The avocado is an evergreen tree native to Central and South America. It grows oval, dark-green and brown fruit that can be used in a number of dishes, including guacamole. Avocado trees require a warm climate but often are grown indoors where climate can be controlled. Start your own avocado plant from the pit or stone of an avocado. This can be a fun project for children, and the avocado can grow into a nice houseplant, as well.
Remove the stone from the centre of the avocado. Cut into the avocado along a centre line, working a knife around the hard pit.
Pull one half of the pulp away from the stone, using a knife as a lever.
Remove the stone from the other half of the avocado pulp.
Wash the stone carefully. Do not remove the tan layer that covers the stone.
Stick three toothpicks an equal distance apart around the centre of the stone.
Fill a small glass or glass jar with water.
Rest the stone on top of the glass, using the toothpicks as the foundation. Place the stone broad end down with at least 2.5cm (1 inch) of it in the water.
Place the jar holding the avocado in a sunny window. Roots should appear in two to six weeks.
Pour off and replenish the water weekly, keeping the water level halfway up the stone's surface.
Cut roots down to 7.5cm (3 inches) when they reach 15 to 18 cm (6 or 7 inches) long.
Transplant into a 25-to-30cm (10- to 12-inch) pot filled with rich, humus soil. Keep half of the stone in the water.
Avocado plants also can be started from seed by placing the stone directly into a pot of soil. Remove the thin skin from the stone. Place it in potting soil, leaving 2.5cm (1 inch) above ground. Keep the soil moist but not wet. The stone will sprout in about four weeks. Do not overwater plants. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Use pots with drainage holes to prevent roots from rotting Fertilise every two weeks with a balanced fertiliser in spring and summer. Reduce to every six weeks in winter.
A tree from an avocado can take seven to 15 years to produce fruit. The resulting fruit probably will not be the same type as the one from the seed because most avocado trees are grafted types.