You Had Me at Gardening

How To Grow Avocado From Pits

The millennial wonder food also comes with a great gardening experiment opportunity! Here is how to grow avocado at home!

How to grow avocado: all about the fruit

You probably know this green lumpy plant by its taste and culinary uses. You find it in avocado toast and guacamole and it has become the millennial’s favorite superfood! It’s full of nutrients and healthy cholesterol and a single fruit can bring in up to 300 calories of your daily total. They can be a great source of fats and oils, and there are so many ways you can cook them that there’s bound to be one you like! Get these health bombs in your local supermarket or grocery store and when you’re done eating them, start experimenting! Avocados come with a growth science experiment and a free plant as well, all you need to do is save the pits!

How to grow avocado part 1: sprouting the pit

The first step is to get the pit to sprout. Take it out of the avocado, careful not to smash or cut it, and locate the “up” side. The bottom will have a darker dot on it, so it’s easy to find. Stick some toothpicks or wooden skewers in the sides, making sure the top and bottom are well, up and down respectively. Suspend the pit over a glass of water, with the bottom in the water and the top out in the free air.

Keep this construction in a well-lit place, but away from direct sunlight, and wait for it to sprout, all while topping off the water. You will notice a stem coming out of the top before the roots start growing. This is because the stem is feeding off the pit, much like bulbous plants feed off the bulb. Wait until the roots start sprouting and have reached the bottom of the glass before you replant it in a pot of soil!

How to grow avocado part 2: potting and growing

Light

Avocado trees do best with as much direct sunlight as possible. If you are growing one indoors, a south-facing window would be a great place to start growing your tree. Make sure it gets enough sunlight and if you notice that the leaves are getting yellow, limp if there isn’t enough sun to go around, you can always supplement with a grow light! Avocados need at least 8 hours of direct sun every day, but make sure that the sun doesn’t burn the leaves as it passes through glass windows! Better keep the tree a little further away from the windows than have scorched leaves!

Water

Avocados need plenty of water, but avoid leaving the soil soggy. You need to let the soil get dry between waterings, but not fully bone-dry. To prevent soggy roots and root rot, use a terracotta pot with holes in the bottom and use a sandy soil. As a rule of thumb, touch the surface of the soil and if it is still vaguely moist, you can wait another day or two to water, but if it’s dry and dusty, it’s time to give your little tree a good drink.

Soil

As mentioned before, avocados need well-draining soil to thrive. But they also need a nutrient-rich potting mix, so sandy soil enriched with manure should be the best choice for your growing tree. Also remember that avocados need air to reach their roots, so the soil has to be airy and fluffy. Use perlite beads to keep the soil loose and well-ventilated and make sure to either repot or air out the soil every few years. When planting a fresh seedling, use fresh soil as well, as it will be loose and promote root growth!

Temperature

These trees are quite tolerant in terms of temperature, though they do prefer warm environments and as seedlings, they should stay in between 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 30°C). Once they are grown, the trees can tolerate any temperature above freezing. In fact, in their natural environment, avocados need colder night temperatures to bear fruit. Since indoors the goal is not to get the tree to bear fruit, but to look lush and decorative, you should keep a constant, warm temperature, while making sure the plant isn’t near heating vents or air conditioning.

Fertilization

Avocados need fairly acidic soil so, on top of usual store-bought fertilizers, they could benefit from home-made ones, such as coffee, Epsom salt, or eggshells. Don’t overdo it, though. A spoonful of coffee grounds every few months will give your three all the nitrogen and acid it needs, so don’t mix them up! The same goes for Epsom salt. An eggshell can be used as a planter to start sprouting avocados instead of a jar of water or can be added as grounds to the soil every few months. Use organic fertilizers according to the package. We recommend slow-release fertilizers for longer, progressive effects!

Pruning

As I said before, the goal of growing an avocado tree indoors is not to get it to bear fruit. it takes up to ten years for an outdoors tree to beat fruit and they are notoriously difficult to get there anyway. The goal is to grow it into a lovely houseplant! So pruning has to be done accordingly. Cut off the main stem to promote bushier growth, but make sure to not cut off more than a couple of inches. Cut right under a leaf node and be ready with some natural wax to melt and seal off the cut. This will help with healing and your tree will start sprouting branches from under the cut soon after!

How to grow avocado: a quick guide

Light requirements

Light

8+ hours of direct sunlight
Water requirements

Water

Periodically. Let the soil dry between waterings
Soil

Soil

Well-draining, rich and airy
Temperature

Temperature

60°F to 85°F (15°C to 30°C)
Difficulty

Difficulty

Medium
Toxicity

Toxicity

Toxic to pets

Next steps and what to expect

In nature, avocado trees are huge, thick trees that can reach a hundred feet in height. But indoors in a pot, a tree will be limited by the size of the pot and the amount of food you give it, making it a great candidate both for a small, bonsai-like arrangement and a large centerpiece in a tall room or entry hall. You can shape it into the kind of tree you want, either by pruning or by bending it in shape. Remember that if you plan on growing it tall, you will need to let your avocado get to at least two feet before cutting it to thicken the crown, otherwise, you will end up with a bush!

Final thoughts

Will you take up this project, now that you know how to grow an avocado tree? Or maybe you already started and came looking for advice! Let us know how your avocado is doing and what are your long-term plans for it in the comments section below! We are looking forward to your answers!

kate.may@youhadmeatgardening.com'
About the Author - Kate May

Hello! I’m Kate, your friendly neighbourhood plant parent with a passion for every green leaf under the sun (and some red or purple, why not?). I love gardening, the peace that comes with working in the earth and the joy of growing things. Over the years I gathered knowledge about both domestic and wild plants, how they grow and their uses. Here I combine my passion for writing with my love for gardening and bring you tips, tricks and cool ideas!

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