Here’s how to start an avocado plant from a seed. To ensure that it germinates effectively in water first, we added a few more steps to the standard method of hanging it over a jar with a toothpick.
1. EXIT THE PIT AND CLEAN IT
To begin, carefully remove the pit from the avocado without cutting it. The avocado must next be washed to remove all of the avocado fruit (often it helps to soak the pit in some water for a few minutes and then scrub all the remaining fruit off). The brown skin on the pit is the seed cover, so don’t remove it.
2. DETERMINE WHICH END IS “UP” AND WHICH IS “DOWN”
To get your pit to sprout, immerse the bottom root end in water. Before you poke holes in it with toothpicks, determine which end is the “top” and which is the “bottom.”
3. PIERCE HAS THREE TOOTHPICKS
Stick three toothpicks into the avocado seed at a slight downward angle, evenly spaced around the circumference.
These toothpicks are the structure for your avocado. They will allow you to immerse the bottom half of the avocado in water, so they must be tightly wedged in.
I recommend placing them at a slight angle (so they point down) so that more of the avocado base is in the water when you place this over a glass.
If you’re having difficulties keeping your avocado seed balanced, growing kits and elegant glass and jar tops that contain the seed and make this procedure easier are now available.
4. Place the seed halfway in a glass of water
Many publications recommend changing the water every day, but I discovered via trial and error that changing the water every five days to a week is preferable.
Change the water frequently to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi, which can destroy your avocado sprout.
5. WAIT FOR YOUR AVOCADO SEED TO GROW
Many recommendations state that sprouting can take two to four weeks, but in my experience, it normally takes at least eight weeks, so be patient. What you will witness is as follows:
The avocado pit’s top will dry out and fracture, and the brown skin around the seed will flake off. The crack will extend all the way to the bottom of the avocado pit, where a little taproot will begin to sprout.
The taproot will grow taller and longer (and possibly branch out), and a little sprout will ultimately poke through the top of the avocado pit.
When not in water, never let your taproot dry out. Your plant will die if you do.
6. When the tree is about 15 cm tall, plant it in the ground.
Cut the stem down to around 8 cm when it is about 15 cm long. This will aid in its recovery. When it reaches 15cm again, place it in a 25cm diameter pot with rich humus soil, but leave the top half of the seed exposed.
Place on a sunny windowsill. Avocados require sunlight, and the more sunlight they receive, the better.
7. WATER IT AND WATCH IT GROW
Give it plenty of water and a good soak every now and again. The soil should always be moist, but not waterlogged.
If the plant’s leaves are turning yellow, you’ve been overwatering it. Allow it to dry for a few days.
8. To make the plant bushier, remove the top leaves.
Remove the top two sets of leaves by pinching them off when the stem is 12 inches tall. This causes the plant to produce side shoots and additional leaves, making it bushier.
The two newest sets of leaves on top of the plant should be clipped off every 6 inches.
Aphids appear to be drawn to my avocado trees. These venomous bugs can’t get enough of the succulent avocado leaves. If you have them, here’s how to get rid of them:
To get rid of all the aphids, spray the plant with a hose outside or in the sink/shower.
After the bugs are gone, spray your plant with a mixture of water, dish soap, and a teaspoon of neem oil.
This will prevent the aphids from returning. Check on your plant every 4-5 days and clean and spray it again if necessary.
HOW TO GROW AN APPLE-BEARING TREE
The million-dollar question is, will your meticulously planted avocado tree ever produce avocados? It’s a difficult question to answer.
Avocado plants can produce fruit as young as three or four years old, but it can take up to 15 years or more for them to do so.
Having several avocado plants close together aids in pollination. But don’t expect the fruit to taste anything like the avocado from which you obtained the seed.
Commercial avocados are cultivated from grafted branches in order to control how the fruit develops. A self-grown avocado may be quite different from its parent.