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How to Bonsai an Avocado Tree (Step-by-Step)

People have practiced the art of bonsai for thousands of years to keep trees small and aesthetically appealing.

But what about an avocado tree?

Is it possible to shape an avocado plant into a bonsai?

Avocado trees can be good bonsai trees if you train them early and keep growth under control.

By using sterile shears to prune the branches and leaves of an avocado tree in its early years, you can properly bonsai an avocado tree.

In this article, we will review the steps you should take to bonsai your avocado tree as well as how to start your bonsai avocado tree.

We will also cover the challenges of bonsaiing an avocado tree and the best way to train your avocado tree to bonsai.

What Steps Should I Take to Bonsai an Avocado Tree?

The best method to bonsai your avocado tree is through a process called pinching.

Pinching is the act of pruning the tree’s branches and leaves while it is still developing.

This technique will strengthen the trunk of your avocado tree and prevent the avocado leaves from growing too large.

You’ll want to use sterilized pruning shears to bonsai your avocado tree to prevent infection.

So, soak the blades of the scissors in a 10% bleach solution for about five minutes to ensure that they are fully clean.

Then, trim the branches and leaves until you have shaped your tree in the bonsai style you have chosen.

Overall, there are ten bonsai styles to choose from, and any of these are appropriate for your avocado tree.

What Are the Challenges of Making an Avocado Tree Into a Bonsai?

While you definitely can bonsai avocado trees, they are not the easiest to train.

The challenge of bonsaiing avocado trees lies in their size.

Naturally, avocado trees can grow up to 40 feet (12 m) high with leaves that reach 10 inches (25 cm) in length.

But ideally, a bonsai tree should have small foliage and be slow-growing.

Yet, avocado trees can grow 2 feet (0.6 m) each year, so they will quickly outgrow their bonsai container if you don’t maintain them regularly.

However, despite the challenges of making an avocado tree into a bonsai, it is still possible.

The key to successfully bonsaiing an avocado tree is pruning it early and often.

So, cut back the leaves while they are still developing so that they don’t grow too large.

Shortening the branches will also help widen the trunk and promote growth within the central part of the tree rather than outwards and upwards.

What Is the Best Way to Bonsai Train an Avocado Tree?

The first step to training your avocado tree for bonsai is selecting the shape you want it to take.

There are ten different bonsai styles, each one with its own unique beauty.

Once you have chosen the right style for your bonsai avocado, you will need to acquire the necessary tools to train it into shape.

Bonsai gardening wire is the best way to train your avocado tree to grow it in the correct style.

These aluminum or copper wires should be the right size to wrap around the branch without breaking it. 

And remember that you don’t want to wrap the wire too tightly around the branch, or you could restrict its growth altogether.

Later, as the plant grows, the flexibility of the wire will allow you to bend and shape the branches to grow in the direction you desire.

Or an alternative method to training your avocado tree is to use fishing line.

You can wrap the fishing line around the end of the branch and attach it to the bonsai pot to encourage the branch to grow horizontally.

But, no matter whether you use wire or fishing line, you should train the branches soon after they sprout. 

Additionally, you ought to replace the line or wire every year so that the tree branches do not grow into the wire and cut into their natural growth.

How Do I Grow a Bonsai Avocado Tree?

If you want to bonsai an avocado tree, you can also start at the beginning and grow your own plant from seed

Since avocado trees grow tall, you will need to start with a small cutting from another avocado tree or a brand new plant that has sprouted from an avocado pit.

A rooted cutting will already have established bark and may have leaf growth.

For these plants, you can begin to train and prune them right away.

If you plan to grow a brand new plant, though, you will need a jar of water, toothpicks, and an avocado pit.

Begin by suspending at least half the pit in the jar of water. 

To do this, stick toothpicks through the pits and then rest them on the jar’s rim. 

Next, once the plant has sprouted and grown about 6 inches (15 cm), cut it back to about half that height.

When leaf production starts, plant the seedling in the soil. 

Then, when the bark is hardy enough to sustain wire or fishing line, you can begin bonsai shape training. 

Pruning should begin as soon as the leaves develop to discourage them from growing to their full length of ten inches, which is much too large for a bonsai.


Avocado trees can make good bonsais if you provide them with regular care and maintenance.

However, it can be hard to bonsai adult trees because the avocado plant grows at a rate of two feet (0.6 m) per year and can reach a height of forty feet (12 m).

Their ten-inch (25 cm) leaves also provide a challenge to bonsaiing, so be sure to prune them as soon as they start to develop.

Yet, despite these problems, avocado trees can be a great way to challenge yourself as a bonsai artist.

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