Avocado is a versatile plant that grows in warm regions like Mexico and the Caribbean. With the proper love, attention, and patience, it can also grow indoors as a lovely houseplant. Get your child involved in the growing cycle with this gardening activity that's simple and easy to start and gives an impressive result. She'll love watching her avocado plant sprout roots, then slowly grow into a large plant with beautiful, glossy green leaves.
Ripe avocado (look for slightly soft yet firm fruit with dark, nearly black skin)
Tall drinking glass
Plant pot, 6" or larger in diameter (the larger the pot, the larger your plant will be able to grow)
What You Do:
Cut the avocado in half lenghwise, carefully moving the knife around the pit and taking care not to score or damage it in any way. Pull apart the two halves to expose the pit.
Carefully remove the pit by scooping it out with the spoon. Set aside the avocado halves (but don't throw them away—use them to make guacamole, put them in a salad, or eat them plain!)
Wash the pit with tepid water to remove any avocado flesh stuck to it.
Have your child carefully insert the toothpicks into the pit, placing them in the thickest part of the pit and spacing them evenly around. Be careful not to press too hard, or your pit may split in two!
Fill the drinking glass with water, then have your child set the avocado pit in it, narrow end up. The toothpicks keep the pit suspended in the water.
Have your child place the avocado in a bright widowsill. The best spot is a window that gets a lot of light but stays relatively cool.
Have your child check on the avocado regularly, making sure to keep the glass filled to the brim with water at all times. If the pit dries out, it won't sprout.
After two to three weeks the pit will break almost in half and the roots will start to grow out of the bottom. In another week or so a stem will start to grow out of the top. When the roots are three inches long and the stem is at least two inches tall, the avocado is ready to be planted.
Fill the plant pot with potting soil, leaving an inch of space at the top. Have your child make a shallow hole in the middle of the soil, then place the sprouted pit inside. Make sure the upper half of the pit is above the soil line, but the roots are fully covered.
Water the plant lightly but frequently for the first week to keep the soil wet. After the plant has acclimated to the soil, water as needed (about once a week). Allow the soil to dry out a little between each watering. If your plant's leaves begin to yellow, water it less.