As a rule, home-grown food tastes best – and in the case of avocado, it is also much more ecological. How you grow a plant – and whether you will be able to harvest fruit at some point.
They are considered the superfood par excellence and now have many fans – but unfortunately, they also have a gigantic ecological footprint. So why not just grow an avocado yourself?
In short: this also works in our latitudes – but only under certain conditions and with a lot of patience. If you want to give it a try, here is a guide for you. The nice thing: if the fruit doesn’t work, you have at least grown a pretty green plant.
Growing Avocado Instead of Buying It: Why It’s Better
Avocados taste good and are healthy. But they are also under criticism – and not without good reason. Because growing a single avocado requires a lot of resources. According to “Zeit Online,” an average of 1000 liters of water are needed until one kilogram of avocados is harvested – far too much in drought-ridden areas such as the typical avocado areas. And space is also slowly becoming scarce because the green fruit is mainly grown in Mexico, where due to global cravings, some are already being illegally cut down. “Every year between 1,500 and 4,000 hectares of forest are cleared to make space for avocado fields,” explains Jaime Navia from the Mexican environmental protection organization Gira. And because of the monocultures, pesticides must be used, which heavily pollute the drinking water in growing areas.
Then there are the long transport routes. All of this doesn’t make the avocado look good ecologically.
Yet it is so healthy and delicious. So why not grow it yourself? Every avocado fan has tried it before – with more or less great success. Pulling from the avocado core is possible, but not that easy.
Planting an avocado – a lot of sun and warmth needed
The core of the fruit, defined as a berry, has to be removed before eating an avocado anyway. If you’re using the middle of ripe fruit, you have the best chance of watching a sweet green plant grow after a few weeks.
The plant needs a lot of warmth and, above all, sun – this is not so easy to achieve in our latitudes. You have the best chances in the apartment on a sunny window sill or in the greenhouse. On warm summer days, however, you can also go out into the sun in a sheltered place. But one after another:
Method 1: The water glass cultivation
- A popular method for growing avocados is the water glass method: take the pit out of a ripe avocado and clean it. You should also peel off the brown skin.
- Then take three toothpicks and stick them in the core: ideally in the top third on the pointed side.
- Now place the seed with the flatter side facing down on a water glass filled with water so that the toothpicks hold it on the edge of the glass. The lower part should be submerged in the water.
- Put the glass with the core in a warm and dark place and change the water now and then. The first root shoots should be visible after about four weeks.
Tip: The toothpicks are only used for holding, but can damage the core so that it can no longer germinate. Instead of a water glass, you can also use an espresso cup or a shot glass. But make sure to exchange water regularly. Otherwise, the core can go moldy.
Sometimes it takes longer for the seed to germinate, so don’t give up. Just before that, the core splits – that doesn’t mean it’s broken. But the seedling has to come through.
Moving to the pot
Once roots can be seen, you can pot the core:
- Find a plant pot about 15-20 cm in diameter. Now mix ordinary flower or palm soil in a ratio of 1: 1 with loose sand and fill the mixture into the pot.
- You can now carefully insert the core into the earth, the upper, pointed part protrudes from the world. Lightly press the surrounding soil and pour with room warm, preferably stale water.
With the move to the pot, the entire plant will also move: From now on, the avocado should be in a warm, but also light place. But it would help if you didn’t expose them to the full sun yet; that will come later.
Method 2: germinate in the flower pot
The core also takes root directly in the flower pot:
- Clean the body as described above.
- Then take a plant pot and fill it with loose, sandy soil, similar to the one above. Now insert the core with the pointed side up so that the upper part protrudes.
- Always keep the soil moist. Put a foil over the pot to protect the seedling from environmental influences such as cold and drafts.
Care for the young plant: First of all, no direct sun
A fresh avocado plant is very tender. There are three main things to consider when it comes to caring:
- Avoid drafts; the pot should be in a warm place.
- It will help if you avoid direct sunlight. Otherwise, the plant can burn. But the location should be bright.
- Keep the soil moist, not wet. It’s best to pour a little bit now and then, better a little less than too much.
Tip: Citrus fertilizer can be added to the soil once a month – but this is not a must and should not be done too often.
When it gets warm outside, you can also put your plant in the fresh air. If it is permanently warm, she can stay out in summer. However, you will probably achieve the best results in the greenhouse – preferably in the light protection of another plant or behind corrugated glass.
An avocado plant grows almost exclusively upwards in the first few years; side shoots only appear later. If you see the fourth leaf shoot, you can snap it off with a pair of rose scissors – then hits slowly develop on the side.
Finally, harvest? Where’s the avocado fruit?
So the green plant is there – how long does it take until the first harvest? Well, unfortunately, this is the crux of growing avocado. Since the avocado plant needs a lot of warmth and, above all, the sun, which it rarely gets in our latitudes, the whole thing is relatively tricky with your avocado.
First of all, it takes several years before the plant would even bear fruit, and you will be successful in growing avocados. And even then, the chance is slim. The plant bears flowers for the first time after four to ten years. However, very few of them are fertilized, as pollination is very complicated. The avocado is a hybrid plant with male and female flowers, which, yet, have to be cross-pollinated. If male and female flowers open at the same time, you can help with a brush. Unfortunately, the flowering time is usually different.