An avocado tree can also be grown in our latitudes without any problems. Of course, the leaves of the young plants grown from avocado seeds are not yet 45 centimeters long, which they can reach on trees that grow up to 15 meters high in the tropics, and they usually do not bear any fruit in the flower pot. But as evergreen decorative plants, avocados can give hobby gardeners a lot of joy.
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Avocado trees need a lot of light, warmth and moisture and are suitable for winter gardens that are flooded with light. An avocado tree feels particularly good in the fresh air. Therefore it can be put outside in summer. Young plants can also easily spend the first two years in a sunny place in the room. The older trees can even withstand light frosts and can therefore stay outside for a long time before overwintering in the sunny winter garden.
An avocado tree can be grown from an avocado seed that can be easily taken from a commercially available avocado fruit. After it has been cleaned of any pulp residues, it is advisable to let it dry a little until the outer brown skin can be easily peeled off. A peeled avocado seed germinates more easily. The bare, almost golf ball-sized seed is placed with the broad side down and the tip up in a small glass. The glass must be filled with water to just below the tip of the avocado core. The tip itself looks out of the water.
The core in the water glass germinates best when the glass is in a dark and warm environment. The temperature should be at least 20 ° C. If water evaporates, it has to be topped up again and again to just below the core tip. It takes a long time for an avocado seed to germinate. After four to eight weeks, the lower part of the kernel will burst a little and roots will form. At the same time, a sprout grows from the tip of the core, from which a small avocado plant emerges.
When the time has come that the first small roots and shoots can be seen, the glass must be placed in a bright place. The germ should still be protected from direct sunlight. Above all, the roots should not be in the sun. Therefore, the glass can be wrapped in an opaque film so that the light only penetrates the young shoot, but not the roots. A similar effect can be achieved if the avocado kernel is germinated in moist soil rather than in a water glass, which is also possible. The soil must be moistened regularly with a spray can. When germinating the soil, it is important to thoroughly remove all pulp residues from the avocado from the kernel beforehand, because otherwise there is a risk of the soil becoming moldy. Cultivation in a water glass also has the advantage
Planting the avocado
As much as you have to be patient until the first small shoot can be seen when germinating, the faster the young plant will grow. Therefore, it can soon be transferred from the water glass or from the germination tray into a flower pot. Above all, the potting soil should be permeable and not acidic. Normal garden soil mixed with a little sand is sufficient. The more you increase the proportion of sand, the more you can curb the growth of the avocado a little. Then you don’t need to cut it back so quickly.
Initially, the young plant gets all the nutrients it needs from the avocado seed from which it outgrows. When the nutrients are used up, the core shrinks and becomes smaller. At some point it will decompose in the earth and can no longer be seen. Then the avocado can be easily fertilized. The fertilizer should not be salty, but rich in potassium and nitrogen.
An avocado plant often only grows on one strand, because after all it wants to develop into a tree. But in the room, in the winter garden or on the terrace, it should mostly serve as an exotic decorative plant and does not need to form a tree trunk. That is why it is often desirable for the avocado plant to branch out considerably as a young sapling. This can be achieved by making a bold cut about 10 cm below the tip as soon as the avocado is more than 30 cm tall. When the young plant stops growing at the top, it begins to branch out and grows into an attractive, large-leaved green plant rather than a long upturned cane.
The growth in height of the avocado can also be regulated by pruning. If the plant grows too quickly, you can prune it back so far at any time that it fits optimally back to its location. It then grows all the more luxuriantly because it sprouts quickly at all interfaces. In this way you get a full and bushy decorative plant of the desired height.
The way the avocado is cut contributes greatly to the aesthetic appearance of the plant. With a well thought-out cut, you can ensure that the foliage grows evenly and that the tree does not appear too densely overgrown or too bare later.
After germinating the avocado kernel and showing a healthy sapling, the avocado plant is relatively easy to care for. It would like to be placed in a light and warm place. An ambient temperature of around 25 ° C is ideal. However, the tree should be protected from direct sunlight or blazing midday sun. But then you shouldn’t just forget about it. You can still watch the first sprout grow in peace, because it initially draws the necessary nutrients from the avocado seed. When they are used up, the core dries up. The soil should always be kept slightly moist, but never wet, because the avocado cannot tolerate waterlogging. In a constantly moist soil, the sprout can grow in a controlled manner and later become a pretty little tree.
The avocado’s water requirement is reflected in the appearance of the plant and the condition of the soil. If the soil is completely dry, the avocado needs new water again. The avocado should only be watered when it really needs water, because too much water will cause the leaves to turn yellow and brown. Sometimes it even happens that the avocado leaves get holes. Often the cause cannot be identified. It usually helps to simply cut off the affected leaves. Then healthy leaves will grow back again. As long as the young avocado is still attached to the kernel, there is no need to worry about a lack of nutrients, because the plant gets all the nutrients it needs from the kernel. Therefore, nutrient deficiencies cannot be the cause of holes in the leaves of very young plants. To do everything right
Just like the earth should neither be too wet nor too dry, it should neither have too much lime nor too much acid. You can ensure that it is not too calcareous by watering the plant with rainwater every now and then. If, on the other hand, the soil is a little too acidic, you can water it more often with calcareous tap water. The addition of clay to the potting soil can also lower the acid content somewhat. Soil is neither too acidic nor too calcareous at a pH value of 7.0. A soil with this value helps ensure that important nutrients such as potassium are optimally available for the avocado. The pH value can be determined with the help of indicator paper available at the pharmacy or with electronic measuring devices.
If ideal conditions are created for them and even moisture is provided during the annual growth phase, the avocado will develop into a magnificent plant so quickly that it has to be placed in a larger pot once a year. You can use a new mix of soil and sand every time you repot, as the nutrients from the old soil may have been used up. With older plants, a little loam can be added to the soil-sand mixture.
The avocado’s water requirements aren’t very high to medium, so you don’t have to water the plant very heavily. In between times, especially in winter, it can dry out briefly. The substrate must not be too wet. The roots of the avocado must never stand in water, while the avocado does not matter if it dries out for a short time. The avocado gets best in a slightly moist soil.
When the core has dried up, the avocado can be supplied with the necessary nutrients through regular light fertilization. A liquid green plant fertilizer that contains nitrogen and potassium is recommended. During the winter vegetation break, however, you can do without fertilizing completely.
Caring for young avocado plants also includes preventing them from getting frost. In the first three years after germination, the young plants cannot tolerate frost very well. If they are outside, they should be brought inside to overwinter before the first frost. Older avocado trees, on the other hand, are very robust and can stay outside until the first frosts.
Since avocado plants are not deciduous, they also need light in the room during winter. In addition, the avocado has to be watered every now and then in winter to prevent the leaves from falling off. Too much watering, however, it acknowledges with browning leaves.
Diseases and pests
If the leaves of the avocado develop holes, it can be for a number of reasons. It is possible that the roots of the plant are infested with the black weevil. This is a beetle that uses the plant as a source of food. When repotting, the avocado can be freed from the vine weevil by removing it and providing the plant with new soil.
If the leaves of the avocado tree turn brown, the cause is usually too much water. Then it is advisable to reduce the watering and cut off the brown leaves. The leaves that grow back then turn green again.
However, the amount of water used must not be too small, because lice can infest the avocado if the soil is dry. However, these can be removed by spraying the plant several times with a water-washing-up liquid emulsion. If the soil is kept evenly moist afterwards, they will not come back so quickly.
An avocado can be grown yourself easily and inexpensively and, with good care, grows into an attractive little tree with large green leaves that is a beautiful sight in winter gardens and on terraces.