Growing Your Own Avocado Plant

Start an avocado plant from the avocados you purchase at the grocers.

An Avocado is more than just a tasty fruit. Its plant has shiny dark green leaves. The plant itself can be pruned into either bush form or tree form. Either form can be kept as an indoor plant. If you live in an area that has a year round warm climate, either form may also be grown outdoors.

You may grow an avocado at home by following these simple steps. With some tender loving care and patience, you will be able to enjoy not only the tasty fruit but also have a beautiful decorative plant (or tree) for your home or garden.

1) You will need a few ripe avocados; these can be purchase right from the grocery store or produce stand. The best price for avocados is usually found in the early summer months. An Avocado is ripe when the peeling is dark green, almost black. The fruit should be slightly soft yet still firm.

2) Carefully cut completely around the fruit down to the pit. Be careful not to score the pit. Remove the two halves by slowly twisting each half in opposite directions. Gently pull the halves apart and remove the pit by scooping it out with a spoon. Wash the pit well with tepid water. You will now need to have a glass of water and three toothpicks on hand.

3) Insert the toothpicks around the pit evenly and approximately one third down from its widest end. Now set the pit on the rim of the glass. The glass should have a narrow opening. Place on a windowsill in good light. However, do not leave in direct sunlight for long periods.

4) It is important to keep the glass filled to the rim with water at all times. The toothpicks will allow two thirds of the pit to remain under water. The pit must never be allowed to dry out. In about two to three weeks, the pit will crack almost in half. In another three to four weeks, a single root will appear at the submerged end of the pit. Sometime in the next week or two a stem will start growing. When the root is two or three inches long and the stem is at least an inch or two you will be ready to plant.

5) Plant the pit in a six-inch or larger pot. The soil should be a mixture of one part sand and three parts good potting soil. Keep the soil wet for the first week; allow soil to remain moist thereafter. Water once a week or as needed.

6) If you desire a bushier plant, you will need to pinch off the tip of the plant and the tips of any new branches. When your plant grows four leaves pinch off the two newest ones. This should cause the plant to produce still another branch. Be sure not to get carried away or you may stunt the growth completely. Transfer the plant to a larger pot as needed.

7) If a tree is desired then simply allow the plant to grow. If branches appear low on the plant, you may pinch them off. This allows the tree to grow upwards instead of outwards. You must take care not to allow the tree to grow to tall to fast. If it is allowed to do so, it may bend over and die. Transplant when needed.

Remember that in a warmer climate you may plant either the tree or the bush outdoors. If your first try does not succeed do not become discouraged, just try again. Not all pits will grow; I find that about one out of every five will take root. Have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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