Avocados are one of the beautiful and trendy fruits that will remind you of summer. It is high in good fat, flavor, and of course, nutrition. It is used as well in many of your favorite summer dishes like guacamole or a simple toast. Luckily, to grow an avocado tree from seed is surprisingly more straightforward than you think and would definitely make a great new project.
Avocado plants can grow from seed; one of the easiest methods is the toothpick method. Just prepare the seed, gently remove it from the fruit, and clean it with water. It should then be stored in a damp place and then carefully watched for growth.
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Once it shows signs of germination, it can now be planted in a rich, loose, sandy soil plus its ideal requirements. Avocados usually thrive above 50F since they are tropical plants and absolutely love sunlight. Just avoid overwatering and overfeeding it (as it needs minimal feeding), and you’ll have your own avocado tree in no time.
Well, realistically and precisely, avocado trees grow for around 8-20 years.
Step by Step Guide of the ToothPick Method
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Remove and prepare the pit
The avocado pit or seed is one of the most distinctive features of an avocado plant. It is usually round and globular with a marbly brown exterior. It occupies about 40% of the fruit, so it is easy to see once you cut your avocado in half.
The outer brown seed skin on the pit is called the seed cover. When removing the poy, make sure that you do not remove this seed cover. You will also need to be careful not to cut it when removing it from the fruit.
Once it has been removed from the fruit, you will need to wash it clean, making sure to remove all the fruit of avocado off. Often, it helps for the pit to get soaked in clean water for several minutes before cleaning it.
Locate the ends
As mentioned, pits may be unique and have different sizes. Some are slightly oval or oblong, while some have perfect sphere shapes. No matter what the shape, you will have to locate the ends of the pit.
The ends of the pit have a bottom wherein the roots will actively grow, and a top wherein the sprout will also start to grow. The almost pointed end is the top while its opposite flat end is the seed’s bottom. Make sure to get this step done correctly because you will be submerging the bottom end in the water.
Pierce with four toothpicks
One of the most famous methods of growing avocado trees from a seed is the toothpick method. These toothpicks serve as scaffolding that will support your avocado seed to rest its bottom half in water.
To do this, get four toothpicks and stick them into the seed of avocado, with a slightly downward angle. Space them evenly around the full circumference of the seed. Make sure to stick them at this angle so that the toothpicks are wedged in firmly.
If you are having difficulties in doing this step, there are now plenty of growing kits available on the market, as well as glass and jar toppers that hold the seed and make this process easier.
Place it in a glass of water
Once the toothpicks are placed, rest the avocado base in the water when the setup is set using a glass. Ideally, this should be placed on an ambient windowsill with enough sunlight. It is also recommended to utilize a clear glass so that you can easily monitor and see when the roots growth initiates. Also, when it’s time for the water to be changed.
According to many plant guides, changing the water daily of at least every four to five days is recommended. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and fungi, which can hamper the growth of your avocado sprout.
It may also be helpful to take a picture of your avocado sprout from the start to see its progress.
Wait for it to sprout
According to numerous plant guides, sprouting can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks. However, in some, it takes at the very least, eight weeks, so this step might need more of your patience.
The process of sprouting usually happens in this order:
- Drying of the seed pit, which will form eventually a crack
- Sloughing off of the brown skin of the seed
- Extension of the crack up to the bottom, wherein a tiny taproot will begin to emerge
- Sprouted avocado seeds lengthen their taproot at the seed bottom while a small sprout will emerge on the top end
In addition, make sure that the growing taproot is always submerged under water. Failure to do so will kill the growing plant.
Plant it in soil
Monitoring your plant is part of every step in this guide. First, when your plant’s stem reaches a length of six to seven inches, cut the stem back to at most about 3 inches. This may be a bit scary, but this will encourage more new growth. By the time it reaches six to seven inches again, this is the time you can plant it in soil.
Make sure to use a rich humus medium in an 8-10″ diameter pot. When planting, leave the upper half of the avocado seed exposed. Then, place the pot with the plant on a sunny, ambient windowsill. Avocados love the sun, so ensure they get as much sun as possible.
Water and observe it grow
Watering avocado plants is just like watering any of your beloved plants. It should be done frequently with an occasional full soaking. Make sure to always keep the soil moist but never saturated or pooled. If you find yellowing of your plant’s leaves, this means that you are overwatering them.
Let the plant completely dry out for several days, and check the soil before watering it again.
How Do You Grow Avocados in Soil
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While undeniably the toothpick method is the most popular and fun, there are other ways to grow your avocados. Growing them directly in soil, like how they were really meant to be cultivated, is undeniably more practical and realistic.
To do this, you would use seedlings. But either way, this method starts with a small pot but large enough for the seed to fit, and the eventually springing root growths. For more details, here is the step-by-step guide:
- Fill the pot about more than halfway full with appropriate potting soil.
- Before planting the avocado seed, make sure to water the soil down.
- Put the seed in the middle. Make sure that the down side is the bottom of the seed. While pressing it down the pot, twist the seed a few times.
- Make sure the half of the seed is covered with soil while the rest (top end) is visible up out of the soil.
- Always keep the soil moist.
In no time, the pit will crack, and a baby avocado tree will grow from it. Let the growth happen naturally. Sometimes, you don’t need to give it a hand; just be patient. As long as the seed has all of its nutrients, it will grow smoothly.
How to Germinate Avocados
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The final method of growing an avocado tree is a must-know! Unfortunately, this has no fancy name and is only called by many guide bag germination methods.
Here is the step-by-step guide to doing this bag germination method:
- Let the avocado seed completely dry out in a dark, dry spot for a few days.
- The outer seed cover that is brown should dry up and should be fairly easy to get peeled off. Some do this using a spoon, and some by hand. Just ensure not to create damage to the little disc located at the seed bottom, as it is the most essential part of the seed pit.
- Obtain a towel or a couple of wet paper towels. Make sure that it is wet enough to be moist but not too wet that it begins to drip.
- Place the towel inside a Ziploc bag. Ensure the bag is laid on its side flat.
- Put the avocado seed pit on its side and place it inside the Ziploc bag.
- Close the Ziploc bag. Leave one or two fingers wide open for airflow.
- Place the Ziploc bag somewhere safe and dark, but also in a place where you can easily monitor it.
However, it is important to note that this method is susceptible to mold growth. So make sure to always check your avocado seed pit at least once daily.
Which is the best method of growing avocado from seed?
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There are three varying methods of growing avocados, with each of them having its own pros and cons. Of course, you might be thinking which one is the ultimate choice. Still, before we delve into it, this might be a good summary for each of the three methods: the toothpick method is a fun science experiment, and the method for growing directly in the soil is a natural method. At the same time, the bag germination method is a gardener’s hack that works.
In terms of time, the bag germination method actually gets the top spot. This method is how nature does it but only faster. In addition, it does not impose the risk of root rotting as compared to the toothpick method. However, it can be prone to growing molds.
According to plant guides, this method works for many different seeds, not just avocados. This is the most commonly used to test the rate of germination without having to wait for weeks. You might want to try it yourself and see if it works too!
What is the ideal temperature for avocados?
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Avocados originated from South-Central Mexico, making them tropical plants. They love warm, humid environments, and so they should be given enough warmth and light.
Temperatures below 50F or 10C are not appropriate to grow avocados directly in the soil. This means, if you do not live in San Diego or around Southern Florida, you have no choice but to grow your avocado tree in a container indoors. Wintering baby avocado trees can be left outdoors. Just make sure to bring them inside when temperatures start to fall.
Fortunately, avocados can thrive in containers just as they do when they are grown in the dirt.
What kind of soil do you need to grow avocados from seed?
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Avocados have fairly shallow roots, so they are susceptible to root rotting. Root rot is when the roots, for long periods of time, get wet and stay wet due to excessive watering. This usually happens when the soil is overwatered several times or when the soil does not drain fast.
Sandy, loose soils are recommended for growing avocados from seeds. If you are going to buy a mix, look for cactus mix in bags. They have the same mixture to what avocado trees prefer.
If you are looking for some extra root protection of your tree, you may want to get a bigger container size than what you actually need. You can also line the container bottom using rocks so that the water that gets stuck won’t come into direct contact with the tree roots.
Water Requirements of Avocado
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Overwatering is one of the most common causes of the death of plants. Some people think that being too attentive and giving their plants’ extra care’ would be beneficial when this would lead to killing the plant. Unfortunately, this is fairly easy to do, not just with avocado trees, but also to most plants
In order to know if the avocado tree needs watering, you can put your finger into the soil near the tree base. If the dirt feels crumbly and dry down, you might need to water your plant. If you want to be more precise and accurate, you can take a moisture gauge which will cost you around 10 to 15 dollars. With care, this can last for many years, making it a good investment.
Some signs that say that your avocado tree is overwatered or underwatered can be seen mainly through the tree leaves. If it starts to turn yellow, then it might be receiving too much watering. Stop watering and let it dry for a few days before watering it again. If the leaf tips turn brown, your tree might be dehydrated. Please give it a regular watering schedule and check it on a regular basis.
Sun Requirements of Avocado
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As mentioned earlier, avocado trees adore the sun.
Use this to your advantage and place your tree in a good window facing south, with ideally long daylight and direct sunlight. You may also use grow lights if you want to complement the sun and give your plant an extra oomph.
If you are located in warmer areas where the outside temperature doesn’t fall below 50F or 10C, then you could leave your tree outside in the spot where there is a lot of sun. Just always make sure to bring it back inside during the winter or when the nights begin to get colder. If you are planning for this setup, getting a wheeled plant caddy might also help.
How long does it take for an avocado to grow from seed?
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If it takes time and a lot of effort to do, then it’s probably worth doing and waiting for. There is also an old Chinese proverb saying, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”. This holds true for the reason that avocado trees growing takes years and more to bear fruit.
For avocado trees, it takes explicitly 8 to 20 years for them to start growing fruits. However, this number of years can still vary depending on the avocado variety. This is exactly why if you’re planning to have an avocado tree in your yard, the perfect time to plant is right now!
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Avocado fruit is an enjoyable, delicious fruit that is very versatile in the culinary world, adapting to enhance the experience of humans up to the modern day. Avocados are also full of nutrients and have over 500 varieties in the world. But the most important fun fact about them is that you can always share and enjoy them with your family and friends.
Under the right conditions, you could easily grow them in whatever method most suits you. Then, in 8 to 20 years, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor–literally!
If you need more help in growing avocado from seed, worry not! Here is a video that will guide you step-by-step in germinating your own guacamole!
Do I need two avocado trees to get fruit?
Avocado trees bear both the male and female flowers. Thus they can self-pollinate and self-fertilize. Therefore, there is no need for a separate male and female tree to get your own avocado fruit.
Will a potted avocado tree bear fruit?
You cannot expect an indoor, potted avocado tree to bear fruit. Ample sunlight and cold nights are needed for a tree to bear fruit successfully. A normal avocado tree growing in an outdoor environment takes years to develop and bear fruit.
Why won’t my avocado seeds sprout?
There could be a lot of reasons why your avocado seeds fail to germinate. Low temperature hinders the rate of sprouting. Insufficient light could also be why. Make sure you place your germinating seed in an optimum environment.
Are eggshells good for avocado trees?
Eggshells are good not just for avocado trees but also for almost all plants, if not all. This is because they are rich in calcium, which helps maintain the soil acidity to an optimum level. Optimum soil acidity helps in allocating nutrients from the soil to the plant bodies. Hence, faster growth and development.
Why is my avocado seed turning red?
Avocado seeds contain a milky, bitter substance that turns red when exposed to oxygen. So do not be surprised when your avocado seed changes in color. It’s supposed to happen.
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