Tuesday, January 25, 2011


In elementary school did you ever try the avocado pit experiment? You stabbed the pit with toothpicks and put it in water, hoping something would sprout, or roots would grow. If I’m remembering correctly, nothing ever happened for mine. As an adult, a new-found love of avocado on everything from taco chips to salad to sandwiches meant that I had an overabundance of avocado pits around. Since I had successfully not killed an orchid I was feeling cocky and thought starting an avocado would be cake. After consulting Google I got four pits. I put two in water with toothpicks and two in soil, one totally covered and one partially covered. And then I waited. And waited. And waited.

After about six weeks I was ready to admit defeat. The slimy pits in the water with no trace of root went into the trash. I dug up the partially covered pit and found no evidence of life and threw it away too. I was ready to just toss the last one altogether, but when I tipped it over I saw something white. A root!! I gently put it back in the pot, added water and held my breath. Well, maybe not actually held my breath, but you get the idea. In a few more weeks the top of the pit split open and out came a tiny green sprout. And then another! They grew fast and tall and had very pretty leaves, but not much else happened.

It stayed on the windowsill in the old, hot apartment and seemed to have reached its full potential. When we moved I found a book from my childhood, “Linnea’s Windowsill Garden” which instructed me to cut the main stem to promote the creation of off-shoots. I felt like little cartoon Linnea was telling me to take a pair of scissors and maim a good friend. I couldn’t bring myself to cut both stems, but I cut one and waited to see if it would work, of if I’d killed it.

Weeks later we have liftoff! Now I guess I just have to bring myself to cut the other one. That might take a few more weeks. Or maybe I’ll just ask J (my boyfriend/roommate) to cut it one day while I’m at work and not tell me.


  1. Awesome! I love it-- pretty sure we tried this in Mrs. Wandall's class, and I can't say mine ever did anything that time, either, although a later college experience yielded a root and short sprout, though not much after that. Your avocado plant looks like a miracle!

  2. I have also tried this for the same reasons. I did the water thingy and never has that ever yielded any results. I'm going to try burying a pit in soil such as yourself and hope for the best.