Just a little about me to set the stage. I finally settled in San Diego after spending 20 years in the Navy. I have always liked growing things and I have a passion for taking stuff you find in the grocery store and getting it to produce a plant. That can be seeds, pits, cutting or what not.
Step 1: Select the Fruit and Break Out the Knife
Well the obvious item is a ripe avocado and a knife to split the avocado into a left and right side and then a sprouting method (water or dirt).
Step 2: Just the Pit
If you want to skip the drying phase you can go straight to the water or the dirt or you can peel off the skin. I have had no problem growing with the skin on or off but I get faster germination with it off… personal preference.
The pit has a top and a bottom and you need to make sure that the bottom part of the pit is down, no matter what method you choose.
Step 3: Method One (water)
Firmly grasp the pit and insert the toothpick or skewers into the pit. I would recommend using three and place them around the pit equally with the ends of the toothpick/skewer at an up angle. This will allow the bottom of the pit to rest in the water. Fill he container with water until about the bottom third of the pit is submerged. All you have to do is wait for it to germinate. In a day or two you will notice the pit beginning to crack open and after that you will see a root coming out of the bottom and a shoot or shoots coming out of the top. Once you have leaves on your shoot you can transfer it to a pot with soil.
Step 4: Method Two (dirt)
I have done both methods and I have better results with the dirt method…. I think the plants are sturdier. I only use the water method when I really want to see what is going on with the pit… seeing the roots grow and the new plant emerging is enjoyable to watch. If you are doing this with the your kids it educational to see how roots grow and you can see daily changes. Choose your method and get started.
Step 5: Now Comes the Waiting
As your tree grows you may have to prune it to get a desired shape. This is your own preference but I woulded prune anything until you have at least three leave. Your will also move up in pot size as your plant grows.
In San Diego I am able to plant it straight into the grown. Just remember that this can grow into a 3o foot tree or more and it may not bear any fruit so this stem may need to wait.
This is now a history lesson on my avocado tree. It started its life about 12 years ago and spent it’s first few years in a 12-inch clay pot. From there it advanced to a half barrel and it lived in that until it was about 7 to 8 years old. While it was in the barrel it grew lush dark green foliage and would flower off and on and finally it set fruit, four avocados to be exact. I asked various sources to find out how to tell that the fruit was ready to pick and everyone said to pick a fruit, cut it open and if the pit had a brown covering it should be ready to pick.
I had four chances to determine that point and needless to say the first two attempts were way to early. There went half of my crop. Since then I have been able to narrow it down a bit and I have been told that the fruit should be ready around 9-12 months after flowering.
At this point the tree got moved to a permanent home in my back yard.
Step 6: Flowers and Fruit
I am keeping my tree pruned to a short height, around 10 feet. This makes it easier to pick the fruit and I don’t want the tree to get to large and block my solar panels.
One of the lessons I learned is that your tree will need a good avocado fertilizer applied regularly. If I would have done this earlier I may have cut a few years off of this INSTRUCTABLE.
Step 7: Final ThoughtsThe
I did plant two at the veterinary clinic where I work… I ended up flower and setting fruit but had to be removed due to a driveway change and the other one is 100% male and has grown very tall and very thick in just under 5 years.
If you want to see if you can grow something from a pit, go for it. If you want to teach your kids about how things grow, this is a winner. If your are looking for an attractive houseplant, have at it. If your only goal is to grow avocados, save your time and buy a tree at the nursery and be guaranteed to have a tree that will produce and may do it in as little as a year.
Thank you and HAPPY GROWING