Growing Avocado Plants From Seed

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Introduction: Growing Avocado Plants From Seed

I love avocados and growing things, and found this to be a fun, simple way to grow beautiful-looking plants from the stones (pits) left over from making guacamole or avocado dip. It takes a while for a stone to grow into a tree, but you’ll have a beautiful houseplant pretty quickly.

There are two ways to start out your seeds:

  1. Perched over a cup of water (like the photo demonstrates)
  2. In dirt / soil (which grows faster than the water method)

You'll need:

  • Avocado seeds, rinsed from your last avocado meal
  • Toothpicks and jars for the water method
  • Dirt, gravel, and pots, trays, or garden space

Step 1: The Seed - Water Planting

This particular seed had sprouted inside of the avocado before I had even eaten it. Be careful to not cut any deep gouges when removing the seed. Clean it very well so there are no more bits of avocado flesh left on them (like there happens to be in this photo).

If you are using the toothpick method, stick three toothpicks in the side of the seed about halfway down. You want half of the avocado to be under water. Set it on the rim of a glass or jar and fill it up. The "bottom" is the fat end. Easy enough, right? Refill the water as it evaporates and keep the avocados in a bright window or outside. They will begin to sprout after anywhere from a few days to several months. One of my avocado seeds took three months to sprout, but I've never had one not sprout eventually. When roots begin to fill the glass, transplant the whole deal carefully into a pot.

Step 2: The Seed - Dirt Method

The dirt method is just as simple. If you are using a pot, put a little gravel or some pebbles in the bottom for excellent drainage. Avocados love water but they do not like soggy soil. Leave the top of the seed a little above the soil.

Step 3: Baby Plant

Soon enough your plant will be sprouting. This is a seed I water-planted and then moved into a pot.

Step 4: To Prune, or Not to Prune

Here is a plant that is just a little bit older. See how the different sets of leaves are developing? As they grow, some people recommend pruning the top bunch off to create a bushier plant. If you plan on keeping the plant inside (avocados make great houseplants!) you may want to do this to keep the size reasonable and to have a more attractive plant.

Step 5: Too Big for a Little Pot

These two shot up pretty fast as the weather warmed. Here in California we can grow these guys all year round, but most plants will not survive under 55-60 degrees. These plants are Hass avocados, and will probably need to be moved into bigger pots very soon.

Step 6: Watering & Enjoying

I was lucky enough to come across three Fuerte avocados (the most delicious, in my opinion). Although it can take several years to produce fruit - IF they ever do - I am keeping a watchful eye on these three plants in hopes they someday will. Avocados need a good watering, but do not like being watered small amounts daily. It is best to thoroughly soak the soil and then only water it again when it is beginning to dry. I've stuck to watering them every other day (or less). Watch your leaves carefully!

Good luck on your avocado planting and hopefully you will soon have a pretty, low-maintenance plant to decorate your home/garden. If you have any tips for me, please leave me a comment!

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102 Discussions

I have tried the water method with several seeds, but have never had any success. Any tips?

I have an avocado tree in my yard. It appeared in a compost pile about 15 years ago. It is now about 30 feet tall. About three years ago, it started bearing fruit, despite being pretty much totally neglected. Unfortunately, they are too high to reach, so we have to wait until squirrels chew them enough for them to drop. If we're lucky, they ripen before they go bad from the damage, but they are pretty good when they do. It's bigger than a Hass, but just as good.

I'm in Tampa, Florida. Every five or ten years we get a freeze hard enough to kill some of the branches, but it comes back in the spring. Next time, I plan to trim the higher branches and "espalier" it so I can reach the fruit.

1 reply

This is a great fun and educational way to get a "free" plant. However, if you want an effective and productive way to get fruit, it is worth it to buy a plant that is better suited for home production. Some plants are best if they are grafted. Many of the fruit varieties you buy in the grocery store are optimized for commercial production and are not necessarily the best for home growing. Commercial ones are often bred for cheaper growing, better storage and transport, and are not always the best tasting. I also prefer dwarf varieties(papaya, banana, avocado) after having several large fruit trees killed by frost. The dwarf varieties can be grown in tubs and more easily protected by covering, or taking inside a porch during cold snaps, or the entire winter.

So basically, that "free" tree you grew from a pit is not that good a deal. If I'm going to invest time and yard space to a tree that I hope to get fruit from, I don't mind investing a bit more up front. (A good grafted dwarf Avocado tree is about $60 to $100, and will start bearing fruit in a year or two max, sometimes immediately.)

How do you go about pruning? Where exactly do you cut and how much?

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JudyH104

Question 3 months ago

My avocado pit sprouted and has about 10 leaves now. None are yellow but all are wrinkled and curled inward. Does anyone know the cure for this?

One set of instructions reads keep warm not in light the other set reads keep warn in light???

I have water started seeds a couple of times ,last time I was able to transplant into a large pot, Squirrels dug it up to get to the seed, this time if I get lucky again to trans plant I will put the pot into he screen enclosed pool area.

My mom has 3 of these plants in Iowa. Very cool. If anyone knows if you can do this with other fruit seeds, like peaches or mangoes, please message me and let me know. thanks :)

2 replies

Just ran across this 'ible. I have successfully grown lemon trees and mango trees but I started the mango tree in dirt. Buried the concave side down, (mango), about half of the height of the seed. It sprouted a beautiful bronze set of leaves followed a few days later by another set in a cross or X shape. The leaves later turned green. My lemon seeds were started in moist paper towels in a plastic bag on a window sill till they sprouted. Both the mango tree and the lemon trees have beautiful shiney leaves. I am growing them outside here in the Pacific Northwest which has been having most mornings at about 9c or low 50 degrees f and seldom gets above 16c to 20c or mid to high 60f tho there were a few days in the 70s f. So far they have been doing ok. They make beautiful decoratives but they can be made to bear fruit if grown inside. As an aside, check out youtube for "Bob Duncan: growing lemons in Canada." For peaches, freeze the pits for a month or so, crack the pit slightly and bury it very shallowly in planting medium. Most trees grown in cold winter states need to be froozen for a certain # of hours. Check out that info on a botony web site or maybe on you tube. Good luck.

Ma'am

Does any your plant gives fruits, avocado itself.

my question is for better harvesting do I need avocados from seeds or do I need to insert a good harvesting branch on it.

Hi I Put This Seed Just In Dirt As If It Was In The Water It's Now 20" tall and likes the bathroom

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LeeT40

2 years ago

I have had an avocado tree for the past 4 years which is currently 6 ft tall. Its never flowered, so are there any suggestions for getting it to flower?

6 replies

Try putting it in a fridge for a day or two then taking it out, this simulates winter and makes the plant think it has been through a whole year, if this doesn't work you can try doing it multiple times

The guy did say his plant is six feet tall... how big is your fridge anyway?

Haha sorry... Some fridges are big enough but I don't have any other suggestions.

The guy did say his plant is six feet tall... how big is your fridge anyway?

takes 15 years to get avocados 11 years to go be patient lol

I had an avocado seed I froze a while back. Wasn't sure which end was up or down so I planted it in potting soul sideways. We'll see what happens. Hoping it can right itself. Opened 3 avocados I had in the refridgerator for a little over a month. One out of the 3 had sprouted already before being opened. A tiny little sprout like maybe 2 or 3 mm. I put it in water. Strangely that seed looks black. The other two are brown. I removed all the brown skin from one of them. All 3 are in water now.