avocados and camellias

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I have two questions. 1) I want to start an avocado tree from the seed, but I have forgotten how to do it and don't have it in my books anywhere. Would someone please offer directions?

Also: I have bought a couple of camellias: one a japonica and the other a sasquana (?). The botanist said to grow them like you would an azalea, but I thought some of you might have planting tips for success. I live in the piedmont of NC and we have hot summers. And: do they like to be near the house or under taller trees?

Thanks. TD

-- TD Matheny (theny@intrex.net), March 23, 2002


You can start an avocado tree by sticking toothpicks in the side of the pit so that it will rest on the mouth of a glass or jar with the bottom half (the flatter end) submerged in water. Eventually a root will come out the bottom, the top will split, and a shoot will emerge. When it's got a couple of leaves, plant it in soil in a pot.

Camellias don't like direct sun, so plant them as an understory plant but where they'll get a fair amount of light. You have a japonica and a sasanqua which has a more open form. They don't need super rich soil, but do prefer more acid soil. Leaf mold is a great mulch for them.

-- Katherine in KY (KyKatherine@Yahoo.com), March 23, 2002.

Avocado trees are easily damaged by cold weather even in Florida, If you can't take it indoors for winter it will die and they do get about 20 feet high.

-- mitch hearn (moopups@citlink.net), March 23, 2002.

Hi TD, I start my avocados in potting soil bury it about 1/2 way pointy end up,keep it warm and damp-what Mitch said,they can't take cold weather. I bring mine in at night until mid summer. Daryll

-- Daryll in NW FLA (twincrk@hotmail.com), March 23, 2002.

When I was a kid we had 2 avocado trees in our backyard. They grew from pits my mom had thrown into the compost pile :-). You should be aware that they grow into very tall trees and they drop huge DRY (12" long) leaves constantly. My mom finally cut them both down because our neighbor constantly complained about the leaves being impossible rake up.

We lived on the central coast of California where the nearby ocean kept us from freezing in the winter.

-- Margarete (forpippin@earthlink.net), March 25, 2002.

Just for fun, there is an older book around titled "The After Dinner Gardening Book", that is a hoot! Tells you how to save, prepare and plant all kinds of seeds, including of course, Avacados. Much fun to read. LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), March 26, 2002.

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