Growing avocados from seed

Inside each ripe avocado lies a single giant seed surrounded by succulent flesh. All that’s required to grow your own avocadoes on the Adelaide Plains - after digging out such a seed - is a whole lot of patience and room in your garden for an enormous tree up to 20m tall.

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The most commonly available avocado in local shops is a variety called Hass, but the cook has taken a liking to a less-common variety named Reed, obtainable only for limited periods from a local organic fruit store. P1050148So we decided to grow this favourite on from seed and wait the four to six years that it typically takes before our efforts will bear fruit. This is a pretty risky business because there’s a real chance that the fruit produced will be different to that of its parent. Most seedlings available from nurseries are grafted onto rootstocks from cuttings of plants of known quality; the net result is a fairly expensive mature potted plant. As we’ve lost a number of these commercial avocadoes over the years there’s a decided reluctance in this household to spend money on more of them – hence the propagation of multiple plants from ‘pits’ at far lower financial risk.

P1050147We've grown these avocado pits on a kitchen cupboard under a sunny window; this ensures that we notice when watering is needed. A pot was filled with potting mix and the avocado seeds half buried at the surface. These seeds are slow to germinate; it has taken about three months for the seed to split; the single stem then appears like a matchstick stuck in a ball of plasticine. This grows up to about 300 mm tall before popping out leaves. In the next few weeks, as winter sets in, I’ll plant these three avocado seedlings side-by-side near the existing Hass avocado that is the lone survivor of all those commercial failures.

Perhaps the home-grown route will prove more successful? As they grow, these young trees will certainly have to be espaliered or pruned to keep them within the bounds of the property.



Nelly said...

Good luck with them. Which way up do you plant the seed please?

Andrew said...

Hi Nelly
If the avocado seed is even slightly pointy then point the point up. Some seeds are nearly perfect spheres; don' t worry about orientation in that case as the shoots and roots respond to gravity and point in the right direction all by themselves.
Cheers Andrew

Nelly said...

Thanks Andrew, Ill give it a go.

Junaid said...

Hi Andrew, we live in Blackwood (a hilly area, can be a bit frosty) and want to grow our own avocados. Thinking of Pinkerton variety. Can we just grow one tree or should we grow two for polination reasons? We want to avoid large root systems due to small backyard. Any possibility to grow avocado in a large pot ?
Regards, Junaid.

Junaid said...

Sorry forgot to mention that Blackwood in Adelaide.

Cathy said...

Several years later, what happened???! Do you have a tree with fruit on it yet? What have you learned from your experiment. Thanks!

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