Coaxing your Little Avocado Tree From a Seed
After so many years in California, I’m a huge fan of avocados.
What would life be without avocado toast, guacamole or avocado salad?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tossed hundreds of avocado pits into the trash or compost over the years.
But why toss perfectly good seeds away when you can grow a nifty little house plant from them?
With a few tips, it’s pretty easy and it will add a lovely touch of greenery to your home. And if you live in a warm enough climate, you can even plant your tree outside one day.
Here’s how to get your little baby started.
Remove and Clean the Pit
First, remove the pit from the avocado, making sure not to cut it.
Then rinse it in water to get all of the meat from the avocado off.
Make sure it’s clean, but don’t remove the brown skin. That’s the seed cover.
Do you Know Which Way is Up?
Some avocado pits look round and others oblong, but they all have a top and a bottom.
In this case, it’s important to figure out which way is up because the roots are going to sprout from the bottom of the seed.
If you take a close look at your pit, you’ll notice that one side is slightly flatter. This is the bottom.
The very slightly pointy end is the top of the seed. That’s where the leaves will sprout.
Use Toothpicks to Pierce your Avocado
You’re going to be suspending your avocado seed halfway in a glass of water to keep the bottom half wet and the top half dry.
To do this, pierce your pit with 3 or 4 toothpicks.
The toothpicks should be pointing at a slightly downward angle.
This will be the support system for your seed. Make sure the toothpicks feel firm before you go to the next step.
Submerge your Seed Halfway in Water
You’ll want to use a clear glass jar to submerge your seed so that you can see when the roots begin to grow. Place the jar in a sunny area in your home, but not in direct sunlight.
Also, make sure you change the water around every five days or so. Otherwise, mold will begin to grow. And your little baby will not like that!
Some seeds sprout sooner than others, but by 8 weeks your seed should be showing signs of life.
Tiny roots will start to grow from the bottom. Meanwhile, the top of the seed will crack open and you’ll start to see a tiny little sprout. Yay!
If your avocado pit shows no signs of life after 8 weeks, you’ll want to start again.
And remember, make sure the roots and the bottom half of the pit are ALWAYS submerged in water.
Trim your Little Tree
When your avocado plant reaches 6 inches, trim it back another 3 inches.
This will encourage new growth and give you a thicker plant.
Plant your Tree in Soil
Once your plant reaches 6 inches again, it’s time to put it in soil.
Major step forward, little guy!
Use a good potting soil and a pot that’s 8 to 10 inches in diameter.
A couple of important tips here:
Make sure the roots are covered but leave the top of the avocado seed exposed above the dirt.
Also, make sure the pot has good drainage or the roots will get moldy.
Now put your plant in a sunny spot in your house. Avocados are big sun worshippers and need a lot of rays.
Water and Wait
You’ll want to keep the soil moist without overwatering. If the leaves go yellow, you’re giving it too much.
If the leaves go brown, your mini tree needs more water. You’ll find the right balance as you go along.
Trimming Back Again
When your plant is about 12 inches tall, remove the top two sets of leaves.
It may look a little naked, but this will encourage new growth and give you a bushier plant.
You can repeat this process every time your tree grows another 6 inches.
Should you Move your Tree to The Garden?
Avocado plants will be happy outdoors all summer long. But if you live in a colder climate, you’ll want to bring your plant back in once fall hits.
Avocado trees do best in temperatures from 60F to 85F. If they’re well established, they can withstand temperatures as low as 32F for a limited amount of time.
So if you live in a more temperate climate, you can plant your tree in a sunny spot in your yard. Planting your tree between March and June is best.
Will your Avocado Tree Ever Bear Fruit?
It’s a tough call with avocado trees grown from seeds.
Avocado trees harvest flowers with both male and female parts, but they don’t usually mature at the same time, which means they can’t self-pollinate.
That means you would need another avocado tree nearby to pollinate your tree so that it could then produce fruit.
That being said, a pollinated tree grown from seed may start to produce fruit in about 4 years. Maybe 10. Or maybe never.
If your tree does produce fruit eventually, it will probably be very different from commercially produced avocados. Those fruits are grown from grafted avocado branches to control their quality.
But hey, you can always try. At worst, you’ll end up with a beautiful shade tree.
Well at home gardeners, that’s how it’s done. It’s so simple to grow an avocado tree from a seed you can even grow several at once. They’ll spruce up your house and even make cute gifts.
So start saving those avocado seeds and make the world a greener place!