About six months ago I started to grow two avocado stones from supermarket-bought Hass Avocados. I wish I had documented the whole process, but it has gone so slowly and I thought both seeds were dead so many times that I didn’t even think of it! So I’ve found some pictures online that best illustrate my journey from seed to plant,
I started my avocados off in a way detailed in a ‘How To’ guide aimed at children – spearing the stones with toothpicks (though I skipped the advised ‘adult supervision’) and placing them in water fat-end down, like so:
And they sat like this on my kitchen windowsill for weeks. My partner was convinced they were dead, especially when they started to go a bit slimy… but when we went home to visit our families for a couple of weeks, we returned to found they had both sprouted roots! This was at least 6-8 weeks after putting them in water.
The aforementioned children’s guide had said not to put them in soil until they had a shoot. So I waited and waited. The roots grew, the cocktail sticks started to blacken and rot until a couple broke off. At this point I removed both pits from the water to clean the slime off them and accidentally dropped one, breaking the root mostly off! Avocado roots are not supple, they are thick, succulent and very very brittle. You have been warned! Minus the shoots, but plus the splits, they looked something like this:
The one with the broken root did recover, putting out lots of tiny fibrous roots from the main broken one (I honestly can’t remember which stone has yielded my surviving plant, but I’m actually fairly sure it was the one which had the root accident). I waited a long time for shoots to appear – about another six weeks, maybe more. One stone put out more roots, the other eventually went so moldy I gave up hope and threw it away.
Eventually I decided to pot up my remaining stone despite its lack of shoots, and the waiting started again. The pot is a standard brown clay pot and it had started to go green on the outside with mold – my partner again insisted the avocado was done for. I couldn’t help but agree, but left it alone as we went away for a couple of weeks again, and came back to this!:
A miracle! Not one, but four shoots (though admittedly, the runty one in the middle is still not growing). So maybe the way to grow avocados is to stop watching them and leave them alone. Who knows. My only tip would be that after talking to my Mum (a gardener and garden designer) it seems it is a good idea to remove the top layer of coating from the pit – apparently if you leave an avocado too long for it to still be edible this skin shedding happens naturally and helps the roots and shoots break through. So now I finally have a healthy avocado plant 🙂