Simone
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How to Grow Avocado from Seed?

I decided to start planting avocados (momentarily with the "three sticks method"), but I'm a novice in gardening. This is why I'm here and I need your precious help. Please, try to answer my basic and simple questions about the growing of avocados:

1) How often is necessary to change the water in the glass?
2) How deep it needs to be the glass? In proportion with the length of the roots?
3) Is it true that the roots grown on the upper part of the seed have to be cut? Why?
4) When is the right moment to plant the seed of avocado in the soil?
5) Is there a particular kind of soil for planting and growing avocados?
6) How deep has to be the seed planted in the soil?
7) I have seen a video on youtube where the cultivator - when the plant is 50/60 cm tall - cuts 5/10 cm of the top. What's the reason why?

Thanks,
Simone.

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applestar
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Re: Avocados?

I decided to start planting avocados (momentarily with the "three sticks method")

I prefer planting the seed directly in soil, but for a beginner, the water method is a great way to see the roots start to grow.

1) How often is necessary to change the water in the glass?

If you have peeled the brown outer skin, then not very often, but it'll depend on temperature, humidity, etc. The brown skin makes the water spoil faster as well as restrict the seed from splitting as it grows roots and shoot. You'll start to see greasy film/scum on the surface of the water. Try to use non-chlorinated water.

2) How deep it needs to be the glass? In proportion with the length of the roots?
4) When is the right moment to plant the seed of avocado in the soil?

The avocado will grow in small glass, just gets its roots coiled around and around. But the water-grown roots are brittle and are difficult to transplant in soil when long and misshapen. When I *do* use the water method, I usually just use a small glass and plant in soil as soon as the roots start to grow.
I actually set the seed on a layer of sand in a bowl because I think the seeds sometimes spoil from the holes made by the sticks. Same with knife cuts, etc. Only time I use the stick method is to let the kids watch the roots grow.

3) Is it true that the roots grown on the upper part of the seed have to be cut? Why?

Not sure what you mean by this.

5) Is there a particular kind of soil for planting and growing avocados?

Avocados seem to do well in same kind of soil as citrus. I usually use unscreened compost, used coffee grounds and composted pine needles (for low pH), good garden soil, and sand, with small amounts of rock phosphate and green sand (potassium), and stick a rusty nail in the soil for extra iron. Avocado needs WELL DRAINING SOIL.

6) How deep has to be the seed planted in the soil?

Bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the seed.

7) I have seen a video on youtube where the cultivator - when the plant is 50/60 cm tall - cuts 5/10 cm of the top. What's the reason why?

Avocado tends to grow really tall without branching. Looks really awful. I've been experimenting with cutting my shoots anywhere from pinching after first one or two big leaves form to chopping it in half even before big leaves grow. When you cut off the tip, the plant will develop side branches (Make sure to cut above a leaf/bud in the direction you want the branch to grow.)

Thanks,
Simone.


You're welcome. :D

Simone
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Thank you for your fast answer and for your golden advices! And sorry for my bad English! Now I have some more questions...so:

1) Do you suggest me to peel the brown outer skin or it's better to let the nature do its job?

2) I'm really "on an empty stomach" with gardening, sorry! When you say "sand", you mean the sand of the seaside?

3) I discovered that from the seed of avocado grow different roots: from the "base" of the seed and sideways...on youtube I have seen a cultivatur cutting the roots grown from sideway. Is it right? What's the possible reason why?

4) What are the right dimensions of a pot fit for planting avocado?

Thanks again,
Simone.

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applestar
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Thank you for your fast answer and for your golden advices! And sorry for my bad English!

You're welcome. And don't worry, you're doing fine.

1) Do you suggest me to peel the brown outer skin or it's better to let the nature do its job?

I've found that it's better to peel it off. Typically, the skin is softened where the seed is underwater, but tends to cause the water to spoil faster, and it gets dried and often prevents the seed from splitting, which it needs to do for the sprout to grow. If the skin is difficult to remove, pick at it with your fingernail from the base of the seed and peel a little at a time.

2) I'm really "on an empty stomach" with gardening, sorry! When you say "sand", you mean the sand of the seaside?

Although you can use the seaside sand, it's vital that you wash the sand thoroughly to remove any salt. (For all gardening projects, but avocado is particularly sensitive to salt.) It's better if you can get a freshwater riverbed sand.

I don't know what kind of shops you have there but sand sold for underlaying brick or stone paver projects are usually suitable for potting soil as well. Be careful though, they sometimes use "granite dust" which is generally alkaline -- not suitable for avocado.

Ideally, you want "sharp" sand which is well-draining, not sand with rounded edges, though I have to tell you that I regularly raid my children's sandbox, which is filled with "Play Sand" -- sold here in bags after being thoroughly screened and washed or sterilized. This is "soft" sand -- with rounded edges. :roll:

3) I discovered that from the seed of avocado grow different roots: from the "base" of the seed and sideways...on youtube I have seen a cultivatur cutting the roots grown from sideway. Is it right? What's the possible reason why?

This is very interesting. Only reason I can think of is that these roots would eventually grow into shoots, and they plan to graft a known variety of avocado onto the seedling. This is the usual practice for getting exactly the kind of fruit tree desired. The seedling is called "root stock" and is not considered important. There is a varying amount of advice on this issue, but fruit trees grown from seed are often cross-pollinated by another variety and will not produce the same quality fruits. Also, seed-grown trees will take much longer to mature and start flowering and fruiting (7~9 years or more as opposed to 3~5 years of grafted trees).

Could you post the web address for the youtube video? I would very much like to see it.

4) What are the right dimensions of a pot fit for planting avocado?


For planting a seed, a pot that is 10cm wide and 15cm tall would be sufficient. When the roots start to grow out from the drainage holes, you should repot the plant to a pot that is one or two sizes larger: 15~20cm wide and 20~25cm tall. Young avocado leaves are sensitive to the sun and will get sunburned unless you gradually acclimate it to harsher light. Don't let the soil dry out, but don't let the pot sit in water. Avocado's roots will rot if kept wet all the time. Avocado leaves are sensitive to frost, and the tree itself will die below freezing temperatures.

Simone
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At this website (https://img27.imageshack.us/i/avocado.jpg) you can find the picture of my seed of avocado after one month and half from the day when I put it in a glass full of water. Now the main root is more or less 16 cm, the twig is 32 cm tall. It grews up more than 1 cm per day. I think it's time to plant it in a pot with soil.

Now I'd like to know two things:
- What are the dimensions of a good pot fit for a seed tall and aged like mine?
- Is it time to cut the top of the twig or not yet? If the answer is "yes", where exactly it needs to be cut?
- After the seed has been planted, how many times does it need to be watered during a day? When? How many water?
- During its growing, does it need to be held by a stick?
- Can you suggest me when will be necessary to move the plant from its pot into a bigger one? How can I notice the best moment to do it?


Thanks,
Simone.

p.s.: please, consider that in north Italy is now finishing the summer and the cold of the winter will come soon. So this plant will stay indoor in my apartment till march/april. I suppose this information may be interesting to answer my previous questions...
Last edited by Simone on Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Diane
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Your link for your picture doesn't work.
Gardens are a little bit of heaven on earth.

https://s600.photobucket.com/albums/tt87 ... G00047.jpg

Simone
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Here is the link: https://img7.imageshack.us/img7/7259/avocadot.jpg

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applestar
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The usual advice is not to cut more than 1/3 of the living tissue. Make your cut a little above a leaf node at an angle so the side of the leaf node is higher, but the lower cut is NOT lower than the top of the leaf node. I believe you can also pinch the very tip of the root to encourage lateral roots.

When you pot, easiest thing to do is to get a CITRUS potting soil. If you can't find one, the soil should be VERY well draining (the pot MUST have drainage holes), a little on the acidic side, and contain a little extra iron and zinc. This sounds complicated -- I just use compost, good garden soil under the pine trees where pine needles have decomposed, no added lime (my compost/soil USUALLY needs lime amendment) and Greensand for micro-nutrients (but you could use Seaweed-based fertilizer), then stick a rusty nail in the soil for the iron. (You CAN get iron supplement for the garden -- I just don't want to buy one). I also occasionally give them Compost Tea. So far, my avocados plants seem to be OK.

Your pot will need to be tall enough to accommodate the root (it won't bend much and will snap if you force it). When potting, to keep from breaking the long root, I suggest you start by putting a narrow bottle or appropriately sized stick in the middle and filling around it with moistened soil. Then gently pull out the bottle and suspend the avocado root in the hole while you add soil around it. I think you can even use the toothpicks to help suspend the avocado, though I usually cut them off with pruning shears rather than pulling them out and leaving a hole for fungal/bacterial infection to enter. When the hole around the root is about 2/3 full, gently add water to "water in" the soil, then keep adding soil and watering until the seed is resting snug on top of the soil about 1/4 or 1/3 buried.

Oh, I forgot to say, I think your seedling looks like it could benefit from a bit more (stronger or longer exposure) light.

Simone
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Well, just yesterday I have done what you suggested me. So I have planted my avocado. The only one thing I consider a bit strange (remember it's a layman's opinion) is your advice about the possibility to stick a "rusty iron".

Can you tell me why this way is considered a good way to improve the percentage of iron in the soil? Is it safe?

Thanks,
Simone.

Simone
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Rusty iron? https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19306

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