Sunday, January 31, 2010

January: Growing an avocado from seed

The January/February 2010 edition of Chicagoland Gardening Magazine has an article about how to grow an avocado (Persea americana, Lauraceae) from seed. I know a lot of people have done this but I don't think I ever even saw an avocado when I was a kid, and now we don't like avocados so we don't keep them around. However, I have been known to grow things I don't like to eat, including strawberries, hops, and green beans. Sometimes TMCH eats the results, and sometimes I just like the plant. I tried to grow a mango last year, but instead I grew a nice crop of mold. The avocado will go better, I just know it!
The first step: wait for the avocado to ripen. I am using a Hass avocado, and today it was black and soft, definitely ripe. I cut through the rind and the two halves fell apart easily. The avocado fruit is a berry.
I scooped the seed out from the pericarp with a spoon and washed it with water and a sponge to get all the icky off it. The surface of the seed is beautiful, like marled wood. It's about 1 1/2 inches long and slightly egg-shaped.
I then poked three toothpicks into the soft surface of the seed, about 1/3 of the way from the top, the top being very slightly more pointy than the bottom, and suspended the seed over a glass. I filled the glass so the water is 1/3 of the way up the bottom of the seed, and wrote the date on the glass.
I put the glass in a south-facing window. It needs 6 hours of daylight a day. If it doesn't sprout roots in 6 weeks I will have to start over, but hopefully something interesting will happen soon!


Meredith said...

Cool! Thanks for the information. We love avocados in this house, and the seeds are so gorgeous, I always hated to throw them away. I will have to try this for sure.

(You don't like strawberries?? If you lived nearby and grew them without intending to eat them, I'd invite you over frequently, LOL.)

Ramble on Rose said...

Good luck! I have never grown an avocado and always been interested to try it, although I also don't like eating them, which is probably why I haven't tried.

MrBrownThumb said...

Good luck! I haven't done this since I was a kid but I'm doing it this year, along with the pineapple top.

Last year I saw a perfect pineapple top sticking out of the neighbor's dumpster and for a second I thought about taking it and planting it.

Rose said...

You won't believe this, Diane, but I have an avocado pit/seed sitting suspended on a bowl of water on my kitchen counter right now! I remember trying this years and years ago--with little luck as I remember--so I wasn't too sure how to do it. I think I may have put the toothpicks too far down on mine, because the bottom is barely in the water. It's been about 3-4 weeks now, so I'll be patient for a couple more. If it doesn't grow, it may be awhile--I buy probably one avocado a year:)

Diane said...

Rose, let me know if yours does sprout!
MBT - I've never tried growing pineapple (another fruit I won't eat!) but I like the thought of dumpster-diving to save plants :)

Kylee Baumle said...

I've always wanted to do this, too! I just might have to get an avocado and try it. I hope you're successful!