With big glossy green leaves, avocado trees make surprisingly good houseplants, and they’re easy to grow from an avocado stone. Why not pick up a fresh avocado from the supermarket and give it a go?
Where to grow avocados
Native to South America, avocados like a warm environment with fairly high humidity. In our temperate climate, they do best as houseplants, but they can be planted outside in mild areas and may even produce occasional fruits.
How to grow an avocado from a stone
Growing an avocado plant from a stone (the large pip inside the avocado fruit) is fun and makes a great gardening project for children. Here’s how it’s done:
- Cut a shop-bought avocado in half and remove the stone.
- Push a ring of toothpicks around the middle of the stone to make supports so that you can suspend it over a glass of water with the dimpled end of the stone in the water.
- Place the glass on a sunny windowsill where it will be at a reasonably constant temperature of between 20-25°C (68-77°F).
- Keep the water level topped up.
- The stone should start to produce roots in between 2-6 weeks.
- Once the stone has produced a stem and leaves, take it out of the glass, remove the toothpicks and plant the seedling in a small pot filled with multipurpose compost, with some sharp sand mixed in to improve drainage.
You can also plant an avocado stone in a pot filled with multipurpose compost. Place the pot somewhere warm and dark for a couple of weeks, watering regularly to stop the compost from drying out. When shoots appear, move the pot to a bright, sunny windowsill.
Once your avocado seedling reaches 30cm (12in) high, cut it down to 15cm (6in). This will produce a bushy plant with lots of foliage, ideal for an indoor plant.
When roots start showing through the pot's drainage holes, transplant your seedling into a bigger pot. Use a loam-based compost such as John Innes no 3, with added sharp sand for drainage.
Caring for an avocado houseplant
To keep your avocado plant looking good, place it in a warm, sunny spot, with a minimum winter temperature of between 13-18°C (55-65°F)—water when the compost feels dry to the touch. In spring and summer, feed every 2-3 weeks with a balanced liquid feed. Repot in spring if roots are starting to grow through the drainage holes of the pot.
Don’t expect to be picking your own avocados any time soon – avocado trees grown from seed take ten years to bear fruit. When grown as houseplants, they rarely flower, but if yours does, move it outside so that bees can pollinate the flowers. Avocado trees typically last between 2-3 years as houseplants.
Looking for more houseplants with fantastic foliage or flowers? Visit our centre and choose your perfect plant from our exciting range.