How to grow an avo tree

How to Grow an Avocado Tree From a Pit at Home

If you're a fan, you know that most dishes can benefit from the addition of a few creamy avocados. And while you can easily snag avocados at your local grocery store, you may have stopped to wonder how hard it would be to grow your own. The bad news is that it can take five years minimum for an avocado tree to start producing fruit; the good news is that with a single brown avocado seed, a few simple supplies and an understanding of some basic care tips, you can learn how to grow an avocado tree indoors without a ton of effort. Read on if you're ready to give this fun and inexpensive gardening project a try — it's a great activity for kids, too!

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Check out these five basic steps to begin growing your very own avocado tree from a pit:

Supplies Needed

  • Avocado seed
  • Toothpicks
  • Drinking glass or jar
  • 10-inch pot
  • Potting soil
  • Trowel

How to grow an avocado tree at home

Emilija Manevska//Getty Images

  1. Save an avocado pit (without cutting into or breaking it) and wash off any residue. Let dry, then insert 3-4 toothpicks about halfway up the side of the pit.
  2. Suspend the pit broad end of the pit down in a drinking glass or jar. Fill the container with enough water to submerge the bottom third of the seed, the Missouri Botanical Garden advises.
  3. Place the glass in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and change the water regularly. Roots and a sprout should appear in about 2-6 weeks. If not, start with another seed.
  4. When the sprout gets to be about 6 inches tall, cut it back to about 3 inches to encourage more root growth.
  5. Once the stem grows out again, plant the pit in an 10-inch pot filled with rich potting soil. Now it's time to let your avocado tree grow, grow, grow!

Note: You can buy older trees instead of starting from scratch. Amazon sells grafted, 4-feet tall avocado trees that may yield fruit in 3-4 years instead of 10.

How to care for an avocado tree

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Place your pot in a sunny spot indoors and water lightly but often. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not sopping wet, California Avocados recommends. You can place your pot outdoors in the summer as long as temps stay above 45°F. Occasionally prune your plant (every 6 inches or so) to encourage fullness.

Gardening tip: Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. Dial back to avoid root rot.

Tips on growing an avocado tree outdoors

Dominic Dähncke//Getty Images

Avocados are tropical plants (they're native to southern Mexico), so you can also plant avocado trees in the ground outside in USDA Zones 10-12, a.k.a., regions with no frost. They do best in rich, well-drained soil with full sunlight and medium-high humidity. Ideally, you'll want to plant them between March and June. Give them plenty of space when planting, especially if you're growing multiple trees, since they can reach anywhere from 40-80 feet tall and up to 20 feet wide under the right conditions. Additionally, avocado trees have very shallow roots that mainly grow in the top 6 inches of the soil. For this reason, mulching (go for a coarse option) is key after planting. Water 2-3 times per week by soaking the soil thoroughly and then letting it dry out before watering again.

Will my avocado tree produce fruit?

Before you embark on growing your own avocado tree, there's one important thing to keep in mind: These trees typically take between five to 13 years to produce fruit. It's also quite challenging for this to occur indoors, which is the reason why they're fairly pricey in stores at times.

But even though your tree won't produce fruit anytime soon (or ever), you can still round out your green-thumb project with some avo-themed dishes from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. This nourishing fruit is packed with nutrients, like healthy fats and fiber, as well as vitamins C, E and K! Browse through our favorite dishes that make avocado the star of the show:

Great Avocado Recipes
Charred Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Mike Garten
Avocado Salad With Spicy Granola
Mike Garten
Citrusy Shrimp Stuffed Avocados
Mike Garten
"Fried" Avocado Tacos
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Caroline PicardContributing Writer

Caroline is a writer and editor with almost a decade of experience. From 2015 to 2019, she held various editorial positions at Good Housekeeping, including as health editor, covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism and dreams of the day Northwestern will go back to the Rose Bowl.  

Monique ValerisSenior Home Editor

Monique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand's home decorating coverage across print and digital. Prior to joining GH in 2020, she was the digital editor at Elle Decor. In her current role, she explores everything from design trends and home tours to lifestyle product recommendations, including writing her monthly column, "What's in My Cart."

This content is imported from OpenWeb. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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.

Find Pruning Shears On Amazon

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 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

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.

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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

Remove the outer shell from 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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8. Take good care of it

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 replant 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.


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