Kids Go Gardening - grow an avocado

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How to grow an avocado tree from seed

You will need:

  • The seed from an avocado
  • Large tooth picks or skewers
  • A glass or jar you can see through
  • Water
  1. Carefully remove the seed from the avocado and wash it, taking care not to remove its brown skin (the seed cover)
  2. Poke up to four toothpicks firmly into the avocado seed. Get an adult to help with this.
  3. Fill your glass with water, and place it on a windowsill. Place your avocado seed so that its  bottom half is sitting in the water.
  4. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh.
  5. Watch and wait. Depending on how warm the weather, you might see the first sprout in just two weeks. Or it might take two months, so be patient!
  6. First you will notice the top of the seed dry out and crack and it’s brown outer skin wall fall off. Soon after that you will see the first root. This is called the taproot and it should never be left to dry out. After the tap root has grown longer, a small sprout will peep though the top of the seed and start growing.
  7. Once your tree has roots and leaves you can keep it growing in a pot of potting mix. Plant it so you can still see the top half of the seed and keep it in a sunny place. Keep it indoors over winter if you live in a cold climate and water just enough to keep the potting mix just moist as you watch it grow.

Which end?
The avocado seed has two very different ends, one end where the roots grow from and one where the stem and leaves will sprout. If your avocado seed is perfectly round it can be hard to tell, but most will have a slightly pointy end. This is the up side where the stem comes from. The flatter end is the root end, or the ‘bottom’ of the seed which needs to sit in the water.

Tip: To make your avocado plant grow nice and bushy, cut off the top leaves just above a pair of buds on the stem. This will make it branch from the sides. Do this regularly as the plant grows.

When will my tree have fruit?

When you grow an avocado from seed it won’t be the same as the tree the seed came from, because that tree was a special hybrid variety not grown from a seed. It’s a game of chance; your tree might give you fruit one day. But you might be all grown up before it does! In the meantime you can enjoy watching it grow into a pretty garden tree or houseplant.

The worlds biggest seeds

Avocados are some of the biggest seeds of all but there are bigger seeds. For example, a coconut is a seed waiting to fall on the ground and grow into a coconut palm if it’s not harvested and eaten. The largest seed in the world comes from another kind of palm tree called Coco de mer.    This seed grows 30cm long!

Did you know?

Avocados are very good for us and contain more fat than any other fruit or vegetable. Avocado fat is healthy fat, one of the best foods for energy.

In prehistoric times avocados used to be eaten whole by giant sloths and other giant mammals which are now extinct. They would help to spread the seeds around with their poop.

Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.