Leaves Dying on an Avocado Plant

August 15, 2008


We have an avocado plant started from seed, which is really shooting up. It has nice large leaves on it but the lower leaves keep turning, curling and dying off. No problem with new ones sprouting but why are the lower leaves turning? It is about 20-24" tall. Do we need to bring it in for the winter? What do I need to do to keep it alive thru the winter?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Kimberlea from OK


Avocados lose their leaves for many reasons. Too much water and not enough sunlight can cause leaves to turn yellow and lower leaves to drop. If your plant continues to sprout new growth, I wouldn't worry.

Avocados are also self-thinning. They naturally shed a large number of leaves during periods of rapid growth-especially older leaves. In nature, the leaf litter naturally composts beneath the tree, adding organic nutrients to the soil.

If your avocado is getting tall and leggy, you can pinch back the stem a bit to encourage it to branch out. The most important element is to provide it with enough light.

As for keeping avocados outdoors during Oklahoma winters, it won't work. You'll need to bring yours in. Avocados are sub-tropical plants native to southern Mexico. They need semi-humid climates and temperatures between 60°F-80°F. You can grow yours in a container and move it inside during cold weather.

The cooler temperatures will signal a rest period for the plant. During this time, place the plant in your coolest room with bright light (not in direct light) and reduce feeding and watering until you can return it to the outdoors.

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19 Questions

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May 25, 2020

Our avocado tree was just replanted in a pot a week ago tomorrow. As you can see in picture it's not that tall. It had a bunch of new leaves growing on the top and then it just wilted, as seen in picture. I know it's stressed out. The top part with the new leaves fell off yesterday. Anything we can do to save it? Stop watering so much, no sun for a while?

I'm California and we're going to get very hot here the next 4 days so I don't know if that will make it worse. I told my in-laws to place it in a pot when it was like 12 inches tall because they planted it in old hard dirt and it was growing slowly; no one listens. It's been a few years. Then she planted fava been plants all around it that were so tall it was being smothered so that's why they took out.

So I need help. Thanks


May 26, 20200 found this helpful
Best Answer

She has damaged the root system on the tree when it was dug up and moved over to the pot. The tree is in shock and yes it will take time to come back again. Hopefully they did not damage the main root of the tree when it was dug up and moved over to a pot. Once you plant the tree it should remain in the location and even if it is growing slowly or not the roots are still growing underground and when you dig them up you can cut into the root and shock the tree. I would suggest cutting down the tree a bit on the top and removing all the deal leaves. Try to get a little plant food to add to the soil and only keep the ground most and not too wet. Hopefully the root will come back and the tree will grow again.

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May 30, 20201 found this helpful
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You might be able to save it but I'm not an expert at this.
I always keep my newly planted and transplanted plants in some shade and no direct sun for a few weeks and slowly move them to whatever type of area they like growing in.
An old friend told me to take about a tablespoon of Epsom Salt, a tablespoon of blue Dawn and mix in a gallon of water and use that when you need to water (do not keep soil wet - almost dry to just moist). Also she said to pour this mixture over the plant when watering (not in direct sun) or spray this on the plant sometimes. It usually perks my plants up after a few days but patience is needed here. Let the plant rest.

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September 12, 2011

I have a mature 10 ft 8 yr old avocado tree and the leaves are turning yellow and the 30+ fruit on the tree are red skinned, but turn brown when picked and stored. It's close to another avocado tree which has the normal dark green leaves. It receives normal fertilizer annually. We are 200 meters from sea. Other avocado trees nearby in the settlement are normal. Is my tree dying or can it be saved? Thanks for any help.

By Allan M


September 13, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I found info on yellowing leaves: Yellowing leaves indicate iron deficiency, that can be caused by overwatering or lack of nutrients. They say a chelated foliar spray containing iron will correct this deficiency. Don't know your feeding setup, but they suggest they be given a multi-purpose fertilizer 4x a year.

Hope this helps.

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March 23, 2020

So my three year old avocado plants have been through thick and thin, but at the minute they're developing small dark spots on the underside of their leaves, only visible from below, near the veins of the leaves. They've also been quite dry and have had a bad run at growing new leaves, most of them curling up.

I've cut off some of the worst leaves, but don't know where to go next. I imagine its some kind of fungal infection.



March 31, 20200 found this helpful
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avocados do well in a California temperate climate zone that does not get overly cold in winter, is not overly humid in summer but rains in the winter months. Also very sunny

Being grown inside can make it susceptible to all sorts of fungi and diseases. A liquid copper fungicide can be a great cure, such as this

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September 19, 2016

I started 2 avocado trees from the seed. They are about 10 inches high. I have them in pots right now, but on one of them the leaves have started curling down all along the edges and turning yellow and orange. Do these trees lose their leaves in the fall? Or is something wrong with my seedlings? Also when should I put them in the ground? I hope you have an answer for me.



February 1, 20170 found this helpful
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These trees only really do well in a California type of climate, which is essentially dry and mild.

I have tried planting avocado in Georgia, and they did not like the weather and did not like it when fall/winter came.

You might want to make sure that it doesn't have a virus, or that you are neither over nor under watering it.

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September 20, 2018

I've had my avocado tree for a long tine, it was growing great, tall and wide. It was in a small pot before I replanted it into a bigger one, where it had more space. It has been doing great since then. It was growing bigger and bigger, in about 8 months I've decided to replant it into a bigger one.

I used a metal spoon to help it get out if the pot. Once I took it out, I noticed that the roots had grown into the drainage holes and when I took it out the roots in the drainage holes ripped from the ones in the dirt. I planted it in the bigger pot and left it outside for 5 to 10 minutes. When I looked at it, the leaves where down and it looked sick, so I took it right inside. After 2 days the leaves were still down. But recently I noticed that the leaves started to have weird brown marks on them, and those weren't burn marks. As you can see on the picture it looks like an illness. What is it and how can I help my friend?

Thank you.


September 20, 20180 found this helpful

The spots are a sign of fungus. Treat with a fungicide

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September 20, 20180 found this helpful

It looks more like it isn't getting enough nutrients (nitrogen is the biggie). You mentioned cutting the roots when transplanting, that may have cut it's food supplies.

You could try a very small dose of fertilizer meant for avacado like Scott's makes one. Your garden center can give you the local favorite.

See if that helps. Prayers for your leafy friend!

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September 24, 20180 found this helpful

I would hesitate to add anything until you know for sure what your plant may need and it is not recommended to add fertilizer to a sick plant (although your plant may not be sick).

I feel sure part of the problem is stress from transplanting as you say you just changed pots 5 months ago so your plant may have just been getting back to normal before this transplant. The loss of part of the main root would also cause shock/stress.

Did you leave it in the sun for that few minutes you left it outside? If so, that is another shock since it has been inside all this time.

Do you not have an Ace Hardware or True Value Hardware in your area? As a general rule they have excellent plant people who might be able to help you bring your tree back to life.

You may need an insecticidal soap if there is any type of disease/fungus but they can tell you this also.

I would take 2 or 3 leaves to them and tell your story to one of their experienced people and see if they can help you. I love to use Jobe's fertilizer as it is a controlled product so there is no chance of giving too much to an already stressed tree.

Google Ace or True Value with your zip code and maybe there is one in your area.
I recommend those over Target, Lowe's, Walmart, Home Depot as it is rare to find someone with plant knowledge in those stores - usually just clerks/salespeople.

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September 11, 2019

It took almost a year to sprout. After 6 months it was doing great, but now it's leaves are turning brown, spotting, and there are brown lesions on the stem. Please help.

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January 21, 2019

I have an avocado plant started from a pit. I have no idea what kind. It rooted great in water so we transplanted it into a small pot. A few months ago we transplanted it to a larger pot and have noticed the few leaves it has are wilting. It gets watered a bit once a week. Are we under watering? Does it need more sun? We are in Canada so it is in a room that doesn't get drafts or cold, but our whole house temp goes down to about 16 degrees Celsius at night in the winter.

Do I need to move it to a room that stays warmer or gets more sun? It never had many leaves (it lost one after transplanting, but has always been kind of tall and skinny. It is about a foot and a half tall at this point.)

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September 29, 2009

Please help me I am in desperate need of assistance. I live in East Lansing, Michigan and have been growing an indoor Avocado plant since this summer. Everything seemed to be going very well until recently.

Firstly, let me say that I do not know the type of seed nor have I ever pruned my tree (I don't know how to or if I should). Right now, my plant is a little taller than 1 foot. It is pretty straight up (spindly) and gets a good amount of sunlight.

Here is the problem: recently, I have noticed that almost all of the leaves have fallen off. There are still a few leaves at the top and there even appears to be new leaves sprouting from the very top. Some of the larger leaves literally fell off at the slightest touch. Is this simply a natural phase my plant is going through or are there any measures I should be taking to improve my plant's health.

I would be really upset if it died and would really appreciate any help you can provide. I do not give it plant food, but I do have it planted in potting soil containing time release plant food. How often should I completely change all the soil and how do I do that without damaging the tree?

So, in sum, why is my plant so ugly (for lack of a better word)? why are all the leaves falling off? What kind of soil and/or plant food would you recommend? Should I change the soil? If so, how do I do it? And finally, should I prune it? If so, how do I do it?

Please help.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By will s from East Lansing, MI


October 2, 20090 found this helpful

I think you may have over watered it. If that is the case it probably will not make it, sorry. I would not feed it either we have never fed ours and we have about 30 trees(my hubby just can;t throw those seeds away!). Let it dry out a little between watering, then water completely till it runs out the bottom, but do not let it sit in water.

I usually cut mine back at about a foot high down to 6" or so. Avocados do not like to be repotted, that is why they suggest to first pot it in a fairly large pot. Remember It is really easy to start a new one if yours does not make it and fairly inexpensive. Think guacamole, yum. Just google starting avocado trees and you will get lots of help.
Hope this helps, good luck!

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February 26, 20161 found this helpful

Do not stress the leaves will fall off and in a few weeks the new shoots will appear. Water well once a week and as long as the main stem stays green it will recover.

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January 21, 20190 found this helpful

I also live in Michigan and have been growing an avocado tree inside in winter and outside in summer. My leaves are browning and falling...I know this is apart of the process now so I wont worry too much! BUT I am nervous to cut my tree back although I know it needs it-my tree is 2-3 feet tall and he a bend in it DO I Cut it back by half even if its inside? Thank you!!!!

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April 21, 2020

I've had two avocado pips go from a glass bottle to a small pot to a large pot, separately, since August 2019. They have been thriving - growing rapidly from the second their roots came out the pip.

All of a sudden, recently, they are starting to look down. The larger one has leaves that are starting to become almost hard, and the smaller one has no leaves left - I pulled them off as they were all dead and discolored.

I'm really desperate to save them, but don't know what is wrong. So here's a few things I've noticed:

- The first time I put them in pots, I used normal compost. The second time I put them in larger pots, I used potting soil and mixed it with sand from the garden. Both large pots do have holes in the bottom.
- The smaller plant started to look down before I repotted it so I thought moving it to a larger pot would help. It did not.
- I've never grown avocado plants at this time of the year. It's autumn here in South Africa, but it's not nearly as cold as other parts of the world so I don't think it's too cold for them or it's too cold to move them inside just yet either.
- I've moved one into the sun and one into the shade (it gets a few hours of sun in the morning).
- It's quite warm during the day still so I give the larger one a full bottle of water and the smaller one half a bottle when the sun sets in the evening, usually once every second day, unless it rained in between.

If anyone can provide tips or reasons as to why they think this might be happening, I'd really appreciate it!

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July 3, 2019

I've been growing this avocado tree for about 2 years and she's been thriving until about 2 weeks ago when the leaves started to turned brown and dry up. I'm not sure what the issue is. I tried fertilizer and that showed no signs of improvement. I usually water maybe twice a week, but I have noticed some small bugs in the soil of my tree and I'm not sure what they are or if they are the problem.

I'm very concerned and would appreciate if someone could help me figure out the problem and try to save her!

Thank you

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