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Sprouting Avocado Pits [moved from Not about Food board]

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  • nemo May 27, 2012 09:11 AM
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Has anyone done this lately? I remember growing some fairly decent-sized plants years ago, but recently I haven't had much luck getting them to sprout. Ever the optimist, I have a pit sitting in water with the toothpick thing. I read on line that it might take 4 to 6 weeks, so I'll be patient. Some say to peel the papery skin off. I've never put them directly into soil, which I understand is an option.

I'm wondering if they're being picked so early that the pit hasn't matured enough or if they've been bred a certain way that renders the pit not fertile or something. If anyone has had luck recently, I'd appreciate the encouragement!

We always get the bumpy-skinned ones, Hass I think. Thanks for your reply!

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  1. You might find this method an interesting one to try:

    http://www.ottawahort.org/avocado.htm

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Thanks, Quine. My reply post evaporated somehow. Trying again.

      We go through a fair mount of avocados, so we have plenty experiment with.

      The very interesting thing I read on the link you sent was that they suggested using a pit that has been allowed to mature within the fruit. This is my question I guess. When will the pit have matured? On the tree or on one's kitchen counter?

      1. re: nemo

        I have seen very over ripe ones, almost to the point of the skin being leather like, once opened, find the pit has all ready sprouted. So I'd say in the fruit.

        The whole purpose of *any* fruit, from the plant's viewpoint, is to nurture, protect, and deliver the valuable seed to someplace it can grow.

        You might enjoy reading the Botany Of Desire by Michael Pollan.

    2. Boyfriend did the water method a few years ago. He had 4 pits lined up on the windowsill in jars of water and one sprouted (two rotted and one did nothing). He planted it outside once it had grown enough (we're in CA), and it slowly sprouted leaves. Then one day, the gardener's large boot smashed it into the ground and it never recovered. He hasn't tried it again.
      Hope you have better luck!

      1. I currently have one sitting in a sunny window. It's been there for about a week. I've kind of come to terms that it wont sprout, but if it does, then it was meant to be :-)

        1 Reply
        1. re: snax

          We ought to compare notes in a month or so!

        2. I tried this 2 years ago. I got lucky and it sprouted in a week. This was from avocados my neighbor sent me. I got pretty happy about that so I tried it a bunch of avocado pits from store bought avocados from Chile, Mexico, and California. None of them sprouted, even after 2 months using the same toothpick process as backyard grown ones - maybe they pasteurize them?

          And then I found out that avocado trees take 6-7 years to fruit. It was satisfying to see something sprout from essentially just dumping it in some water, but if you get lucky and it sprouts, find a nice spot in you home/ yard for an avocado house plant for the next few years! :) I didn't peel the skin (it just peeled off by itself), and I didn't plant it in soil for 8 months after it sprouted and it's still alive, so best of luck to your avocado sprout!

          1. I hope I don't jinx myself by posting this :) I have three pits in glasses of water, started a week apart. The first pit is looking very promising at two weeks, with the bottom in the water split and the top cracked as well.

            I'm changing the water every few days as it seems to get murky.

            Frouss, I don't expect to get fruit. I'll be quite happy with a free plant.

            1. You can have a beautiful looking tree but only about 10% will ever bear fruit and those that do will not produce much. I'm really suprised no one here mentioned that or knew about it. As you do have to wait about 5 years to bear fruit only to find out you get none it makes sense to buy a tree that has already been grafted.

              1 Reply
              1. re: malibumike

                Maybe because the OP and others are just in it for the joy of sprouting that wonderful pit and growing a nice plant, than expecting to become an Avocado farmer.

              2. Just reporting that I have had failure yet again. :( Out of three pits, one did nothing, one split top and bottom but then did nothing further, one split top and bottom and started out a bottom root, then quit. I'm so disappointed.

                We go through a fair amount of avocados, so we may try again, but I'm not hopeful. Not interested in fruit, just the free plant.

                1. I have one going right now, although it's taking its sweet time. It was already starting to sprout when I cut open the avocado, so I did the water-toothpick thing. It's now cracked around the whole pit and I can see a couple of additional roots/stems starting in the centre, inside the crack. They've been starting for a while, however, and the initial root doesn't seem to have grown much, so I don't know if it's stopped growing or if its just slow.

                  1. we bought a house with a small avocado tree that the prior owners had sprouted -- and darned if it didn't produce one little-bitty avocado before being broken off in a storm. It was broken so close to the ground we just had it taken out completely.

                    I've sprouted many seedlings over the years-- they're attractive plants -- but I've either given them away in moves, or they've been afflicted by my rather black thumb after a period of time.