Growing an avocado tree from a seed is easy.
I eat avocados all the time. A little over a year ago I kept looking at the seeds from them and thinking about how fresh they were, and it seemed like such a waste to just pitch them when I was done. So I looked up how to grow an avocado tree, and now I have about 12 going strong, minus the victims to squirrels, climate, etc.
Avocado trees from seed probably won’t bear fruit for up to 10 years (and even then you need at least two so they can cross-pollinate) but it’s a great way to liven up your kitchen, and they make excellent gifts. Besides, ten years always passes by more quickly than we think it will, doesn’t it? This is a great project for kids too. Imagine, if you start an avocado tree with a six year old today, then when they are 16 and finally willing to eat something that is that shade of green, they will be able to have avocados from a tree that you guys started together.
Avocado trees grow best in sub tropical climates like Houston. Actually, many of the best fruits and veggies can grow in Houston – a mango tree, pineapple or papaya plant could be a good compliment to this one if you are considering expanding your garden.
- Halve the avocado like usual, pop out the pit and save it. Wash the pit off well with a soft scrub brush of sponge.
- The avocado seed is probably slightly egg shaped. The top of the egg shape is the top of the avocado seed. The bottom of the avocado seed should have a little knob on it – this is where the tap root will come out.
- On the sides of the pit, poke 3 toothpicks equidistant from each other. Balance the avocado on a mason jar or glass, and fill with water until he seed is half submerged. Place in a sunny window and wait.
- Refresh the water about every two weeks to keep mold from growing, and add more water every few days as needed. Make sure to never let the seed go without water. If it dries out, it won’t sprout.
- The seed will split in half as it starts to grow. In a few days, I like to peel off the outer brown layer like an orange peel. As the seed sits in water this layer will start to separate, and removing it seems to help move the sprouting along a little faster.
Don’t be alarmed if the seed doesn’t sprout immediately. Avocado trees are a long game. It can take up to 3 months for them to sprout.
Once the tap root comes out of the bottom, it will be shortly followed by a stem at the top. Wait until the stem is grown and has a few leaves before transferring the avocado plant to a pot. When the time is right, plant the seed in a pot with some regular potting soil, so the seed is half above the ground much like its position in the water. Don’t remove the pit from the plant.
Be careful where you place the young sapling. Squirrels and rabbits will be quick to devour the avocado pit if you aren’t careful. Pests like caterpillars will also be eager for the young leaves. I like to keep my plants inside until they are strong enough to survive these challenges.
Once the avocado tree is planted, water it a little bit about every 3 days or so. Avocado plants are susceptible to root rot, so don’t overwater it. You might also want to add a little bit of coffee grounds to the soil. It helps to make the mineral content of the soil more friendly for the tree.
If the leaves on your plant drop, don’t worry it’s not dead. They will likely grow back fairly quickly. Try to identify the environmental element that distressed the plant, remove that, and wait for new leaves to emerge.
The seeds that grow the best are from avocados from local farms rather than the chain supermarket. Non-organic avocados do not tend to hold on to harmful pesticides, however produce bought from chain supermarkets are more likely to be bred to not sprout. That way the produce stays fresh for longer in the store.
Here’s a great video about the effect of Bud Nip on vegetables. My experience with the avocado seed growth was similar to the farm versus store bought examples shown here: