More and more people are getting hyped on gardening! From taking care of a bonsai tree, growing plants from cuttings (especially roses), planting trees and growing a lemon tree indoors to so much more. And then, here comes the avocado! High in nutrition and full of flavour, avocados are one of the amazing fruits of summer. Who doesn’t love tortilla chips with a zesty lime guacamole dip, right? The next time you are wiping up an avocado salad or making guacamole, you should save the pits to grow your avocados indoors!
Thinking that planting avocados might be a difficult job? Once you are done reading this article, you will not be thinking the same! It is surprisingly easy and simple to grow them. Let’s take a look at a few gardening tips on how to grow your avocados indoors!
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How to grow an avocado houseplant
Avocado trees have been around for ages and are native to Southern Mexico. Most avocado varieties are pear-shaped fruits and are delicious, nutrient-rich foods that we all love. They are warm-season plants and are easily damaged by frost and cold.
It is very easy to grow an avocado tree. Let’s get right to business and see how to do it. Generally, there are two ways in which you can grow your own avocados indoors.
Growing your own avocado tree from seed
Many people think that growing avocados from seed is difficult. However, this is not true at all. To grow an avocado houseplant from seed, simply follow the given steps.
- Remove the avocado pit (seed) from a ripe avocado. Wash off any excess flesh on the pit.
- With the help of three toothpicks, suspend the seed over a glass of water. Submerge the seed in the water around 0.025m. Leave the top broad end exposed to air. Keep this glass out of direct sunlight, in a warm spot.
- After 6 weeks, you will see that a stem shoot and roots are starting to emerge from the seed. If nothing has happened, wait for 8 weeks before tossing the seed out and trying again.
- Once the roots and stem shoot come out, keep changing the water in the glass until the stem is almost 0.15m to 0.17m long. Cut the stem to almost 0.07m and keep waiting for the stem to sprout leaves.
- Once you get healthy-looking leaves and dense roots, it is time to transfer the seed into a pot. Get a pot that is almost 0.25m or more in diameter. Also, it should have good drainage holes. A great choice for avocados is terra cotta.
It is very important that you provide excellent drainage. This is because they have relatively shallow root systems that can be quickly killed from root rot if they stay saturated for more than a few days.
- When it comes to soil, you should get sandy potting soil that is loose, well-drained, and fertile. You can get this kind of soil from your local grocery stores or you can order it online.
- Place a few coarse stones at the bottom of the flower pot to ensure perfect drainage. Fill the pot to the top with the potting mix. Dig a hole that is deep enough for the seedling’s roots. Spread them out and pack the soil around the avocado pit gently. Keep the top of the avocado seed above the soil line.
- Water the seedling slowly until you see the water running out from the drainage hole. Wait for the water to stop flowing and then keep the pot in a drainage dish near a south-facing windowsill.
The remaining steps are the same as growing an avocado plant from a young tree.
Growing an avocado houseplant from a young tree
If you want your avocado houseplant to produce fruit, you should grow avocado trees using grafting – simply take a graft from a young avocado tree. However, it can take several years for it to give you fruit. It can take anywhere from five to ten years. Avocados that are grown in nurseries are also cloned from existing avocado trees instead of seeds. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Buy a young tree from a nursery or online. If you have ordered the tree online, you will have to plant the tree in a well-draining, large pot filled with the right potting mix right away. If you got it from the nursery, it is very likely to do well for a while in the nursery pot till it outgrows it.
- Keep the pot in a sunny spot that gets a lot of light, but isn’t under full sun. If there isn’t enough light in your home, you can get a grow light. This will also be helpful in the winters when there isn’t enough sunlight.
- Water the plant regularly. However, make sure that you don’t overwater the plant since this can cause wilting, yellowed leaves. Before watering, stick your finger into the soil a bit and check if the soil feels dry. If it doesn’t, then don’t water the plant. Make sure that you read a thing or two about the right way of watering your plants.
- Prune your tree in the first year and trim off the new growth once your plant is almost 0.03m tall. This will help your plant grow strong and bushier.
What it needs to grow properly
When you grow your avocados indoors, you have to take care of a few things. Avocados have very specific growing requirements as they are sensitive plants. Let’s see what conditions are favourable for their growth.
Avocados do best when they are in warm temperatures. Ideally, temperatures between 15 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius work great for them, which makes them the perfect indoor plants.
Avocados grow well with loads of light. However, it is better if you keep them away from direct sunlight.
It is not a good idea to give them a lot of water. In fact, the number one reason for the death of potted avocado plants is overwatering. Therefore, don’t go overboard with the water. Always check the level of moisture in the soil before you water the plant. Yellow leaves are the first sign of overwatering. If your plant is yellowing, just let it dry out for a couple of days.
The pH of the soil should be around 6 to 6.5. For the first year of an avocado plant, you can get a fertiliser meant for citrus trees to help them establish their roots and develop. Every couple of months, add a little bit of it.
Avocado trees grow perfectly if you give them 10% nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus as well as 6% magnesium. Spray the plant with zinc, boron, copper, and manganese after a couple of months in summer and spring for the first couple of years of their life. This will help them grow so that they can bear fruit. When the fruit begins to form, you should increase the potash fertilizer up to 15%.
Avocado plant care
With avocados, you need to be patient. Here are some tips on how to take care of them during their growing season and all year round.
Cutting plants and pruning them seems harsh but in reality, pruning them helps bushy new growth which is more robust and strong than single-stemmed growth. Use sharp and clean tools to avoid introducing disease or bacteria.
When the avocado seedling is almost 0.03m in height, trim the top leaves and the tip. Doing this will encourage lateral, healthy growth. When the lateral stems are 0.15m to 0.18m long, you should trim their tips. After the first year, only prune in winter or autumn or when the tree isn’t adding a lot of new parts.
2. Using a stake
Moreover, once the plant is over 0.6m tall, use a piece of bamboo as a stake. This will help the plant in remaining sturdy and growing straight. Repotting should take place once the tree outgrows the pot. Make sure that you fertilise the plant regularly and water it moderately.
When your avocado plants begin to set the fruit, it will produce a very large number in the beginning. The plant will drop several of the fruit, which is perfectly normal. Moreover, unlike other fruit trees, the avocados don’t ripen on the tree.
Once the avocado fruit grows to a mature size, you have to pick it and let it sit out for a couple of days. If the fruit shrivels up or doesn’t become soft, it isn’t harvesting time. Keep picking a couple of fruits every week till they ripen. When they ripen, you can pick the fruit that you want and then leave the remaining hanging from the tree.
We know that avocado trees take a long time to bear fruit. However, you shouldn’t be impatient. Even if your tree doesn’t bear fruit, you will have a beautiful and unique houseplant that will certainly impress the guests. Follow the steps that we have mentioned above and you will certainly be rewarded with tasty, delicious, homegrown avocados in a few years!