Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor


My sister-in-law has a seedling avocado tree in her backyard. It was given to her and my brother-in-law about 40 years ago by a good friend. When they received it as a gift, it was about two feet tall and you could see the avocado stone with the plant emerging from the middle. It was planted in their backyard about 10 feet away from the house and close to the side fence. Today this beautiful tree is about 55 feet tall, 20 inches in diameter and covers the side yard. They had no idea that it would ever get so large. Over the years the tree was fertilized with boxed ‘Avocado Food’ and kept trimmed away from the house, but received no other special treatment. The first fifteen years the tree had no fruit, but was enjoyed for the shade it provided. Then avocados began appearing. The avocados are thin skinned, creamy like butter and delicious. They are green on the tree and turn black when ready to harvest. This year there were so many avocados (they grew like grapes, and were as large as a fist) that we were overwhelmed. My son from Sacramento (Monkey-Man) came down three separate days and climbed the tree, spending hours picking and filling grocery bags with fruit. My sister-in-law’s garage was wall-to- wall with bags full of avocados. We estimated 400 pounds total. They were gladly shared with family, friends, neighbors, church members and anyone walking by the house. This was an exceptional year, but if the tree performs as it has in the past, next year should be a lighter bearing year. We’ll see!

Here’s how to start your own seedling avocado tree

Remove the seed from a store purchased avocado without damaging it. Soak in water for 10 minutes, and then clean the remaining fruit off without removing the brown skin on the seed (the seed cover). The top of the seed is the pointed end and the rounded end is the bottom. Push three or four toothpicks at equal intervals into the side of the seed, about 2/3 of the way down from the top. The toothpicks will support the seed as it sits on top of a cup of water with its blunt end submerged. Keep the seed warm, about 65 degrees, in a bright location out of direct sunlight, making sure the bottom third stays under water until you are ready to transplant. Change water often. BE PATIENT. It takes awhile for roots to form and longer for a shoot to appear. When a shoot develops and grows to 6 inches, it is ready to transplant into a 4 inch container. In several months transplant again into a larger pot and move outdoors to a sunny location. Feed with soluble houseplant fertilizer and pinch the growing tips occasionally to keep the tree bushy. When planting in the garden, imagine this tree 50 to 60 feet tall in years ahead and place it accordingly. You may be fortunate in future years to have delicious fruit. Remember seedlings can provide regular sized fruit, dwarf sized fruit or no fruit at all. Have fun with this propagation project and good luck.

Photo by Sharon Rico
Photo by Sharon Rico

Posted on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:53 AM
Tags: Avocados (6)

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