Monday, January 30, 2017

Grow Your Own Avocados

Wow, was this ever a throwback to my college days. Back in the days of macrame, yogurt makers, and prayer plants - otherwise known as The Seventies - homes, apartments, and dorm rooms everywhere could be seen with this sitting on their window sills:

It was ever so cool to grow your own avocado plant from a pit found inside one you'd gotten at the grocery store. I did it, my friends did it, and I'm betting some of you did it too. I honestly don't remember if I was successful at actually getting that thing to germinate or not, but I tried.

With the trade situation with Mexico kind of up in the air right now, there's been a lot of talk about what things are likely to go up in price if things change. Avocados and limes are mentioned, as is Corona beer and tequila. I can live without all of them, but each one enjoys popularity here in the U.S.

So, about this growing your own avocado thing . . .  Even if I can manage to get this avocado pit to germinate, it's highly unlikely that I will be able to grow an avocado tree that produces any fruit.

First of all, I don't live where avocados would be happy. They're hardy in USDA Zones 8-11 and I'm in Zone 5b, though I do have a greenhouse and they also make excellent house plants. Secondly, even if I can keep it happy, it can take from 4-13 years for an avocado tree to bear fruit. Some trees never do yield anything.

When I cut open an avocado last week and saw that pit, it took me back (sing it with me now . . . "You fill up my senses, like a night in a forest,") and I kind of wanted to try it again. What did I have to lose?

If you want to try it too, it couldn't be easier. Just clean the avocado pit, let it dry, then poke toothpicks into it to suspend it over a jar of water, with the fat side down. Place it in a warm spot and keep the water level so that its bum is submerged. In about 2-6 weeks, you should see both a root and a stem sprouting. At that point, be sure it's in a well-lit location.

As it grows, once the stem reaches 6-8 inches, prune it in half to induce branching. Once it has started to branch, you can plant it in a container of well-draining potting soil. Be sure to leave the top part of the pit exposed, similar to how you plant an amaryllis bulb.

Don't overwater, but don't let it dry out completely. In the summer, you can put it outside, where it will likely grow faster, but make sure to bring it in once temperatures dip below 45°F.

Far out, man.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Ha, this did bring back memories. I have done this. I think I have tried to grow about everything that has a seed in it that I consume plus sweet potato, celery, pineapple etc... So goes winter entertainment.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I knew it! I've not tried everything you have, Lisa, but one I would like to try is a pineapple from the cut-off top of one. Did you get another pineapple when you did it?

Donna@GardensEyeView said...

Sounds like fun and I just so happen to have bought an avocado this fav. I will have to give this a try again!

Carol Michel said...

I don't remember trying to grow an avocado from seed but I still feel guilty about not trying to do so every time I throw one out. Thanks for the reminder to try it sometime.

RobinL said...

Yep, definitely remember growing these from a pit back in the day. I actually tried it a few times recently, with no growth. I wondered if the avocados had perhaps been treated to slow ripening, and maybe that sterilized the seed?

Andrea021683 said...

Thanks for the post. I will try growing avocado in our yard.

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