The life cycle of an avocado and how to grow one of your own

Jun 15, 2021 | written by:

We all know and love avocados. Whether as guacamole, slathered on toast or eaten raw with a pinch of salt: the trendy superfood has become an almost integral part of our culture. But how does an avocado actually come into being? We took a look at the cycle of its life and the peculiarities of its cultivation. 

An eternal cycle

The avocado is a unique plant. But its life begins in a very ordinary way - with a seed in the ground. It usually takes 4-8 weeks for this to germinate. The seed splits along the fracture line in its middle. The root grows out towards the ground, while at the same time a sprout snakes upwards. After some time, the first leaves sprout. 

 


A breathtaking process, especially in fast motion.

(Seemingly Forever Timelapse, Youtube)

From this point on we speak of a seedling. But you still have to have a lot of patience before you can actually harvest avocados. Before the plant produces the familiar fruit, it first sprouts normal, yellow-greenish flowers. It can take up to two years before it’s ready to grow the fruit. 

Back to the initial question. As you probably know, each fruit contains seeds that are ready to start a new life cycle. When they fall into the ground and start to grow those roots, the circle is closed. A new life begins. As you can imagine, growing avocados is not that easy and requires a lot of patience. We are therefore trying to boost production a little. There are two ways to do this. The first is grafting. The second: Beekeeping. 

Yes, that's right! Avocados are hermaphrodites and therefore cannot self-pollinate. They have an unusual system of flowering to prevent self-pollination. One day the flowers can make them female, the next day they can make them male. If it is female, it can receive pollen from other avocado flowers. This is hard to find in any other plant. After a flower has been pollinated, it closes forever and develops into a delicious fruit. 

But how does the pollen get from A to B? Well, this job is done by bees and other insects - attracted by the nectar produced in the nectaries. In nature, however, only about every thousandth flower is fertilised in this way. The trick: integrate beehives into the project work. This increases the number of fertilised flowers, whilst also providing an additional source of income for the farmers involved.  

For the local people, more avocados mean more economic growth, because the rich and versatile fruit can be sold on the local markets. And that is what matters to us: at Treedom, the local community should be the people benefitting from the cultivation. That's why we don't transport the fruit long distances. 

But if you want your own avocado tree, save the large seed from your next brunch and get planting!

 

Planting your own avocado

You can grow an avocado tree as a potted plant indoors, or in a sheltered area outdoors. Growing an avocado is an art in itself. Warm temperatures, bright sunlight and good care are just some of the keys to success. The rules for growing them, however, are the same everywhere - whether in the wild, on a Treedom project or in the comfort of your own home.

If this is too much work for you, you can of course simply plant an avocado tree with Treedom. You won't get any avocados, but you will improve the living conditions of people in the global south in the long term. 

Isn't that at least as nice? 

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