If you are a lover of avocados, you may have wondered about growing your own avocado plants. Avocados are a much-loved fruit around the world, and a mainstay for various cultures. Growing avocado plants is fairly simple, and two methods can be employed. The seeds develop into small trees that make decorative houseplants. Growing an avocado plant is a rewarding project for both children and adults.
The first way to grow an avocado tree is to place the seed in water. Take a clean avocado seed and pierce it with multiple toothpicks. Use a wide-mouthed jar filled with water and place the seed so the pointed end of the avocado is exposed to air and the rounded, bottom end of the seed is immersed in water. The toothpicks should be inserted so they rest on the mouth of the jar thus holding the seed up.
The seed needs plenty of indirect sunlight daily and a warm room to incubate in. Temperatures should be 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so comfortable room temperature should suffice. Direct sunlight is too harsh for avocado plants, so be sure to avoid it.
Refill the water as needed, and periodically replace the entire jar with fresh water as the seed splits. Within two to six weeks, the seed should begin to sprout roots and a stem. The seedling's stem can be trimmed once it reaches 12 inches to encourage full, round growth.
The second way to grow an avocado plant is to plant the seed directly in soil. Using potting soil and a planter, place the rounded end of the avocado seed in the soil. The pointed top should be exposed, peeking out from the soil. Water the plant daily, keeping the soil moist. As with the jar method, you will see the seed split and a stem form within two to six weeks.
When your sprout is three to five inches long, transplant it into a bigger planter. If you've sprouted the avocado seed in water, move it to its own container.
Maintaining an avocado tree takes little care. The plant enjoys moderate temperatures, plenty of indirect sunlight and moist soil. Direct sunlight causes the leaves to burn, so be sure to move your avocado plant if this happens. Too much water will turn leaves brown, and too much salt in the soil will produce yellowish leaves. Crushed eggshells are a good way to add calcium to the soil. Sprinkle the crushed shells on top of the potting soil.
Mature trees should move into larger containers as they grow. As with any houseplant, clean the leaves periodically as this allows the plants to breathe.
Avocado trees can be moved and grown outside. They may flower and bear fruit, but this takes over seven years to happen, if at all. The avocado trees are a lovely way to decorate your yard; be sure to take time when moving the plants outdoors, however. Spring is the best time to transplant your avocado tree.
Avocados are commonly used in Mexican foods. The plants are now native to North America but began growing in Central America as early as 5,000 B.C. According to the California Avocado Commission, about 500 pieces, or 200 pounds, of fresh fruit are produced by a single avocado tree each year.