avocado growing on a tree

How to grow an avocado from seed

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Can there be anything better than a free plant? Or a £2 plant that comes with a free avocado, depending on how you want to look at it.

I love sprouting avocado stones. Although it can take a bit of patience and perseverance in the beginning, you’re rewarded with a cool plant with massive leaves.

This is a great project to do with your kids, I think. I don’t have kids and don’t really like them, but it seems like the kind of project you could do together that isn’t very messy and doesn’t require much actual work.

All you need is an avocado stone, a freezer bag (or any clear plastic bag), a bit of kitchen towel or thick tissue, a jar with a narrow neck (sweet chilli sauce ones are usually good), and water.

Go and collect all that crap and meet me back here.

Collect your avocado pit

i.e. go and buy one from the supermarket, or collect one from your tree, should you have one. Remove the delicious bit and eat it.

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Clean it

Some people advise that you peel the avocado stone, but I’ve never peeled off any more than the avocado flesh (ugh, what a word. Flesh.).

I just wash the stone under the warm tap and wipe off any remaining flesh (shudder) with a cloth. This should take approximately one minute.

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Wrap it

Dampen your kitchen towel so that it’s definitely moist (Christ, this post needs a trigger warning) but not sopping or breaking up.

If you have quite flimsy tissue, the wrap the avocado stone in dry tissue, put them both in the freezer bag and then mist the tissue with a spray bottle.

Tap water is fine. Or at least, my tap water is fine. Anyone that uses a different water company to Yorkshire Water may need filtered water, but I’m sure tap water will be fine.

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Leave it

It’s generally recommended that you check your avocado stone every 3-4 days. I think once a week is MORE than adequate. I’ve gone a full month without checking them.

If you seal the bag well it may not need any more water. As long as the paper towel remains damp the stone can sprout.

I suggest that you put your avocado stone on a sunny windowsill. I put mine on a south-facing window sill. Avocados are from tropical countries, so are less likely to germinate in the cold.

Note: not all avocado stones will sprout roots. Some just…don’t, for various reasons. If you’re desperate for an avocado plant you may be best putting a few stones in the bag to ensure you get at least one.

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Move it

You can transplant your avocado stone into a jar as soon as the avocado has cracked almost in half and the root is protruding from the bottom.

Don’t be fooled, as I was, by the little tiny tail that sometimes comes out of the bottom of the stone – the root will only emerge once the avocado is cracked, and should be thick and white.

Fill your receptacle with tap water, preferably left overnight so that it’s at room temperature. Sit the avocado stone on the rim, so that the root is in the water…and wait.

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Protect it

It’s also recommended that you change the water in the jar every 3-4 days.

Lolololol.

I’m not trying to encourage bad habits here, and best practise probably is to change the water frequently.

But don’t panic if you forget for, say, a month. Because I have, and my avocado didn’t seem to care.

Watch out for bugs on your avocado. I keep getting a few aphids, but I just pick them off. I don’t think they particularly like the taste of avocado because they never stick around for long.

As far as I’m aware, my avocado plant has never been attacked any other critters., except my boyfriend who accidentally knocked one onto the floor and snapped the root. RIP.

They are pretty delicate, so it’s a good idea to put the jar somewhere that won’t be in the way or is likely to be knocked over by any errant cats you may have.

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I found sprouting an avocado stone a really rewarding project. After the initial age it takes for the root to emerge (it can take a month), they grow pretty quickly.

The way they grow is quite fascinating if you’re the kind of person that’s fascinated by the way plants grow (I am). They grow up and up and up super fast, and then stop dead, and produce a few massive leaves. It’s wild, and more fun than you can usually have for £2 plus an avocado.

This has turned out to be quite a short post, but that’s really all there is to it. Wrap an avocado stone in a damp paper towel, put in a bag on the windowsill and wait, then put it in a jar of water. Done.

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