The Q&A Archives: Help

Question: what is the best way to start off an avacado tree from seed?

and the same question for a cherry tree whats the best way to go about doing this

Answer: You can grow an interesting houseplant from your avocado pit. Take three toothpicks and insert them opposite of each other about halfway between the top (pointy end) and the bottom (flat end) of each pit. These will be used to suspend the pit in a glass of water. Place the skewered avocado pit in a glassful of water so the top is above the water and the bottom half is in the water. The pit will crack and grow roots and then send a shoot up out of the top. Once the sprout has developed two leaves, transplant your new tree into a 4 to 6 inch pot filled with regular potting soil and keep your new tree in bright light (but not direct sunlight at first). Once it has adjusted to being in a pot, move it to the brightest location you have. When the stem is about 12 inches tall, pinch out the tip to encourage branching. The result will be a multistemed plant. If you don't pinch out the top, you'll get a tall, skinny, leafless stem will foliage appearing only on top. Give the seedling plenty of light, the brighter the better. You will need to repot it into larger containers as it grows or it will quickly become very unhappy! Fertilize it with the low rate of a liquid plant food periodically. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and your plant should do well.

Cherry seeds are more problematic. Most cherry trees are grafted to assure good quality fruiting or flowering in the case of ornamental trees. You could try starting a tree from seed but it will not match the parent tree. The seed needs a cold winter stratification period before it will germinate. Plant the seed outdoors in the fall, or plant it in a small container of damp seed starter mix,enclose in a plastic bag, and place that in your refrigerator for about four months. Open it periodically to allow for air exchange during the chilling period. Then bring out into room temperature to germinate as you would any seed. Good luck with your projects!

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