How to Plant an Avocado Seed Correctly

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If you love avocados and live in the hardiness zones 8 through 11, then you should really consider growing them. Avocados are actually very easy to grow. As well, you can even grow them indoors as a stunning houseplant.

A Variety of Types

There are three main types of avocados, all have distinctive sizes and contain different amounts of oil – West Indian types (Persea Americana Mill. var. Americana), Mexican types (Persea Americana var. Drymifolia Blake) and Guatemalan avocados (Persea Nubigena var. Guatamalensis L. Wms). The West Indian avocado is the largest and has the least amount of oil. The Mexican avocado is the creamiest and has the most amount of oil. Guatemalan avocados are a combo of the West Indian and Mexican types.

How to Plant an Avocado Seed

There are numerous ways to propagate an avocado. One of the most common and easiest ways to learn how to plant an avocado seed is in water. However, many experts claim that the roots of the tree will be a lot healthier if it is planted in the ground. Besides, not all avocado seeds will germinate in water.

Which Type of Avocado Is Best?

When it comes to choosing the best type of avocado it is generally a matter of preference. However, which type of avocado you choose should depend on where you live. For instance, Mexican avocados do best in colder climates and can withstand temperatures down to 16° F. West Indian avocados do best in warmer temperatures and will typically die if the weather gets below freezing (32° F). Guatemalan types are hardy in temperatures down to 24° F.

Starting Your Avocado in Water

Choose the Type

First off, decide which type of avocado you want to grow. Once you have decided which type is best, continue with the following procedures on how to plant an avocado seed.

Removing the Pit

Cut into the ripe avocado cautiously, so that you do not damage the pit. This can be done by scoring the skin of the avocado about ½ inches deep around the outside. Next, twist the two halves in opposite direction. Gently remove the pit, set aside. Make sure not to waste the fruit by making something tasty such as avocado dip or cubed on a salad.

Clean the Pit

Gently take the avocado pit to remove all of the fruit. It is best to wash the pit with warm water and to avoid using soap. Also, make sure that you do not remove the light brown seed cover since it may actually kill the pit.

Use Toothpicks

Hold the pit with the pointed side up. Insert 4 toothpicks into the pit so that they are evenly spaced. The toothpicks allow you to place the pit inside a container without it being completely submerged in water. In fact, the pit should sit in about 1 inch of water.

How to Plant an Avocado Seed in a Water Container

Fill a container such as a slender glass jar with water. Generally, glass is the best option for a container. The opening of the container should be wide enough to hold the full width of the pit. Also, too wide of a container and the toothpicks will not reach the rims or edges and the pit will be underwater.

Placing the Avocado

With the toothpicks inserted, place the pit into the container. The toothpicks should rest on the rim of the container. Remember to leave only 1 inch of the pit immersed in the water. If the pit has too much water it will not grow.

Be Patient

Waiting for your avocado pit to sprout is the most difficult part of growing this beautiful plant. Be sure to place the container in a moderate, undisturbed place such as a window sill or other well-lit areas in your home.

Caring for your Plant

It is best to change the water about every two days so that mold or other bacteria do not grow. Also, makes sure that the pit is always in water. If it dries out, it will most likely die.

Wait

Typically it takes approximately two to three weeks for the brown layer of skin to slough off. Once this happens, the pit will split open at the top and bottom. Around three to four weeks, a taproot starts to grow. As well, the pit will begin to sprout at the top and produce a few leaf-buds that will soon open. Make sure to continue to water when needed.

How to Plant an Avocado Seed by Planting a Sprouted Tree

Select a Spot

Generally, it is best to plant your sprouted avocado tree in a pot so that you can move it according to the seasons. The ideal temperature for your avocado tree is 60 – 85°F (15.6 – 29.4°C). However, an acclimated tree can handle temperatures as low as 28°F (-2.2°C).

Prepare the Soil

Avocados grow best in low saline soil with plenty of drainage. Avoid heavy fertilizing until the tree is at least a year old. The best fertilizer is a 10-10-10 fertilizer; feed two times a year.

Planting

The ideal container for your tree is a terracotta pot about .8 – 9.8 inches (20 – 25 cm). Fill with topsoil, a coconut fiber (coir). Once your pot is filled with soil, dig a narrow hole for your avocado plant. Remove your plant from the water and carefully take out the toothpicks. Gently place the plant into the hole so that the top half of the pit is above the soil surface. This method safeguards the seedlings trunk so that it does not rot under the soil. Next, pack the soil lightly around the pit.

Watering

Your avocado tree will need water on a daily basis. Don’t overwater; just make sure the soil stays moist. If the leaves turn yellow then you are overwatering. Allow the plant to dry out for one to two days. If the leaves turn brown at the tips, then your plant needs more water.

How to Plant an Avocado Seed in the Ground

Many experts agree that planting an avocado pit directly into the ground is the best and healthiest method of planting.

Quality Counts

Make sure to select a top quality pit for planting. Cut the seed away from the fruit and gently wash with warm water. Locate the pointed end of the pit.

The Ideal Spot

Avocados grow best in full sun. The plant will also need good drainage so as to not get waterlogged and rot. Keep in mind that avocado trees can get as big as 80 feet and need plenty of room to grow. You also want to protect the tree from strong winds. Generally along a fence or wall will help protect the plant from gusts. As well, planting near the house will protect the tree from prolonged freezing temperatures. Cover the tree with a cloth or blanket if a frost is in the forecast. In addition, plant two trees because avocados do best when paired with another of its kind.

Planting

Place the flat end of the pit down in the soil. Next, mound the soil around the pit. Make sure to leave part of the tip above the ground. Also, never stomp the soil with your hands or feet, you can damage the pit. Water the plant regularly to keep moist but not overly wet. If you suspect root rot, allow the plant to dry out for at least a day or two then resume watering.

Growth

Start feeding the plant 10-10-10 fertilizer after a year of growth. Never fertilize before you see any growth. Continue to water and care for your plant. In about three to four years you can expect fruit. Pick the fruit when they are a good size. Keep in mind that avocados do not ripen on the tree.

Here you can also see an illustration of one of the methods:

If you love summer and also avocados, take advantage of the simple way to grow this amazing fruit. Then in a few years, you will actually be able to pick the fruit. As such, the best time to start growing an avocado tree is right now.
Moreover, learning how to plant an avocado seed is quite simple. Please share your experiences if you have tried to grow an avocado.

Image source: depositphotos.com

Jonathan E. Bass
 

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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