Written by Madison Main, Horticultural and Design Intern
Touted as a superfood, avocados are nutrient dense and filled with good, unsaturated fats. Containing the recommended daily value of 4% for vitamin C, 6% for vitamin E, and 11% for fiber, avocados can help aid in digestion and support heart health. This versatile fruit can be eaten sweet or savory, as a topping or on it’s own, and as a substitute for butter or eggs in certain recipes. Along with being both good for you and good to eat, avocados are simple to grow. All you need are a couple of common household items and an avocado. Avocados grow well outdoors in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10-12. Otherwise, avocado trees make beautiful houseplants.
- 1 whole avocado seed
- 1 glass
- 2-4 toothpicks
- 10 in diameter pot
- Wash the avocado seed.
- Evenly space and push the three toothpicks into the seed. Ensure that the toothpicks have been placed at approximately half the length of the seed.
- Using the toothpicks, balance the pit on top of the glass broad end down.
- Fill the glass with water until it covers about 1 in of the seed.
- Place the glass in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight.
- Replenish the glass with water as needed.
- The avocado seed will sprout in about 2-6 weeks. When the stem is 6-7 in tall, prune it back to 3 in.
- About three weeks after pruning or once the stem has regrown leaves, remove the seed from the glass.
- Fill a 10 in diameter pot with a well-drained humus rich soil. Water the container and dig a hole large enough for the seed and root system in the center of the pot.
- Remove the toothpicks from the seed and place the plant in the depression in the soil, taking care not to damage the root system.
- Cover the avocado plant with soil, leaving half the seed above the soil.
- Water the plant frequently so that the soil remains moist, but not completely saturated.
- Place the plant either indoors or outdoors in full sunlight.
- Watch your plant grow!
The likelihood of harvesting avocados from a tree grown by seed is low. It can take 5 to 13 years before an avocado tree will be mature enough to produce fruit. Additionally, avocados very rarely self-pollinate and typically require at least one other avocado plant to produce fruit. While avocados have complete flowers containing both the male and female parts, avocados are protogynous. This means that the female and male organs of the plant open at different times. This unusual flowering pattern promotes cross-pollination and typically prevents the tree from pollinating itself, thereby increasing the genetic diversity of the plant species. To promote the fruit production of a mature avocado tree, plant another tree with a coordinating flowering schedule so that the male portion of the flowers of one plant are open at the same time as the female portion of the flowers of the other plant. The flowering schedule varies among the different types of avocados, so be sure to choose complementary varieties.
Click here to learn more about the avocado’s unique process of reproduction and how to select complementary avocado varieties!