Introduction: Grow an Avocado Tree

Picture of Grow an Avocado Tree

I think plants are pretty cool... so I decided to share my love of plants by submitting an Instructable on growing your very own avocado tree. This is a pretty simple process, but if you have any questions please ask me.

I do not have any photos right now of the finished tree because I cannot travel through time. I will submit sideshow on the growing tree when it starts growing.

What you need:
Styrofoam cup
4 toothpicks
A spoon
Something that will cut a Styrofoam cup
...and water .-

Step 1: Find a Seed

Avocados are potato sized greenish-black fruits (I think they are fruits). The best time to harvest a seed from an avocado is when it is ripe. If the color is Purple, green or purple-green, it is not ripe. If it is greenish-black in color it is ripe and you can harvest a seed from it.

To harvest the seed, simply cut the avocado in half ( widthwise or lengthwise,it does not matter) and GENTLY scoop out the seed (with a spoon, dork). Be sure not to severely lacerate the seed in the process of cutting the avocado in half.

Step 2: Tooth Picks

Picture of Tooth Picks

Insert your toothpicks in four main directions around the middle of the seed. The toothpicks should not go inside the seed any further that 3mm.

It should look like this:

Step 3: Containment

Picture of Containment

Now take your Styrofoam "Joe" cup and cut out a little bowl about 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom.

It's difficult to explain so... Do it like this.

Step 4: Very Important!

Picture of Very Important!

This is very important! Make sure you put your avocado seed bottom first in the cup! If you do not put it in this way it will not grow. The bottom of the seed has a sort of circle-stem thing on it.

The tooth picks act as a stand to keep the avocado from touching the bottom of the container we just made.

Step 5: All Done

Picture of All Done

Put you seed in a place where it does not get to cold and has lots of light. Now you can fill the container with water. The water level should always stay right up to the tooth picks so you should check on it often and top off the water when evaporation lowers the level.

Completely change the water every week or so -- Bacteria and fungi will either kill the seed or stop its growth.

Well I can't say "have fun" because this is very boring, watching a plant grow is not 'hi-speed action'.

Oh, when it grows roots and a few leaves, you can plant it in a Terracotta pot with potting soil.


AndreiG6 made it! (author)2015-11-04

let the waiting begin

ilis (author)2012-05-03

Here's something that I think should be mentioned to those interested in growing avocado plants : if you're a pet owner, DO NOT grow avocado plants indoors, or where your pet can get to them. Personally, my cats have a UNDYING habit of chewing on any living foliage they can get their teeth on. Avocado leaves are VERY POISONOUS to cats and dogs. If you're not cautious, you could find yourself with a very hefty vet bill as a result -- or worse, a dead pet. Nobody wants that.

Just looking out for all the animal lovers who happen to also be plant lovers :]

Fred da Bunny (author)2010-04-24

lol u sound like a CSI with the word lacerate in there.

joeymmeezz (author)2010-02-26

 very nice

UglyRedBag (author)2008-05-30

Which way do you plant it? Is the thing growing out the bottom of it a root or a stem?

Ph30n1x (author)UglyRedBag2010-02-16

Where the bottom of your plant is in the cup (if you follow this growing technique) are the roots, and what sprouts from the "pointier" end should be the leaves.

TinaParker15 (author)UglyRedBag2008-06-06

You can also plant it halfway in the ground or in a pot of soil for better results.Sometimes theres problems when you grow in water then transfer to soil.

artoftexas (author)TinaParker152009-06-26

Thanks for the link! Great info there. You can also do like I did to prevent water-logged roots. I start many of my plants in 12 oz. plastic cups with several small holes punched in the bottom. A good mixture of potting soil with lots of vermiculite or shredded packing peanuts help keep the starter soil well aerated, then I place the plastic cup inside a yogurt or other small plastic container to catch the drained water. This way after your plants get started and leaves and roots are well established you can just pop it out of your plastic cup and transfer to a bigger pot with well-drained, rich soil. The peanuts or vermiculite help the roots grow so they are not crowded or bound up. Thanks again!

Kaiven (author)2008-02-01

hey! can you tell me how to grow a banana tree?

Rainh2o (author)Kaiven2009-11-14

Banana's dont grow on trees

WilderLust (author)Kaiven2008-02-29

i used to grow dwarf bananas... they are fun and easy to care for. i used to grow them in big pots inside my house in front of south facing windows and would take them out in summer. you want to have several going so to create a protected center. the thing to remember is that baby shoots need shade and will burn in direct sun. if you consider their native habitat, the older shoots cover the young ones and protect them from the sun. cheers, wl

Kaiven (author)WilderLust2008-02-29

so could i eat a banana and tear the bottom off, and plant it?

WilderLust (author)Kaiven2008-02-29

no... bananas multiply by sprouting offspring... you will have to get a baby from someone who has one or buy it. incidentally... they are not actually trees... more like a very stout grass! the dwarf plants are available at nurseries sometimes... do a search and you are sure to find a source. they are very attractive plants to have too and give the room a festive tropical look. i am going to have to get one again :-) cheers, wl

Kaiven (author)WilderLust2008-03-03

aahh.... so i guess i basically can't plant one :P

nepheron (author)Kaiven2008-02-14

um..well i don't know how...

Kaiven (author)nepheron2008-02-16

ok... thanks

dp69_2001 (author)2008-10-04

If it seeds it is a fruit

Rainh2o (author)dp69_20012009-11-14

What about a Jalepeno or corn?  They seed...

what about pumpkins or eggplants?

I don't think those are are fruit or vegetables...

awang8 (author)nepheron2009-06-28

No, those are vegetables. I think plants that produce flowers are fruits. The exception is for plants which self-pollinate (i.e: have male and female flowers). Wait... Watermelons are vegetables? Guesses are bad...

Yerboogieman (author)awang82009-11-11

What about potatoes? They produce a really cool looking flower.

roboguy (author)awang82009-07-29

All plants and parts thereof that you can eat are vegetables (I'm pretty sure that "poisonous vegetable" is an contradiction). Fruits are the parts of plants that contain the seeds. Therefore, all fruits are vegetables, but not all vegetables are fruits. Pumpkins, tomatoes, eggplants, etc. are all fruits. We are conditioned to think only of sweet things as fruits, like apples and oranges, but those are only one kind of fruit.

The fruit provides nutrients to the seed(s) inside, much like the white of an egg does for the yolk if it has been fertilized. That's why many of them are sweet: sweet = sugars = energy for the seed.

Someone might argue that "seedless fruit" is an oxymoron, and that therefore, things like bananas and seedless grapes are no longer fruits. These ARE fruits, but we have interfered with their development so that we only get the yummy edible part and not the not-so-edible seed that the yummy part was intended for!

nachobobs (author)dp69_20012009-07-30

The avocado is classed as a nut. It contains proteins and fats, unlike most fruit and vegetables.

skiller0k (author)2009-03-09

nice im gunna try tomo :) lets hpee thiss works xd

nepheron (author)skiller0k2009-03-10

Good luck! Just make sure that the toothpicks *just* puncture the serface of the seed, or you will kill it. also make sure the seed is properly moist orit will dry out and may rot.


mynameisjonas (author)2009-02-10

do you have any pictures of your grown tree?

jianqiang (author)2009-02-03

I think I murdered an avocado seed a few years ago by pushing the toothpicks really deep....dead avacado

Sunbanks (author)2009-02-03

I did this a few months ago (for some reason I think I started it in November, but I'm not sure) and my biggest avocado tree is 2 feet 2 inches tall :D

EcoMotive (author)2008-10-16

Can the avocado tree stay in a pot untill maturity or do you have to plant it in your garden? You should post a few pics of your results. Thanks.

walkerpedia (author)2008-08-03

i thought that u were going to put some pictures of the plant up...........i have already grown 2 since i read this and they are already fruit-bearing

SheShe (author)2008-07-04

If I remember correctly my mother always had a decorative sweet potato vine in her kitchen window using this same method.

vinnie1 (author)2008-07-02

Heya, how long do the seeds take to sprout/germinate?

fotofarie (author)2008-06-27

I have a collection of glass bottles and have found a couple with mouths that are large enough to support the pit at the same depth the toothpicks do... but I have not had any luck. Does being in a sunny window really make a difference for a pit? I have done other experiments with my kids to teach them about photosyntheses where we placed newly planted seeds in the closet, and they still came up. I have been trying for several months now, any suggestions?

anerratic (author)fotofarie2008-06-29

Heat, oxygen and water are the only stimuli needed for plants to germinate. You may actually find that the plants in your closet grow a lot faster than plants in the sun. This is because the plant hormone auxin, which encourages division in the tip of leaves, is not destroyed because there is no light (light breaks auxin down). This means that although the plant will still grow in the closet, it will not grow as healthily as those plants in the sun(no glucose is being produced by photosynthesis).

snailian (author)2008-06-06

Your comment on step 3 reminds me of "snow crash" by Neal Stephenson. I'll have to give this a try, I'd love to have a supply of avocados.

phunger (author)2008-06-01

I tried doing this toothpick method several times and it never worked. One day I gave up and just put a pit into a pot of soil of another plant without doing anything to it and it sprouted! It's been about a year, it's 4 feet tall and so beautiful. I would also be interested in the answer to secretmachines question since I also live in a colder climate and thought about trimming the tree at the top when it gets too tall.

firemaam (author)2008-05-12

Avocados are in fact fruits.

deth2all (author)2008-04-24

Superglue doesn't seem to stick to avocado seeds....................................

pixbytrix (author)2008-04-04

My question is, living in MN, would I be able to grow an avocado tree large enough to bear fruit, in a pot?

Youth grower (author)2008-03-25

Dose it have to be styrofom

Bom6at (author)2008-03-24

Yep. avocados take LONG time to grow... But what's wrong with a little patience? I grew many avocados in my atrium/greenhouse in Phoenix. It was kept nice and warm and had an automatic mister that kept it nice and humid. The avocado pits grew to 3' in about 6-7 months.

CameronSS (author)2008-01-09

Are you aware of how long avocados take to grow? These aren't beans or bamboo--we have a "tree" that's been growing for at least five years, and the trunk is still only about 1/2" in diameter, and about 2.5' tall. Full mature height is 65'. They're slowwwww growers.

nepheron (author)CameronSS2008-01-10

Avocados do take a really long time to grow into a 4 foot monster, but only take a few months to grow into a nice little 2 inch w/ leaves plant-buddy. :) i hear its quit a fun thing to grow. also: I want to keep it small (bonsai-ish) so I will cut the top of the tree off when it reaches about 2 inches. I have read that even if you have to cut all the leaves off, it will still live and grow more leaves.

secretmachines (author)nepheron2008-03-19

I had grown an avocado plant last year but had left for a month. When I got back, my grandmother had cut off the top of the stem and it died. There was always a sense of impending doom for this plant since I live in Canada and had no idea what to do with the plant once it started getting big. Any tips?

The Saminator (author)2008-02-20

Nice i did this when I was younger. Forgot about it. I think I will try it again!

timd2 (author)2008-02-13

mine never worked

finkbuilt (author)2008-02-12

NIce! LIke a lot of people, I did this as a kid. I also recently tried to do it as an activity with my own kids, but we had a high percentage of "duds" that did not sprout when we used the toothpick method. I then learned of another method that works really well. You take the seed, wrap it in a water-soaked paper towel, and put it into a ziplock bag. Now, toss it into the cabinet below the sink for 3 weeks. It will be a vigorous sprout! Plant in soil.

iq_abyss (author)2008-01-30

If you don't mind wasting the avocado's yummy, you can just let it sit around for a while until it sprouts a bit on it's own. The whole fruit thingy will get mushy but it's better for the seed. Once the avocado has gone very mushy do what was suggested in the Instructable. If you do it the way I've suggested you are going to have a problem with fruit flys but I'm going to post an Instructable on how to kill them in just a few seconds.

iq_abyss (author)iq_abyss2008-01-30

I'm going to post it in a few seconds--it takes over night to kill the flys.

About This Instructable




Bio: Travelling since 2013. I'm currently in Australia for some reason. --- I’m Calvin Drews, and I love to learn, experiment, invent, create, repair, and ... More »
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