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Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-25

twig's picture


Common Name: Avocado

Family: Lauraceae

An avocado tree – with twin stems! -- grown from seed. I have about two dozen avocado trees now, and three have twin stems like this. They were all grown by saving the seed (or pit, the big hard thing inside the avocado). Just wash it off, then poke three or four toothpicks in it so that about an inch or so of the seed's bottom (flat portion) sits in a cup of water, while the top (pointed end) stays dry.

Be patient. Sometimes it takes weeks for the roots to sprout. During that time, change the water every few days to make sure it doesn't start growing algae or some other icky stuff. After the roots appear, it may take another few weeks for the little tree portion to pop through the top. Then you can transfer it to a pot, but make sure drainage is good. You might want to choose a fairly large pot, too, since avocado roots are temperamental and don't like being moved.

It takes something like 8 to 10 years before an avocado tree has fruit and even then it depends on a lot of other factors. So you probably won't be making guacamole any time soon, but the trees themselves are beautiful – umbrella-shaped with big green leaves. They grow quickly, too. This little one was just started a few months ago, and it's already about 12” high. Some of the others are four feet tall and barely a year old.

If your first few seeds don't sprout, don't give up! In my experience, only about half form roots. But once they get going they're such handsome trees – definitely worth the effort.

Readers, please send me ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a “Name That Plant” mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

will produce fruit bearing plants, esp when it comes to fruiting trees and bigger crops. that said, my store-bought peach pit tree not only bloomed this year (five whole flowers!) but produced two tiny, hard peaches. it's only a few years old and was started just like this, a pit in a pot.

but if you really like a fruit, you've got to grow a clone via cutting. genetically, seed grown plants are different from the parents, just like human babies are.