You know when you were a kid you saved an avocado seed and stuck toothpicks in it and suspended it in a glass of water (one of your mother’s good glasses) and waited for the tap-root to emerge and grow. Eventually it emerged but turned funky looking and your mother declared it diseased and threw it away.
Or, everything went well and it sent up a lovely green shoot and started growing but your mother tossed it because she could. And you tried again when you were a teen and again when you were in college and, to this day, you continue to try to grow an avocado tree.
What were you thinking? Did you ever give it any thought what you would do with a tree if you were successful? There’s a reason avocados come from California, or Florida, or Mexico. These locations have something in common. Take your time, it took me decades to catch onto this. Okay, time’s up.
They’re warm climates. If you live in New England where I grew up, you’re just being silly if you think your tree can go in the ground. You can grow it indoors in a large container–give it plenty of light and keep it snug and warm. There are cold hardy avocados that can handle temperatures as low as 15 F, but, not forever. Typically avocados are grown commercially in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9 but they do best in the tropics. When I lived in Peru, I would buy an avocado each day from a vendor who always selected one that was just right. The avocados were the size of medium to large papayas.
Where I live in Florida I’m in Zone 10 and still it is recommended that I plant my trees in containers so that I can move them around the yard to shade. I decided to try growing a tree from seed and was successful: 5 times, representing 3 different varieties. I have two trees that are in containers and are 5 ft tall and the rest are in varying stages of development. My RM (that’s room mate for you newcomers) asked me what we’re going to do with them. I told her that I have absolutely no idea. I didn’t think I’d be successful.
So, every time you eat an avocado, do not automatically place toothpicks in the seed and suspend it in water. You, too, might be successful–think about it. Wield that green thumb wisely. Here are some lovely photos of my trees. Oh, one lost most of its leaves, and I’m hoping it won’t recover, but it will. I’m going through a period of excessive green thumb.
If you have never tried to grow an avocado tree from seed and would like to, and understand the consequences, here is one of the best sites to help you–California Avocado Commission. CLICK HERE.