Friday, April 20, 2012

Avocado Update: Major Growth & Pinching Out

Within a matter of a few days from our last avocado update, our little plants underwent an incredible growth spurt.

They went from this new stem growth, last time we checked in:


To this:


Do you even recognize them? We almost don't. Now, if you look really close to the leaf you can see the bud of a little avocado (a closer picture of this below). Come on guacamole!

We've been trying to grow these little guys for just about 5 months and all of a sudden they just took off. We mentioned they sprouted new stems and since that point, they haven't looked back. We're really wondering if it has to do with the warmer temperatures since avocado trees really crave a warmer climate.

Since we last showed progress, the new stems shot up to about 8" and 10" within a matter of a week. They formed little leaves on the top that have since opened up and look great. This is the most action these plants have seen since they began sprouting roots back in January.


We've been studying up on next steps for the plants, knowing we will eventually need to "pinch out" the stem and transfer the plants over to pots with soil — wanting to try to find the perfect timing.

Pinching out simply means cutting back the stem to promote new multiple stem growth in a Y shape. This allows the plant to become shorter and bushier as it grows indoors instead of continuing to grow as a singular tall stem with only a few leaves at the top.

To be perfectly honest, the act of "pinching" or "cutting" the stem back has been terrifying us over the past several months ever since we learned it was something that must be done in order to promote new growth. While it's a simple cut, we just had no idea when the right time to do it was, much less the correct place on the plant. We must have read every article on Google and watched every YouTube video on growing avocado plants from seed, but each one varies in direction. I guess the one thing we've learned is — there isn't a correct formula, each plant is different and experimentation is encouraged.

So, we took the plunge and cut!


We went with taking back between 3 - 5 inches and made the pinch just above the point where smaller leaves seem to be growing on the trunk of the stem. We may have made a mistake by pinching below the actual leaf growth, but are hoping for the best.


Who knows if we will have killed the plants from here or set them up for brilliant growth. Wish us luck and as always, we'll be sure to keep you posted!

Oh, and btw you did not really believe me when I said there was a tiny avocado pod did you?  Even if this plant does bear fruit, it could be 3-15 years before we could enjoy any guacamole. Trust me, if you are still reading this blog and that happens you're all invited!

Anyone else had luck with growing avocado plants indoors? Did you pinch or cut them to promote growth and if you did — did it work?

24 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed they get bushy! Those are great pictures btw :) Love these planting tips.

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  2. Replies
    1. Definitely been a slow process, but they need minimal attention, so it's been pretty easy to keep up with!

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  3. Avocado seeds are always shown sprouting in water, but they grow best when sprouted in soil with some of the avocado and the avocado skin left with to decompose around the seed.
    An interesting factoid: Avocado are dinosaur age plants! The avocado tree naturally reproduces when the fruit is eaten whole by a large herbivore and dropped far enough away from the parent tree that it can grow and thrive.

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    1. Wow - love that fun fact! It totally makes sense, too!

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  4. Found your blog through pinterest. How fun to see all your planting projects :) I will definatly check back to follow the progress!

    From Norway with love ♥
    Anne

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    1. Thanks so much, Anne! So glad you stopped by and appreciate your support on the projects! haha

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  5. I love the way avocado seeds look when they first sprout, and the trees are surprisingly hardy when they really get established

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    1. Hey Jason,

      It's been a lot of fun to watch them grow and change. Have you had luck growing established trees? We'd love to learn more from someone with experience.

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  6. I've started avocado seeds as well (I live in Seattle), and it's taken months for me too! I'm also terrified of pinching them off, but that may be because I've never done it before, to see the benefit to doing so.
    Looking forward to your (very future?) guacamole post!

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    1. Haha yes — guacamole for all! Our have been growing back since pinching, but only straight up — we will show on the blog very soon! Don't fear the pinch!

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  7. Any updates?! I started my avocado plant about a month ago, and it JUST started rooting (although it split about 2-3 days after I put it in water). I've been waiting for an update! :)

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    1. Ashley thanks for the reminder we will get on that and give us a week to get it up. Things are looking good though!

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  8. My daughter decided to try the water and toothpick method and it took a very long time to finally see the sprouts. When it did sprout, we were amazed to see 4 sprouts growing out of one seed! Definately was worth the wait, I have had so many comments about it. I guess I should put it in dirt but I am scared to bother it too much.

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    1. Lynne we just put ours in dirt not long ago and it is doing quite well! Good luck.

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  9. I just recently gave away the tree I started about 3 years ago. It's now about 4 feet tall, though I started it in dirt without cleaning off the excess avocado stuck to it. I cut it back every winter and shape it using the same ideas I learned for my roses. Don't know if that's right or not, but it seemed to love it and gave me even more growth every spring.

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    1. Awesome, thanks for sharing — you give us hope that our little plant will continue to grow!

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  10. I must have been reading your entire gardening section for at least 2 hours now! I was curious about growing celery, but found you also grew green onions and a pineapple! I tried growing both with wrong instructions in the past, I felt bad for failing on both projects :( but I'm more encouraged now after reading your blog, and here in Mexico avocado is so common I might as well try grow one just like you :)

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    1. Thanks Jose, we'll keep our fingers crossed for you!

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  11. Love your site. Just did your celery idea, (which is growing fabulously), and then thought...if it works for celery maybe it would work with lettuce! I am happy to report that IT DOES!!! I used the butt end of my romaine lettuce and I am have little spouts, ready to plant in the dirt! Keep up the good work! Next stop for me...avocados!! ;-)

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    1. Thrilled to hear about the lettuce Carleene!

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  12. i love growing plants and i am only eleven and the past few months i have taken an avocado seed and grown it with no advice. So far it is 12" tall and I re-potted it today.But when I looked at the advice on the internet i realized that I had to pinch it!! I was terrified at the idea of harming my poor plant but i have just now summoned the courage to do it! I really hope it works!!!:D

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    1. Oh good luck! Let us know how it works out!

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P.S. Any comments from the animal kingdom will be forwarded to Basil in a timely manner.