Plantidote of the Day 2010-09-25
Common Name: Avocado
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.
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