shadegrower204

Braided Avocados?

Peter
4 years ago

So I've been growing some avocado pits and have had some success with them. I have a few avo plants a few years old which take up quite a bit of room in my small house and I guess I'm happy with them all-in-all. I pretty much have them figured out; how they tend to grow and what their needs are and so on...

And like most amateur bonsai newbs, I've had my spin with pachira aquaticas as well, those are all great but this had me thinking.... has anyone ever braided avocados before? I've searched around and the most I've heard was "I'm gonna try it" or "I would not recommend it", and no real answers or reasons or results given.

Well, I'm going to attempt it for myself, by golly! I have 5 pits rooting as we speak... but before it's too late maybe someone here actually knows why this is just not done and what would be the big problem with this idea. Do avocado trunks not fuse well? Even if they don't, that's still fine as I see many old braided money trees not completely fused. Or is it that they strangle eachother to death? How, if their trunks are so eternally thin? Maybe the roots crowd and kill the whole thing off by some unavoidable process that I'm not familiar with? Or maybe the end result is the same as if you just properly trained a much older avocado tree thereby making the whole braiding fiasco redundant?

Why hasn't this been done and thoroughly documented on the web?! Why why why? What am I missing?

Comments (22)

  • breathnez
    4 years ago

    I guess your the one to start it! Hope you post the results with your fab five. I have no reason to believe the trunks wouldn't fuse.

    ez

  • Peter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I was going to anyway, but now I must! ...and I'll be sure to document any progress and take photos when I have something worth posting (like in a year or two, hah).

    It just baffles me how there is so much junk and stupidity on the internet (you name it; there's already something perverted done that involves it) but when you search something so ordinary which you figure has surely been tried before many times (especially with SO many people growing avocado pits for fun) you find nothing, or very little and it's totally uninformative.

    Alright so back to the important topic.

    What do you bonsai folks out there think: should I actually braid the stems or tangle them together in whichever way seems to work? ...cuz the thing is I actually don't know how to braid anything past 3 strands, and altho I've researched it, I don't really quite get it, I'd probably lose track of the braiding system as the avocados grow anyway.

    I'm personally thinking the random tangle would look best in the long run anyway, if my main goal is really to get a thick trunk and look as a single tree, and yet I'm sure some people already have a genuine avocado bonsai with a thick, well-developed, (and aged) trunk, so therefore the braid would be the completely unique way to go.

    Am I going to have to eat more avocados now?

  • breathnez
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Could also research trunk fusion, just binding them together.

    ez

  • Peter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    You're completely right Todd, but for indoor bonsai there are not a lot of options. I'm already growing the more common tropical bonsai species and wanted to venture into some new territory.

    I'll do the top-chop with my current two-year old avocado plant, sometime in the future when the trunk is better balanced with those giant leaves. I'm still working on more branches by pinching off.

    Maybe if the plant(s) becomes root-bound the leaves will reduce in size (as I've seen other trees do). The tangling of the trunks in my experiment might also reduce leaf size I imagine by strangling their usual flow of water... and if not then I suppose it will have to be on the larger end of bonsai.

    Either way I find they are easy to grow and care for (unlike lemon or pear, in my experience).


    breathnez: Well, yes that is ultimately my goal, to fuse all those trunks together, which will take quite some time I figure. No shortcuts there.

  • breathnez
    4 years ago

    You can offset the effect of large leaves somewhat through developing a solid canopy, don't you think?

    ez

  • Peter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Okay, so I guess it's time for an update with photos (which I'm sure everyone would love to see).

    So first off, I'm a little embarrassed with the results, they grow so slow that I've just been adding more pits as they root, not sure which ones will actually survive in the long run.

    Obviously they need as much light as possible and I can't really put them outside because the last time I did that with an avocado some animal dug them up and killed them.

    I mean, okay, it's all going according to plan more or less... except for ONE foreseeable problem which is reducing the ever-enlarging leaves like on my older single avo plant (which I did not take pictures of but-- trust me--it has enormous leaves).

    The main trick for reducing leaf size is root-pruning which I've found avos do not take very well to at all. Even just repotting an avocado plant can easily result in complete leaf-drop.

    One advantage with all these trunks is that I should be able to limit the total plant height and even if they don't branch off lower down on their own, I can now use the individual stalks like branches (as you can see in that last photo).

    I think this is a great bonsai project only because it's just going to be so much time before any new developments worth updating this discussion with will happen, and as we all know bonsai takes a good deal of time.

    Four months later and all I got are a bunch of spindly, tangled stalks!

  • Josh D. Diggity (6a/6b)
    4 years ago

    Hi,

    Do you guys have any updates? I'm looking into trying to fuse several trunks together as one large trunk and using the individual plants as branches near the crown of the tree (once a crown is developed).


    -Josh

  • Peter
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Perfect, go for it, that's what I'm trying here. My update at this point isn't anything much different. Just today I secured a couple new growths and there are a few more leaf buds emerging on the most mature stem. So far it's just reminding a whole lot of "Jack and The Beanstalk".

    Biggest decision is how tall to allow the "trunk" to get before forcing a canopy and judging by the leafsize I'd say quite tall... height of the stem mass right now is 11 inches, then the branches split apart from there and topmost leaf is at 17 inches.

    I'm still sprouting more avocado pits, six growing on there now and I might yet double that.

    Now I'm wondering what might happen to any dead stems left in the center of the trunk stalk, would they just become fibers that are fused in there or would rotting against the other stems cause the whole thing to suffer a slow death?

  • hemlock140 Zone 8B
    4 years ago

    The ancient art bonsai is meant to create small trees in a pot that appear to be very old, and ideally are very old. You are doing an interesting, fun project, but most bonsai people would consider it a decorative tree, not a bonsai. Fusing trunks is done often, especially with the ficus family, but not braided. It's done because when the trunks fuse they form a much more tapered, thick base, enhancing the appearance of age, or to develop a "clump" style bonsai. Ideally, a bonsai trunk height to trunk diameter ratio is approximately 6:1. So if your combined trunks are at 1" diameter, your tree height should be about 6" to convey the image of a mature tree. I'm not trying to discourage you by any means, just to let you know that reducing leaf size should not be a priority in this case. Let it grow, prune for the shape you desire and enjoy the braided trunks.

  • breathnez
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Braiding is one way to fuse. Given enough time and lots growth, the braided shape can disappear and become a single trunk.

    ez

  • Kelli Green
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I had the same idea and started a two separate groups of trees about a year ago. I am hoping that these will produce avocados like grafted trees would. I guess time will tell. In any case they will be beautiful when they are big.

  • Ejiofo Patrick
    2 years ago

    Hey Peter, with the small amount of info available on this topic, you seem to be the pioneer. Any chance of seeing a few recent pics of your creation? And do you have any more tips for us copycats?

  • Peter
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Oh hey thanks for the interest, I really should update!

    Well the plant(s) still lives, but it is winter here in Canada, and not that it ever looked thriving and healthy but certainly doesn't look its best now. It's just a loosely tangled mess of stems with a giant canopy of half-browning leaves. I'll try to remember to take a photo despite its sad condition just to give others here some idea.

  • Peter
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    ....and as for tips: stick to plants that actually seem to do well in your environment, unless you love a challenge and/or are very stubborn (persistent).

    If a plant dies, maybe try again in a different container with different soil, if they keep dying on you maybe it's just not meant to be! My house plant collection is sort of a Darwin thing.

  • Jakob Wulff
    last year

    Hi Peter,

    Any updates on this interesting project?

  • N P
    6 months ago

    ??

  • Peter
    Original Author
    6 months ago


    It's looking pretty ratty grown indoors without enough light, only two of the stalks survived, it keeps trying to grow vertical so i keep pinching the new growth at the top. This is not my favorite plant but as long as it's alive i haven't completely given up on it.

  • Peter
    Original Author
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    If you have excellent growing conditions i'd recommend bundling a bunch of avocado together like this because it does produce a thicker "trunk" and a much more interesting plant overall, but it's far from a bonsai by any stretch of imagination, perhaps if it were grown like this for at least 10 years.

    I also doubt the leaf size would reduce even if i had adequate lighting.

    As an after thought, i may try forming an avacado plant to a piece of deadwood, that would seem more feasible given the avocado stem's rapid vertical growth. Otherwise i think i'm done with avos, not the right climate outdoors, no space/good lighting indoors where i live.

  • Cherie Buijk
    6 months ago

    I’m going to try braiding them too. Without telling me, my husband added pits to my 4ft tree. The darn things rooted and are sending shoots up. I re-positioned them the be in better braiding proximity. So... if that didn’t kill them, we’ll get to see how this experiment goes.


    Not sure why it flipped the image when I posted it. Don’t see how to fix it either.

  • Julie Hamner
    4 months ago

    I have three avocado plants going and had this idea. So thankful to have found this thread to give me some idea of possible results. I am going to try simply because the avocado plants are free, but I have realistic expectations. Thank you, Peter!

  • Dima Mtl
    3 months ago

    Hello everyone. I was contemplating my avocado plants this morning and wondered if I could braid the multistem ones...