Table of Contents
- Origin of The Avocado
- Avocado Benefits
- Growing Avocado Plants from Seeds
- Growing Avocados Indoors
- Growing Avocado Plants from Seeds – The Wrap-up
Do you love the creamy, earthy taste of a ripe avocado? Then consider growing avocado plants from seeds, in your home! This article’s purpose is to help you grow and care for beautiful and delicious indoor avocado plants. Continue reading to learn about growing avocados indoors.
Origin of The Avocado
The avocado (Persea Americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C.
There is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C. Spanish conquistadores loved the fruit but couldn’t pronounce it and changed the Aztec word to a more manageable aguacate. Aguacate translates to avocado in English. The first English-language mention of avocado was by Sir Henry Sloane in 1696.
Before getting into the specifics of growing avocado plants from seeds, it is beneficial to know what an avocado is and the benefits it contains. Avocados are a popular fruit that often becomes incorporated into savory dishes. Avocado trees thrive in warm temperatures, such as Mexico and other regions with similar climates. You can easily recognize its oval balloon-like shape and dark-colored peel that ranges from green to dark purple. When you cut open a ripe avocado, you will find a single hard seed (avocado pit) in the center, surrounded by soft, yellow, greenish mesocarp, or in other words, flesh. People love to incorporate it into salads, dips, sauces or add it into desserts such as mousse and brownies.
Nutritionists call avocados superfoods because they carry a variety of nutrients. These include healthy fats, fiber, minerals, carotenoids, and vitamins.
Some of the benefits that you can enjoy from eating avocados regularly:
- Avocado protects the heart from unhealthy cholesterol levels since it contains plenty of healthy fats that balance natural cholesterol levels.
- It contains vision-improving carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin in the flesh.
- Avocados can also help you maintain a healthy body weight. It has plenty of fiber that keeps you feeling full for longer, preventing unnecessary weight gain from overeating.
- It strengthens the bones since the vitamin K present in avocado improves calcium absorption into the body.
Growing Avocado Plants from Seeds
Just like a papaya houseplant that quickly grows from an easily accessible seed, you can use the pit of an avocado to cultivate a new plant right in your home. The avocado seed is the sizeable brown pit in the center of the fruit.
After obtaining an avocado seed, follow these instructions for growing avocados indoors:
- To sprout an avocado seed, insert three toothpicks into it and suspend it with the broad end down over a glass of water.
- Cover about an inch of the seed with water.
- Care for it in a warm place, but not in direct sunlight.
- The seed should sprout in two to six weeks. Let the young plant grow to 6 inches, then cut it back to 3 inches to encourage sturdy root growth.
- Plant the avocado pit in a pot about 10 inches in diameter once the roots have grown thick, in addition to the stem having new leaves again. Be sure to leave half of the seed exposed above the potting soil.
Growing Avocados Indoors
Growing avocados indoors does not need to be a daunting task. It can be easy and enjoyable with the right tools and systems in place.
Containers to Grow Avocado Plants from Seeds
To ensure your avocado plant grows to its fullest potential, you’ll need a container with drainage. The best container to use is a terra cotta pot at least 10” in diameter and contains a drainage hole when starting from a seed. Terra cotta works best since it’s a porous material. The improved air circulation through the roots helps the potting mix dry out quicker, keeping the substrate from being saturated for long periods and damaging the shallow roots.
Avocados grow best in a rich, fast-draining potting soil mix. You can use new, rich humus soil or recycle some old soil from your garden or another pot. If you are using old potting soil, make sure to remove any weeds, grasses, or leftover roots that may reduce the avocado seed’s chances of sprouting.
Give the plant water when the soil is dry to the touch. Avocado plants should be continuously moist but never soggy, and adequate drainage is essential. Watch for leaf yellowing, which is a sign of too much water.
Light Needed for Growing Avocado Plants from Seeds
Similar to banana trees, avocado plants thrive in full sun; they will tolerate some shade, but potted indoor plants generally need the brightest spot you can find. Keep on a brightly lit windowsill when starting from seeds until roots form and the first leaves emerge.
Avocado plants prefer warm growing seasons but can take winter temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit when growth will slow.
Indoor avocado houseplants have vastly different fertilizer needs than outdoor avocado trees. To keep your avocado houseplant’s deep green leaves, fertilize it with a small amount of water-soluble food about every three months.
Pruning After Growing Avocado Plants from Seeds
The first trimming should occur when the plant is only 12 inches tall. At that time, cut it back to 6 inches and allow new leaves and stems to form. As it gets taller, pinch off new growth throughout the summer to force new branches to start because avocado fruit develops on new growth. Keeping the new one pinched off will also keep the plant bushy while controlling its size.
Potting and Repotting Avocado Plants
Repot your avocado every spring when the plant begins to grow again. Trimming your avocado is necessary to encourage a bushy plant for the first few years. You can place the avocado outside during summer and bring it inside before the first frost.
Types of Avocado Plants
Although there are about 1,000 varieties of avocado, the one most likely to find its way into your home is the Haas avocado, which is grown in tremendous quantities in California and throughout Latin America. These are small, pebbly avocados with high-fat content and delicious flesh. The bigger, lighter green Florida avocados are also found in season. You’ll find plenty of healthy pits inside any of these types of avocados that you can use to grow your plants.
Unlike many fruit trees, avocados won’t ripen on the plant. When avocado fruits reach a mature size, pick one and let it sit for a few days. It isn’t time to harvest if it wrinkles up or never softens. Continue picking a fruit every few days until they ripen. Then gather as you desire, leaving unwanted fruits on the tree.
If you want to reap the benefits of having delicious avocados on hand all year long, then growing avocado plants indoors is something that must be done. Not only can you enjoy the fruit you grow, but you will also have an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that is unmatched.
Avocado plants are fast growers, sprouting up to 30 inches a year. You may need to stake your avocado houseplant as it grows tall, but you can prune it to the height you desire.
When your plant begins to produce fruit, it may set a huge number and then drop a large number of these fruits. Don’t panic—this is perfectly normal. Your tree may have produced more fruit than it can support, or the fruit may have weak seeds. A sudden drop of all fruits usually signifies a more significant problem such as water stress.
Indoor avocado trees may experience complications from common houseplant insects, including aphids, thrips, and spider mites. Unlike outdoor trees, they don’t typically have trouble with caterpillars, borers, or lace bugs. If you notice insects on your tree, spray the tree (and neighboring houseplants) with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Avoid using chemical pesticides inside your home unless necessary.
The first thing to do is hold off on watering until the soil has dried out completely. Move your tree to a spot in your home where it is out of direct sunlight but still receives filtered or diffused light. You can also re-pot the tree in new potting soil. If there are any signs of root rot, prune off any dead or dying roots before repotting.
The leaves on your avocado tree are most likely turning brown because of inadequate soil moisture or an accumulation of salts in the soil. Be sure to water the tree properly, thoroughly moistening the potting soil when it is dry, in addition to the leaves beginning to droop or wilt. Use rainwater if possible, or periodically flush the potting soil with distilled water to push the accumulated salts out of the container.