Avocado seeds may be started in a glass of water or in a moist, porous soil mixture. Either will work, but the soil method will provide faster results.
If the seed is started in water, insert three or four toothpicks in the seed about half way down the sides. Next, fill a small glass with water to the brim and place the seed in the glass, flat end down, so the toothpicks rest firmly on the brim. The toothpicks should be supporting the seed so that the pointed half is out of the water and the bottom half is in the water. The sprouting tip will come out of the pointed end, so be sure the flat end is immersed in water. Place the glass on a sunny window sill or some other well lighted spot. Add water as needed to keep the bottom half of the seed wet at all times.
After a few weeks a small root should appear from the flat end, and there should be signs of a small shoot at the pointed end. Tiny leaves will develop and grow on this shoot. Later, when the main stem emerges, plant the seed in a container with house plant potting soil.
If the avocado seed is started in soil, fill a large container with house plant potting soil. Plant the seed so that the pointed end is about an inch above the soil surface. Keep the soil moist at all times until the avocado plant is established.
Water the plant often enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. A wet soil will result in curled leaves and soft stems. A dry soil will cause dry leaves that eventually fall off. Avocado plants should be fertilized every three months with a standard houseplant fertilizer. Also, remember that avocado plants require good, indirect light. Because avocado plants grow into trees, provide them with plenty of growing space.
Avocados were first cultivated in South America with later migration to Mexico. It was believed that a Mayan princess ate the very first avocado and that it held mystical and magical powers.
European sailors traveling to the New World used avocados as their form of butter. Avocados were first seen in the United States in the early 1800's.
Though avocados are high in fat, most of the fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They're also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60 percent more potassium per ounce than bananas."
The majority of avocados in the United States come from California, followed by Florida.
Two tablespoons of mashed California avocado or 1/5 (about 1 oz.) of a medium California avocado provide 55 calories.
Source: Center For Disease Control and Prevention.