Potted Avocado Tree Losing Leaves and Turning Black

I have an avocado plant that I've been growing indoors for the past 5 years. She's over 3 ft tall! She has been growing strong and grew a branch this summer. I was so proud and happy! For the past couple of weeks I noticed she wasn't looking too well, her branch was wilting/turning black and she lost all her leaves so I cut her back thinking that was the problem. From where I cut the stalk, it's turning brown and is shriveling up. Over the summer I went on vacation twice and used a self watering globe so she would be okay when I was gone (I went away in July and August). I kept the self watering globe in the pot until I noticed she wasn't looking too good and removed it. Then I noticed she was losing leaves and the branch was wilting and turning a blackish color. I went back to how I used to water her in the past. The second change was I added crushed egg shells to the soil because a coworker said they were great fertilizer and to give it a try. I removed the shells from the soil as well. So those were the only two changes she experienced over the summer, the self watering globe and egg shells. She sits in front of a window so I know she's getting great sunlight. I always check the soil to make sure I wasn't over/under watering her. I checked my plant/apartment and I have no bugs flying around the plant or my studio. Did I kill my baby? Does anyone know what can be the problem and how I can save her? The picture below is from June when she was growing strong. What can I do to get her back to looking this healthy? I'm really upset. Please give me some advice on what I can to to help her. =(

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September 25, 20181 found this helpful

You could have an insect problem or fungus problem. You also could have too wet or too dry soil. Since you check the soil often, I suspect insects.

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September 25, 20180 found this helpful

How do you know if you have insects, I don't have bugs in my apartment. What should I do.

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September 25, 20181 found this helpful

Go to any garden center and get an insecticide for plants. Follow the directions. Insects that eat plants are not cockroaches or ants that eat food in your house.

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September 25, 20180 found this helpful

Ok thank you!

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September 26, 20181 found this helpful

Over watering often causes the leaves to turn yellow, then brown or black. I have a feeling the change in watering schedule could have inadvertently over watered her.

I suggest keeping her on her old schedule, removing the dead leaves, and waiting and watching.

If you feel this isn't working after a few weeks, contact your local home extension office and see if they have suggestions for your area.


They will know what is best based on where you are....like they may suggest putting her outside at a certain time or a special food or dirt mix to help rejuvenate her.

This link has a zip code finder. Ours are always quite helpful. Hopefully yours will be too! Sending up prayers for your leafy baby girl!!


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September 26, 20180 found this helpful

Okay, thanks for the advice. I did put her back on her watering old schedule, I'm crossing my fingers. I'm just patiently watching her and waiting. I will check out your link because I know Philly isn't close to her natural habitat. I grew her from a seed when I was in culinary school, we were making something with avocados and I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't think she'd last 5 years. She part of my family now lol! Thanks again!

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September 27, 20181 found this helpful

I am sending up prayers that she regains her lovely look!!

I get it about plants being part of the family! I have spider plants from when I was a kid. They are VERY OLD now!


No Philly (and where I am in Pittsburgh) are not their natural habitat, but inside, they should be fine. I used to grow grapefruit, lemon, avocado, and others plants from seed all the time. Never bore fruit, but always had lovely plants!

Post back in a few weeks and let me know how she is!!

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September 27, 20180 found this helpful

Thank you!! Me too, I hope she gets well soon lol! They are such lovely plants! I will!

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October 5, 20180 found this helpful

Hi, I have an update for my poor tree. I really don't know whats going on with her. The top part of the plant like is said is shriveling up and is a blackish brown color. It started out about an inch now its about 4 inches down. But there is new growth which to me looks like branches towards the middle of the tree. So I'm confused on what to do.


Shes back to her old watering schedule. The lady who posted before you said maybe I need to buy an insecticide. Would that help her? Should I cut the top down again? Should I re-pot her? I need to get some fertilizer for my orchids so I was thinking about grabbing some fertilizer specifically for an avocado tree. Would that be a good idea? I wish I could post another picture of her. Help LOL!

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October 5, 20180 found this helpful

I say leave it alone if you see new growth and reassess in a few months. New growth is positive!! I personally avoid insecticides at all cost...unless you are seeing an infestation of bugs/insects on the plant...stay way from this route. If you see a bug, post it as there are safe, natural methods I can suggest before you go nuclear on them with chemicals. Chemicals scare me!

If you haven't already done this, try to find your local home extension office and if they can offer better feedback. This is a zip code locator:



If yours is like ours, they are very kind and are true experts...not just folks like me who share personal experiences.

Keep me posted!!

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