root rots

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