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Growing avocado from seed is fun and easy! In this post, I will give you step-by-step instructions for how to start an avocado tree from a pit, show you what to do with the seedling, and also give you tons of care tips.
Did you know that you can grow an avocado tree from the pit of an avocado that you buy at any grocery store? Yes, it’s true.
The avocado pit is the seed. We go through avocados pretty quickly at our house, which means I have an abundant supply of avocado pits to experiment with!
Growing an avocado plant from the pit is fun, and I’ll show you exactly how to do it in this step by step guide.
To grow avocado from seed, all you need is the pit from a ripe fruit, and a handful of around-the-house items. How cool is that?
For many years, I wasn’t much of a fan of avocados.
I’d have to say my appreciation of this fruit (botanically it’s a fruit) was an acquired taste, that developed only fairly recently.
While this post includes some avocado tastiness, it also includes a fun avocado project that you may want to consider.
Even though I picked up these avocados with the express purpose of using the seeds, I had no intention of just tossing out the avocado flesh.
Hey, you need it for guacamole, right?
Actually, I think I may be the only one in my household who is a fan of guacamole.
Just scroll down for the easy recipe and after that, I’ll show you what to do with the seeds.
OK. Let’s get back to the heart of this post, avocado seeds.
Once you extract the seed from the avocado, gently wash it thoroughly.
The widest end of the seed is the bottom which is also easily identified because of it’s flower-shaped discoloration.
Also, look closely for the small seam that runs all the way around the seed. In some cases it will be a small crack.
You’ll want to make sure you try to avoid that seam/crack during the next step.
The next step involves using toothpicks to pierce the skin of the avocado seed.
Make sure you avoid those seams or cracks in the seed because that’s where the seed will eventually open up and you don’t want a toothpick in that spot.
Insert three toothpicks at a slight diagonal around the top of the seed.
This will provide the necessary support to suspend the seed over a water source.
Any jar or glass will do.
Make sure the jar opening is small enough for the toothpicks to securely rest upon the rim.
With the avocado seed suspended in mid-air, carefully add water to the glass so that the seed is covered halfway.
Set the seeds in a window where it can get plenty of sun and not be disturbed.
I checked on the water levels every two days or so to maintain the original water line.
It will take several months before you even start to see the first signs of any rooting taking place.
During this process, if the water starts to get a bit murky, change the water (room temperature water) and use a paper towel to very gently remove any mold buildup around the seed before hanging the seed back over the water.
Now, I started rooting these seeds several month ago ( January 11, 2020).
For the longest time, I thought this rooting project was a lost cause.
Don’t lose heart, the roots should start to peek through at some point.
I didn’t start to see any signs until late February and even then, it was just a tiny little thing.
Once the roots start to break through, the seed will also start to crack right along that seam that I talked about earlier.
The crack will get wider and wider and the you’ll be able to see more of Mother Nature’s wonder, growing out from the middle of the seed.
I’ve turned this seed sideways in the photo above for you to get a better look at all the action going on at the seed center.
Now, take a look at the seed growth captured in this above photo.
I snapped this shot on April 9th, 2020.
That’s three whole months after I started.
Like I said, this takes some patience to get to some progress.
But I’m super thrilled to see all these wonderful and long tentacles.
But wait, there’s more.
In addition to the rooting out of the bottom of the seed, you’ll also get simultaneous sprouting out the top.
It’s so exciting to see all this rooting and sprouting.
About 15 weeks (April 18, 2020) after first placing the seeds in water, I checked in to find this (see photo below).
Finally, the first few leaves started to show themselves.
Now, how cool is that?
One of the things I noticed is that, at this stage, the leaves close at night.
During the day, at full sun exposure, they are wide open and then in late evening they close in.
I don’t know if this behavior will continue after the leaves get much bigger but it’s an interesting observation worth mentioning.
While humus soil (pronounced hue-muss) is recommended for potting, I’m still studying exactly when to transplant the seeds and how to care for them once their transferred from water to soil.
One source recommends, that once the stem reaches about 7 inches tall, to cut it down to 3 inches as a way to encourage new growth.
Ouch, it’s gonna be really hard for me to cut this sweet little stem down, after all the time it took to get to this stage.
Thanks for popping by.
Stay safe and be well.
See you back here next time.
Growing avocado seeds is easy once you know how, but it does require a little patience. This post will take you through the key steps you need to do to get those seeds to grow into an avocado plant.
Avocados are now known as a superfood and are packed with protein, healthy fats and lots of key vitamins we need everyday to feel good.
Not a fan of avocado? Maybe you just haven’t tried the right dish yet.
Yes, it can make a great guacamole or a an avo smash, but you may not know avocado can be added to smoothies, , desserts and a multitude of savoury dishes. Here are some you might want to try out.
Image: Dairy-free Avocado Lemon Pound Cake
- Why Bother to Grow Avocado Plants From Seeds?
- Step by Step Guide to Growing an Avocado Seed
- What You Will Need
- Preparing An Avocado Pit For Planting
- How To Grow Avocado Pit In Water Step-By-Step
- Caring For Your Avocado Seedling Growing In Water
- How To Plant Avocado In Soil
- Newly Potted Avocado Tree Care
- When Should I Plant My Avocado Seed?
- FAQs About Growing An Avocado Pit
- How long does it take to grow an avocado tree from seed?
- Do avocado trees grown from seed produce fruit?
- How long does it take for an avocado tree to produce fruit?
- Can you plant a dry avocado seed?
- Which end of the avocado seed goes down?
- Can you plant an avocado pit in soil?
- More Posts About Growing Seeds
- General Avocado Tree Growing Tips
- Growing Avocado From Seed
Why Bother to Grow Avocado Plants From Seeds?
Firstly because they look amazing!
Did you know some countries, like Mexico and Chile, are being seriously impacted ecologically by the popularity of avocados in the USA and Europe?
Due to the water requirements of growing the fruit and a privatised water system, not only is the environment suffering through lack of water, but so are the people.
Opting for fair-trade avocados is best!
Step by Step Guide to Growing an Avocado Seed
Forget everything you have ever heard about it being difficult or impossible to grow an avocado seed!
It is true that not all seeds will work (which is completely normal in nature), but in my experience most will successfully grow.
The steps below are exactly how I grow mine and it works about 80-90% of the time.
What You Will Need
Step 1. Wash and Scrub the Avocado Seed
This is really important because bits of avocado, no matter how small, are guaranteed to make your seeds mouldy way before they start to grow.
Simply scrub under the tap, no need to use detergents at all. I use one of these coconut fibre scrubbies which do a great job.
There is no need to remove the outer shell.
You can also leave it a day or two before you continue with the rest of the steps.
Step 2. Identify the Bottom of the Avocado Seed
This is so important!
The bottom of the avocado seed should have an obvious circle (pictured above) and not a tapered point (that bit is the top).
Doing this step upside down is going to lead to serious disappointment.
Step 3. Insert Your Toothpicks
Again, another HUGE reason why avocado seeds fail to flourish and thrive is due to how much the seed is immersed in water.
The toothpicks need to be pushed into the seed on an angle, around about the half way point.
Doing this means it will be 2/3 to 3/4 in the water when placed in your jar.
Avoid inserting the toothpicks into existing lines (or as i like to call them, seams) on the seed as this is exactly where it will split once it really takes off and you’ll lose your support system.
Double check your seed is going to sit properly supported in your jar or glass
This one picture below is perfect. It’s sitting well below the top of the glass (and it’s the right way up too).
Step 4. Add Water
This step is easy.
Fill your jar to the brim with water and give it a home on your kitchen windowsill where it will get some sunlight.
Remember to check the water levels every few days and top it up.
Initially you may have to change the water every few days but after that once a week is plenty.
When the leaves appear, it’s time to water more frequently.
Now this is seriously the most difficult part of growing your avocado seed.
I’m not a patient person, so I know that if I can do this, then so can you!
The reason I propagate these in clear glass is so that i can SEE if the seed is beginning to grow, or if i have a dud.
The first thing you are going to see is the root beginning to grow.
Initially it will look a lot like a fat toothpick coming out from the bottom of the seed and as it progresses it will grow a more complex root system.
This one pictured above has developed some great roots and will hopefully begin to grow above the water very soon.
(and in case you’re wondering, it isn’t mouldy but has shed its outer shell and just has some discolouration).
Warning — this can take a matter of weeks to months, so be patient and keep watering it, don’t lose hope.
Eventually, the seed will begin to split and form its first shoot — this is always exciting.
Sorry, but you are still going to need to be pretty patient.
It can take ages for that first shoot to gain length and to finally start growing leaves. (When it does, it looks amazing!)
Different seeds will grow at various rates — the smallest plant pictured above was started before the larger one.
These have taken around 6-7 months to get to this stage ! (now you see why I keep mentioning patience)
They will grow quicker in warmer months because they do better with more sun and warmth.
I’m a little scared to plant mine into a pot just yet as I’ve grown attached to these little guys and really don’t want to kill them when i pop them into soil.
Now, if you are hoping to grow actual avocados to eat and enjoy, well you are going to need a heck of a lot of patience.
Avocado seeds can take 5-13 years to grow into a mature tree and bear fruit and there are is no guarantee the fruit it grows will be as nice (or even edible) as the one you ate.
On the plus side, they do make lush indoor or outdoor plants. I’m enjoying the free plants and if they ever fruit, I will be throwing a big guacamole party.
Preparing An Avocado Pit For Planting
Be sure that you take the seed from a ripe avocado. The riper the fruit, the more mature the seed will be. An immature seed will probably not grow.
Gently remove the seed from the avocado, trying not to damage or cut it in the process. Once you remove it from the fruit, wash the pit in warm water.
You’ll probably have to gently use your fingers to completely clean the bits of fruit off of the pit.
Before planting it, make sure you know which side of the avocado pit goes in the water. Some avocado seeds have a distinct point on top.
But others are more rounded, so it can be tricky to figure out. The bottom of the seed will be a bit flatter, and have a rounded spot where the roots will come out. That’s the end that goes into the water.
There are two methods you could try for growing avocado from seed – planting an avocado seed in soil, or sprouting the pit in water.
The pits can be planted in soil just like any other type of seed. However, growing an avocado pit in soil is a bit more difficult than starting an avocado pit in water.
Avocado seeds are fussy about the soil moisture level, and you’ll need to check on it daily to get it just right.
Plus, when you start them in water you can watch the roots as they grow, which is really cool.
How To Grow Avocado Pit In Water Step-By-Step
You only need a few things to get started, and growing avocado from seed in water is pretty easy.
The biggest thing to remember is that it can take as long as 6-8 weeks for the roots or stem to break through the pit, so you have to be patient.
Supplies for growing an avocado plant from the pit
* Your glass does not have to be clear – but it’s way more fun if it is! You can see the roots growing in the water when it’s clear!
Step 1: Stick toothpicks into the pit – Take three toothpicks and stick them into the pit, equidistant from one another. You’ll need to push firmly, but it isn’t difficult to insert them into the pit.
Avocado pit with toothpicks for sprouting
Step 2: Place your avocado seed into the water – Fill a glass or jar with water, then gently set the pit on top with the toothpicks resting on the rim of the glass.
The toothpicks allow you to suspend the pit in the middle of the glass so that the bottom is in the water, and the top stays dry. You’ll want to make sure that about half of the avocado seed is covered with water.
Alternatively, you could use a growing kit that it specifically designed for easily growing avocado from seed. That way you can grow an avocado seed without toothpicks.
Step 3: Put the glass and pit in a bright, warm location – Place the glass in a warm location that receives indirect sunlight in your home.
It’s good to have it in a bright location, but keep it out of direct sunlight at this point. Also, the warmer the location, the faster the seed will sprout, so keep that in mind too.
Rooting an avocado pit in water
Foggy water is normal, but you do want to make sure to keep it fresh so your avocado seed won’t rot or mold.
To replace the water, fill up a new glass and let it sit out at room temperature. Once the fresh water is the same temperature as the foggy water, place the pit into the new glass.
Also, try to keep the water level above the bottom of the avocado pit at all times, and never allow the roots to dry out. Simply top it off with room temperature water if the level starts to drop too low.
Avocado seedling growing in water
Caring For Your Avocado Seedling Growing In Water
After the avocado roots (from the bottom of the pit; in the water) and stem (from the top of the pit; upwards) have sprouted, allow your avocado seedling to grow until it reaches 6-7 inches tall. Then cut it down to 3 inches.
While this is scary, and seems like you’re killing the new plant, it’s actually the best way to encourage a stronger, healthier stem and leaves.
When cutting back the stem, be sure to use sharp, sterile shears or pruning snip. You can kill the young seedling if you don’t make a clean cut!
To clean your pruners, simple wash the blades with soap and water, or dip them into rubbing alcohol to disinfect them.
After pruning the stem, allow your avocado plant to continue growing in the water. When the roots are healthy and thick, and the stem has leaves again, it’s time to plant it in soil!
How To Plant Avocado In Soil
Transplanting your avocado tree from the glass to the pot should be done with care. The seedling roots are very delicate and can break easily if mishandled.
To pot up your seedling, first remove the toothpicks from the pit and discard the water from your glass.
The best potting soil for avocado tree is one that is fast draining. They will grow just fine in a general purpose potting soil.
However, if you tend to overwater your houseplants, then I recommend adding some perlite or coarse sand into the mix to help with drainage.
Then fill your pot with soil. Be careful to leave enough space for the roots so that they aren’t getting smooshed or torn.
Your avocado should be planted in soil at about the same depth as it was growing in the water, but no deeper. So, the pit should stick out of the soil at least half-way.
My avocado tree seedling potted up
Newly Potted Avocado Tree Care
After potting up your avocado seedling, place it in the same area where the glass was. The temperature and amount of sunlight it receives should not change drastically, or it may send your new tree into shock.
Remember, your avocado seedling is used to getting a lot of water. So give it a good, deep soaking, and allow the excess water to drain from the pot.
You should water the seedling frequently, especially in the beginning. Keep the soil consistently moist (without saturating it) until your avocado seedling has become established in its new pot.
Your avocado tree is well on its way to being a rock star houseplant! When it reaches a foot tall, cut it back to 6 inches. It seems scary to prune it back this much, but this encourages new shoots and growth!
Watering my newly potted avocado tree
When Should I Plant My Avocado Seed?
You can grow avocado from seed any time of the year. Just keep in mind that avocado germination time may be longer during the cold winter months.
So, if you live in a cold climate like I do, you may find it easier to try planting avocado seeds in late winter or early spring.
FAQs About Growing An Avocado Pit
Below are answers to frequently asked questions that I get about growing avocado from seed. If you can’t find the answer to your question in this post or here in the FAQs, please ask it in the comments below and I will answer it as soon as I can.
How long does it take to grow an avocado tree from seed?
It takes about 6-8 weeks to grow an avocado from seed. Sometimes it can grow faster, depending on the environment. To try speeding up germination time, put the seed in a warm location.
Do avocado trees grown from seed produce fruit?
It’s very unlikely that your avocado plant grown from seed will produce fruit, but it’s definitely possible. Just beware that the fruit probably won’t be the same as it was on the parent plant.
How long does it take for an avocado tree to produce fruit?
It can take anywhere from 10-15 years for an avocado tree grown from seed to produce fruit.
Can you plant a dry avocado seed?
That depends on how dry it is. It’s a good idea to plant avocado seeds as soon as you can after you remove them from the fruit. If the seed dries out too much, it may not sprout. If it’s only been dry for a few days, it should be fine.
Which end of the avocado seed goes down?
The bottom of an avocado seed is flatter than the top, and has a rounded spot on it where the roots will come out. See the photo under the section “Preparing An Avocado Pit For Planting” to help you figure out the top from the bottom.
Can you plant an avocado pit in soil?
Yes! This method can be more difficult because you need to keep the perfect balance between too wet and dry or your seed won’t grow.
Plant the seed in moist soil with about 1/2 of the pit sticking out of the dirt. Keep your avocado soil moist but not soggy, and never allow it dry out.
You can cover the pot with plastic to help keep the soil from drying out too fast (don’t allow the plastic to touch the seed though).
Growing avocado from seed is fun, and a great way to get a free houseplant. It may take some experimenting with the location of your glass to find the perfect temperature and amount of sunlight. (I had several failed attempts at growing an avocado tree from a pit before finding success.) But trust me, when you see your first root or stem poke through that pit – it’s exciting!
Do you want to learn everything you need to know in order to grow any type of seeds you want? Then you need to take my online Seed Starting Course today. It’s a comprehensive, detailed, self-paced online course that will walk you through every step of the way. Enroll and get started today!
Otherwise, if you just want to quickly learn how to grow seeds indoors, then my Starting Seeds Indoors eBook is just what you need. It’s a simple, quick-start guide that’s perfect for anyone!
More Posts About Growing Seeds
General Avocado Tree Growing Tips
Once your avocado seedling has recovered from its latest pruning, and has gotten used to growing in a pot, you can move it to its permanent location.
Growing an avocado tree in a pot
Growing Avocado From Seed
Below you’ll find exactly what I did to grow an avocado tree from a pit using a regular grocery store avocado! This method works in any gardening zone, since you’ll be starting the tree indoors.
You can keep the avocado tree as a houseplant, or plant it outside if you live in a warmer climate.