How to grow an avocado from a seed – and two more planting projects
Growing plants indoors
Finally getting to do this project! Last night after putting the little one to sleep I browsed Pinterest and YouTube to check out some videos and articles on my next 3 planting projects:
- how to grow avocado from a seed
- a lemon tree from a seed
- growing rose cuts in a potato
I’ve been researching how to grow avocado particularly for a while so happy to finally get to do it! I don’t have a garden to use for my plants so all I grow is indoors. With my flat I have a conservatory (small balcony with mobile glass windows fitted) which hasn’t proven very good for growing any kind of plants. Most of everything I ever tried to grow in my balcony eventually got attacked by some sort of plant parasite, particularly a tiny spider mite Tetranychus.
When your effort gets destroyed
This little visitor is able to destroy everything within a very short period of time. I already recognise what is happening as the leaves of my plants begin to turn dry. Initially, a numerous tiny yellow spots appear and eventually the tips and core of the plant get covered in what seems like a spider web. These parasites flourish in dry, hot and sunny places. My glass balcony with a greenhouse effect facing south is obviously as inviting as a Spa resort for these kind of unwanted occupants.
If you remember I planted a number of herbs in spring hoping to enjoy the harvest in summer. All my herbs came out beautifully and did really well until attacked by these spiders. No kind of natural homemade pesticides or even chemical products helped to stop the disaster. I lost all my herbs along with my indoor roses and regular balcony plants.
It’s worth mentioning the second destroyer in our home – apart from accidental damage caused by my two-year old toddler, there is also Olinka the cat. Our british shorthair princess.
She seems to have this thing with plants – it’s like their leaves literally provoke her to action! Destructive action that is. Recently I bought a beautiful Cycas and it only took about 15 minutes for her to do her work. While I was putting the shopping away she destroyed an entire branch of my new plant. Needless to say my biggest concern now when shopping for indoor plants is whether they’re not poisonous. All must be somehow cat-friendly.
Starting from scratch
At first I was fed up of trying to grow anything, seriously considering getting an artificial palm tree from Ikea ha! But whilst I may still get one for the balcony, I decided to plant some new seeds. This time I put my pots on the windowsill of the living room leading into the balcony. There is a lot of sunlight without the greenhouse effect so fingers crossed they will grow well!
1st project – How to grow avocado plant from a seed
Avocados are delicious, no doubt about that. Every time I browsed Pinterest and saw the minimalist and scandinavian home designs there was an avocado tree growing inside a big glass bowl. I thought it looked absolutely amazing and wondered how come the roots don’t rot constantly dipped in the water.
I decided to definitely try it. Not because I expect to grow avocados next week but because the plant itself is a botanical masterpiece. It brings a sense of sophistication to a living room or any home space.
What you’ll need:
- one ripe avocado (try to choose more of a mushy one because these are closer to the end of their use and so more ready to turn the seed inside into a new plant)
- three toothpicks
- a container (ideally transparent so you can see the progress of the seed and also check the quality of the water)
Cut the avocado in half making sure you don’t reach and cut the seed, only the flesh and skin. Once that’s done, rotate the halves each in one direction (clock and anti-clock) to separate them. One will be with and one without the seed.
Gently scoop the seed out and wash it to remove any residue bits of the avocado flesh. Then use a fingernail to gently peel off the skin covering the seed itself. After doing a bit of research I found out that the skin has no particular benefit for growing the plant. In fact it simply sits on top of the seed creating a crust so it’s most probably best removed. That’s according to the most successful gardeners anyway!
Once the skin is peeled off you can see two or three lines (cracks nearly) going from the top to the bottom of the seed where it was attached to the branch.
Take two or three toothpicks and put them into the seed equal distances from each other. Make sure that you DO NOT place them in these lines and that they are placed in at 45 to 60 degree angle. This is important to allow the seed to sit nicely in the water-filled container without having to overfill it with water.
Once the toothpicks are in place put the seed into a container and fill with clear water till about 3/4 of it sits in.
Now give it about 8 weeks or so to start seeing the root breaking through the bottom of the seed! Once the root grows out the plant soon follows from a crack at the top! Be very gentle when changing the water (I do once a week right now) and manipulating with the root, it is very fragile.
2nd project – growing a lemon tree from seeds
Lemons lemons lemons! They make me feel like a vacation. Citrus trees in general just remind me of a coast, holidays, seafood and tropical climate. And my tired mind seems to do so much better in sunshine! There is something about warmth and yellow sunlight that has a great affect on human mind.
I remember after living in London, UK for about 6 years I seriously struggled with the grey rainy weather. It was really getting me down, day after day the same darkish mist. I felt depressed. My doctor actually recommended that I purchase an artificial sun – a light that you sit under to make your body feel the daylight, even just improvised. There is definitely something about the Vitamin D deficiency in England!
So! Lemon tree to me is like a symbol of the complete opposite – sun, heat, cool drinks, rest! Botanically, the lemon tree itself is a beautiful plant ideal for the final touches of a home decor. The leaves have a citrus scent to them bringing in a zest of freshness. And of course the fruit has tons of benefits too – can be used for drinking, eating, baking but also all-natural cleaning purposes! There’s a reason why the majority of detergents has a lemon fragrance to it. Have you ever tried squeezing juice of one lemon into a bowl of warm water and then clean your fridge with it? So fresh and completely natural! It’s also perfect to get rid of any invisible grease inside a bowl if you’re planning to whisk egg whites in it!
I love the lemon tree so much that I am now planning a large tattoo that will include it. I do love the botanical theme so I was incredibly impressed by the work of Katya, a Russia based tattoo artist and graphic designer. If you haven’t come across her yet and also love botanical feminine tattoo designs I do encourage you to check her Instagram profile out!
Now onto the planting!
What you’ll need:
- one lemon (some say the Meyer kind is best for growing an indoor miniature lemon trees. To be honest I just grabbed the kind they had in the store!)
- several tbl spoons of a garden soil (I used one with natural fertilizer)
- a container
Take a lemon, cut it in half and take out the seeds in the middle. Some suggest to clean them, some to simply suck on the seeds to remove any flesh. Either way just do make sure they are clean but remain moist.
Choose those that seem ‘juicy’ – full and healthy with a decent shape, and put them into the container filled with soil, about a half an inch deep.
Cover the seeds with a bit of extra soil and water with about two/three tbl spoons of water. I’ve read you can cover the pot with a cling film to create the green house effect, however I skipped this given that my balcony is the way it is.
It can take about 2 months for the seeds to grow so do water them regularly, do not over water.
3rd project – growing a rose cut in a potato
This really is super simple! Yet another way to save the beauty of roses! I have previously written an article on Homemade Rose Body Scrub. It was a way to preserve those beautiful roses I had in the vase and felt sad to get rid of. And this is another way you can keep the rose for much longer.
Recently I bought a rose miniature and one of the branches came off. I don’t want to blame my princess cat without witnessing but ermm… we all know the branch didn’t just fall off on it’s own, right? Haha!
I wanted to keep the rose so I researched how to best preserve (regrow) a rose cut. At first I thought it should be put in the water but then I came across a fantastic technique – growing rose cuts in a potato!
It really is amazing because the potato keeps the moisture inside allowing the cut branch to grow some roots. Plus the potato itself is perfectly natural and degradable so no need to worry about it once it’s inside the soil!
What you’ll need:
- a rose cut
- one medium potato
- some garden soil substrate
- a container
Take a potato and make a 1-2inch deep hole with a toothpick.
Remove excess leaves, blossoms and buds off the rose cut to allow the plant to primarily ‘invest’ it’s growing efforts in the roots.
Place the rose cut into the potato and put inside a container half filled with soil. Cover with more soil till about an inch under the edge of the container.
Water with three/four tbl spoons of water and place the rose in a warm and sunny place.
Watch it grow!
About 6 weeks into planting these pretties I have some results!
Beginning with the rose – poor thing got completely destroyed at night by my lovely british shorthair cat. She managed to pull the branch out and bit bits off until there was just the bare middle left. I’ll never know now how she would have done in her potato!
So instead of the rose I decided to collect and plant some fig seeds – let’s see how that goes! They’re already coming through!
The lemon seeds are yet to show up. I’ve read that with citrus trees it’s all about the direct sunshine and patience so I’ve been putting the pot on the windowsil for hours at the time. Fingers crossed!
Lastly, my avocado seed has been showing a real progress! I’m so pleased with it. It cracked open about three weeks in and a white root slowly grew out of the bottom. At the minute I can see some green plant forming inside the crack too so hopefully she’ll start showing at the top! I’ve only been adding water, not changing it. However, I did change the container to a deeper one to prevent the root from hitting the bottom and possibly breaking off.