Introduction: Another Growing an Avocado (12 Years in the Making)

This is another how to grow an avocado from a pit. This INSTRUCTABLE is a little different in that it shows this process through to the end. That is also why it took about 12 years to out it together.

Just a little about me to set the stage. I finally settled in San Diego after spending 20 years in the Navy. I have always liked growing things and I have a passion for taking stuff you find in the grocery store and getting it to produce a plant. That can be seeds, pits, cutting or what not.


Step 1: Select the Fruit and Break Out the Knife

What do you need to start?

Well the obvious item is a ripe avocado and a knife to split the avocado into a left and right side and then a sprouting method (water or dirt).

Step 2: Just the Pit

After you have split your avocado remove the pit and wipe it clean. You can go straight to PLANTING it or let the pit sit out for a few days to dry out a bit. One of the benefits of letting it dry is that the dark skin on the pit will dry and crack or peel off.

If you want to skip the drying phase you can go straight to the water or the dirt or you can peel off the skin. I have had no problem growing with the skin on or off but I get faster germination with it off… personal preference.

The pit has a top and a bottom and you need to make sure that the bottom part of the pit is down, no matter what method you choose.

Step 3: Method One (water)

If you go the water route you will need a container for water. I recommend something clear and deep enough for the roots to grow in. some toothpicks or wooden skewers and water.

Firmly grasp the pit and insert the toothpick or skewers into the pit. I would recommend using three and place them around the pit equally with the ends of the toothpick/skewer at an up angle. This will allow the bottom of the pit to rest in the water. Fill he container with water until about the bottom third of the pit is submerged. All you have to do is wait for it to germinate. In a day or two you will notice the pit beginning to crack open and after that you will see a root coming out of the bottom and a shoot or shoots coming out of the top. Once you have leaves on your shoot you can transfer it to a pot with soil.

Step 4: Method Two (dirt)

If you go for the straight into the dirt method you will need a container filled with potting soil. Place the pit in the soil with about the top third exposed. Water and place in a well light area. Keep it watered but not soaking wet… you want the pit to grow, not rot.

I have done both methods and I have better results with the dirt method…. I think the plants are sturdier. I only use the water method when I really want to see what is going on with the pit… seeing the roots grow and the new plant emerging is enjoyable to watch. If you are doing this with the your kids it educational to see how roots grow and you can see daily changes. Choose your method and get started.

Step 5: Now Comes the Waiting

Ok, You have an avocado tree… even if it is only 6 to 12 inches tall. Now comes the hard part… waiting.

As your tree grows you may have to prune it to get a desired shape. This is your own preference but I woulded prune anything until you have at least three leave. Your will also move up in pot size as your plant grows. 

In San Diego I am able to plant it straight into the grown.  Just remember that this can grow into a 3o foot tree or more and it may not bear any fruit so this stem may need to wait.

This is now a history lesson on my avocado tree. It started its life about 12 years ago and spent it’s first few years in a 12-inch clay pot. From there it advanced to a half barrel and it lived in that until it was about 7 to 8 years old. While it was in the barrel it grew lush dark green foliage and would flower off and on and finally it set fruit, four avocados to be exact. I asked various sources to find out how to tell that the fruit was ready to pick and everyone said to pick a fruit, cut it open and if the pit had a brown covering it should be ready to pick.

I had four chances to determine that point and needless to say the first two attempts were way to early. There went half of my crop. Since then I have been able to narrow it down a bit and I have been told that the fruit should be ready around 9-12 months after flowering.

At this point the tree got moved to a permanent home in my back yard.

Step 6: Flowers and Fruit

With various setting changes and judicious pruning the tree is finally at the point when I can now say I have an avocado tree that is producing avocados. It took a long time to get to this point and there was no guarantee that I would even get fruit… there is always the chance that you will end up with a male tree.

I am keeping my tree pruned to a short height, around 10 feet. This makes it easier to pick the fruit and I don’t want the tree to get to large and block my solar panels.

One of the lessons I learned is that your tree will need a good avocado fertilizer applied regularly. If I would have done this earlier I may have cut a few years off of this INSTRUCTABLE.

Step 7: Final ThoughtsThe

Would I do this again and go through the 7-year plus program to see if I can grow avocados? The answer to that is Yes, in a heartbeat… in fact I have grown dozens of trees. I usually end up giving then away via craigslist or just setting them on the curb with a free sign.

I did plant two at the veterinary clinic where I work… I ended up flower and setting fruit but had to be removed due to a driveway change and the other one is 100% male and has grown very tall and very thick in just under 5 years.

If you want to see if you can grow something from a pit, go for it. If you want to teach your kids about how things grow, this is a winner. If your are looking for an attractive houseplant, have at it. If your only goal is to grow avocados, save your time and buy a tree at the nursery and be guaranteed to have a tree that will produce and may do it in as little as a year.

Thank you and HAPPY GROWING

Comments

author
DarlaL12 (author)2017-06-26

A while ago I had a avocado seed in the water method & it split in half. Inside each half was a little yellow shoot. We were going away for 2.6 months so I potted them in potting mix, put them in the shade house with the auto sprinkler system on daily. When we came back they had grown big enough to plant out in the garden. Now I am trying with 6 more seeds. Hopefully I will have the same success. I'm in sub- tropical Queensland Australia so the weather is warm.

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ThomasL102 (author)DarlaL122017-06-27

If I was going to try and start 6 avocado pits I think I would start them straight in to dirt. I have found out I have a better chance with that. Good luck with your trees.

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KikiN2 (author)2016-02-05

Hi...! I soo want to start making avocado trees, but I live in Denmark.. Right now ( february) It's ofcourse cold outside, we have some days where the sun doesn't come out, and it ofcourse wouldn't survive outside. Do you know if I can plant it inside, if it's in a window with enough light? And what about the temperature..? would it survive the next winther (january is pretty grey here).

Thanks for your very helpful instructable :)

Nadia

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GunjanG made it! (author)2015-06-02

I made it and it coming out and two other still in process.but I chose the mud process.

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CharlotteL1 (author)2015-05-16

I don't know if you will see this or reply since your last reply comment was over a year ago, but......you mentioned pruning. What time of the year is best for pruning these trees? I'm in FL so conditions are not that different from your geographic location. I'd love to try this with my family since we are always randomly sprouting seeds! So I say thanks for this in depth/thorough instructable! I can't wait to start.

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sdbigguy (author)CharlotteL12015-05-16

as the plant is sprouting i would only prune it after it has a few leaves and the you are only prining it to encourage it to branch out. If it is a grown tree i eould prune it arount this time of year to keep it to a size that is easy to harvest the fruit. It diesn't do you much good it the tree is 20 feet or taller. It also depends on the type of avocado... The fruit I grow here is normally ripe Oct to Jan. hope this helps.

author
sdbigguy (author)2013-05-25

I have the opposite problem here. I have tried to remove a few that I planted in the wrong spot and I had to cut the back multiple times to get rid of them.

As for pruning. If your problem is that the tree is just one tall single stem you can prune to just above the third true leaf. I would use a very sharp knife instead of a scissor at this stage. This should cause it to bush out.

As it gets older i use my pruning shears or large limb looping shears. I have chopped off limbs as big around as a fifty cent piece without any issues.

Understand that in the long run you may have to wait 7 years or longer to find out if you have a female tree. It isn't like you can look under a limb and determine the sex.

I know that in California the growers will drastically cut trees back in a drought situation to preserve the trees.

Hope that helps a little.

Happy growing!

author
yogagoddess08 (author)2013-05-25

Thank you for this! My husband had been trying to grow avocados for about three years. We have several plants now and have even brought them with us on a move across country! They seem to thrive right now outside here in the south, but I think they are getting too tall and need pruning. He pruned once and the tree died, any advice on pruning? I really hope he gets fruit one day, he would be so excited!

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sdbigguy (author)2013-05-11

You are very welcome. The next things growing right now are strawberries from seed, papaya, mango and trying to grow lemon grass. Busy times in San Diego.

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CasCas54 (author)2013-05-11

Thank you for this great instructable! It was worth the 12 years! Keep up the great work :)

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sdbigguy (author)2013-05-11

Thank you for the kind words!

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cshores (author)2013-05-10

I too prefer Hass. Great tutorial. Thanks.

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sdbigguy (author)2013-05-10

I know it takes time but I had fruit on a tree when it was in a half barrel. The tree was only about five feet tall and it does well with pruning to keep it small.

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rimar2000 (author)2013-05-10

I love avocados, but my backyard is too little to have a tree of them. Your instructable is very useful, anyway.

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sdbigguy (author)2013-05-10

I usually go with Hass... We love the flavor, size and texture. In San Diego you can find road side stands that with have the for 5 for a dollar or less... These are usually the small end of the season. I have been told that Reeds might be easier to grow but I prefer the Hass.

Thanks for the comment

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warreng971 (author)2013-05-10

What type of avocadoes do you grow? Im going to try hass

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Bio: I was born in the Chicago, Illinois and spent my formative years in a small community known as Wonder Lake. I moved to Greers Ferry ... More »
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