When you cut open an avocado (Persea spp.), the seed is easily found in the middle of its creamy flesh. You can use this seed to start your own avocado plant. One way to start the growing process and watch the root development is to start the seed in water. This is a simple process that requires toothpicks, a glass of water and sunny window sill. Another method is starting the seed in potting soil. Whether you start the seed in water or directly in soil, the seeds require sunlight to germinate.
Avocado seeds for home production are most often rooted indoors by germinating them in potting soil or in water first and then placing plants outside. Avocado plants need full sunlight, especially indoors in winter; place the plant in a window sill or other area where it receives as much sunlight as possible. Avocado plants that do not receive enough sunlight get leggy with few leaves.
Plants that do not get enough light have to stretch for it, and this produces plants that send out new growth from the tips of branches and the shedding of old leaves. If you plant to put the avocado tree outdoors, wait until spring to transplant it outside.
Starting Seeds in Soil
Before planting the pit in soil, soak it overnight in water. Using a pot filled with houseplant potting soil, place the seed in the pot, leaving the pointy or tapered end sticking up about an inch out of the soil surface. You need to keep the soil moist, the seed needs a sunny window sill or other area sunny location. With proper care, it generally takes between to three months for the seed to germinate.
Starting Seeds in Water
When you start an avocado seed in water, you simply poke three toothpicks into the seed about one-third of the way down the seed and suspend it over the glass a water with the end submerged. The tapered end of the avocado seed is where it sprouts, so make sure the broader end is in the water. Avocado seeds need full sun, so place them in a window sill or other sunny location where it gets bright indoor light.
Indoor Plants vs. Outdoor Plants
Avocados are grown in warm regions and hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 9b through 11. In other regions, the avocado can be grown a houseplant. When grown as houseplants, avocado plants do not produce fruit; they are grown for their shiny foliage. Avocado trees grown outdoors within their hardiness zones need full sun for fruit production. Trees started from seed can take up to 20 years to produce fruit.
If you'd like to learn more about unusual or rare trees you can grow in your home landscape, contact your local tree service such as Al Miley & Associates.