Have you ever reached for avocados at the grocery store and thought, “I wonder if I can grow my own tree and harvest the fruit myself?” The answer, believe it or not, is yes. “Growing an avocado from seed is a fun and rewarding, but time-consuming process,” says Em Shipman, executive director of ChildrenGardening. Although the seeds take about six to 14 weeks to germinate, most trees do not produce fruit until they are about three to four years old. Although it takes a lot of patience, you’ll eventually have your very own tree to pick avocados from whenever you crave a good toast topping. Additionally, you can grow the plant indoors and out, so location is not an issue. If this is a project that interests you, keep reading to learn how to grow and care for an avocado tree from seed to maturity.
How to Grow an Avocado Tree From Seed
There are several ways to germinate the avocado seed (the pit in the center of the fruit), Shipman explains. “An easy way is to root it in a cup of water. Or try wrapping it in a damp paper towel and placing it in a resealable plastic bag,” she says.
To start growing an avocado tree from seed, start by removing the pit from the fruit. Shipman says to avoid using a knife, as it can damage the seed. Then gently wash the core with warm water and remove the remaining fruits. “Clean it well, because any leftover flesh can lead to rot,” she notes.
Then wrap the seed completely in a damp paper towel that is moist but not dripping and place it in a plastic food storage bag, but do not seal it completely to allow air circulation. Place the bag in a warm, dark place where the temperature is around 21 degrees Celsius. “Check the seed every four to five days to make sure the towel stays moist and the seed isn’t rotting, and to check the rooting process,” says Shipman.
In six to 12 weeks the roots will start to emerge from the middle of the seed, but be careful not to touch or break them (they are very fragile). When the roots are about three inches long, it’s time to plant. Fill a growing container no larger than a gallon with well-draining potting soil, then dig a small hole and plant the seed just below the soil surface, leaving about a half inch of the top of the seed above it. from the ground line. Water generously and place it in a warm, sunny spot.
How to take care of your avocado tree
One of the most important things to keep in mind when caring for your avocado tree? Do not overwater it, as the plant is prone to root rot. Shipman says to start by hydrating the tree about every two weeks. After a few watering cycles, adjust your schedule based on how fast the seedlings are growing. “If the leaves turn yellow, you are watering too much. Let the floor dry between each session,” she says. Another way to avoid root rot is to use a well-drained potting mix. “Most store-bought mixes contain a high amount of peat, which retains water,” Shipman notes. “Try amending the soil by adding perlite or coarse bark to allow good water movement.” Another important consideration is light: avocado trees get plenty of sunlight and should get at least six hours a day. If it grows indoors, find a spot with bright indirect light.
When your tree begins to grow, it should be pruned regularly. For every six inches of growth, cut off the first two sets of leaves. Pruning will encourage more growth and eventually your tree will need to be carefully moved to a larger container; the plant needs enough space to flourish and develop. Finally, while you maintain your avocado tree, be sure to fertilize it regularly. It doesn’t require a lot of food in the colder months, but you should aim to feed it with a nitrogen-rich formula every two to three weeks when it’s actively growing.
How to Grow an Avocado Tree Outdoors
Avocado trees are tropical plants native to southern Mexico, and for this reason they generally thrive in environments where the temperature does not drop below 15 degrees Celsius. If you live in an area where this is not the case, it is recommended that you grow your avocado tree in a planter indoors, so that it can be kept outside during the warmer months, but moved indoors during the winter. If you To do live in an area where it is possible to plant your avocado tree outdoors, you should plant your variety in a location that receives approximately eight hours of sunlight per day. Start by digging a hole in the ground as deep and slightly wider than the root ball. make sure your soil is well-drained and aerated. Once the tree is planted, water it every 5 to 10 days with several gallons of water.
What to expect from your avocado tree
As noted, the process of growing an avocado tree from seed to harvestable fruit takes years. Although it can be tiring to tend to the plant regularly without reaping the benefits, just watching your little tree grow will be a rewarding experience. They won’t stay tiny for long: Avocado trees typically grow up to 80 feet; internal growth will depend on their resources and environment. “If you’re hoping to grow a taller tree, provide it with a large container and plenty of sunlight,” says Shipman. Likewise, if you want to keep your tree small, keep it in its container and prune it as needed. On average, your avocado tree will grow up to 30 inches per year once established. And if you’re worried about your tree bearing fruit, Shipman says not to worry. “It is not difficult to grow an avocado tree that bears fruit, but it takes time and the right conditions. Most trees do not produce fruit until they are three or four years old.
(This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com)
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