You can easily grow an avocado plant from the core at home. Read here how it can be grown on the window sill and what further cultivation and care should look like.
Whether ‘Hass’ or ‘Fuerte’: the avocado is more popular than ever because it is a real jack-of-all-trades. The healthy fruit brings flavor to the table, cares for the skin, and decorates the windowsill as a houseplant. In the following, we explain the methods you can use to grow an avocado tree from a core and how it can be grown at home.
Avocado seed can be planted directly in a pot with soil or put in water to root. To do this, you put three toothpicks into the core and place them with the tip facing up on a water glass. A light and warm location, for example on the window sill, is important for cultivation. If enough roots have formed after a few months, the avocado can be planted in the soil. Even when planting directly, keep the soil evenly moist and pay attention to warm temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Avocado plant: the tropical tree for the window sill
Botanically, the avocado (Persea Americana) belongs to the laurel family (Lauraceae). They are also known under the names avocado pear, alligator pear, or aguacate. The avocado plant is native to Mexico via Central America to Peru and Brazil. Archaeological finds show that it was cultivated there as a useful plant over 8,000 years ago. The Spaniards have tried their hand at growing exotic fruits since the beginning of the 16th century. Avocado trees have been cultivated in Mauritius since around 1780, and only 100 years later in Africa. Avocados have been grown in Asia since the middle of the 20th century.
Because of the great demand for healthy fruits, the avocado plant can now be found everywhere where the climate allows it – that is, in tropical countries around the world. Much of the fruit comes from Florida and California. In suitable locations, the avocado develops into a 20-meter high tree. Small, light green flowers form in the leaf axils, which sometime after their fertilization produce the popular dark green berry fruits with their wrinkled skin.
Their original reproduction by seeds is no longer of interest for plant production, as the offspring become feral and thus lose their typical varietal characteristics. Instead, like most of our domestic fruit trees, they are propagated through grafting. In-room culture, however, it is still easy to pull a small tree for the window sill from an avocado seed. Even if these redrawn avocado plants do not bear fruit, it is still a wonderful experiment for children and all other plant lovers.
Planting avocado seeds: the best methods at a glance
- Put the avocado in a water glass
- Plant the avocado seeds in the soil
Cultivation tip: To ensure that the experiment is crowned with success, in any case, we recommend using several avocado seeds for propagation. Because unfortunately, not every kernel manages to germinate, develop strong roots and grow reliably.
Put the avocado seeds in water
For cultivation, you put three toothpicks into the avocado kernel and place it with the blunt side down on a glass of water. In this way, the growth of the young seedling can be observed very nicely
Getting an avocado seed to sprout and sprout is actually very easy. The water method is particularly suitable for observing the development of an avocado plant from seed to tree. To power an avocado seed in water, you only need three toothpicks and a vessel with water – for example, a mason jar. The core is carefully removed from the fruit, washed off well, and dried. Then you drill a toothpick about five millimeters deep in three places with about the same distance around the center of the core and place the blunt, egg-shaped avocado core with the tip facing up on the glass. The lower third of the core should hang in the water. Place the glass with the core in a bright place – a sunny window sill is ideal – and change the water about every two days.
After about six weeks, the core opens at the top and a germ emerges. It is growing very quickly. Long, straight roots form at the bottom. When, after a few months, enough strong roots have grown from the lower end of the avocado kernel and a strong healthy shoot has grown from the upper end, the kernel can be transferred to a flower pot with soil. Carefully remove the toothpicks and plant the core in moist soil – without damaging the roots. The avocado kernel stays on the surface, only the roots are potted.
When roots and the first leaflets have formed, the young avocado plant should be moved from the water glass to a pot of soil
Plant the avocado seeds in the soil
You can also plant the avocado seeds directly in the soil. To do this, you simply fill a pot with soil – the ideal is a humus-rich potting soil with a clay component – and put the clean, dry core in it. Again, two-thirds of the avocado kernel should stay above the ground. A mini greenhouse for the room keeps the temperature and humidity evenly high but is not necessary. Water the soil lightly and keep the core moist by spraying regularly. The soil in the plant pot must not dry out, otherwise, all effort would be in vain.
What care does the avocado tree need?
A sure instinct is required when caring for the young trees. As a tropical plant, the avocado plant needs high humidity, warmth, and a uniformly moist substrate. If your feet get wet, mold can easily become infected! The core then softens and rots. It is, therefore, best to place the small avocado tree in a warm room (22 to 25 degrees Celsius) by a bright window and ensure an even water supply.
A well-rooted avocado tree should be fertilized every 14 days in the summer months, but it needs a break in the winter months. Hibernate your avocado tree at 10 to 15 degrees Celsius in as bright a spot as possible and continue to water it, but only in such a way that the bale does not dry out completely. Low-lime or decalcified water has proven its worth for watering. If it contains too much lime, the plant reacts with chlorosis, triggered by a lack of iron. If you fertilize the avocado plant quickly enough with iron-based fertilizer, you can usually still save it.
In spring, the young avocado can be transplanted into a larger pot. The avocado tree usually grows as a long, straight shoot. If the avocado is to branch, this shoot can be cut off at a height of about 30 centimeters on a well-rooted plant to stimulate the sprouting of the side buds. You can grow the plant in a shrub or tree shape.
Is it possible to grow it permanently at home?
Avocado plants can be cultivated well in a bright south-facing window. The optimal location, however, is a winter garden, where the trees get enough light from above
In the room, an avocado tree does not grow larger than 150 centimeters even after a few years and often only forms a slightly branched crown of long, thin shoots. In the long run, the cultivation and cultivation of an avocado plant work best in a heated greenhouse or winter garden: Only here you can offer it “tropical conditions”, i.e. high humidity, lots of light, and enough warmth.
Older specimens can even go outside during the summer, for example in a warm and sheltered place on the terrace or balcony. But don’t forget to clear the frost-sensitive tropical trees back in good time – depending on the weather, the avocado can get too cold at night outdoors at the end of August/beginning of September.
If you pull the avocado plant out of a core, it will not develop any fruit. For reassurance: even in the natural site, it takes an average of four years before the first avocados appear. The plant blooms profusely – the only pollination is a bit complicated. Persea Americana, as the scientific name of the avocado tree, is, has hermaphrodite flowers (and blooms profusely!), But cannot pollinate itself and is therefore dependent on cross-pollination.
And that too is difficult, as the flowers open and close with a delay: first to let out pollen, then to pollinate your own ovary. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying anyway! To do this, you pull at least two plants from the kernels of different varieties – hobby gardeners have achieved good results with ‘Fuerte’ – and place them next to each other. In the house, you usually have to help out with pollination yourself by transferring the pollen from one plant to the stigmas of the other plant with a brush or cotton swab.
How healthy is the avocado really?
Hardly any other food has experienced such a boom in recent years as the avocado. As a trend fruit in the kitchen and cosmetics, it is eaten, drunk, applied, and massaged in. Whether as an oil, spread, baking ingredient, tea, skin cream, or face mask – the green fruit is more popular than ever. The reason for this is their valuable ingredients – including various unsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A and C – their good processing properties and their velvety-nutty taste. As a medicinal plant, avocado is used against coughs, diarrhea, obesity, and acne. By the way, even the avocado kernels can be chopped up into smoothies and teas.