Growing Avocados From The Pit
You can get just about anything while living in NYC and avocados are no exception. What is an exception is having a garden. Growing an avocado from a pit is harder than it sounds but a very rewarding experience. The good news is that it is a tree that will grow easily indoors, especially with a bit of added light. The bad news is that it can take five to thirteen years to fruit and even then you will need at least two trees of different types to fruit effectively. Despite the challenges this former San Diegan has guac in his veins and looks forward to the challenge.
Spouting The Pit
As you have likely seen the setup required to sprout a pit is pretty easy. You remove the pit from the avocado and stick toothpicks lightly into the pit so you can suspend it halfway in a glass of water. Make sure to place the bottom end of the pit down. The bottom is the slightly flatter side as the spout will come out of the pointier end. What is less discussed is that it really helps to remove the brown skin to help the sprout emerge. It also can take a long time. Many people assume that it is not working before it has a chance to make its way out to the light. It can easily take weeks if not close to two months. Make sure to change the water frequently to keep it from gathering bugs or mold and stick with it. Once it sprouts you should transplant it to a nice pot with some room to grow.
Potting The Avocado
When potting the plant you should leave a portion of the pit exposed and make sure to plant it root down. Avocados grow in hardiness zones 8 through 11 but mostly are found in Southern California, Southern Texas, and Southern Florida. They are extremely cold intolerant so if you live outside these areas you need to either grow it inside or in a greenhouse that ensures it never freezes. They also take a lot of water when mature so take that into consideration early. It would be a shame to spend the five to thirteen years to get this tree to maturity and not plan for the end game to maximize its fruit output.
Bring On The Sun
Avocados love the light so make sure you place it in a spot that gets tons of it. It is always good to add supplemental lights as well if you do not have a lot of direct sun. We live in a north facing apartment in the city so supplemental lights are all over our flat.
Get Your Toast Ready
If your goal is to get avocados as soon as possible there are better ways than to grow a tree from a pit. Actually the fruit may not even end up as good as the avocado that donated its pit. To skip years of work growing from a pit and to ensure the best crop of avocados as possible consider buying a grafted tree. You can get smaller trees online that have been grafted that will fruit many years earlier and likely with better fruit. Whether you start with a pit or a grafted tree it will take a good investment of time to make your tree fruit. It is certainly easier to pick up some avocados from your local grocery store but for you purists in pursuit of a challenge, there is nothing better than starting from scratch.