On a recent trip to Florida, I had the pleasure of picking fresh avocados from my aunt and uncle’s avocado tree in their backyard. It was exhilarating to eat freshly made guacamole with avocados grown in the very yard I spent so much time in, and it became a goal of mine to grow my own avocado tree…indoors….in Chicago….even during the winter. Avocados are some of nature’s healthiest foods, high in potassium (higher than a banana) and will give you the “healthy fats” that are so often lauded in health circles. An avocado a day will surely keep the doctor away. So, is it possible to grow an avocado tree indoors?
Is this possible?
If you’ve read this blog before, it’s important to know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Or, I’d like to think anything is possible. In previous posts I talked about how anyone can grow citrus trees indoors, a lovely antidote to the cold winter months, reminding you of warmer times to come. So why can’t this be true of avocado trees?
Here’s the good news and the bad news. You can grow an avocado tree in a container, however, you might never get to see the fruit we so dearly love. More of an ornamental tree, this would be a little disappointing, but also quite fun to grow an avocado tree from its seed. If you want more of a chance of seeing fruit, buy a dwarf tree, or a tree that is already been grown from seed.
Growing an Avocado Tree From a Seed
You’ve always wanted to know what to do with those large avocado seeds, throwing them around like baseball’s in your kitchen, juggling them in your circus routine and finally throwing them out after their use. Well, good news! Now you don’t have to use them for your indoor sport’s leagues. Now, you can grow your very own indoor avocado tree.
STEP 1: REMOVE AND CLEAN THE PIT
After eating the delicious fruit of the avocado, carefully remove the pit without damaging or cutting it (don’t remove the brown skin, as this is the seed cover!) After it’s removed, clean the pit carefully so there is no fruit to be seen. You can soak it in some water for a few minutes to make sure there is nothing left.
STEP 2: MAKE SURE WHICH END IS ‘UP’
No matter the shape of an avocado pit, they all have ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’. From the bottom, the roots will grow, and from the top, the sprout will grow. When looking at the pit, the slightly pointier end is the top, while the more flat end is the bottom. You will want to really inspect which end is which, for the top end will be kept dry and the bottom will be placed in water.
STEP 3: PIERCE THEM WITH TOOTHPICKS!
This is a fun part, as you get to pierce the suckers with toothpicks. Take three or four toothpicks and place them around the pit so you can use them as support when you dip the pit into water. It should look like the picture below. The top of the pit should be facing up, and the bottom should be placed in the water.
Once your seed is placed in the cup of water like above, place the cup in a windowsill where it will get lots of light. Change the water about every week, in order to avoid fungi or bacteria, etc from ruining your attempts.
STEP 5: THE WAITING GAME
Sometimes the worst part, this is where you wait. Like anything that’s valuable, you must wait for it. Whether it be the perfect job, a perfect mate, wonderful dog, kids, or your awesome avocado tree, you’ll have to wait! Wait for the perfect time, for everything to come together. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks, depending on many different factors, including how much sunlight your plant is getting, humidity, temperature and more. You’ll know everything is working when the bottoms starts seeing roots sprouting into the water. You’ll see a taproot begin to emerge, and the circle of life begins again 😉
Never allow your taproot to dry out, always keep it submerged in water.
STEP 6: REPOT YOUR PLANT IN SOIL
You’ll want to wait until your plant is about 6 inches tall before you re-pot it. Once it’s in fruit tree soil, make sure to place it amongst a lot of light.
Water: Water your tree frequently and allow it to have a deep soak or two. However, don’t let it sit in water, as it can grow fungus and the like. You’ll know if your tree is being over-watered if the leaves turn yellow. If this happens, just let the plant dry out for a few days.
Light: As stated before, you’ll want your avocado tree to have lots of light. If you don’t have light, get some indoor grow lights for the home.
Temperature: If you live in a climate similar to Chicago, you’ll want to keep your tree indoors for the winter. Once summer hits and the outdoor temperatures don’t go below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings, you can place your tree outside for the day and night.
I DON’T WANT TO GO THROUGH ALL THIS TROUBLE. WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
If you’re looking to this method to grow avocado fruit, it may not be the best. Some plants never grow fruit, some plants take years or even decades to show fruiting promise. If you want a tree that has guaranteed fruit, GO HERE. These trees have been grown under master growers to make sure they DO BLOOM FRUIT. This is a guaranteed way to get an avocado tree to bear fruit. Sometimes it’s better to leave the hard work to the experts and take it from there. You’ll friends will never know the difference.