Did you know the pit of an avocado is a seed? Seeds have three main components, an embryo, endosperm, and seed coat.
The embryo of the seed is basically a baby plant and contains all the parts that will eventually become the roots, stem, and leaves.
The endosperm of the seed surrounds the embryo and contains the nutrients required to help the seed grow into a baby plant. All seeds contain enough energy in the endosperm to grow the first two leaves of the plant (these leaves are called the cotyledon).
The seed coat is the part of the seed that we see and is the protective outer coating of the seed that holds everything else inside.
In order for seeds to germinate (start to sprout roots and cotyledon) it needs to be in the correct conditions. Temperature, moisture, and light level can all affect germination of a seed.
Now we can watch germination happen in real time with an avocado pit! This is a great activity but make sure not to get your hopes up to grow your own avocados. Avocado plants will not likely bear fruit because...
1. It takes many many years
2. There are (hopefully) no bees in your house to pollinate the plant.
3. Avocado plants are tropical so it will not likely get the proper sunlight if it is indoors (especially in a place where you experience winter like New York).
However, the avocado plant is beautiful and can be a fun activity for students learning about germination. All you need is an avocado pit, toothpicks, and a small glass of water.
First, eat an avocado (the easiest and most delicious part!). Then clean the pit of any remaining avocado pulp. It should look like this.
Next, you will pierce the avocado pit with three or four toothpicks. Make sure the toothpicks are about center in the seed and going all the way around the pit. The purpose of these toothpicks is to be able to balance the avocado pit onto a jar so that just the bottom of the pit is submerged in water. You want the toothpicks to be equidistant around the outside of the pit so that they will all hold equal weight. It should look something like this.
Next place the avocado with the toothpicks in a shallow glass of water. You want the bottom half of the avocado pit to be completely submerged in the water.
Make sure to change the water every few days (so it doesn’t get gross) and refill it every once in a while so that the bottom of the pit is always completely submerged. Make sure to store your avocado pit somewhere warm, this will help the germination process. Soon your avocado pit will start sprouting roots! This is called rooting. Eventually the avocado will sprout a stem! Below is a photo of an avocado pit I started this process with about a year ago, you can see the stem is nice and big and the pit is still relatively in tact.
Below is a picture of the leaves and the rest of the avocado plant about one year later. It doesn't look amazing because I don't have quite enough light in my room but its still alive!
Follow our blog and keep an eye out for new posts to find out the next steps in growing your own avocado plant.