Instructables

how can i grow an avocado tree from a seedling? mine always die :(?

i can successfully get an avocado seed to sprout a small seedling, but when it grows about a foot or two, they always seem to wilt before im able to plant it. any suggestions?

First of all, are you sprouting this avocado like we were taught to in grade school?  That is, are you sticking three toothpicks in it and suspending it so it's bottom is just submerged in a cup of water?  If so, stop doing that.  Just plant it in soil.

Second, when are you starting the plant?  If it's late in the year, or in the winter, the seedling may not have the right temperature range to thrive.  Growing conditions should be warm and sunny during the day, and not too cool at night (though a drop in temperature at night is good, cause that's what happens in nature).  Maybe try planting the seed in the late winter / early spring.

Third, are you sowing the seed directly in a large container? or "potting it up" to a larger container when the plant gets to a certain size?  Avocados resent having their roots disturbed, so it's sometimes better to start them in a 1 or 2 gallon size pot than in a smaller one.

Fourth, what kind of potting soil are you using?  orksecurity's point about water (and light...it needs bright light, but protection from strong midday sun) is very true, and sometimes the type of potting soil you use will enhance poor watering habits.  You should use a potting soil that has moss peat (it's called "peat moss," but that's a common misnomer), but some mixes don't have any (or very little) and are mostly bark, and these tend to dry out too quickly.  Perlite and sand are also good ingredients, and help improve drainage and encourage good root development.

As far as watering goes, avocados don't like to dry out too much, but they can't stay sopping wet or else the roots will start to rot.  In a gallon pot, water well (maybe even submerge the pot in a bucket of water for a minute or two), and then let it drain.  Don't let it sit in a saucer of water or else it's going to be too wet.  Don't water it again until you can stick your finger in the soil and find that the top inch of soil is dry (the soil at about an inch deep is moist to the touch).

As you can maybe tell, I'm a major plant nerd.  I've killed more plants through various forms of neglect and stupidity than you will ever own (unless you, too, go down the horticulture path).  Making mistakes is all part of learning, so keep on killing avocados until you get it right!

I should also say that avocados are just not the best houseplants, and most people aren't able to keep them alive for more than a few years, unless you live far enough south that you can plant them outdoors.  And even then, the avocados you eat were propagated by grafting a good-eating variety onto seedling rootstock.

Good luck.
brian31404 years ago
     It's possible the seedling is consuming the available energy from the seed, and dying before you transplant it.  Another possibility is if it is indoors, is that the lighting is not sufficient.  That being said, the roots can be killed from light too.  Try transplanting to a 1 gallon or larger pot, when it it 6 inches tall.  :)
    
     Not to be a buzz kill, but a few other things to keep in mind...    ;)
-Many fruit bearing trees, are hybrids and infertile.  Sorta.  The seedling may sprout, but it might be a non fruit bearing tree and you won't know for a few years :( If the avocado you took the seed from was grown in the U.S., like California for example, try calling the grower, identified by the produce sticker. :)
-Avocado trees get very large, and very very messy.  Pick an appropriate area. :)
-I've HEARD that avocado trees have to be grown in pairs.  I can't say it is a positive fact, but I believe it.  Its supposed to help in pollination to make edible fruit.  My neighbors had a HUUGE avocado tree, only ONE, and all the avocados were horrible and bitter.  I will be planting 2 or 3 trees just to be safe. :)
Re-design4 years ago
Google the instructions and follow them.  They will be somewhat sensitive to light and cold conditions.  I believe you have to change the water occasionally or it molds and is not healthy for the plant.
orksecurity4 years ago
Overwatering? Underwatering? Not enough light? (That's the three most common ways I've killed plants...)