How to Grow an Avocado Plant From Seed
If you ever wanted to know how to plant an avocado seed and grow your own avocado tree, then you have arrived at the right place.
Your self-grown avocado tree may itself be able to produce fruit one day, but it may take 4 - 6 years. Until then, you'll have a really unusual houseplant to look after.
Avocado trees can grow to almost 70 feet tall, given the right conditions, so if you need to keep it as a houseplant, you will want to pinch out the growing tip to encourage it to bush rather than grow straight upwards.
Growing avocado seeds is fun, and you get to eat a delicious avocado too. Simply buy an avocado, take it home, eat it, release the seed (which is huge) and carefully clean it under cold or tepid running water.
Any flesh left on the seed with inhibit germination, and encourage rot.
Dry your seed completely, and now you are ready to plant.
There are two methods that I know of to get an avocado seed to germinate, and I will tell you both here so that you can take your choice.
How to plant an avocado seed
The common method of growing an avocado seed is to insert two or three cocktail sticks into the fleshy side of the seed, and suspend over a glass of water until it sends a shoot downwards to take a drink.
The bottom (rounded end) should be actually sitting in the water. You may need to top up the water levels to ensure it doesn't dry out.
If nothing happens by the end of six weeks, it probably isn't going to sprout and should be discarded, but give it that length of time, just in case. They are quite slow at germinating.
Once it has sprouted, it can be planted in a compost filled pot, root downward. Leave the tip of the seed above the soil level.
How to plant an avocado seed type 2
The method above never seem to work for me, and generally the seed just rots.
Of course it could be that it just hates thetap waterhere. It's salty and chemical-laden. Avocado trees hate saline water, and no doubt their seeds do too.
The other method I have had some success with, involves taking the seed and planting it directly into a compost filled pot, rounded end downwards.
Water in well, and leave to drain.
Then pop the whole pot inside a plastic bag and seal. Place in a warm cupboard. Light is not required at this point, and wait for signs of a shoot at the top.
Bring out and place on a sunny window-shelf. Leave in the bag for a day or two longer to allow the fledging plant to adjust, then take the bag off and put a saucer underneath the pot to which you can add water for your baby avocado plant to drink.
This method also avoids the shock of moving the seedling from water to compost.
Growing on your avocado seed
Your avocado seedling can be placed in a sunny position and given frequent waterings.
Let the soil dry out between waterings, and always water from below.
Never let it sit in water that its not drinking up, so if after an hour or two there is still water there, throw it away (the water that is, NOT the plant!).
More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
Though not in my mum's house - she always forgets to water hers and they usually all die. Her cactii do incredibly well, funnily enough.
Your avocado is a quick growing tree, so be prepared to have to pot on into bigger pots at least once a year or more.
As I said above, pinch out the growing tip to try to make it grow more side shoots. That way it won't grow so tall.
Potting on your Avocado Seedling
Eventually your little (or not so little) avocado seedling will require a larger pot to grow on in.
Avocados let you know when the time is right. They requiring watering much more often than usual, and actually wilt to let you know.
To witness a tall, majestic seedling with drooping leaves is saddening.
To move your avocado seedling from one pot to another, follow the steps outlined below.
- Choose a day when your plant's compost is on the dry side.
- Obtain a larger pot.
- Line the holes in the bottom of the pot with broken clay pots, or pebbles, or even paper. You want a material that will allow water through but which will not allow the soil to drop out.
- Place an inch or so of compost in the bottom of the pot.
- Gently squeeze your plastic pot containing the avocado seedling all the way round to loosen the soil from the sides of the pot.
- Lift the whole avocado plant out including it's soil and place it in the centre of the pot.
- Fill in the sides with fresh compost.
- Place the whole pot in the sink and soak with water froom both the top and the bottom.
- Add extra soil as required. Some of the compost will sink with the addition of water as it settles into place.
Pollination of Avocado Trees
Avocado trees grow in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. They hate frost so if you live in an area prone to frost, you will need to keep the plant indoors, though you may put it outside in the summer if you have a nice sheltered spot available.
Your avocado tree may produce fruit after 4 - 6 years, but the tree itself is only partial self-fertile.
This is because its flower are male one minute and female the next.
How weird is that?
There are two types of avocado cultivars, type A and type B.
In type A, the flowers open in the morning as female and close at the end of the day. The next day, the same flowers open in the afternoon as males.
In type B, it's the opposite.
They open as female on the first afternoon, and the next morning open as male.
As we need both male and female to be open at the same time in order to pollinate, this is quite difficult.
What we can do, is wait until a male flower opens and collect some pollen on the tip of a small paintbrush or similar. Put the brush into a plastic bag.
When we next see a female flower we can carefully dab some pollen onto the stigma and then let nature take its course.
The fruit of an avocado tree is unlikely to be like the fruit you bought the seed in.
This is because avocados are commercially grafted by growers to ensure continuation of the exact trees and cultivars they have grown to produce the fruit.
If you live in a tropical or subtropical area, you can plant your avocado tree out in the garden. They like well-drained soil but hate alkaline soils with high salinity. If you have the latter two, keep your avocado trees in pots.
Grow in a sheltered part of the garden as they dislike high winds, and indeed high winds can ruin any potentialcrop.
In view of its potential maximum height of 70' (20m), it is advisable to plant away from the house, to prevent future problems with roots working their way into the foundations of your house. Normally, trees roots will spread 1 1/2 times their height.
If you really want to try growing your own avocados, why not buy a ready made avocado tree from Amazon that will possibly fruit as early as next year?
Where you can grow avocado trees out-doors
Avocado trees grow well in:
Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Ecuador, central America, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Spain, Crete, Peru, South Africa, Chile.