Are you tired of throwing away avocado pits every time you eat an avocado? One easy and fun solution to avoid your avocado pits ending up in a landfill is to grow an avocado tree. They are impossible to kill, and require barely any maintenance at all. Plus, they make great budget friendly gifts. Just follow the ten simple steps below and you’ll have your very own avocado tree.
1. Buy an avocado and eat it.
2. Wash off the pit, making sure to get all of the green stuff off.
3. Peel the brown layer off the avocado pit (this step isn’t necessary, but it speeds up the growing process). I find that this is easiest to do if the pit is still kind of wet and if your avocado was ripe.
4. Next you’ll need three toothpicks or skewers and you’ll stick these equal distances apart around the top of the avocado pit. Be sure not to stick the toothpick in one of the indented veins because that’s where your pit will split open. Also, it is important that you know what is the top and the bottom of the avocado pit because if the bottom isn’t in the water the pit won’t grow. You can tell the bottom and top apart because the bottom is flat and the top is more pointed - sometimes by a lot and sometimes only by a little.
5. Place the pit with toothpicks in a cup full of water. I like to use a clear mason jar so I can see the roots grow but you can really use anything.
6. Place your avocado pit in a location where it gets bright indirect sunlight and where the temperature is between 60-85 degrees. I have mine on a windowsill.
7. Now you have to wait. This is the hardest part. The avocado pit can take anywhere from 1 week to 8 weeks to open. For most pits it takes about 8 weeks, so be patient.
8. It is also important to change the water often. I do this around every 12 days. This is done to avoid algae from growing on the pit and roots. If you do see algae on your plant just carefully wipe it off with a towel and change the water more frequently.
9. When your tree is six inches tall you can take the toothpicks out and plant it in a pot or you can just leave it in water. They can grow in water for years, however it is important to plant your tree in soil once the pit starts to rot or the leaves start to turn yellow or brown. Personally I like to plant it in soil once the first couple leaves open that way it starts to get more nutrients.
10. When you pot your tree make sure that you only cover the bottom fourth of the pit in soil or else it will lead to root rot, and be careful as to not damage to roots by packing down the soil. Also to avoid transplant shock it is best to plant your tree when it is warmer out and your soil isn’t cold.
It is important to note that your tree will not grow fruit until it is around 10-13 years old, but don’t let this deter you from growing an avocado tree. They are beautiful to look at and they release oxygen which is good. Enjoy!
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Author - Katie Eastman
Katie is a junior at LASA high school.