How hard is it to grow an avocado tree

How to Grow an Avocado Tree

Growing your own avocados is a simple, satisfying project for experienced or beginning gardeners, from kids to adults. Whether you start from seed or a nursery-grown tree, one essential for success is patience. Plant a tree, and you'll wait three to four years for fruit. Start with a seed, you may wait 13 years or more.1 Even so, there's something special about homegrown avocados that make them worth the wait.

  1. Starting an Avocado Tree from Seed
  2. Planting an Avocado Tree Outdoors
  3. Caring for Your Avocado Tree
  4. Enjoying the Fruits of Your Patience

The seed of an avocado is the pit found in the center of avocados you eat at home. One of the simplest ways to start a seed is with water in a normal kitchen glass or jar. It's also one of the most fun ways, because you can watch the roots grow.

To prep your seed, wash it well. Then insert three or four wooden toothpicks into the pit about one-third of the way down from the pointed end. Sit the pit on the glass, pointed end up, so the toothpicks support it on the rim. Add water to cover the seed's bottom half and sit it in a spot with bright light. Refresh the water as needed to keep the bottom covered.

In about two to six weeks, your seed should develop roots. Next, the top will crack open as a sprout emerges. Once this happens, plant the seed in a container filled with coarse, well-drained potting mix. Plant the seed so that half of it stays above the soil and half stays below. After planting, water it well and place your tree in the brightest light your home allows.

Like many citrus trees, avocado trees grow very well grown indoors. Natural terra cotta is an excellent choice for pots because the porous clay allows air and moisture to move through soil easily. Start with a 6- to 8-inch-diameter pot, with good drainage holes. You can transplant to larger pots as your tree grows over the years.

 Avocado trees are simple to start from seeds.

Avocados are tropical plants; they tolerate very little cold. If you live where temperatures rarely drop to freezing — such as the southernmost regions of Florida, Texas, Arizona or California — you can plant your sprouted seed or a nursery-grown tree outdoors.2 If you plant outside, do it in spring so your avocado gets established well before cooler winter months arrive.

Choose a site with full sun and excellent drainage, protected from winds and frost. Allow plenty of room for the tree's mature size. Containers restrict plant size, but avocados can grow 40 feet tall or more in the ground.2 Avocados have shallow roots, so plant them at or slightly higher than the level they grew at in their pot. Avoid planting avocados too deep.1

Container-grown avocados do well indoors.

Once established, avocados are simple to care for. Their large, leathery, green leaves and attractive form make them beautiful houseplants and landscape trees, even when they're fruitless. By providing your tree's basic needs, you help ensure its beauty and future productivity.

Watering - Avocado roots need plenty of air, so avoid overwatering. Always let container soil dry out slightly, then water thoroughly to moisten the entire root ball. If your container tree moves outdoors for summer, it may need daily watering. Container plants dry out more quickly in sun and wind — and don't forget to bring your plant indoors once temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit in fall.

For landscape avocados, water the entire area beneath the tree's canopy. Water deeply and thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry out slightly before you water again. Most avocado roots stay in the top six inches of soil, which can dry out quickly. Newly planted trees may need water two to three times per week their first year. Mature avocado trees need water equal to about 2 inches of rainfall or irrigation each week during summer.1

Fertilizing - Avocados do best with plant foods designed specifically for avocados and citrus. They prefer fertilizers with higher amounts of nitrogen relative to phosphorus and potassium. That means that the first number in the N-P-K ratio on your fertilizer label should be higher than the other two.

Protecting - Avocados are prone to insects, such as thrips, mites, whiteflies and leafrollers. Visible signs of damage can be brown spots on leaves or scarred fruit. Sevin Insect Killer Ready-to-Spray kills by contact with results in minutes. To protect your avocados, use the spray as a spot treatment - the solution will not harm the plant and will mix automatically as you spray.

Pennington UltraGreen Citrus & Avocado Plant Food 10-5-5 provides avocados with an ideal blend of primary nutrients plus added micronutrients, including zinc and iron, which are especially important to avocado health and growth. This premium fertilizer starts feeding immediately, then continues feeding your tree for up to four months.

Feed container avocados every 12 to 16 weeks, according to label rates based on the container size. For outdoor landscape avocados, feed in late winter, midsummer and again in early fall, according to the recommended label rate based on the tree's age.

Avocado toast tastes better when it's homegrown.

Once your tree bears fruit, it's time to celebrate. Avocados stay firm until they're picked and ripened. They never soften on the tree, so timing it right takes some practice. Allow the fruit to grow to full size. When one looks mature, pick it and set it indoors at room temperature out of direct sun. A fully mature avocado will ripen and grow soft within one to two weeks.

To test softness, don't squeeze with your fingertips. Place the avocado in your hand and squeeze with the fleshy part of your palm right below your thumb. It won't leave bruises like finger squeezes can. Once avocados start to soften, you can slow the process by putting them in the refrigerator. To speed it up, put avocados in a paper bag with bananas. Then starting planning menus, from avocado toast and classic guacamole to your own avocado-inspired creations.

Whether you start with a seed or a nursery tree, growing your own avocados puts fun and homegrown flavor on your table. Pennington is committed to providing you with the finest in all-purpose and specialty fertilizers along with expert tips to help make your dreams of homegrown avocados and beautiful lawns and gardens come true.

Always read the product label and follow instructions carefully.

Pennington with design is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.

UltraGreen is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc. 


1. UC Cooperative Extension, Orange County , "Edible Plants; Avocado, Growing," University of California.

2. Planttalk Colorado, "Avocado," Colorado State University Extension.

2. Nesbitt M., L. Stein and J. Kamas, "Avocados," Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Conditions Required to Grow an Avocado Tree | Home Guides

By Victoria Lee Blackstone Updated December 14, 2018

Although sprouting the seed of a store-bought avocado (Persea spp.) is simple, the plant may not bear fruit for up to 15 years. Avocado trees are propagated through grafting, which means the stem of one avocado variety is spliced onto another avocado variety. The technique yields quicker harvests, consistent fruit quality and disease-resistant avocado trees. Pollination, climate, soil, water and diseases are among variables that affect growing a healthy, fruitful avocado tree.


If you want to grow an avocado tree as a specimen plant without regard to fruit production, then you may plant a single avocado tree. If, however, you want to harvest your own avocado fruits, then more than one avocado tree must be planted. An avocado tree needs to cross-pollinate with another variety of avocado tree for optimal fruit set. Although avocado flowers have both male and female flower parts, each part functions at a different time during the day. Avocado trees are grouped into Type A and Type B, depending on the time of day their male and female flower parts are reproductively viable. Planting a Type A tree and a Type B tree increases successful pollination if enough insect pollinators, such as bees, are present.


The condition most limiting to growing an avocado tree is cold weather, according to the Texas A&M System AgriLife Extension website. All three primary avocado species are tropical plants: West Indian (P. americana Mill. var. americana), Guatemalan (P. nubigena var. guatamalensis L. Wms.) and Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia Blake). Mexican varieties are the most cold-hardy, but they can tolerate cold temperatures to only about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In a residential setting, the south or southeast side of a house is the warmest location, and so it is the best place for an avocado tree. During freezing weather, it helps to drape blankets or tarps over a young tree and anchor the coverings to the ground. If an avocado tree is large, then mounding soil or mulch high on the tree trunk for winter can help the tree survive cold temperatures.

Soil, Water and Fertilizer

An avocado tree can grow successfully in a variety of soil types and in soil with acidic or alkaline pH levels, but the tree requires soil that has good drainage. It declines in poorly draining and saline soil. Because West Indian varieties are more salt-tolerant than Mexican varieties, they are better choices in coastal regions. An option is to plant a Mexican variety that is grafted onto a West Indian rootstock. Although an avocado tree cannot tolerate wet soil, it needs at least 1 inch of water every week during periods of insufficient rainfall. Not fertilizing the tree until it is 1 year old is recommended on the California Rare Fruit Growers Inc. website. Young trees need four applications of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, and older trees need twice-yearly applications of a high-nitrogen product applied in early summer and late winter.


Avocado root rot is the most serious disease of avocado trees, according to University of California Integrated Pest Management Online. This disease, which is caused by the pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi, thrives in poor drainage conditions. Pale leaves, wilted leaves, branch die-back and small fruits are consequences. Applying a layer of gypsum and a 4- to 6-inch layer of an organic, coarse mulch underneath the avocado tree's canopy but several inches from the tree's trunk supplies calcium and suppresses the development of root rot.

Anthracnose, caused by the pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, infects an avocado tree's fruit, flowers, small branches and foliage, leaving spots, lesions and decay. This disease thrives in areas of high humidity, dense fog and mild winters. Pruning limbs to at least 2 feet off the ground increases air circulation at the base of the tree and raking debris from underneath the tree prevent overwintering pathogens.


  • Texas A&M System AgriLife Extension: Avocados
  • California Rare Fruit Growers Inc.: Avocado
  • University of California Integrated Pest Management Online: Management Guidelines for Avocado Root Rot (Phytophthora Root Rot)
  • University of California Integrated Pest Management Online: Management Guidelines for Anthracnose on Avocado

Writer Bio

Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.

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

Secrets of growing avocados at home - Botanichka

At first glance, it may seem that growing an avocado tree from a stone at home is difficult, if not impossible. But it's not. Everyone can afford to grow this ornamental tree without much effort, and in the future to enjoy its fruits. True, you need to know some secrets. We will reveal them to our readers in this publication.

Avocado Seedling. © Jeffrey Schwartz

The first step is to shop for an avocado

The avocado tree has broad leaves and flexible stems that allow it to be used in many decorative arrangements. Usually, three trees are planted in pots, from which pigtails are formed in the process of growth. There is a belief that the presence of an avocado tree in the house harmonizes relationships and creates a romantic atmosphere.

To do this, you need to purchase a ripe avocado from the store. To test it for ripeness, you need to press the fruit with your palms on both sides, and then release it. The ripened fruit will restore its structure, so you can safely buy it. But even if the avocado is not yet fully ripe, you can also buy it - it will ripen over time.

For faster ripening, the fruit can be placed next to apples or bananas, since these fruits release ethylene gas, which promotes faster ripening.

Sprouting the pit of an avocado

The avocado must be peeled, pitted and sown on the same day. Usually the seed germination is 100%. There are three ways to plant a bone.

  1. Unpeeled stone can be planted directly in the ground, leaving a third on top. The blunt end must be in the soil. In this state, the bone is left, it is necessary to water it once a week.
  2. An unpeeled bone can be pierced in three places with toothpicks 3 mm deep, then placed in water with a blunt end. The bottom part must be in the water and the puncture points must not be immersed in water.
  3. The peeled avocado pit should be placed in water, leaving a third on top. The peeled stone germinates faster, and in this case, you can observe how the root system and stem are formed.
Avocado seeds, sprouting in water. © KVDPSprouting an avocado seed in the ground. © skyseeker Avocado sprout from the seed. © Cayobo

For planting, it is better to choose a large bone, as it has more energy for growth. Water for soaking should be used separated, at room temperature (23-25 ​​° C). You can add charcoal or activated charcoal to the water, but this is not necessary, since the stone is unpretentious and will germinate well without these additives.

A stone may sprout in a week or two months. It depends on the season. It is best to plant it in the spring, as at this time it will germinate faster.

Planting the stone in the ground

As soon as the sprout grows 3 cm, it can be planted in the ground. The soil should be loose, well-drained so that the bone can breathe. Avocados do not like stagnant water in the roots, so drainage is required. You can take a small pot for planting, later, after a year, the plant can be transplanted.

Drainage should be 2 cm high. It is necessary to make a small depression in the soil, plant a stone in it so that a third comes out of the ground, then pour it with ordinary settled water, preferably with a small amount of salts, preferably filtered.

Next, put the pot in the brightest place in the room, you can fertilize once a month or every two weeks, any mineral fertilizers are suitable for this. In this case, the plant will grow and develop rapidly.

If the tree is stretched due to lack of sunlight, then it needs to be pinched. To determine if a plant requires watering, it is necessary to deepen your finger into the soil by two phalanges.

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