Avocados are everyone’s favourite fruits, especially in summer. High in flavour and nutrition, nothing can replace zesty guacamole dip with tortilla chips at the start of summer. The next time you try to slice avocados or making guacamole, try to save the avocado seeds to grow avocado trees at home.
It is unbelievably easy to grow your own avocado tree from the seeds. It also becomes a wonderful educational project not only for homes but for classrooms as well. Here is a handy-dandy guide for you on how to grow an avocado tree from seed at home.
Step 1: Remove and clean the pit:
You will have to start with removing the pit from the avocado. Try to make sure you remove the pit without cutting it.
Then wash the pit properly for a few minutes and then scrub to remove the remaining fruit pieces. Do not remove the brown skin of the pit while scrubbing (the brown skin is the seed cover).
Step 2: Locate the “UP”, and “BOTTOM” ends:
Avocado pits are usually f two types, i.e. almost like perfect spheres, and some are slightly oblong. But all pits have “TOP” (the sprouts grow from top) and “BOTTOM” (the roots grow from bottom).
The top portion is slightly pointier, and the bottom end is flat. For proper sprouting of the pit, you will have to place the bottom end in the water. So, it is very important to find out the “TOP” and “BOTTOM” ends of the pit.
Step 3: Pierce the pit with four toothpicks:
Pierce the pit with four toothpicks keeping them at a slightly downward angle. Pierce them at equal space across the circumference of the avocado pit.
These toothpicks will work as avocado scaffolding, that allows you to rest the bottom half in the water perfectly. Toothpicks are needed to be pierced properly with slight down angle, so that the bottom half of the pit can be placed rightly in water.
Step 4: Submerge the avocado half in a glass of water:
Submerge the avocado half with the help of pierced toothpicks. Place the glass on a windowsill making sure it gets proper sunlight. It is better to use transparent glass so that roots can grow quickly and easily.
You will also get an idea when you need to change the water. You should change the water every five days to ensure proper sprouting of the avocado pit. It will also prevent the growth of moulds, bacteria, and fungus.
Step 5: Wait for proper sprouting:
You will notice most of the online guides say that sprouting can take 2-4 weeks. But that’s not the case always. Avocado sprouting takes at least 7 to 8 weeks to get sprouts. You need to be patient.
Step 6: Transfer it in a soil when the stem is about 6 inches tall:
When the stem is of 6-7 inches length, cut it down from the 3 inches mark, it will allow new and even proper growth. When the stem gets back to the 6-7 inches mark again, pot it gently in rich humus soil in a pot with 8 to 10 inches diameter.
Leave the top half of the seed exposed and place on a windowsill ensuring proper sunlight.
Avocados love sunlight- So, it is better to give them as much as possible.
Step 7: Give proper water and watch it grow:
Give frequent watering with an occasional deep soak. Always make sure to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. If the leaves get yellow, it is a sign of excessive watering. Leave the plant to dry out for a few days.
Step 8: Pinch out the top leaves to encourage proper bushiness:
Bushiness is very good for avocado plants. When the stem reaches to the 12 inches mark, pinch out the two sets of leaves from the top. This will encourage proper growth of shoots and more leaves, making the plant bushy. Whenever the plant grows to another 6 inches, pinch out the newest couple of sets of leaves from the top.
Step 9: Troubleshooting the bugs:
Avocado plants are always prone to get affected with nasty critters like aphids. If you get them or any other bugs, wash them off outside the house spraying the water or using a shower.
Once the plant is free from pests, spray a mixture of water and a little amount of dishwashing liquid with one tbsp neem oil. This will keep the aphids and other bugs at bay for a long time. Keep checking and re-cleaning the pant every 5-7 days.
Step 10: Weather
Avocado plants grow perfectly in the summer. So, if the temperature falls down below 45-degree F, you will have to get them back indoors until the weather improves.
Will the avocado trees ever grow fruit?
That’s very hard to predict. Some avocado plants start growing fruits when they are 3-4 years old. Some take more than 15 years to start producing fruits finally, and some never do. It is always good to grow multiple avocado plants at the same place to encourage pollination.
However, you should not expect to get avocados that yielded you the seeds. Commercial avocados are grown using grafted branches for proper control on the outcome of the fruits. Your naturally grown avocados can be completely different than its parent.