Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can't anyone grow an Avocado from seed any more?

For the past 4 or 5 years I have been trying to grow an Avocado tree from seeds of avocados that I buy in the grocery store. None have sprouted. I remember in younger years doing this frequently, and I'd say about half of the seeds sprouted. They usually succombed to negligent care later on, but it was not hard to get them started. Now, I cannot get any to sprout. Is this because of they are being irradiated? They are not labeled as being irradiated. I have even bought organic avocados with no sprouting success.

I bought the book The After-Dinner Gardening Book by Richard W. Langer some years ago. (Actually recommended by a reader of this blog.) The book is out of print, but you can buy used copies. It tells about a New York City man's obsession with growing plants from seeds and remnants of foods eaten. It's an engrossing read, but I doubt that Mr. Langer would have as much success these days.

11 Comments:

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Jack said...

I successfully grew an avacado from the pit or seed of an avacado bought at a grocery store about 2 years ago. I wrapped the seed in a wet paper towel and placed it in a plastic bag to keep the moisture contained and keep it from drying out. I placed the bag under the kitchen sink for about six weeks. When I remembered I had placed it there, I brought it out and found the seed had split and it had sprouted a root. I was able to plant it in a potting soil mixture and it grew well.

 
At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Megan said...

Thank you so much for mentioning the "After Dinner Gardening book"!! I read part of it in a bookstore years ago, and had been trying (unsuccessfully)to remember the name ever since. Thanks to your post, I was able to go out and buy it. A fun read -- I highly recommend it.

I am sprouting an avocado pit this winter, and it has taken a looooooong time. I started it in mid December, and it only put out its first root a few weeks ago (mid March), and I'm still waiting on a shoot. The pit has split, and I can see a shoot forming, but it is taking its sweet time raising itself. Maybe the same thing was happening with yours; they just took so long it seemed like nothing was happening? I also remember them sprouting much faster when I was a kid.

 
At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Kimmig said...

I grew an avocado quite by accident.. I live in a small apartment but I often put small bit off compost, peels, shells and the occassional seed into my houseplants.. It's like composting on a small scale. I often forget what I've buried and all sorts of unidentified things start growing. I usually wait til it's at least a decent sized sapling before I uproot it and plant it into one on the street garden beds I tend to... and when I dig it up I try to identify, by any husk of the seed left in the root ball what the plant is.. Well... This this grew 20 cm straight up before the leaves unfurled and when I eventually up-rooted, there it was this giant avocado seed attached to the base. Ive since transplanted it to a very unforgiving area, lots of cars driving past, airconditioner vents spewing hot air on it, small layer of good top soil and god knows what underneath, a lot of rocks and concrete... And it's still alive.. I didn't even plant it with much care, and may in fact need to either move it again at some point as it shares a bed with a native bottlebrush and I don't really want it to take I've the native, if anyone wants an avo sapling give me a holler

 
At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason I found this blog is because I was looking for information of how and where to plant my avocados plants. I think it was last summer that we ate two avocados and I put the pits on a big planting container that I have in my kitchen. They have been growing ever since they are about fourty inches each. In my country they grow very easy(tropical)I don't know if they could survive the frost.

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

When I was young I could grow avocado seeds with no problem. This now NOT THE CASE!
I am now a grandmother and never in the 10 years that I have had my grand kids try to grow an avocado seed has it been successful.
What is wrong with the seeds now?

 
At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add one more to the list: I did a google search on Why don't avacado seeds sprout anymore and this conversation popped up along with many others. I too remember sprouting avacado seeds easily as a kid and my grandmother had a very large avacado plant in her window which grew inside in Denver very successfully. I have told my daughter about this and we have been very disappointed that we cannot now sprout an avacado seed. There is certainly something being done to avacados either post harvesting or genetically to change their biology.

 
At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI
The After Dinner Gardening book can be found on Amazon used for between $1.13 and $13.00.
Thanks for the tip. I just purchased one.

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm having the same problem. Just 6 years ago I put an avocado pit in water and had roots within a week or so. I then potted it after a couple more weeks and had a little tree in no time. Unfortunately the poor thing was killed by mealy mites. I have been trying to repeat the process for the last five year and not a single pit has sprouted. I find it very suspect that none will sprout. I used to have about a 90% success rate.

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also remember sprouting them all the time is a kid. I've tried like 10 times in the past few years and they never sprout anymore.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Doughgirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very likely to be a food iradiation problem : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_irradiation

 

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