Houseplant of the week: Who wants an avocado tree?

Caitlin Searle raised it from a seed she got at the convenience store she runs in Capitol Hill.

Hello, green friends.

Hello, green friends.

KEVIN-lighter

Caitlin Searle reckons she became a plant person about seven years ago after she moved to Denver from Monument and she and her now-fiancé bought Capitol Convenience on Pearl Street at 13th Avenue. She said she missed nature after she moved to the heart of Denver.

About three years ago, she finished eating an avocado she got from the store and decided to see if she could plant it. She had no idea she’d be so successful.

“I had absolutely no hope for it to turn into anything, and it grew,” she said. “I had it in my apartment for the first year, and then it started to get too big.”

The tree is now a tall, lanky adolescent that stretches to the convenience store’s ceiling. Searle is now looking for a nice home for it. She wants it to keep thriving — she’s just out of space to keep it growing strong.

Searle says she’ll give it away to someone for free, “under the condition that they are going to try at least to keep it alive.”

Caitlin Searle and her avocado tree, which she grew from a fruit she got at her store, Capitol Convenience, in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Caitlin Searle and her avocado tree, which she grew from a fruit she got at her store, Capitol Convenience, in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Caitlin Searle's avocado tree, which she grew from a fruit she got at her store, Capitol Convenience, in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Caitlin Searle's avocado tree, which she grew from a fruit she got at her store, Capitol Convenience, in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

While she’ll be sad to see it go — she’s grown “a little attached to it” — she said: “My fiancé will appreciate it slightly more.”

It’s a good-looking tree, though not as attractive as Searle would like. She compared it to a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree.”

But if cared for, it should have a long life ahead of it. Its new owner will have to wait for fruit, she said, likely another 9 years.

Interested parties can pop into Capitol Convenience or the couple’s second shop, Capitol Market on Grant Street, and ask for Searle.

Capitol Convenience in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Capitol Convenience in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Pearl Street store, she said, has become a center point for the neighborhood. As customers made runs on grocery stores as pandemic fears spread, Searle said she was happy to have a low-key spot where locals could still get eggs and milk. Many of her customers are on a first-name bases with her clerks, and she was happy to give new jobs to restaurant industry workers who were laid off as the pandemic locked the city down.

The building housing Capitol Convenience dates back to the turn of the 20th century when Capitol Hill still had dirt roads. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The building housing Capitol Convenience dates back to the turn of the 20th century when Capitol Hill still had dirt roads. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Plants on sale at Capitol Convenience in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Plants on sale at Capitol Convenience in Capitol Hill. May 28, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

She also sells regular plants at her stores. Demand for green friends there, like other spots around town, has grown as more people stayed at home and had time to make their apartments look nice.

“That has been a category that has exploded since this all started,” she said.

Plants are now her number-one seller, behind groceries.

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