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BONNIE’S GARDEN – National Avocado Day

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Today is National Avocado Day.  Have you ever thought about growing your own avocado?  It’s not hard.

Yes, I’ve done it.  The up-side—they’re easy, fun, and make a beautiful dramatic houseplant.  The down-side—they get HUGE over time and the chances of them ever fruiting are slim to none.

But for lush tropical foliage, they can’t be beaten.  So here’s how to get started.

Buy a ripe avocado.  Cut in half, careful not to nick the seed.  Clean the pulp away from the seed, noting which end of the seed was nearest the stem-end of the fruit—that’s where your new shoots will come from.

Place several toothpicks around the middle of the seed—this allows you to “prop” the seed over a cup of water.  Water should always touch the bottom of the seed—but not the top.

Sit the cup in a sunny window and change the water twice a week so fungus or mold don’t grow.

Now be patient—I’ve heard of people seeing sprouts in just a couple of weeks—I’ve never seen one in less than four to eight weeks.  The first thing you usually see is one lone fat little root reaching into the water.

When your top shoot is around eight inches tall, cut it in half.  Oh yes, that’s really hard to do, but a bushier plant will be your reward.  Give it another couple of weeks to leaf out again, then remove it from the water and gently pot in the soil—a four-inch diameter pot is a good size for starters.

When your plant has several sets of leaves and is around 12 to 15 inches tall, pinch out the center set of leaves—again encouraging it to branch out.  Do this several times over the first year.

Check the roots often and when you see tiny roots just beginning to feather out the bottom, re-pot into the next largest sized pot.

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