/edit 2022-03-18/ Thanks to the readers pointing out that Avocados, as apples and other stone fruit do not grow true to seed. So your fruits will probably be tasting very differently to the fruit you took the seed from. That doesn’t mean it can be a fun project to grow an Avocado tree from seed :)
I got a lot of questions about my avocado and how to grow it. Also, I am a bit proud of the results so far, it was a lot of trial and error but until now the plant looks strong and healthy. Before doing it I researched the web for setups and while everyone writes it’s super easy I found it quite difficult to get started. I am by no means an avocado growing expert, after all, this is my first try, so I’ll just share what works for me and it might help you find the right direction for your project.
Finding an avocado seed
I think this is straightforward and most of us can buy avocados in the supermarket. We eat avocado pretty regularly in the family. So we kept eating them until we had one, we enjoyed. I washed it and scrubbed away all of the leftover avocado flesh. After this, I let it dry for some days on the window sill.
The variety you will get for us in Europe will mostly be Hass and you need to search for others if you are interested. Just today I got my hands on an Ettinger avocado and will start growing it too.
Sprouting the avocado seed
The most common technique is to put toothpicks into the sides of the avocado seed so it can stand easily in a container and submerge the bottom half of it in water. The pointy end is the top of the seed and should be pointing up and not be covered with water. I did exactly that and replaced the water every few days. Nothing happened for 2 months.
The only change I did was then to put the avocado next to my seedlings on a heating mat and then it started to sprout in a matter of a week. So make sure you keep your seed at around 25-30 degrees Celcius to make it sprout. I think avocados love the warmth in general.
You will notice that it is sprouting when small bumps are showing up at the bottom of the seed which will slowly grow into roots in the water. After this, the whole seed will split and a small seedling will start to grow out of the top between the two halves.
Repotting the avocado seed
I repotted the seed into a standard mix of potting soil and compost when the first layer of real leaves started to form. I think this was a bit too early and it was also the wrong soil mix. The plant stopped growing for 1-2 weeks and I got worried but it caught on eventually and continued growing.
I can’t remember the second time I repotted but I did some research before the third (and currently final repotting) and settled on doing a 50:50 mix of potting soil and pure standard sand since I’ve read that avocados need it moist but very good drainage. Since then it keeps growing well.
Keep growing avocado plants
I started growing the seed in early January 2021 and when it was a small plant and I was sure the temperatures overnight didn’t drop below 10 degrees Celcius (this happens for me mostly around mid-May), I slowly moved the plant on our terrace. First just a few hours over the day, then I left it outside overnight for the rest of the summer.
At the end of the summer, around October, I moved it inside the house again. It had a few nights and days where the temperature was as low as 5 degrees. It didn’t seem to hurt my plant, I assume because it was used to our “summers” but the growth stopped almost completely. I think a good rule of thumb is that avocados like it warm, best above 20-25 degrees Celcius.
Overwintering avocado plants
When I moved my plant in the house in October, I gave it a place in a south-facing window. Winters can get pretty dark here for a few months so I’ve added my growing light and a time switch to it to give the plant a couple of hours more sunlight. The ambient temperature around the plant is around 15 degrees and it has had a solid growth rate since I moved it in. I keep watering it every few days to keep the soil moist with rainwater since our tap water has too much chalk in it.
I’ll plan to move the avocado out of the terrace in mid-May 2022 again depending on the weather and keep watering it with rainwater if there is no rain for some time. Other than that I’ll try to keep the care as minimal as possible because I am lazy and I want the avocado to get used to the weather here.
In a few years, if it’s in a pot that is too heavy to carry I plan to move it into some kind of greenhouse in a permanent spot in the garden, where it can survive the winters too.
And by the way, from what I’ve read it takes at a minimum of seven years before you get fruit, so bring plenty of patience.
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