Apart from vocabulary, culture, or fashion, food-related trends also tend to get quite popular on social media websites and can soon be found being served at cafes or restaurants globally.
One food that became an internet sensation over a short time is the avocado fruit. Although local communities and growers have consumed avocados for centuries, it was not until the past decade that the humble avocado industry truly took off.
The Avocado Fruit
Table of Contents
Social media influencers, celebrities, dietitians, and fitness experts across the globe vouch for the healthy natural fats and other nutritional benefits that can be found in this deep green single-seed berry.
As a matter of fact, the avocado fruit has become an extremely integral and popular part of the keto diet.
An average avocado fruit usually weighs around six to eight ounces and is a deep green color during its early developmental stages.
When the fruit has fully matured, its outer leathery peal turns a darker green, brown, or even black, and its now-yellow flesh turns a creamy yellow color.
Apart from being the key ingredient for many salsas, salad dips, and sauces, avocado fruit slices are also consumed on top of bread slices, rice, eggs, etc.
If you have not yet tried an avocado fruit, it is high time you give this trendy fruit a try to learn what the hype is all about.
Moreover, as a result of the growing global demand for fresh avocado fruits and avocado-based food items, avocados are now being grown, sold, and purchased in most countries.
This has led to the overall avocado market value being estimated to experience a 9.1% compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2028.
However, not everyone has the funds to go out and buy avocados whenever they need them. As a result, some people have resorted to growing their own avocado trees at home.
Whether they plan to pot the avocado tree inside a container for it to be used as a house plant or wish to plant it out in their gardens to enhance their property’s outlook and grow their own avocado fruits, gardening enthusiasts must know how to look after an avocado tree.
Although an avocado tree can survive both indoors and outdoors, it is highly susceptible to certain plant diseases, such as a fungal infection, especially during its early growing years.
Usually, the first sign of a sick avocado tree is when the avocado leaves turn brown, yellow, and dry.
If nothing is done to treat the brown leaves or prevent more leaves from turning brown, the tree will eventually lose its visual appeal before dying completely.
If you’re looking to plant your very own avocado tree and enjoy the wholesome experience of growing your own avocado fruits, you need to know all about the plant’s needs, when to water avocado trees, specific living requirements, symptoms of potential diseases, and treatment methods.
Continue reading to learn about the avocado tree, its history, its characteristic appearance, and some key benefits that indoor potted or outdoor planted avocado trees can offer.
Moreover, the article sheds light on the primary care routine you need to know before you plant an avocado tree in your home or out in your garden.
We’ll also discuss the main symptoms of a poorly kept avocado tree, along with why your avocado trees are turning brown, what the yellow and brown spots mean, and what you can do to treat and prevent more avocado leaves from turning brown.
Let’s get started!
The Avocado Tree – What You Need to Know
History of the Avocado Tree
You might think that an avocado is a modern and trendy fruit; however, traces of this unique fruit can be dated all the way back to 6000 to 7000 BC.
Originating from Puebla, South Centro Mexico, the avocado fruit has been a popular part of the local community’s diet for over ten thousand years.
However, it was not until five thousand years ago that avocado trees were finally cultivated by the Mesoamerican tribes for a relatively larger production.
By 1521, avocado trees finally arrived in South America and were also exported to many European regions.
Although Mexico is still the largest producer of avocados in the world, the drastic boom in the avocado industry has resulted in avocado trees being planted and grown in various countries across the globe.
Today, the United States of America accounts for nearly 79% of the global avocado exports from Mexico, which greatly helped increase the ancient tree’s global popularity and demand.
Now, one can find avocado fruits, trees, and themed merchandise almost everywhere in the world.
Characteristic Appearance of an Avocado Tree and the Avocado Leaves
The primary purpose of growing an avocado tree in a greenhouse, commercial farm, or backyard is to grow avocado fruits.
However, as easy as the process might seem, in reality, one needs a lot of patience and persistence to finally taste their self-grown avocados.
This is because mature avocado trees will usually bear fruits after they are at least ten years old.
The waiting period might sound discouraging, but it allows the avocado tree owner to initially pot and keep their avocado trees indoors as beautiful and lush house plants.
Characterized by its dark brown stem and deep green foliage, an avocado tree is well-known for its tall height and impressive spread.
In general, avocado trees that are planted outdoors can grow nearly sixty-feet high, while an indoor potted avocado tree usually reaches a maximum of ten to twelve feet.
Moreover, the avocado tree is easily distinguishable for its egg-shaped oval leaves, which tend to remain a dark green color throughout the year, as long as the tree’s health is not affected in any way.
Before mature avocado trees begin bearing fruit, they produce millions of tiny greenish flowers. A majority of these flowers fall off, and the ones left behind are usually able to produce avocado fruit, which is no bigger than a chicken’s egg.
When an avocado tree is potted indoors, its wide spread and deep green foliage can almost immediately enhance the outlook of the entire living space while also creating a calming and reenergizing ambiance.
This is the primary reason people usually do not throw away their avocado fruit seeds and instead use the massive pit to propagate and produce a new house plant.
Although an avocado tree grown this way from its pit usually does not usually bear fruit, this is more of a trend seen in nature as opposed to an outright rule.
If you provide your avocado tree with the ideal living conditions, the avocado leaves will stay healthy throughout the growing period, and the tree might eventually bear fruit once it is planted outdoors.
However, since this may take more than a decade, many people prefer to buy a fully matured avocado tree instead if their goal is to consume or commercially sell its fruit.
While this option is alright as well, it does not come close to the wholesome experience of planting your own avocado seed and watching your avocado tree grow from a thin bark and a few leaves to a whole fruit-bearing tree.
The Benefits of Growing Your Own Avocado Tree
If you have been to any modern restaurant or café or follow different cooking or food-related web pages or online blogs, you probably have come across several recipes that revolve around using avocado as their key ingredient.
Whether one consumes an avocado for its creamy and nutty flavor or its rich nutritional value, they are bound to enjoy its abundant health benefits.
However, apart from just focusing on the benefits of eating or cooking the avocado fruit itself, there are many advantages to simply potting or planting an avocado plant.
Growing Your Avocado Tree Indoors
As mentioned above, avocado trees can be grown indoors and outdoors. When you choose to keep your avocado tree potted indoors, you can enjoy the following benefits:
Its deep green foliage can help create a calming, therapeutic, and relaxing ambiance in your home or workplace.
Unlike some indoor plants, keeping an indoor potted avocado tree alive and evergreen is relatively easier and does not require too much plant care experience.
While adding new furniture or curtains can be quite expensive, renovating your living space with a couple of indoor potted avocado trees can be super quick and budget-friendly.
Like other indoor plants, an indoor potted avocado tree can also be an excellent air purifier.
Hence, an indoor avocado tree can benefit people with asthma or other respiratory diseases.
Finally, an avocado tree’s leaves can offer excellent medicinal benefits. For instance, they can be used to boost immunity, improve muscle and bone health, and facilitate better blood circulation throughout the body.
Growing Your Avocado Tree Outdoors
When a potted avocado tree has fully matured indoors, the best advice is to plant the tree outdoors while you get another small avocado plant for your living space.
Doing so can offer you the following benefits:
When an avocado tree is planted out in the open, it grows bigger and is able to bear fruit.
Since a mature avocado tree can be quite tall, dense, and widely spread, it can add beauty and character to your property or backyard.
Moreover, since the abundant avocado leaves form thick and dense foliage, it can offer fantastic natural shade to the rest of your backyard.
Once your avocado tree begins to bear fruit, you can then consume this fruit. What you do with it is up to you, but it’s a great way to eat healthy or make some money if you choose to sell your avocado fruits.
Whether you choose to keep your avocado tree potted indoors or decide to replant it outdoors, it will be visually appealing, healthy, and useful only when the tree is cared for.
To learn how you can keep your avocado tree happy, tall, and healthy, keep reading.
The Primary Care Routine for an Indoor Potted or Outdoor Planted Avocado Tree
As mentioned above, an avocado tree can survive in a variety of different living conditions. However, to develop its tolerance, immunity, and overall health, a growing avocado tree will need a specific care routine and a relatively controlled external environment.
If you are interested in looking after your very own avocado tree planter, the care steps listed below will give you all the information you need to know.
How and When to Water Avocado Trees
Like any other living plant, an avocado tree depends on water to survive. Besides carbon dioxide, water is the only other primary ingredient needed in the photosynthesis reaction.
If an avocado tree is deprived of proper watering, its leaves will no longer be able to carry out photosynthesis and won’t be able to produce the necessary plant food.
With no more food being produced, the avocado tree won’t be able to carry out the necessary functions that ensure its survival.
Therefore, you must remember to water your avocado plant sufficiently and on time so that its soil is moderately and evenly moist at all times.
However, while water is key to an avocado plant’s healthy growth, deep watering or adding excess water to the potting mix is highly discouraged.
Not only will doing so directly impact the avocado tree leaves, but it might also cause the plant to develop a fungal infection, which is more than enough to kill it over time.
Moreover, it is advised to water a growing avocado plant more abundantly when it is planted outdoors, especially during the relatively dry and hot spring and summer seasons.
However, when the outdoor temperature gets colder, you should reduce the average amount of water you use to wet the avocado plant’s soil.
An Avocado Tree’s Sunlight Requirements
In general, the amount of sunlight you need to provide your avocado tree depends on how old or mature your plant is.
If you have a growing avocado tree, direct or bright sunlight can damage the entire tree and its thin stem, along with causing leaf burn.
When this happens, the plant begins to look dried out and dead. At the same time, its internal temperature also goes up. If nothing is done to cool the tree down, it will begin to transpire water (in the same way that humans sweat) to cool down.
When that water evaporates from the surface of the leaves, it will produce a cooling effect that will help bring the avocado’s tree internal temperature down.
However, although this natural coping mechanism is quite effective, it can lead to the dehydration of your avocado plants.
Keep your avocado tree in a well-lit spot in your house, away from the direct light of the sun. However, if your mature avocado tree has developed dense foliage that protects its stem and bark from the sun’s heat, you need not worry about the sun’s direct light.
Ideal Humidity Levels for an Avocado Tree
Ideally, an avocado tree grows best in moderately high humidity. With this information in mind, if you can provide an indoor potted or an outdoor planted avocado with 60% atmospheric humidity, your plant will thrive and grow just fine.
However, if the weather gets too dry, it is best to bring back your avocado tree into your home. If the tree’s size limits this possibility, another tip is to water your avocado tree more frequently than usual until the dry spell lasts.
Primary Fertilizer Requirements for Avocado Trees
Avocado trees thrive in well-fertilized soils. When the potting mix lacks proper nutrition and nutrients, its leaves begin turning brown, and its growing phase is severely stunted.
Hence, the best tip is to add nitrogen-rich fertilizers to your avocado trees, especially during the spring and summer growing seasons.
Ideal Container for an Indoor Potted Avocado Tree
Proper soil drainage helps prevent multiple infections and diseases that can severely harm or even kill an avocado tree.
You must plant your growing avocado tree in a breathable pot, such as a Terra Cotta container, as long as it is kept indoors.
When to Repot an Avocado Tree
An avocado tree is an extremely fast-growing plant in the first five to seven years of its life. Hence, it is advised that an indoor and growing avocado tree be repotted annually for the first three years.
After the tree turns three, start repotting it once every two years till age five or seven. However, once your avocado tree is around eight or ten years old, repotting no longer remains an option as the plant’s growth rate has sufficiently slowed down by then.
At that point, it is best to replant the indoor potted avocado tree outdoors to give it the space it needs to grow taller and hopefully bear fruit.
How to Propagate New Avocado Trees from Their Pit or Seed
An extremely common practice that gained popularity among the gardening community is propagating an avocado plant from its large center pit.
As mentioned above, avocado plants grown this way usually do not bear fruit. However, if you are patient enough to wait a decade or more, the fruit trees in your garden might eventually bear some avocados.
If you are interested in propagating your own avocado fruits, follow the steps below:
Once you eat the flesh of a fully ripe avocado, save its pit and wash it clean under water.
Use a couple of toothpicks or a thread to suspend the avocado pit over a glass of water in a way that its bottom half is fully immersed in the water.
Place the water container and the partially submerged pit in a sunny spot, and wait for at least two to four weeks.
Once a long enough stem and a plentiful root system have developed out of the avocado pit, plant the pit inside a well-draining and rich potting mix.
Finally, water the potting mix enough to keep the soil moderately and evenly moist at all times, and voila, you will have your very own new potted avocado plant.
The Main Symptoms of a Poorly Kept or Sick Avocado Tree
In general, most house plants are more susceptible to illnesses and infections than the majority of the outdoor plant species; however, this rule does not apply to an avocado tree.
Since an avocado tree can survive both indoors as well as outdoors, it usually has the resistance, tolerance, and immunity it needs to survive a number of varying living conditions.
However, despite this relatively high survivability, continuous neglect and repetitive mistakes in the plant care routine will undoubtedly impact your fruit tree in a negative way.
Since the leaves are usually the first to display signs of weakness or unideal living conditions, examining the avocado leaf’s condition, color, or texture quality might help you analyze the plant’s health.
Some of the signs and symptoms of poorly kept, sick, infected, or infested avocado plant tree are as follows:
Its leaves are turning brown or yellow
Its leaves are too dry and have curled up inwards
Its leaves have brown spots, brown patches, or brown tips
The avocado tree is shedding more leaves than usual
The avocado tree’s stem is unable to support its weight and is drooping sideways
The avocado plants’ leaves have developed brown tips along with brown leaf margins
The leaves indicate leaf burn
The avocado tree has a sunburned bark, and one can spot pests such as spider mites on the bark, stem, and leaves
The avocado tree is no longer bearing healthy fruit
Why Are Your Avocado Leaves Turning Brown?
If your avocado tree leaves are turning brown or have developed brown spots, there can be a number of different independent or collective factors responsible for this.
Some of the primary reasons for an avocado tree’s leaves turning brown are as follows:
What are Fungal Diseases?
Perhaps the most common reason for a plant’s premature death is the occurrence of a fungal disease.
Fungus is usually considered any spore-producing organism that can reproduce rapidly and survives on organic matter. Hence, toadstools, molds, yeast, and mushrooms are all considered to be different kinds of fungi.
Usually, an avocado tree might get affected by a fungal disease when excessively watered.
Improper drainage that doesn’t facilitate the timely expulsion of the extra accumulated water only adds fuel to this fire and accelerates the plant’s death.
Moreover, apart from deep watering, fungal spores can also land on an indoor potted or outdoor avocado tree when the neighboring plant is infected.
What is the Most Common Type of Fungal Disease that Affects Avocado Trees?
The most common type of fungal disease that can severely affect an avocado tree is Anthracnose. If you can spot faded patches or brown leaves on an avocado tree, know that it is suffering from the Anthracnose fungal infection.
What Happens to an Infected Avocado Tree?
If the plant parent fails to notice or pay attention to the apparent brown leaves on an avocado plant, the fungal infection will eventually spread across the avocado leaf, the avocado fruit, and its bark.
As a result, the infected avocado leaf might turn black, and the fruit might start to darken and rot away before falling to the ground.
Apart from Anthracnose, there is another type of fungal infection that can cause the roots of an avocado tree to rot and die prematurely. This condition or disease is called root rot.
How does this condition affect an Avocado Tree and its Leaves?
As mentioned above, fungal infections usually occur when one overwaters their plant or places them next to another infected plant. This is how it usually happens:
When an avocado tree is overwatered, its roots are unable to absorb any more water.
Hence, when the roots fail to uptake more water than they can, all the excess water accumulates inside the avocado tree’s soil.
With insufficient drainage, the excessively damp soil creates a medium that attracts and harbors fungal growth.
If any airborne fungal spores settle on the wet soil, it barely takes a few days for the fungal infection to spread all the way to the avocado plant’s roots.
Without timely intervention, the fungus begins to engulf the roots, causing them to decay and die.
With no more functional or healthy roots left behind to absorb the required water intake, the avocado tree suffers from severe dehydration.
As a result, the avocado plant’s leaf cells no longer have enough water to carry out photosynthesis and thus begin to lose their deep green pigment and turn brown.
What is a Pest Infestation?
Another extremely common reason for an avocado tree’s leaves to turn brown is a pest infestation. A pest is an extremely small insect or bug that attacks and severely damages a plant, crop, or livestock.
Which Pests Normally Attack Avocado Trees?
The most common types of pests that attack an avocado tree are as follows:
Avocado Lace Bug
What Happens During a Pest Infestation?
Usually, pests such as spider mites are hard to spot with the naked eye. The most common way to identify a pest infestation is by examining the color and conditions of the avocado leaves.
An avocado tree undergoing a pest infestation usually has brown leaves or leaves that are turning brown or yellow.
Just as deep watering can hurt your avocado fruit trees, insufficient watering can do the same.
How Does Insufficient Hydration Affect an Avocado Tree and Avocado Leaves?
Ideally, an avocado tree’s soil should be kept moderately and evenly wet at all times. However, if you forget to water your avocado tree on time or you’re traveling for an extended period, the avocado plants’ leaves will begin turning brown before they eventually fall off.
This is how it happens:
With little water available in the soil, the roots will have no moisture to absorb and push up the avocado tree’s stem and leaves.
If this continues for too long, the leaf cells will lose their turgidity and will begin curling inwards.
Eventually, the lack of hydration will completely inhibit the photosynthesis reaction, hence affecting the production of chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their deep green pigment.
As a result, the leaves will turn brown, and the entire avocado tree will lose its visual appeal.
The Build-Up of Chloride Salts in the Avocado Tree’s Soil
What Are Chloride Salts?
When natural chlorine is bonded with an active metal, or hydrochloric acid reacts with a metal or a metal oxide, a chloride salt is formed.
The most common chloride salts are sodium chloride, potassium chloride, ammonium chloride, and calcium chloride.
How Do Chloride Salts Build Up in an Avocado Tree?
The most common way chloride salts enter an avocado tree’s soil or body is when the plant is watered with tap water. Usually, this happens when one persistently uses unfiltered tap water to water their plants.
How do Chloride Salts Affect an Avocado Tree and its Leaves?
If one or multiple kinds of chloride salts are added to the avocado tree’s soil, they get absorbed and carried to the leaves along with the water.
When the chloride salts enter the leaves, salt accumulation begins. As a result, the unideal salty toxicity leads to leaf burn becoming more common.
Eventually, the avocado leaf will start turning brown and will develop yellow and brown patches before dying and falling off.
Direct Bright Sunlight
How Does Bright Sunlight Affect an Avocado Tree and Avocado Leaves?
As mentioned above, a growing avocado tree should only be exposed to indirect or properly filtered sunlight.
Since a growing avocado tree does not have thick or dense foliage, the direct light and heat from the sun can burn its stem and bark.
Moreover, since direct bright sunlight will increase the entire plant’s internal temperature, excessive transpiration will lead to severe dehydration.
As a result, the avocado tree leaves will no longer have water to photosynthesize any more chlorophyll and will thus turn brown.
Nutrient deficiency can cause leaf browning in all kinds of indoor as well as outdoor plant species.
How Does a Nutrient Deficiency Occur?
A nutrient deficiency usually occurs when an avocado tree’s potting soil lacks proper micronutrients or the plant owner fails to add a high-quality liquid fertilizer to the mix after a few months.
What Are the Key Nutrients Needed by an Avocado Tree?
Some of the primary micronutrients an avocado tree needs to grow, develop immunity, remain evergreen, and survive include iron, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
How Does an Iron Deficiency Result in Avocado Leaves Turning Brown?
Usually, if an avocado tree’s potting mix is too acidic in nature, it lacks proper iron. Hence, when avocado plants are planted in such low-PH soils, they are deprived of iron.
As a result, the avocado tree’s leaves begin turning brown before they start falling off.
Very Low Temperatures
In general, an avocado tree grows best in a slightly warm environment. This is why it is advised to grow your avocado fruit trees outdoors if you live in a region where summers are generally longer and warmer.
However, if an avocado tree is left outside when the temperature gets too low or is not provided proper warmth indoors, its leaves might turn brown.
When the external temperature is low, less water evaporates from the soil. As a result, the soil remains relatively damper than usual and does not need to be watered as frequently.
However, if an unaware plant owner continues to water their avocado tree as per the pre-set schedule, the excess water accumulating inside the soil will increase the chances of root rot.
Hence, the rotten roots will deprive the entire avocado tree of its water requirements and will cause its dehydrated leaves to turn brown.
Less than Ideal Atmospheric Humidity
Apart from deep watering or underwatering, the atmospheric humidity can also cause an avocado tree’s leaves to turn brown.
High Relative Humidity
When the atmosphere inside the house or outdoors is too humid, the excess moisture from the air begins settling on the avocado tree’s soil. This may prevent the soil from drying up on time.
If the plant owner continues to water their avocado tree like before, the excess moisture will begin accumulating inside the soil. As a result, root rot might take place, which will lead to the avocado leaves turning brown.
Low Relative Humidity
If the atmosphere is too dry and lacks proper humidity, water will begin diffusing out of the avocado plant’s leaf cells down a concentration gradient.
If too much water leaves the plant, the entire avocado tree will get dehydrated; hence, its leaves will start turning brown before eventually falling off.
Poor Pot Drainage
What is Pot Drainage?
Pot drainage is the ability of a plant’s container or vessel to expel excess water on time. Ideally, an avocado tree does best in a container with great pot drainage.
Which Pots Offer Poor Soil Drainage?
Terra Cotta or mud pots are extremely breathable containers that offer excellent pot drainage. Moreover, pots with abundant drainage holes at their bottom can also facilitate the timely expulsion of excess water.
What Happens to an Avocado Tree when it is Planted in a Poor Drainage Pot?
If an avocado tree is planted inside a pot with poor drainage, any extra water added to its soil will fail to get expelled in a timely manner.
As a result, moisture will start accumulating inside the avocado tree’s pot, and the chances of root rot will increase. Hence, if the worst is to happen, the avocado tree’s leaves will start turning brown.
Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It When Your Avocado Leaves Are Turning Brown
Although spotting an ongoing pest infestation or a growing fungal infection can be challenging, it is almost impossible to ignore when an avocado tree’s leaves turn brown, have brown tips, or develop brown spots.
However, if the sick avocado tree is left unattended or nothing is done to treat its brown leaves, it will eventually die of excessive shedding, dehydration, or poor immunity.
Ways to Treat an Avocado Tree with Brown Leaves
If the leaves of your avocado tree are turning brown, you must start with the treatment process almost immediately.
Some of the ways you can do this are as follows:
Water your indoor potted avocado tree with a measuring jug to prevent more overwatering.
Moreover, if the soil is already too wet, avoid pouring in any more water and instead mix in some dry potting mix.
In order to examine the condition of the avocado plant’s roots, dig out the planter from its pot.
Wash the roots under running water, and use a soft-bristled brush to clean off any more dirt.
If the roots are dead and decayed, use a pair of pruning shears to remove all rotten root pieces.
Finally, repot the avocado tree into a fresh batch of highly nutritious potting mix, and add some water to it.
Moreover, add a natural fungicide to your avocado tree’s soil to further limit the chances of another fungal infection.
If you can diagnose an ongoing pest infestation, spray your entire avocado tree with a suitable pesticide and prune away the brown and damaged leaves and stems.
If the sun is too bright, provide your outdoor avocado tree with some shade.
Furthermore, examine the atmospheric humidity, and develop your avocado tree’s watering schedule accordingly.
Finally, repot your growing avocado tree at least once or twice in two years.
Final Thoughts – Caring for an Avocado Tree with Brown Leaves
Avocados have become extremely popular fruits globally, as their huge pits can be used to plant beautiful indoor houseplants.
However, when kept in unideal conditions for too long, its leaves will turn brown. Hence, if you have an indoor potted or an outdoor planted avocado tree at home, make sure to read this article to be well-informed about its particular care routine to help prevent its leaves from turning brown.