how to grow an avocado from a seed

I've got growing avocado on my mindI’m sure that there will be avocados in heaven. They are one of my favourite trees – so tropical in their young leaves being pink through to a dark burgundy colour.

After enjoying the delicate flavours and colours of the avocado, why not use the seed to grow yourself an avocado tree for a house plant? Warning – not every avocado seed wants to germinate, so if the first seed plays hard to get, dump it and get another seed. They take time to germinate, so be patient. And, don’t expect fruit off your little avocado tree – they need to be quite large and it takes about five to seven years before they produce fruit.

I’ve blogged here before about growing peach trees from seeds. If you want to experiment with growing fruit trees from seed you could start with almonds. Just buy the raw almonds and some seed raising mix and you’re ready to get started. Here’s how Luther Burbank grew 20,000 prune trees using almond stocks:

‘I found twenty thousand almond nuts of even quality, spead them on a bed of coarse sand, covered the with burlap, and put on top of the burlap a layer of sand. The purpose of this arrangement was to enable us to examine the sprouting nuts daily without disturbing the roots; in fourteen days a few of the seeds had sprouted and were picked out and put in the nursery beds; as fast as sprouting occurred the planting followed, and by the last of June those almond seedlings were high enough to be budded.’

Some people like to germinate avocados in water, but I’ve never found that to be successful. Instead I find starting them in sterilised seed raising mix or moist sphagnum moss to be more successful. Once they’ve started to grow pot them on regularly as they grow quickly. Once they’ve grown a bit of a trunk – say about 30cm – a foot high – I nip the growing tips out so they bush up. Once that has started I usually let them grow 4 – 6 leaves and then nip again. This produces a nice shapely indoor tree. I find avocados indoors are a little prone to red spider mite – keep them evenly moist, and mist the leaves for humidity. I usually use a weak soapy solution which helps keep the mites at bay.

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