We're all familiar with it: the fruit that gives guacamole its smooth, creamy texture. The pit that is left over after eating the fruit might be used to grow it. Growing an avocado tree is a pleasant, satisfying activity that leaves you with a lovely tree in the process, even though avocado trees produced from a pit can take a while to produce fruit of their own (sometimes as long as 7–15 years). Once your tree has developed, you have two options: wait for avocados to start developing or graft or budding productive plant branches to accelerate the process.
Planting and Growing Information:
When deciding where to plant your avocado, look for a warm area that receives partial sunlight. Avocados, which are indigenous to Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies, have adapted to do well in warm, humid climates. Although avocados have been developed to grow as far away as California, they still need a lot of sunlight to thrive. Contrarily, excessive direct sunshine can harm young avocado plants (especially before they have had a chance to grow large leaves). As a result, if you're starting an avocado plant from a single pit, you should choose a location for it that has some access to bright daylight but is not always in direct sunlight.
Avoid cold, wind, and frost when planting and growing avocados. Generally speaking, avocado plants do not thrive in inclement weather. Avocado plants can be completely killed by snow, cold winds, and sudden temperature dips, which can be detrimental even to hardier plants. You might be able to get away with leaving your avocado plant outside all year if you reside in a tropical or subtropical region with relatively mild winters. To protect your mature plant from the weather, however, you should be ready to transfer it indoors for the winter if you live in a region where the winter temperature is expected to fall below freezing.
Use of rich, well-drained soil is crucial. Like many other popular garden plants, avocados thrive in rich, loose soil. Consider having a supply of this kind of soil (say, for instance, one rich in humus and organic matter) available to use as a potting medium by the time your avocado's roots and stem are well-established if you want to obtain the best growing outcomes. Given that avocado pits begin their growth in water before being transplanted to soil, you don't necessarily need your potting soil to be ready when the avocado plant first begins to grow. Avocados, like many other common garden plants, thrive in soils with a low pH (in other words, soils that are acidic, rather than alkaline or basic). Consider planting your avocado in soil with a pH of 5-7 for the best results.
Remove and wash the pit before planting an avocado plant. Next, submerge the pit in water. Avocado pits should be started in water before being planted into the ground until the plant's roots and stem have grown sufficiently to support it. Placing your pit so that it rests on the rims of a cup or big bowl and suspending it in water using three toothpicks is an easy method. Water should be added to the cup or bowl until the pit's bottom is submerged. Ensure that your pit is upright and submerged in the water. The pit's bottom, which is in the water, should be slightly flatter and may have a patchier discoloration than the remainder of the pit. The top of the pit should be slightly rounded or pointed (like the top of an egg).
Place your avocado near a window that gets plenty of sun, and refill the water as necessary. Place your pit and water-filled container thereafter in a location where it will occasionally (but infrequently) receive direct sunshine, such as a windowsill that only receives a few hours of sunlight each day. To keep it clean, drain the container once a week and replace it with fresh water. If the level falls below the pit's bottom in the middle of the week, top it off with extra water. You should see roots start to poke through the pit's bottom and a short stem start to poke through the top within a few weeks to a month and a half. Recovery from the initial phase of inactivity could take 2 to 6 weeks. Even while it may not appear that your pit is producing anything, the plant's stem and roots will soon begin to emerge. Trim the stem when it reaches a length of around 6 inches. Continue keeping an eye on the avocado's development and replenishing its water as necessary when its roots and stem start to grow. Trim the stem back to approximately 3 inches when it reaches a height of about 6 inches. This should result in the growth of additional roots within a few weeks and eventually allow the stem to develop into a larger, fuller tree.
Set down your avocado pit. You should ultimately transplant the avocado plant to a pot a few weeks after its initial pruning, once its roots are deep and developed and its stem has sprouted new leaves. Place the pit roots down in organic matter-rich soil with good drainage after removing the toothpicks. Use a pot with a diameter of between 10 and 12 inches for the greatest results. If you do not move the plant to a new pot, it may eventually become root-bound in smaller pots, which will impede its growth. Make sure you just bury the roots of the pit, leaving the top half of the hole exposed. It's crucial to frequently water the plant. After transplanting your avocado plant, water it well, being sure to soak the soil thoroughly yet gently. Moving ahead, you should water only enough to keep the soil moist but never so much that it appears soaked or muddy.
It is best to gradually introduce a plant to outdoor settings before moving it outside, sometimes known as "hardening it off." Start the pot at a spot that receives the majority of the day's indirect sun. Move it to regions that are brighter and brighter over time. It will eventually be prepared for continuous, direct sunshine. When the leaves reach a height of 6 inches, be sure to pinch them off. Once your plant is plotted, keep with your routine of regular waterings and lots of sunlight as it grows. Occasionally use a ruler or tape measure to check on its development. Pinch off any new leaves that are emerging from the stem's tip once it has grown to a height of around one foot while leaving the remaining leaves unharmed. Every time the plant develops another 6 inches, pinch off the freshest, tallest sets of leaves. By doing this, the plant will be stimulated to produce new shoots, which will eventually result in a fuller, healthier-looking avocado tree.
Your seedling should reach a height of 2 to 3 feet. As was previously noted, just because you can grow an avocado tree from a pit doesn't mean you will be able to produce your own avocados in a timely manner. Some avocado trees can take many years to start bearing fruit, while others might struggle for much longer or even never bear fruit at all. Use the method that seasoned farmers employ—budding—to enhance this process and guarantee that your tree produces excellent fruit. However, for an avocado tree to bud, you'll need access to one that is already producing nice fruit and a seedling that is at least 24 to 30 inches long.
Before the weather becomes too dry and while the two plants are still actively growing, it is easiest to combine them. This process should start in the spring and last for about 4 weeks. Cut a T-shape through the plant's stem 8 to 12 inches from the ground using a sharp knife. Slice through approximately a third of the stem's horizontal thickness, then turn the stem over and slice about an inch along the stem. Peel the bark from the stem with the knife. Cut a bud from the "producer" tree you've chosen, which is resilient and averse to illness in addition to providing quality fruit. Make a diagonal incision starting half an inch below the bud and ending an inch below it to remove it from the tree. Make a cut an inch above the bud to remove it as well if it is not at the tip of the branch or twig but rather in the middle of the segment.
Insert the bud snip you took out of the "producer" tree into the seedling's T-shaped cut. Each plant's green substance beneath the bark should touch; if it doesn't, the budding process could be unsuccessful. Use rubber bands or budding rubber to hold the bud clipping in place once it is inserted into the slit of the seedling's cut. The bud clipping and seedling should eventually heal together, making a single seamless plant, if the budding process is successful. This process often takes place a month after a spring joining. You are free to take off your rubber bands or budding rubber after the plant has fully recovered. If desired, you can also carefully cut the original plant's stem a few inches above the new branch so that it becomes the new main branch. Remember that it might take avocados planted from seed 5–13 years or longer to flower and bear fruit.
Avocado plants could need a lot more water than other plants in your garden. But it's vital to keep in mind that almost all plants, including avocados, could have issues from overwatering. Try to refrain from watering the avocado tree so frequently or intensively that the soil appears watery or muddy. Use soil that drains well. Make sure the pot your tree is in has drainage holes in the bottom so the water can drain if it is in a pot.
Avocados are prepared for picking once the color change is finished. When mature, the hue of dark purple or nearly black kinds will deepen. When ripe, the brightness of the skin of the green varieties will start to fade and take on a yellowish color. Fruit can be kept until it starts to fall off the tree. Select one fruit with a short stem attached and leave it on the counter for a few days to check for ripeness. If the stem does not shrivel or become dark, the fruit is mature, and you can pick the remaining fruits without concern. Avocados don't start to soften until they are picked. Once they are off the tree, they typically do so in three to eight days. At room temperature, fruit will soften, but cooling it will delay the ripening process. Avoid pulling the fruit off the branch by clipping or cutting it off because you risk breaking the branch. Fruit should be cut with a pruner or shear; a long pole pruner may be required to cut fruit that is high up. To prevent scratching the fruit, put on gloves.
You might not need any fertilizer at all to develop a robust, healthy avocado tree. However, given the right conditions, fertilizers can significantly accelerate the growth of young plants. When the tree is well-established, fertilize the soil with balanced citrus fertilizer during the growing season as per the fertilizer's instructions. Or, you can use compost, coffee, or fish emulsion as an alternative fertilizer. However, it's preferable to use commercial fertilizer sparingly and to avoid overdoing it. Always water your plants after fertilizing to help the fertilizer reach the roots of the plant and get absorbed into the soil. Avocados shouldn't be fertilized while they are very young since the "burn" that can come from using too much fertilizer can be quite damaging to them. Consider delaying fertilization for at least a year.