Avocados can be extremely expensive to buy at a grocery store and they always seem to be either rock-hard or overly mushy. Growing them is a way to have access to this creamy fruit. Let’s dive in and discover if they are easy or hard to grow in your backyard.
Growing avocado tips: If you are interested in growing an avocado tree, you can start with a seed from a freshly purchased avocado. All you need are some toothpicks and a glass of water. However, it will take almost 13 years for that avocado seed to turn into a tree that grows its own avocados.
Is it hard to grow avocados?
It is not very difficult to grow an avocado tree. You can even start with an avocado from your local grocery store.
However, the process of getting from a seed to a tree that bears fruit is very long. Unless you are willing to wait over a decade for fresh avocados, there may be better things to do with your time.
Advantages of growing avocado
One of the pains of shopping for avocados is that they are almost never the right ripeness that you want. You need to really plan ahead when shopping for avocados as most of them arrive very hard and then can either take too long to ripen in your kitchen or ripen almost overnight.
If you have your own avocado tree, you can harvest the fruit as you need it, so it is always the right texture. And, if you have a surplus of avocados ready at the same time, you can process them and freeze them for later.
Neat science experiment
Growing avocados from seed is not a hard process and even if you live in a climate that is too cold for the tree to really grow, it’s still a fun experience. Get your kids involved and learn more about the plant-growing process.
Disadvantages of growing avocado
Avocados are a tropical fruit. They will only grow outside if you have consistent temperatures that are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, even in the winter.
As a result, you will either need to build a greenhouse or keep your avocado tree inside. Even most southern regions in the United States won’t be able to support avocado trees during the winter.
Starting an avocado tree by seed is fun but it can take up to 13 years for the tree to actually bear fruit. This is a very long wait and you will spend more money on fertilizer and materials than what it would cost to simply buy your avocados from the store.
You can purchase an avocado tree that is more mature, although this will cost more money. Depending on how old the tree is that you buy, you will only have to wait three to four years for it to grow fruit.
How to grow avocado at home
The cool thing about avocados is that you can grow your own plant right from the pit. Simply purchase an avocado from the store, eat the fruit, and keep the pit. Whether you end up planting it as a tree or just use it as a cool experiment with your kids, the process is easy to follow.
Prep your seed
The inner seed of your avocado plant, also known as the pit, has everything the plant needs to grow. Start by gently removing the seed from the rest of the fruit.
Remove any lingering flesh. If some are still on the seed, soak it in water for a few minutes and gently wipe it down. Be sure not to scrub too hard as you don’t want to damage the outer covering.
First, take a look at your avocado seed and determine which end is the top and which is the bottom. The stem will emerge from the top and the roots from the bottom, so this step is important.
The seed should be slightly wider at the bottom and the top should be tapered.
Once you know which end is which, take four clean toothpicks and insert them around the middle of the avocado so it looks like an X with the seed in the middle. The purpose of the seeds is to allow the avocado to rest on the top of a glass so that only the bottom half of the seed is in water.
Prepare the water
Use a canning jar or glass that is wide enough for the seed to hang but narrow enough that the toothpicks can sit over the edges and not fall in. The seed should hang in the middle of the mouth of the glass.
Fill the glass with enough water so that the bottom half of the seed is submerged in water. This will encourage the seed to create roots.
Place your avocado seed and glass jar in a room that has bright, indirect sunlight. It should be warm and not anywhere too breezy so that it remains at a constant temperature.
Check the water each week and replace it if it becomes cloudy. You may need to add more water on warmer days as you always want the water level to remain constant.
After a few weeks, you will notice the brown outer layer of the seed starts to split. This is what is supposed to happen, so don’t panic.
After the brown layer falls off, you should hopefully see a root emerge from the bottom and into the water. This is a critical phase as you need to ensure the water level does not drop or else the root will dry out.
Wait for a stem
After the root emerges, the stem will be the next development. This will come from the top of the avocado.
Once the stem is about 6 inches tall, cut it back in half so as to promote bushier growth. You should see a correlation between new leaves on the stem and a thicker root.
Transfer your seed
Once the stem grows to be 6 inches in height again, you can now transplant your seed. Prepare a pot with potting soil and submerge half the avocado seed in the soil but leave the other half sticking out.
Now that your avocado seed is in the soil, you can place the container in a bright, sunny location. Direct sunlight is important at this stage.
To promote growth, cut your avocado stem back after it reaches 12 inches in height, so it is now only 6 inches tall. Continue this cycle as it will create stronger roots.
The soil should be moist but not soggy, so be sure to water regularly and test the soil so the roots aren’t too wet. Proper drainage is key, so always use a container that has drainage holes in it.
If the leaves start to wilt, this means the plant is not getting enough water. While the plant will bounce back, it is delicate in the early stages of growing so try to keep to a regular watering schedule.
If you live in a warm climate, you can place your avocado plant outside in the summer. However, once temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to bring your plant indoors for the winter as it won’t survive any threat of frost.
How long does it take to grow an avocado?
If you start with an avocado seed, you should see some signs of growth in just a few weeks. It will take about three to four months for the plant to be large enough to transfer to a container.
However, growing an avocado tree from seed means it can take up to 13 years for the tree to bear fruit. It is a slow process and unless you purchase a more mature tree, you will need to be very patient.
What is the best way to grow avocados?
There are two options when it comes to growing avocado trees. You can either start from a seed or you can purchase a tree from a nursery.
Growing an avocado tree from a seed is really cool and fun for the whole family. However, it can take up to 13 years before you will see any fruit.
If you want a faster alternative, it is better to purchase a mature avocado tree from a gardening center. This tree will be a few years old and you will only have to wait three or four years before it produces its own avocados.
Where is the best place to plant avocado?
Avocado trees need sunlight and warmth to grow. Unfortunately, even the southernmost parts of the United States are not warm enough year-round to support avocado trees outside.
You will need to either grow your avocado tree in a greenhouse or bring the plant inside during the summer. If there is any hint of frost or if the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the whole tree may not survive.
Sometimes it’s more about the process than the results, which is true with growing avocados. Even if you never get to the stage where you have a fully-grown tree, it’s still fun to see what will happen with an avocado seed.