Most of us have heard about the healthy characteristics of the mighty avocado — besides its full, rich taste and wonderful talent for making the best guacamole. But did you ever consider growing an avocado tree in your home?
There are more than 1,000 types of avocado plants. Some avocado trees grow to reach a height of 80 feet, with most getting 20 to 40 feet tall. Don’t let this scare you away from enjoying your own avocados! There are several dwarf varieties that do well indoors.
You can start avocados from seeds (stones), but it takes years to bear fruit. If growing a tree from its infancy isn’t your thing, you can always save time by buying a dwarfed avocado tree from a garden center or nursery.
If you are just aiming for a beautiful house plant or tree, the avocado is pretty and healthy for you. Bear in mind, though, that most indoor avocado plants are grown for novelty and not for fruit. For the patient gardener, however, the wait for fruit is worth every minute.
What You Will Need
Collect two avocados. (You may only want one tree, but always plant two in case one doesn’t take root. You can always give the second away.) You will also need at least four toothpicks for each avocado seed. Get the heavy-duty, strong type, as they are going to be supporting the seed. Finally, get a small glass or container that is deep enough to submerge half the pit.
How to Grow Your Avocado
The first step in growing your avocado tree is to remove the pit from a fruit that is already ripe. After you are done enjoying the fruit, rinse any leftover avocado off the seed thoroughly. This cleaning is important, as it will prevent anything unwanted from growing on the seed while it’s in water.
Once clean, take each toothpick and push it into the seed far enough that it will hold the pit. Continue around the pit until you form a supporting structure. This structure will hold the seed half in, half out of the glass or container of water.
The seed should descend one inch into the water, with its dented end inside the glass and the pointed side up. Roots will grow out the bottom, and the stem and leaves will grow out of the pointed end. The glass needs to be in a sunny area where it is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. Remember to change the water often; daily is recommended. Roots will eventually appear, followed by leaves and a stem. Wait until almost half of the glass is full of roots. This step can take several weeks, so be patient. You can now transplant the avocado into a container or pot. Use healthy potting soil.
When the tree is about seven inches tall, pinch off the top leaves to encourage fuller growth, which will hopefully also encourage fruit to grow.
Conditions for Best Growth
Avocado plants will need cool nights to make the plants bloom or bear fruit. Some plants can take up to 10 years to produce that yummy fruit, so if you have patience, go for it!
Indoor avocado plants need regular care. Stakes are needed to help the new stems grow, and you will have to transplant the tree as it grows.
These plants love and need full sun. Make sure they are in a sunny area of your home for best results. Avocados like warm temperatures, but can handle as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is recommended to fertilize the plants monthly, especially in their normal growing season.
Soil should be rich and fertilized during the growing season. Water when the soil feels dry. Avocados need to be kept moist, but not soaked. Make sure the soil drains well. Yellow leaves are a warning sign that the soil is too wet. If you see white crust on the soil, it means there is too much salt (probably from fertilizer) and you need to flush the avocado’s soil.
Repotting your avocado plant or tree every spring is highly recommended. You also should trim it to encourage the plant to become bushy and full.
Even if you are only growing your avocado tree for something pretty to look at, it can be fun for the whole family to share and take part in the upkeep. Remember to keep the tree pruned, or you may end up with more tree than your family expected.
An avocado tree can add character and freshness to your home during the long winter months, or any season for that matter. You can enjoy the exotic look of the tree year-round, and when the time comes, you can also enjoy the healthy and tasty bounty of the avocado fruit.
Have you ever grown an avocado tree indoors? What are your best tips? Share them in the section below: