Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. The next time you’re making guacamole or slicing an avocado for a salad, try saving your pits to grow into avocado trees.
The pear-shaped fruits are a delicious, rich food that make an excellent condiment or eat alone addition to your diet. The trees are warm season plants, easily damaged by cold and frost. That said, northern gardeners must learn how to grow an avocado houseplant in order to enjoy fruits grown at home.
- Extract the seed.
Start by removing the pit from the avocado carefully (without cutting it), and then washing it clean of all 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). Be careful not to remove the brown skin on the pit – that is the seed cover.
- Pierce the seed.
Some avocado pits are slightly oblong, whereas others are shaped almost like perfect spheres – but all avocado pits have a ‘bottom’ (from where the roots will grow), and a ‘top’ (from which the sprout will grow). The slightly pointier end is the top, and the flat end is the bottom. In order to get your pit to sprout, you will need to place the bottom root end in water, so it’s very important to figure out which end is the ‘top’ and which is the ‘bottom’ before you go piercing it with toothpicks.
- Soak the seed in water.
Rest the bottom half of the avocado in water, so therefore the toothpicks need to be wedged in there firmly. I recommend sticking them in at a slight angle (pointing down), so that more of your avocado base rests in the water when you set this over a glass.
- Let the seed sprout.
In about three to six weeks the top of the avocado pit will begin to split and a stem sprout will emerge from the top and roots will begin to grow at the base. When the stem grows to about five or six inches, pinch out the top set of leaves. In another two or three weeks new leaves will sprout and there will be more roots.
- Trim the sprout.
Once the sprout tail grows to 6 or 7 inches, trim it in half to encourage new growth.
- Prepare to plant.
Place enriched potting soil in a large flowerpot (maybe 8″ to 10″ across). Fill the soil to about an inch from the top of the pot. Make a small depression in the center of the soil and place the pit, root-side down into the depression. Give the soil a drink to water the pit. Water it generously so that the soil is thoroughly moist.
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