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    How to Grow Your Own Avocado Tree

    Learn how to grow an avocado tree from a seed or plant an avocado tree and how to maintain it with these simple steps and tips.

    HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN AVOCADO TREE

    As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados

    Everything you need to know about how to grow an avocado tree. Really!

    Everything you need to know about how to grow an avocado tree. Really! Want your own avocado tree or houseplant? There are a few ways to do it. This comprehensive guide tells you all you need to know, whether you’re starting from a seed or planting a young tree.

    PlantingSoilWateringMulching/fertilizingOther growing tips

    PLANTING: HOUSEPLANT*

    You can start with an avocado seed. Wash it. Use three toothpicks to suspend it broad end down over a water-filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see the roots and stem start to sprout in about two to six weeks. (If you’ve followed this process so far and have not seen roots or a stem sprout in more than six to eight weeks, try another seed.) When the stem is 6 to 7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches. When the roots are thick and the stem has leaves again, plant it in a rich humus soil in a 10½-inch-diameter pot, leaving the seed half exposed. Water it frequently, with an occasional deep soak. The soil should be moist but not saturated. And don’t forget: the more sunlight, the better. If the plant turns yellow, you may be over-watering; let it dry out for a few days. If the leaves turn brown and fry at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot, and drain it for several minutes. When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches to encourage the growth of new shoots.

    *Please note that the odds that your tree will bear fruit are very small.

    PLANTING: YOUNG TREE

    Remember that avocado trees do best at moderately warm temperatures (60 F to 85 F) with moderate humidity. They can tolerate temperatures, once established, of around 28 F to 32 F with minimal damage. Avoid freezing temperatures. Plant your tree in March through June. If you plant during the summer, there is always the risk of sun damage, because avocado trees don’t absorb water very well when they’re young. Plant it in a non-lawn area and away from sidewalks and, if you can, plant it in a spot protected from wind and frost. Remember, full sun is best. Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball and just as wide as the width plus a little extra so you can get your hands into the hole to plant it. The avocado is a shallow-rooted tree with most of its feeder roots in the top 6 inches of soil, so give it good aeration. Its root system is very sensitive, and great care should be taken not to disturb it when transplanting. If the tree is root-bound, however, loosen up the soil around the edges and clip the roots that are going in circles.

    SOIL

    Avocado trees like the soil’s pH around 6 to 6.5. If you have a heavy clay soil, elevate the tree in a mound for better drainage. Make the mound 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 5 feet around. Don’t put gravel or anything else like planting media in the hole. The sooner the roots get into the bulk soil, the better the tree will do.

    WATERING

    Trees typically need to be watered two to three times a week. As the roots reach out into the bulk soil, more water can be applied and the frequency of watering can diminish to about once a week after a year. When watering the tree, soak the soil well, and then allow it to dry out somewhat before watering again. As with most plants, you don’t want the tree to get too dry. The rule of thumb for mature trees is about 20 gallons of water a day during the irrigation season. Seedlings will require quite a bit less water, of course. Check the soil before watering each time to make sure it has dried somewhat. If the soil from around the roots can hold the impression of a hand when squeezed, it has enough water.

    MULCHING AND FERTILIZING

    Mulch with coarse yard mulch. Redwood bark or cocoa bean husks and shredded tree bark will work. Choose something that is woody and about 2 inches in diameter. Coarse yard mulch is available at some garden-supply centers and through tree-trimming operations. Tree-trimming operations sometimes have material that has been pruned from the tops of trees and doesn’t contain any diseased roots. Use online search engines to find a local tree service. Put 20 pounds of gypsum spread around the tree base, and mulch the area with 6 inches of mulch, keeping the material about 6 to 8 inches away from the tree trunk. Fertilize your young avocado trees with ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per tree per year. You can spread it out over several applications as long as it totals ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen. The other important nutrient for avocado trees is zinc. Ordinary home fertilizer for houseplants will normally work.

    OTHER GROWING TIPS

    Be patient about seeing fruit. If you have purchased and planted a tree, you can probably expect to see your first fruit three to four years after planting. If you are growing from a seed, it can take anywhere from five to 13 years before the tree is mature enough to set fruit. When the tree does flower, expect a lot of flowers to fall without setting fruit. This is natural.

    Source : californiaavocado.com

    How to sprout an avocado seed, a time

    Three toothpicks are poked into a washed and peeled avocado seed. The seed is suspended in water. The wait for a sprout begins. This Boxlapse time-lapse

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    Three toothpicks are poked into a washed and peeled avocado seed. The seed is suspended in water. The wait for a sprout begins.

    This Boxlapse time-lapse video captures what happens for the first 127 Days of the avocado plant’s life, including the first 36 days when it looks like the seed isn’t doing much of anything. But a root appears and a sprout soon follows. From SFGate:

    Growing an avocado plant (Persea americana) from a pit is fun and educational, and it usually takes only two to six weeks for the pit to sprout. After that, the plant takes 10 to 15 years to grow large enough to fruit, which it only does in suitable growing conditions. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, it’s safe to grow avocado plants outside. In colder zones, they make attractive houseplants but are unlikely to bear fruit.

    Attempt to sprout your avocado seed just before the fruit is completely ripe. The older the seed, the less likely it will be able to germinate. And don’t feel the need to peel it (unless you’re planting it in the dirt immediately). “Peeling the skin will not speed up germination with this technique and may result in a rotted mess of mush in the water.”

    Alternatively, you can soak your seeds and then keep them wrapped in a wet paper towel in a dark warm place until they sprout. Read about seed growing at California Avocado.

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    How Long Does It Take an Avocado Pit Plant to Grow?

    How Long Does It Take an Avocado Pit Plant to Grow?. Members of the Persea genus, avocado plants grown indoors from seed often have to be discarded after two or three years because they outgrow their space. If you grow them indoors from seed, they may take more than 20 years to bear avocados or they may not bear fruit ...

    How Long Does It Take an Avocado Pit Plant to Grow?

    Home Guides | Garden | Gardening

    By Jenny Green Updated November 28, 2018

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    Growing an avocado plant (Persea americana) from a pit is fun and educational, and it usually takes only two to six weeks for the pit to sprout. After that, the plant takes 10 to 15 years to grow large enough to fruit, which it only does in suitable growing conditions. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, it's safe to grow avocado plants outside. In colder zones, they make attractive houseplants but are unlikely to bear fruit.

    Sprouting an Avocado Plant From a Pit

    The two usual methods for growing an avocado plant from a pit are to suspend the pit in water with toothpicks or to plant it in soil in a pot. Planting the pit in soil gives you the best chance of success for an avocado seedling, but growing it in water means you can watch the roots develop. The widest part of the pit is the place where the roots emerge. Before planting the pit, soak it in water overnight.

    To grow an avocado pit in water, push three toothpicks in equal distances around the middle, roughly two-thirds down from the tapered top. Fill a glass with water, and perch the pit in the water suspended by the toothpicks on the edge of the glass. The water should cover about 1/2 inch of the pit's base. Top up the water to the same level when it evaporates, but don't change it. If the water changes color, the pit has started to rot and should be thrown out.

    To grow an avocado pit in soil, fill a clay pot with sandy soil. Be sure to use a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Push the bottom of the pit into the soil so that it's buried to a depth of 1/2 inch. Water the soil until water runs out of the drainage holes, and lightly water it again whenever the surface feels dry to the touch.

    Growing an Avocado Seedling

    Avocado seedlings grow best in bright, indirect light and at temperatures no lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Roots emerge from the base of the pit first, followed by one or more shoots from the top. The pit splits open when the shoots emerge, but this is normal. Indoor light is rarely adequate for avocado seedlings, and the shoots grow long and thin. To encourage the seedling to develop into a bushy plant, prune the main shoot to 3 inches when it's 6 inches tall. Wipe the blades of your pruning shears with rubbing alcohol before and after pruning the seedling.

    If the pit was growing in water, transfer it to a pot filled with sandy soil no longer than three weeks after pruning it. Pull out the toothpicks or break them off, and place the seedling in the soil so that it's buried to one-third of its depth, taking care not to damage the roots.

    Water an avocado seedling with tepid water when the soil is dry to a depth of 1/2 inch. If the lower leaves grow small, the plant may need fertilizer. Dilute and apply a houseplant fertilizer according to the instructions on the label.

    When Does an Avocado Plant Produce Fruit?

    An avocado tree can produce fruit when it's 10 years old, but plants that are growing indoors rarely reach that stage. Even if the plant is transplanted outside and can survive in the local climate, the chances for success are mixed. One reason for this is the pit was probably taken from an avocado that was bought in a supermarket, and supermarkets don't usually sell avocados that were grown in the area. So the plant that grows from the pit requires different growing conditions. Though it might survive, it may not produce fruit. This is no great loss, however. Avocado trees that were grown from seedlings rarely bear tasty fruit.

    References

    Missouri Botanical Garden: Persea Americana

    North Dakota State University Cass County Extension: Starting an Avocado

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production - Avocado

    Calefornia Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.: Growing Avocados from Seed

    Resources

    University of Florida IFAS Extension: Persea Americana: Avocado

    University of Illinois Extension: Avocado

    Writer Bio

    A graduate of Leeds University, Jenny Green completed Master of Arts in English literature in 1998 and has been writing about gardening and homes since 2007. Green's work appears in SFGate, Mom.me, The Pink Plumber and many home services blogs .

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