Here’s a little project to get you through until spring! Follow along to learn how to grow your very own little avocado tree from the comfort of your own home! *Disclaimer: requires sense of curiosity, patience, and attentiveness!
Step 1: Next time you make guacamole or avocado toast, save the pit afterwards for this fun science experiment. Wash the seed well in lukewarm water to remove any remaining avocado residue!
Step 2: Select a small clear glass jar without a lid – the transparency is key as you want to be able to observe the growth as it occurs! An old jam or Mason jar will do just fine for this. Then, take 3-5 (depending on how small or large your pit is) toothpicks and pierce them into the sides of the seed – you want the pointy part of the seed to be facing the top as this is where it will sprout a stem, and the rounder/bottom of the seed facing into the jar as this is where it will grow roots. If you are unsure of the top and bottom, take note of where it was pointing when it was still inside the fruit (the top will be where the avocado grows narrower, and the bottom will be where it grows more wide, like the base of a pear). Stick your toothpicks in a circle closer to the top half in order to gently suspend it in water. You want ¾ of the pit to be submerged in water once you place it in your jar.
Step 3: Place in jar and fill with lukewarm water all the way to the brim. Find a nice warm, sunny environment to place it in such as a window sill, but keep it away from cold breezes or heat radiators. About once a week you will want to dump out the existing water and replace with fresh, warm water – between refreshes, always make sure the water level is topped up to the brim and replenished. Eventually (within 6-8 weeks usually), you should notice a tiny sprout begin to burst through! Continue to replenish water and repeat cycle until your stem (the top – not to be confused with the roots – the bottom) is about 6 inches tall.
Step 4: Your sprout has reached approximately 6 inches in height! Congrats – now the sad part (trust us): cut it back by half its length. That’s right, you’ve got to cut it down to 3 inches despite how hard this might be as a new avocado tree parent, but trust us, this crucial step will pay off in the long run as it will encourage a heartier trunk and multiple off-shoots, if you skip this step you will end up with a weak and spindly trunk with little or no branches.
Step 5: Once your stem has re-reached its 6 inch mark, it’s time to plant this baby! This was the most fulfilling part for us, getting our hands in the dirt and seeing our new plant child finally take root! In a 10 inch diameter well-draining pot, plant your tree in rich, humus soil leaving the top half of the pit exposed above the soil line. Water well with lukewarm water twice a week (at first it will need more water – remember, it just came from a pure water bath for weeks, it must be weaned off water and eased into the dirt! Don’t let it dry out too much). Spritz leaves of your tree for a rain bath once a week and keep in sunny spot.
Step 6: Love, nurture, and watch your tiny tree grow! Don’t expect any fruit for quite some time… years.. if any. But it is a total joy to care for and watch grow regardless! The excitement we feel with each & every new leaf is indescribable.
Unfortunately here in Canada we won’t be able to transplant our tree to the garden so it will remain a houseplant – forever sitting in its windowsill contemplating the great outdoors and freedom of the other trees, but it will keep us company through each and every season and serve as a little slice of the summer months throughout the year. If you give this a shot tag us and use the hashtag #GBDjournal so we can share! Good luck & happy growing.
Take photos along the way to document your tree’s growth – remember in your elementary school science class when you had to plant bean sprouts and journal your experience? Why can’t we still do this as adults? Take notes, take photos, and draw pictures or paint your experiment to get the most of it!