Growing Avocado Trees From Seed
Growing an avocado tree from a seed is easy! Step-by-step instructions for sprouting the seed and growing the tree indoors or outdoors.
Growing an avocado tree from a seed is fun and easy! The tree can be kept as a house plant, or it can be transplanted outdoors if you live in an area with warm winters. Called a “seedling” because it is grown from a seed, the tree can actually bear fruit. Not all seedlings will produce avocados, but if the conditions are right, many will!
Commercially grown avocado trees are the result of the grafting of a certain kind of avocado tree onto root stock. The fruits of a seedling may not be as large as commercially grown avocados. Seedlings generally begin to blossom and produce fruit after three to five years.
To begin the seed-sprouting process, you will need:
1. A clean avocado seed. Wash all clinging pulp from the seed, but allow the brown protective coating to remain.
2. A wide-mouthed glass jar. Mayonnaise jars are a good size.
3. Three wooden or plastic toothpicks.
Follow these steps:
1. Stick the toothpicks into the seed. Place them about halfway from the top to the bottom and space them evenly around the seed.
2. With the small end of the seed pointed up, suspend the seed over the mouth of the jar.
3. Fill the jar with water, allowing about one-half inch of the seed to remain out of the water.
4. Place the jar is a well-lighted area, but not direct sunlight.
5. As water evaporates from the jar, refill to the proper level.
6. Wait for the seed to sprout.
The seed will begin to sprout in five to 45 days. Watch for the seed to crack open. Then, a root will grow out from the bottom. Soon a tiny stem will appear from the top of the seed. Leaves will grow from the stem. If the seed has not begun to crack and grow within 45 days, throw it away.
When there are two big leaves growing well, you will see tiny new leaves begin to grow from the center of the stem. Pinch off the new growth, leaving only the two bigger leaves. This will encourage the stem to branch and it will grow stronger.
When there are at least five leaves, pinch out the new center growth again. This will encourage the plant to grow fuller.
The roots should be growing well, coiling around the bottom of the jar.
When the plant is about seven-to-eight inches tall, has well-formed leaves and the jar is thick with roots, it is time to transplant the seedling.
To transplant the seedling into soil, follow these steps:
1. Layer about one inch of crushed rock into the bottom of an eight-to-ten inch pot.
2. Top the rock with about two inches of good-quality potting soil.
3. Gently spread the roots of the seedling over the soil.
4. Fill the pot with soil, allowing about one-half inch of the seed to remain above the top of the soil.
5. Water the seedling well and set the pot in a sunny location.
6. As the tree grows, continue to pinch out some of the new leaves. This will encourage bushy growth.
When the plant is 12 or more inches tall, it can be planted outdoors. Remember, avocado trees like warm weather and cannot tolerate below-freezing temperatures. They can sometimes withstand an occasional freeze, but do better where the climate is temperate.
If the tree is planted outdoors, locate it in a sunny area. Water deeply, but allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering again.
The tree requires pollination from another tree, so if you plant several, you can be certain this is possible. However, pollination can take place even if another tree is not nearby.
Keeping the tree indoors:
In colder climates, you will want to keep the tree indoors. It should be transplanted into a bigger pot every two or three years. The new pot should be about two inches larger in diameter than the old pot. Indoors, the tree will want to be lightly fertilized about twice a year. Water well, but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Grown indoors, the tree will never bear fruit, but it will be a beautiful, long-living houseplant.
Remember, because not every seed will grow, you might want to plant several at the same time. Have fun growing your avocado tree from seed!