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Just about any dish can benefit from avocados. Whether you’d like to take omelets, salads, sandwiches or smoothie recipes to the next level, nutrient-rich avocados are a great choice. This heart-healthy fruit (yep, believe it or not, it’s a fruit) is beyond versatile, making it the perfect food staple.
And the best part is that it doesn’t require a ton of effort to grow an avocado tree indoors. All you have to do is hold on to a leftover pit and grab a few basic supplies to reap the benefits of this delicious fruit. Plus, this simple (and affordable) gardening project is fun for kids to try.
Full disclosure: There is a caveat. Expect avocado trees to take between five to 13 years to produce fruit. It’s also hard for this to happen indoors, which explains why the fruit can be so pricey at grocery stores sometimes. If you’re willing to give it a try, follow these five basic steps to grow your own avocado tree from a pit:
Supplies You’ll Need
Growing an Avocado Tree
1. Save an avocado pit (without cutting or breaking it) and wash off any residue. Let dry, then insert 3-4 toothpicks about halfway up the side of the pit.
2. Suspend the pit broad end down in a drinking glass or jar. Fill the container with enough water to submerge the bottom third of the seed, the Missouri Botanical Garden advises.
3. Place the glass in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and change the water regularly. Roots and a sprout should appear in about 2-6 weeks. If not, start with another seed.
4. When the sprout gets about 6 inches tall, cut it back to about 3 inches to encourage more root growth.
5. Once the stem grows out again, plant the pit in an 10-inch pot filled with rich potting soil. Now it’s time to let your avocado tree grow, grow, grow!
Note: You can buy older trees instead of starting from scratch. Amazon sells grafted, 4-feet tall avocado trees that may yield fruit in 3-4 years instead of 10.
Caring for an Avocado Tree
Place the pot in a sunny spot and water lightly but often. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not sopping wet, California Avocados recommends. You can place the tree outdoors in the summer as long as temps stay above 45°F. Occasionally prune your plant (every 6 inches or so) to encourage fullness.
TIP: Yellow leaves signal you’re overwatering. Dial back to avoid root rot.
You can also plant avocado trees outside in USDA Zones 10-12, a.k.a., regions with no frost. They do best in rich, well-drained soil with full sun. Water 2-3 times per week by soaking the soil thoroughly and then letting it dry out before watering again.
Avocado Recipe Ideas
Although your tree won’t produce fruit anytime soon, round out your green-thumb project with some avo-themed dishes from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. First up: Our go-to classic guacamole recipe, with just the right amount of lime and jalapeño. You won’t be disappointed!
Check out these other favorites that make avocado the star of the show:
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