Avocados make wonderful houseplants, and avocado plants are easy to root, grow, and maintain. With minimal care and occasional pruning, you can have a beautiful lush avocado plant for the price of an avocado from your local grocery store. Your avocado plant probably won’t bear fruit, but it will make a lovely addition to your home.
Avocados are easy to grow, but many people who attempt to grow avocado plants often give up because they don’t allow the avocado pit enough time to root. Novice avocado growers also make the mistake of not properly cleaning the avocado pit, and sometimes water levels aren’t properly maintained so the avocado pit can grow healthy roots.
Avocado Growing Supplies
To successfully grow an avocado plant you will need a fresh avocado, a clear glass of appropriate size, round wooden toothpicks, water, and a draft-free warm location.
Developing Avocado Roots
Begin by removing the fruit from an avocado pit. Carefully clean the avocado pit under running lukewarm water. After making sure the avocado pit is clean and healthy, evenly stick four toothpicks around the mid section of the pit. Place the avocado pit pointy side up inside the glass so the toothpicks rest upon the rim. Put enough lukewarm water in the glass to just cover the end of the avocado pit and place the glass in a warm location away from direct sunlight and drafts. The water will likely evaporate quickly in a warm location, so the level must be maintained and checked on a daily basis.
Don’t expect to see roots appear before the second week. If properly cared for, the roots typically appear among the second and fourth weeks, but don’t become discouraged if it takes longer. Allow the roots to continue developing and growing until they are well established.
Planting the Avocado Pit
Once the roots are fully developed, the avocado pit may be planted. Choose a pot approximately five or 6 inches in diameter that provides proper drainage. Fill the pot approximately 3/4 of the way up with quality potting soil. Scoop out a small amount of soil in the center of the pot, and place the pit into the hole so it will be just about halfway covered. Give the avocado pit room temperature water, and continue watering the developing avocado plant so the soil remains moist.
Caring for the Avocado Plant
After weeks of sitting in the glass of water, the shell of the avocado pit will split open, and a small leaf-covered stem will emerge. When this occurs, the developing avocado plant may be placed in a sunny window sill. Keep the avocado plant in a bright and sunny location for approximately five hours per day. If there isn’t sufficient natural light, the avocado plant may be placed under artificial growing lights instead. Once a month the avocado plant will require a dose of liquid plant food in order to continue growing and thriving.
Pruning the Avocado Plant
When the avocado plant reaches a height of approximately 6 inches, cut the main stem in half. This doesn’t seem like it will benefit the avocado plant, but the plant will sprout new growth below the location of the cut. If the avocado plant is not pruned, it will become spindly and unattractive. Pruning the plant on a regular basis will keep it asymmetrical, full, and lush for many years to come.