If you go through avocados as fast as we do, it’s worth knowing how to grow your own avocado plant or tree.
Most climates here in the US are better suited for a plant that can be brought inside during colder months.
We have one Lila Avocado tree in our yard. In the past two years, it’s grown to nearly 20 feet tall. It can withstand cold temperatures down to 15 degrees.
We’ve also made a couple of starts from our local farmer’s market avocados that we keep potted and move them indoors (or to the covered part of our lanai) during the winter.
The health benefits of avocados
When it comes to choosing healthy fats for your family, avocados are ideal.
From one of baby’s first foods to the whole family’s Meatless Monday or vegetarian diet, this protein packs a list of health benefits:
- Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
We’re currently obsessed with Heritage avocados – a type found at small farms and ranches along the California coast. The Heritage avocado is a delicious, buttery, creamy, first-class avocado that you won’t find in the grocery store. Sometimes there may be only one or two trees growing that variety!
How to grow your own avocado plant
The next time you slice an avocado for a salad or to make guacamole, save the pit and use it to grow an avocado plant. You can also turn it into a project the kids can help with. You’ll need…
Wash the avocado pit. Take the toothpicks and firmly poke them into the pit in a circle around the middle. Fill the glass with water, and suspend the pit so the bottom sits in water. Holding the pit narrow (pointed) side up, place four toothpicks into the middle section at even intervals. It’s easier to push them in than you might think. The top of the avocado seed should sit above the rim of the glass and the pit should be submerged in about 1 inch of water, so keep this in mind when inserting the toothpicks.
If the toothpick option doesn’t work for you, channel your 3rd grade science project and place the avocado inside a plastic bag, wrapped in wet paper towels in a windowsill.
Now place the jar and pit in a bright, sunny spot and watch it grow. In about 4 – 5 weeks, you’ll see long, white roots out of the bottom and into the water. The top will split and grow a single, long sprout with 2 green leaves.
How to make sure the avocado pit will sprout
1. Wait until the avocado has gone really, really ripe to open it. If you can bear it, let it go extra ripe. Sometimes the pit will even split and/or start a root inside the avocado! These are best to use.
2. Try growing a heritage avocado (a non-Hass variety)
3. Use a sharp, clean knife and cut away some of the brown skin on the bottom of the pit – to help it start to root.
4. Use filtered water or leave the water out overnight to dissipate most of the chlorine.
5. Keep the jar filled so the bottom of the pit is always in water.
6. Don’t let the avocado pit experience major fluctuations in temperature. Avocados are a tropical fruit – so they like a warm, consistent temperature.
Growing an indoor avocado plant or tree
To grow an avocado plant, transfer the roots, pit, and stalk to a pot with lots of organic soil and rocks on the bottom. It must drain very well… avocados do not like mushy soil. When the stem is 6-7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches to encourage new growth. When it reaches 6-7 inches again, pot it in a rich humus soil in an 8-10″ diameter pot, leaving the top half of the seed exposed.
Place in a sunny window area. For this tropical plant, the more sun you give it, the better it will grow.
Once you get a little supply of avocados going, there’s no shortage of great foods to pair them with. We’re big fans of adding sliced avocado to a salad or sandwich.