How to Grow Avocado 101: Everything You Need to Know
Avocado is the latest sensation when it comes to healthy eating and living. Whether you use it just one time for a backyard barbecue or you are simply interested in growing your own food, it’s not hard to learn how to grow avocado. Today we will show you two different methods with simple steps on how to do it, as well as some recipe suggestions. However, remember that the method shown below is for a tree that flowers. For a variety that yields fruit, buy a grafted tree from your local nursery.
How to Grow Avocado on Your Own
Water Sprouting Method
1. Prepare the Seed
The first thing you need to do when learning how to grow avocado is to remove the pit from the avocado. Cut into it carefully, you don’t want to injure it. Score the skin or the fruit about half an inch (1.3cm) deep around the outside, then twist the halves to open it. Wash the avocado pit so that it won’t have any flesh left. Don’t use soap and go for warm water. Be careful not to remove the seed cover. This destroys the pit, so most likely it won’t grow anymore.
2. Use Toothpicks
Get some toothpicks and insert them into the pit. Place the pit with the pointed side up, and then take four toothpicks. Stick them into the middle section, spaced evenly. This is necessary so that you can balance it on the inside part of a cup. You don’t need to insert it completely into the cup. Remember that the pit needs to sit in ~ 1 inch of water.
3. Place the Pit in the Cup
Get a cup or a jar and fill it with water. You should use a slender container, where you add water up until the top rim. Make sure the pit can rely on the toothpicks to stay just above the jar or cup. The pointed end of the pit should be up, and it should stay 1 inch below the water.
4. Wait for It to Sprout
Now you just need to wait for the pit to sprout. Place the container in a place that is undisturbed and temperate. Next to a window it is a great choice, or you can go for any other area that is well-lit. Let it begin rooting and to start growing.
5. Change the Water
Every 1-2 days, you need to change the water. In this way, you make sure that any contaminants (such as bacteria, mold, fermentation etc.) don’t get in the way of the sprouting process. Make sure that the base of the avocado is permanently moist and under water.
6. Wait for the Roots
In 2-3 weeks, you should see that the outer layer of the avocado will dry and wrinkle. Eventually, it will slough off. Soon after that, the pit will start to split open at the top and bottom. In 3-4 weeks, you will see a taproot coming out at the base of the pit. Don’t injure or disturb the taproot. Simply let it establish its roots. In no time, the avocado will sprout at the top. Then, you will see a lead-bud that starts to unfold, which will grow leaves.
7. Choose a Location
Usually, the temperature should be between 60 and 85° F (which is between 15.6 and 29.4° C). However, once they grow they can manage temperatures as low as 28° F (-2.2° C), so they’re not that sensitive.
8. Choose the Soil
You can soil with almost any pH level. Any guide on how to grow avocado will tell you that the soil needs to be low in saline. Moreover, you must ensure a good drainage for the plant. In general, it is a great idea to use a soil tester before planting anything. You don’t need to use a lot of fertilizer until the plant is 1-year-old. Some rocks added at the bottom of the pot should be perfect for draining the water.
9. Prepare the Soil
Fill the terracotta pot (20-25 cm tall) filled with soil up to 2 cm (.8 inches). Ideally, you should use a 50-50 blend o topsoil and coir, which is coconut fiber. Slightly pack the soil and smooth it out. Add as much soil as you need. Then, dig up a narrow hole. It should be deep enough to cover up the roots and pit.
10. Plant the Seed
After the tree reaches 6-7 inches in height, you should prune it back to 3 inches. After the leaves grow again, you can plant. Take out the sprouted pit from the water and then get each of the toothpicks out. Bury the pit into the soil, but not completely. The top half should still be visible. Do this to make sure that the base of the trunk will not rot. Gently pack the soil around the pit.
11. Water the Tree
It’s important to know how to grow avocado in a healthy manner. Water the tree every day to keep the soil moist. It’s not good if the soil becomes muddy, so be careful. If you see the leaves turning brown at the tips, it’s a clear sign that the plant needs more water. If they turn yellow, the tree has too much water. Let it a day or two to dry out.
12. Tending to the Tree
You should take care of the plant regularly. If you keep up the good work with it, in a couple of years you will be proud of your own low-maintenance tree.
Ground Growing Method
Some people think that if you place the seed in water until it sprouts, you risk having a long and leggy tree which won’t fruit. As such, a better option for how to grow avocado would be to place the seed in the ground without any kind of soaking.
1. Prepare the Seed
Just like before, you need to choose a quality avocado. Remove the seed and find the pointed end. Again, it’s extremely important not to damage the seed while trying to remove it.
2. Choose a Good Location
Have a look at the method above to find out how to choose the best location for your own avocado. If you have the chance, a good idea on how to grow avocado is to plant two of them. They enjoy the company and you will have better results like this.
3. Plant It
Place the flat end of the seed in the soil. With your hands, make a mound of the loose soil found around the seed. Don’t use your feet to stomp down dirt, since you can damage the seed.
4. Grow the Plant
Simply use the same instructions for growing as presented above. You only have to fertilize after you see the plant growing above the ground. Don’t do it sooner, otherwise, the root system will not have a proper growth. You should expect your own fruit in around 3-4 years.
The last part in how to grow avocado is the harvesting. When the avocado fruits look fat and big, they’re ready to harvest. Remember that they will not ripen on the tree. As such, if you want them to ripen, you must remove and place them in a brown bag. Check on them regularly and when they’re soft, you can eat them.
Now that you know how to grow avocado all by yourself, it’s time to see what you can do with it. Here you have some simple avocado recipes that are easy to make.
1. Avocado Grilled Cheese
A classic for everybody who loves simple cooking, grilled cheese can also be combined with avocado. Simply make the sandwich and add some guacamole.
2. Avocado Black Bean Quesadilla
A veggie quesadilla is a great option when it comes to healthy eating. You just need to combine beans, cheese, onions, and avocado to have a delicious and simple meal.
3. Steak Salad
One suggestion for a delicious steak salad is a combination of grapefruit, arugula and avocados. You can add various toppings and the taste of the grapefruit will combine nicely with the creamy texture of the avocado.
Of course, we couldn’t miss the star of the avocado recipes, namely guacamole. You just need to mix onions, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. Mash the avocado, add lime juice and you’re set.
5. Avocado Lime Ice Cream
If you thought avocado can be used only for main courses, you’re in for a surprise. You can use it often for desserts as well, such as this delicious avocado lime ice cream. Blend together the flesh from an avocado, the zest and juice from 1 lime, 1 can of coconut milk and ¼ cup of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, sugar etc.). Churn into an ice cream maker and freeze it over the night.
As you have seen, it’s not a hard process to grow your own avocado. You just need to have some patience, since it might take a while until you get your own fruits. Finally, there are plenty of recipes to try out if you want to taste something new with avocado. Moreover, the guacamole tastes different if you use an avocado grown by yourself!
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