When I was a kid I remember my sister, who is now my business partner, taking the pit of an avocado, putting several toothpicks in it and suspending it in a cup of water. I thought she was crazy but several weeks later that avocado pit actually sprouted. She let the plant grow for a while and when the roots were plentiful she planted it in a pot. I don’t recall it ever bearing any fruit but I do remember her growing it for several years. This is a fun project to try and here is how you do it:
- Remove the seed from a ripe fruit and insert several toothpicks in the seed so that it can be suspended in a cup of water. The seed should sit in the glass so that about an inch of it remains in the water.
- Keep the seed in a warm place but out of direct sunlight. The seed should sprout in 2 to 6 weeks.
- Let the plant grow to about 6 inches in height and then prune it in half to encourage the plant to branch out. This will also encourage the roots to grow stronger.
- When the new leaves emerge plant the avocado in a pot with fast draining soil in full sun.
Other Growing Tips
- For the first several years you should trim the plant to encourage a bushy shape. The first significant pruning should occur when the plant is about a foot tall and you should trim the plant back by 6 inches. Avocado fruit emerges from new growth so this process while it may seem extreme is needed if you want the plant to produce fruit.
- The plant should be repotted in the spring when growth restarts again after the winter.
- Fertilize the plant during the growing season with a fertilizer made for fruits and vegetables.
- Avocado should be kept evenly moist but the soil should drain well. If you see leaves that are yellow it means you are watering it too much.
- Avocado trees prefer warm temperatures. They can be kept outdoors in the summer but need to be moved back indoors when temperatures start dropping down to 50 degrees.
- It is possible for the plant to flower and bear fruit but it can take up to 10 years to do so.