A word about avocado trees

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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.

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13 thoughts on “A word about avocado trees

    • Don’t think that way. I can’t stop growing things and we no longer have room for any more.You can grow a tree if you want. It would be cheaper and easier just to buy the guacamole. You have a very dark green thumb. Say that 3 times. Lucy

    • If you put them in the ground, the Calif sun may be too much in the beginning. Put them in a container that you can move around the yard for shade. You can always try growing your own avocado tree from seed. How do they die–do they burn up or wilt or have disease? Lucy

      • Yes, sometimes the leaves burn, great idea to have a pot in the beginning, and them I’ve had some die from wilt, guess I overwater them too! The last one we got did OK for a while and then the leaves fell off and it just died. I have grown from seed but that takes a long time. It’s SO dry here and water is so expensive, even tho we have a drip.

      • Unfortunately, growing from seed has taken off here in my little garden of horrors. I’m thinking about a night covert action and “oh, dear, someone stole the avocado trees”. I’m planning that for the Mexican petunias that are invasive here and now I know why. There you go, Mexican petunias–they won’t die, ever. I have a couple of mandevillas that sit in the hot sun and don’t wilt. They don’t like a lot of water. The dark green leaves and dark red trumpet shaped flowers they’re gorgeous.. They’re a vine and need a trellis but I just stick in bamboo poles.

        I know dry. I lived in New Mexico for 30 years. But from your picture, looks very very dry. Did you check out the crown of thorns? Mine are so top heavy with blooms. Did your tug boat captain come home yet? Lucy

  1. Sigh. When I was a kid i never took an avocado seed and stuck toothpicks in it and suspended it in a glass of water and waited for the tap-root to emerge and grow. Nor have I as an adult. I’ve led a sheltered life, I guess.

  2. The only plants I’m ever successful with are succulents. I have a pretty Jade tree, several Christmas cacti. I did put petunias in my garden, and they are doing well. Petunias are pretty hardy. I am – as a rule – plant challenged. Your tree look good!

  3. I’ve tried growing citrus trees from the seeds, (unsuccessfully), but never avocados. Actually, I don’t think I ever had an avocado as a child. That’s quite sad, isn’t it. I am making up for it now though, and have some most days. Yum.

    • Avocados are good for you. They have omega fatty acids, the ones you need. And they taste good. I didn’t have avocados as a kid, either. They were considered to be exotic and my mother thought they were strange. Are you going to Disney World this autumn? It is so hot here right now. Thanks for stopping by, Carole. Lucy

      • It’s nice that something that’s so versatile, and that tastes so nice is good for you too 🙂

        We are indeed heading your way later this year. I don’t think I could cope with the heat and humidity in the summer though.

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