How do you start an avocado tree from a seed

Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed

Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. High in nutrition and flavor, nothing signals the start of summer like a zesty lime guacamole dip with tortilla chips. The next time you’re making guacamole or slicing an avocado for a salad, try saving your pits to grow into avocado trees. It’s surprisingly easy to grow your own avocado tree from seed, and it makes a great educational project for home and classrooms. Check out our handy-dandy guide below, complete with photos, to learn how to grow an avocado tree from seed.

Step 1 – Remove and clean pit

You’ll need to start by removing the pit from the avocado carefully (without cutting it), and then washing it clean of all the avocado fruit (often it helps to soak the pit in some water for a few minutes and then scrub all the remaining fruit off). Be careful not to remove the brown skin on the pit – that is the seed cover.

Step 2 – Locate the ends

Some avocado pits are slightly oblong, whereas others are shaped almost like perfect spheres – but all avocado pits have a ‘bottom’ (from where the roots will grow), and a ‘top’ (from which the sprout will grow). The slightly pointier end is the top, and the flat end is the bottom. In order to get your pit to sprout, you will need to place the bottom root end in water, so it’s very important to figure out which end is the ‘top’ and which is the ‘bottom’ before you go piercing it with toothpicks.

Step 3 – Pierce with four toothpicks

Take four toothpicks and stick them at a slight downward angle into the avocado seed, spaced evenly around the circumference of the avocado. These toothpicks are your avocado scaffolding, which will allow you to rest the bottom half of the avocado in water, so therefore the toothpicks need to be wedged in there firmly. I recommend sticking them in at a slight angle (pointing down), so that more of your avocado base rests in the water when you set this over a glass.

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Step 4 – Place avocado seed half in a glass of water

And set on a quiet windowsill with sunlight. It’s helpful to use a clear glass so you can easily see when roots start to grow, and also when the water needs to be changed. Many guides recommend to change the water every day, but I found, through trial and error, that it is better to change the water every five days to a week or so. You do want to make sure you change the water regularly, to prevent mold, bacteria and fungus growth, which can doom your little avocado sprout.

Step 5 – Wait for avocado seed to sprout

Many online guides I have read say that sprouting can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, but in my experience, it usually takes at least 8 weeks to get a sprout, so be patient. Here is the process you will witness:

1. The top of the avocado pit will dry out and form a crack, and the outer brown seed skin will slough off.

2. The crack will extend all the way to the bottom of the avocado pit, and through the crack at the bottom, a tiny taproot will begin to emerge.

3. The taproot will grow longer and longer (and may branch), and eventually a small sprout will peek through the top of the avocado pit.

4. Do not allow your taproot to dry out unsubmerged EVER – doing so will be the death of your plant.

Step 6 – Pot in soil

When the stem is 6-7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches, this will encourage new growth. When it hits 6-7 inches again, pot it up in a rich humus soil in an 8-10″ diameter pot, leaving the top half of the seed exposed. Place on a sunny windowsill. Avocados love sun – the more sun the better.

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Step 7 – Water and watch it grow

Give it frequent waterings with an occasional deep soak. The soil should always be moist, but not saturated. Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering; let the plant dry out for a few days.

Step 8 – Pinch out top leaves

When the stem reaches 12 inches tall, pinch out the top two sets of leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow side shoots and more leaves, making it bushy. Each time the plant grows another 6 inches pinch out the 2 newest sets of leaves on top.

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Step 9 – Troubleshooting bugs

My avocado trees seem to collect aphids – the nasty critters can’t get enough of the delicious avocado leaves. If you get them, here’s how to get rid of them: Wash all of the aphids off the plant by spraying your plant down with a hose outside or in the sink/shower. Once the little pests are off, spray your plant with a mixture of water with a small squirt of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of neem oil. This will keep aphids from returning. Check your plant every 4-5 days and re-clean and spray when necessary.

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Step 10 – Wintering

Baby avocado trees can kick it outdoors in summer, but if you live anywhere where it gets cooler than 45 degrees F, you’ll need to bring them back indoors in the fall/winter, before the temperatures fall.

Will my avocado trees ever grow fruit?

Hard to say! Sometimes avocado plants will begin growing fruit after they’re 3 or 4 years old, others take 15+ years to grow fruit, and some never do. It helps to have several avocado trees growing together to aid with pollination. However, don’t expect the fruit to be anything like the avocado that yielded your seed. Commercial avocados are grown from grafted branches to control the outcome of the fruit – a naturally grown avocado may be very different than its parent!

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How to Grow an Avocado from Seed (Easy Method)

If you’ve been trying to root avocado seeds by suspending them over a glass of water with toothpicks, there is an easier way. I’ll show you a no-fuss way to root avocado pits to create new houseplants.

I recommend this method because it takes little effort and shows you exactly which seeds will germinate before planting them in pots.

Grow an Avocado

Forget the toothpicks and water! And don’t bother with the plastic gizmo on Amazon that suspends the seed over water. This method (below) works better. With just a few household supplies you can make your avocado seeds sprout.

I have tested this easy method on a lot of grocery store avocados and the germination rate is quite good.

I don’t like the toothpick method because it’s fussy, requires more effort, can rot the seed, and is not as reliable.

You can also try sprouting avocado seeds directly in moist potting mix, but that too can be hit and miss.

By using the method shown below you can know ahead of time if the seed will actually grow before bothering to plant it.

Before You Start

A little reality check.

No need to rush out and buy chips for your homegrown guacamole.

Odds are your avocado plant is not going to produce fruit, or, if it does, it will take many years and may not produce good fruit.

Growing an avocado from seed is the slowest and least reliable way to get true (same as the parent) fruit.

Commercial growers use grafting methods to ensure fruit quality and quantity that are not really possible for home growers.

But, starting a plant from the seed/pit is an easy way to grow a free houseplant. If it does fruit, it could take as long as 8-20 years. Grafted avocados produce fruit in 2-3 years.

The actual pollination process in rather unusual and intriguing and worth further reading if you are interested.

So, start saving those pits and get growing.

There is an option to save the instructions at the bottom of the page.

You can also use this same method for growing mango plants from grocery store fruit.

I’ll show you how to sprout your seed, plant your seed, and care for it as a houseplant.

Easy Way to Grow an Avocado Seed

Remove the pit from a ripe avocado fruit for propagation

It takes 4-6 weeks for avocado seeds to be rooted and ready for planting.

Prepare The Seed

You will need one ripe avocado fruit, paper towel, and a plastic food bag.

Remove the seed (pit) from a fresh, ripe avocado. Avoid using a knife where it might damage the seed.

Gently clean the seed under warm, running water using a soft brush or cloth ensuring all flesh is removed.

Avocado seed wrapped in paper towel

Wrap the seed in a sheet of damp (not dripping wet) paper towel or a tea towel.

Place in a plastic food bag (do not zip shut) and store in a dark cupboard at room temperature (around 70°F / 21°C).

Watch For Growth

Check on your seed every 4 days or so. I put a reminder in my phone calendar so I don’t forget.

At first you just need to ensure the paper towel stays damp. After a few weeks you’ll start to notice signs of germination.

Avocado seed beginning to sprout

When the seed is germinating, it will gradually crack open, revealing a deep split, and, eventually a root (or roots) will grow from deep inside the seed.

Do not break the seed apart: the seed body feeds the root growth, and the roots are delicate, so handle with care and do not break them.

The next photo shows avocado seeds after a month in the damp paper towel.

Avocado seeds sprouting at different rates

Notice how they germinate at different rates.

Some are just getting started. Two are doing well. One is refusing to budge.

I will give these ones another few weeks and then plant the strongest ones.

It’s helpful to know that no two sprouted avocado seeds look exactly alike. There are many crazy variations!

If the roots are growing in all different directions, don’t worry. The plant will sort things out later.

When the root is 3-inches long (there may be several roots), your seed is ready for planting in a flower pot.

Keep reading for tips on how to plant the sprouted seed.

Related: Are Avocado Seeds Safe to Eat? No!

How to Plant a Sprouted Avocado Seed


  • Sprouted avocado seed
  • 8-inch flower pot with drainage holes (for a 2-inch avocado seed)
  • Indoor potting mix for houseplants

Avocados like good drainage so you can also amend the potting mix with perlite or sand if you like.

How to Tell the Top From the Bottom

Can you tell the top of your seed from the bottom? The top is (usually) tapered or pointy. The bottom is often broader and flat with a round, scaly marking. The roots will (usually) grow out the bottom but not always. We plant the sprouted seed with the bottom and roots aiming down into the pot.

Plant The Sprouted Seed

To plant, fill the pot half way with potting mix and gently place the seed in the pot.

Handle with care so the roots do not break.

If your root (or roots) are longer than 3-inches and they won’t fit in your pot, you can cut them back to 3-inches in length with sharp scissors cleaned with rubbing alcohol or bleach solution (4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water for at least one minute). It is said this can also help produce a bushy rather than a tall, leggy plant but I have not found research to confirm it.

The roots may also be growing in all different directions and/or you may not be able to distinguish a root from a shoot. If so, just be sure to place everything root-like under the soil surface. The plant will know what to do from there.

While steadying the seed, gently press down the potting mix and add more as needed, leaving the top inch of the seed above soil level. If you don’t already have a stem, one will grow.

Newly planted avocado seed with part of seed above soil level

Water (room temperature distilled water) until moist, not damp. Top up the potting mix as needed.

Place in warm, draft-free location with strong, indirect light. 

As it grows, leaves will form.

Young avocado houseplant

Related: How to Grow a Citrus Tree From Grocery Store Fruit

Caring for Your Avocado Plant

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How To Grow Avocado From Seed

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Growing Tips

Avocado | Genus:

Avocado Houseplant Growing Tips
Tropical plant
Light: Full, indirect sun
Humidity: Moderate to high
Soil: do not dry out
Fertilizer: houseplant fertilizer 7-9-5
Shape: Pinch back top leaves to encourage new side shoots
Room Temperature: 60° to 85°F (16° to 30°C)

For Fruit: Start with a grafted tree
For Fun: Grow seed into non-fruiting houseplant

For complete growing instructions see How to Grow Your Avocado Tree Indoors. This includes tips for planting, choosing potting mix, best containers, pruning and pinching, repotting, and if the plant might flower.

Dropping Leaves or Leaves Turning Brown?

This is common with seasonal changes indoors. Change of light and humidity can make the plant sulk: leaves may turn brown and drop. Don’t give up: mine rebound when winter is done and we have the central heating off once again.

Avocado Trivia

  • The word ‘avocado’ originates from a word meaning ‘testicle’. Yes, that’s the first time that word has come up in my garden writing. 
  • The fruit of an avocado (the part we eat), is actually a large berry and the pit is a seed.
  • Avocados are considered a healthy food choice, providing (primarily) monounsaturated fat, vitamins B6, C, E, and potassium, magnesium, and folate.
  • Avocados are much richer in potassium than bananas (which are always heralded as potassium-rich).
  • Bananas have 358 mg per 100 grams. Avocados have 485 mg per 100 grams.
  • Avocados must be left to mature on the tree, but then ripen after harvesting. The hard, green fruit can take two weeks to ripen, although this is faster if exposed to ethylene gas.
  • Grafted avocado plants produce fruit with a few years compared to germinated seeds (8-20 years).
  • The pollination process for avocados is interesting: on day one female flowers open; on day two they are male and shed their pollen.
  • There are three species of avocados and many varieties. Fruit sizes and tastes vary.
    • 1. Guatemalan (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis L. Wms.)
    • 2. Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia Blake)
    • 3. West Indian (P. americana Mill. var. americana)
  • If you do not live in a growing area, the avocados in your grocery store probably always come from the same few sources (depending on import/export laws).

~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛

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How to Grow Avocado From Seed

Easy method for rooting an avocado seed to grow it as a houseplant. Fool-proof and no toothpicks required.

Total Time30 mins

Author: Melissa J. Will

Cost: $10

  • Potting mix

  • Flower pot

  • ▢ 1 Avocado ripe
  • ▢ 1 Tea towel or paper towels
  • ▢ 1 Food container or plastic food bag
  • ▢ 1 8-inch Flower pot with saucer
  • ▢ 1 bag Potting Mix
Prepare Avocado
  • Remove seed (pit) from a ripe avocado. Do not let knife touch seed to prevent damage.

  • Gently wash seed under warm running water removing any avocado flesh.

  • Take a before photo.

Start Rooting Process
  • Wrap seed in damp (but not soaking wet) tea towel or paper towel.

  • Place wrapped seed in food storage container or plastic food bag in dark kitchen cupboard. Do not seal bag/cover container or seed may get moldy.

Check Seed
  • Check seed every 4 days or so by carefully unwrapping cover.

  • Look for any visible changes and take more photos.

  • Ensure towel is still moist and return to container.

  • At first the seed will start to crack open (this is good) and one or more roots will grow from inside.

Plant Rooted Seed
  • After approximately 4-6 weeks, the root should be around 3-inches long and ready to plant.

  • Plant in 8-inch flower pot with roots facing down (or sideways if they grew that way).

  • Cover in potting mix with top half-inch of seed above soil level.

  • If roots are too big for pot, trim away excess, then plant and water.

Avocado Plant Care
  • Grow your plant in a draft-free location with strong, indirect light.

  • Avocado plants enjoy moderate to high humidity: never allow your plant to dry out.

  • Use 7:9:5 fertilizer as directed.

  • Keep taking photos to monitor growth.

Kitchen Propagation Handbook
7 Fruits & Vegetables To Regrow As Houseplants

by Melissa J. Will

Learn how to grow houseplants from avocado, oranges, lemons, ginger, and more using leftover pits, seeds, and roots.

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How to grow an avocado at home: practical tips


Avocado, with its recognizable taste and buttery texture, rightfully occupies one of the first places in the list of products for a healthy and balanced diet. This superfood is rich in saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, contains a supply of potassium and vitamins E, K and group B, serves as a source of antioxidants and accelerates the absorption of nutrients.

If you have space in your living room or kitchen, try growing this tropical plant in your home and in a few years you will be able to not only enjoy the lush foliage of the tree, but also eat ripe fruits from your garden.

The scientific name of the avocado tree is Persea americana. The plant comes from Mexico. In hot tropical forests, it can reach 18 meters in height, but this does not mean that you cannot grow it at home - just get a suitable planter and cut the plant in time to adjust its growth.

The avocado tree loves warmth and sun, therefore, taking into account the weather conditions, it is better to grow it not in the backyard, but at home, where it will be possible to provide humidity and temperature that are comfortable for the plant.

How to grow an avocado

One of the easiest ways to grow an avocado is to use the pit of a ripe avocado, anything you can buy at your local supermarket will do. The seeds sprout quickly and easily, so you will definitely be able to start a seedling. However, remember that it takes up to 3-6 years for a tree to give its first crop, and at home, an avocado will not always bear fruit.

  1. Select a healthy and ripe avocado of your favorite variety and carefully remove the pit. Be careful, the seed will not germinate if the outer brown shell is damaged.

  2. Turn the narrow part of the bone up, pierce it with three wooden toothpicks at an equal distance at a slight angle.

  3. Fill the container with water and set the stone so that its bottom is submerged in water.

  4. Place the container on the windowsill and change the water every five days.

  5. It usually takes four weeks for a bone to grow. But if this does not happen, do not despair and be patient!

  6. Roots and sprouts appear almost simultaneously. Wait until the future tree is 15 cm tall and then cut it in half. This will cause the avocado to sprout more.

  7. Prepare a pot of fertile soil in a well-lit area.

  8. Dig a hole and plant the avocado in it, leaving only the green part of the plant above the ground.

  9. Water the avocado and continue to care for it. If you want to grow fruit, find out if your variety is self-pollinating or if it needs another plant nearby.

How to care for avocados


Like all shallow-rooted trees, the avocado tree needs loose, well-drained soil. As for pH, it should be neutral or slightly acidic, as with most other garden plants.


In the first few years of life, the avocado tree needs a lot of water. Water the plant two to three times a week. After the tree is rooted, watering can be reduced, as the roots will get the necessary moisture from the soil. Understanding when a tree needs additional moisture is quite simple - pay attention to soil moisture, as soon as it dries, water the plant.


Avocado grows well in fertile soil and requires regular fertilization throughout its life. In the early stages, in order for the tree to grow healthy and strong, use a fertilizer rich in nitrogen once a month. Such top dressing can be replaced with organic compost, which is applied every three months. Continue to fertilize the plant during flowering and throughout the growing season. When the fruits are ripe, fertilizers can be postponed until the next season.


Avocado care depends on where you grow it. An outdoor tree will require minimal pruning. Potted plants, on the other hand, require pruning regularly to keep them compact. In addition to the main branches, pay attention to side shoots so that the avocado does not lose shape.

Pests and Diseases

Although the avocado tree has a high content of toxic persin, to which only humans and cats are immune, it does not repel pests. Spider mites, thrips and caterpillars can merge on the plant. Treat your avocado with neem oil to combat them.

Another danger is diseases, the most common of which are root rot and bay wilt. Root rot is caused by overwatering or the accumulation of salts in the soil as a result of excessive fertilization. Laurel wilt is a deadly fungal infection spread by ragweed beetles, so keep them out.


It is not always clear from the appearance of the avocado when it is ripe enough. Up to a certain point, they can sing on a tree, but usually ripen after harvest. If the fruits are left on the tree for too long, they can become soft and overripe.

To test the ripeness of an avocado, pick the largest fruit and leave it in a dark place for a few days. Try lightly pressing down on the avocado with your thumb. If it is soft and the flesh has become creamy, the fruit is fully ripe. If the flesh is hard and bitter in taste, then the fruits are not yet ready to serve, give them a little more time.


  • Plants in the interior

How to grow avocados at home

February 6, 2019LikbezDo it yourself

Step-by-step instructions for those who want to get a real tree.



1. Buy an avocado

attuale. ru

Choose a dark green fruit that is quite soft to the touch.

If you don't find a ripe avocado, don't worry. Take an unripe fruit. Put it together with bananas or apples for a couple of days. The ethylene they release will help the fruit ripen faster.

2. Separate the seed from the pulp

Carefully cut the fruit into two halves.

Remove the seed from the pulp with your hand or a spoon. Rinse it under warm water.

Use the pulp the right way 🥑

  • 12 colorful avocado salads for those who love delicious food

3. Sprout the seed

You can plant an avocado at any time of the year. If the bone is not damaged, the probability of seedlings is quite high.

Option 1

Use a knife, awl or thick needle to make three or four small holes 2-3 mm deep in the stone. Insert toothpicks or sharpened matches into them.

Pour filtered or, for example, settled water for watering flowers into a small container.

Position the bone so that the blunt end is in the water. Toothpicks resting on the edges of the container will not let it sink.

Keep the water at the same level and change every few days. But make sure that the puncture sites do not get wet.

Instead of water, you can use hydrogel, which is sold in shops with houseplants. Its level should also be below the punctures.

Place the container of avocados on a windowsill or other well-lit place.

The root will hatch in one and a half to two weeks, although its appearance may be delayed for a month. When it reaches 3-4 cm in length, remove the toothpicks and transplant into the ground.

Option 2

Peel off the outer shell of the bone, being careful not to damage it.

Place in a small narrow vessel so that it is about halfway in the water and not tipped on its side.

When the root reaches 2-3 cm a couple of weeks after germination, transplant the seed into a pot.

Option 3

Simply place the stone in a pot of soil so that ⅔ of it is on the surface. If you dig deeper, it might just rot. The pot should be as described in #4 and the soil as described in #5.

Water every 2-3 days. This method is the easiest, but you will have to wait a few months before the first shoots appear.

4. Choose the right pot

Get a plastic or ceramic pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Its depth should be no more than 10–15 cm. For the first time, this will be enough.

5. Fill the pot with the right soil

Mix universal potting soil with coarse sand and peat in proportions 1 : 1 : 1. This will make the soil loose.

When choosing, keep in mind that the soil for avocados should be neutral (pH = 7), not acidic.

Use gravel or expanded clay for drainage.

6. Plant the seed if you germinated it in water or hydrogel. Fill in the soil and loosen well. Make a small indentation on the surface.

Plant the seed so that it is about halfway in the ground, no more. Try not to damage the roots during planting.

Water your seedling. Make sure the soil is moist but not swampy. From excess moisture, the bone can become moldy.

7. Put in a bright and warm place

Position the pot so that it has enough light. Ideal for window sills. The temperature should be room temperature.

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  • 11 useful avocado hacks

8. Proper care

Do not put the pot in the shade, otherwise the plant will not develop normally. Water the avocado once every 3-4 days in the warm season and a little less often in the cold. Don't let the soil dry out completely.

Spray regularly when seedlings appear. If the air in the room with avocados is very dry, you can put a small container of water next to it to increase humidity.

Monika Baechler

In the first few months, the avocado will stretch rapidly upwards and can reach 50 cm. Then the growth rate will slow down. When there are more than eight leaves on the shoot, pinch it. Carefully remove the very top with a knife or scissors. After do not forget to rinse the instrument.

As soon as you notice that the avocado begins to stretch, pinch it. So you get a tree with a neat crown.

If possible, keep avocados outside during the summer. With the onset of autumn coolness, return the plant to a warm room. Do not leave outside if the temperature drops below +10 °C.

9. Fertilize and transplant avocados

In the warm season, fertilize once or twice a month with houseplant products.

Replant young avocados annually for the first five years. Then the interval between transplants can be increased to three years. Each time choose a pot with a slightly larger diameter.

When transplanting, take care not to damage the root system. Just transfer the earth ball into a new container and add the right amount of earth.

10. Help an avocado bear fruit

With proper care, a tree can start to bloom.

Learn more