When you hear the word ‘’avocado’’ your mind may wander off to a few different things—usually the end product. A big bowl of guacamole, avocado toast, black bean avocado salsa . . . But as mentioned in a 2015 article published byAvoSeedo, avocado was derived from the Nahuatl word ‘’ahuacatl’’—a word which literally translates to testicle. That’s right. Whenever you’re at Panera Bread ordering that chicken avocado sandwich you’re technically asking for a chicken testicle sandwich – lol.
But aside from food and genitals, what we’re really looking to share with you here is how to plant and grow an avocado tree. There are many benefits to owning one. Might we mention the most obvious fact of free avocados? And if we’re referring to the fruit itself (yes, go ahead and tell Johnny it’s not a vegetable), avocados are loaded with potassium, heart-healthy fatty acids, and fiber. They have also been proven to lower high cholesterol levels.
So let’s show how to plant your own avocado tree and reap its awesome health benefits.
Starting With the Seed
The avocado you bought from the grocers is finally halved and cleaned. Now, what do you do? To start, you will want to gather these things:
As seen in this photo published by Hibiscus Flowershop Blog, at this point all you will want to do is insert your toothpicks into 3 different spots of the pit. This way the seed will not fall or be completely submerged in the water. During this part of the process, it is also important that the bottom of the seed (the fatter end) is wet.
Now, all you have to do is wait. Throughout the next few weeks you will also want to look out for the following things:
- Water is changed every other day. This is to prevent bacteria and fungus growth. Some people say that this step should be implemented every day, but through previous experiences, I’ve found this to be a waste of water.
- Seed is sitting near a sunny window. This is especially important if you live in an area with very little sunlight.
- Changes in the seed. This would include cracking (where the top part of the seed will dry out and shed) and development of a taproot
Important tip: Once the taproot emerges you will want to make sure it remains wet. Letting your taproot dry out ultimately leads to the death of your avocado tree.
Sprouting can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks on average. At this point, your taproot has grown larger and longer. A sprout should have also formed at the top of the seed. In general, most experts say that moving onto the next step, transplanting, should only be performed when your avocado tree is at least 6’’ tall.
When the stem is 7 inches long you will want to cut it back 3’’ to encourage new growth. Once it reaches 7 inches again you will want to transplant to an 8-10 inch pot while making sure the top part of the seed is exposed.
Important tip: These plants thrive on sunlight, so it is critical for the sake of your avocado tree that it’s resting in the sunniest part of your house—preferably near that same windowsill or outdoors.
Watering & Encouraging Growth
Congratulations! If your avocado tree has survived this far you have officially made it past infanthood. Now all you have to do is sit back and watch your little one grow. But in the meantime . . .
You will want to water your plant frequently while also providing an occasional deep soak. A good rule of thumb is seeing that your soil is moist but not saturated. A tall tale sign you’re watering too much is yellow leaves. To fix this, simply let the plant dry out for 2-3 days before providing water again.
To encourage growth and ‘’bushy’’ leaves, pluck the top two sets of leaves once the tree reaches 12 inches.
Conflict & Solutions
About bugs: Avocado trees are known to attract pesky aphids. If you happen to notice a few of these little guys on your tree simply spray your plant down with a hose (if indoors, in the sink or shower). Once the insects are gone you will want to take a mixture of a small amount of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of neem oil. This keeps the insects from coming back. Just be sure to check in every 4-5 days and respray when necessary.
About withering: Your avocado tree would most like to be outside during the summer months, but during the holiday season, or in temperatures anywhere below 45 degrees, you will want to bring your plant back indoors. In doing this you prevent withering.
About fruit: Most avocado trees generally won’t start growing fruit until they have reached 3-4 years of ages. However, this does vary, as some trees have been noted to have produced their first fruit at 7-10 years. So in all, and aside from water, sunlight, and natural bug repellant, the only other thing you’ll need throughout this journey is patience.