Growing Avocado Plants From Seed

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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!

3 People Made This Project!

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109 Discussions

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Breezy777

Question 3 days ago

I started out rooting the seed with toothpicks and water and cups. My second seed I put in the dirt. I now have 14 trees, I live in N.C. it is too cold to leave them outside so I put them inside in the winter outside in spring summer and fall. My first one and second are the tallest and oldest. My first almost four years old no flowers yet. I have never pruned it, it has 16 leaves and it is 2 feet and 4 inches tall. I never have grafted any yet, I learned how to but haven't yet. My second tree is three years old the tree is much thicker and stronger since it was started in the dirt. It has 11 leaves and is 28 inches tall also. The other trees vary in size. I also learned how to pollenate them myself, just have not had them flower yet to do so. It will probably be a long time since grown from a seed and not in the ground. I have so many, I am just going to go ahead and plant a couple outside soon and see what happens, ya never know and if they grow good maybe I can cover them in winter to protect them who knows!!

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chg1008ella868

Reply 8 weeks ago

This was clearly stated in the instructions above. Please read again. :)

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RobynD27

8 months ago

I rooted my avocado seed in a 8" tall x 3" plastic storage container. It rooted in 5 days. I run hot water into the container with a papertowell in the bottom folded into fours, seed on top of the 4 layers and one on top folded in half and half ripped off so its only 2 layers on top. It doesn't matter how the seed is positioned. I fill the container all the way with hot water then poor it all off until it drips once. and cap it off tight with a fitted lid. Put it someplace dark and warm. And in less than a week you will have a rooted avocado seed.

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RobynD27Taarna Hendrix

Reply 8 months ago

I rooted my avocado seed in a 8" tall x 3" plastic storage container. It rooted in 5 days. I run hot water into the container with a papertowell in the bottom folded into fours, seed on top of the 4 layers and one on top folded in half and half ripped off so its only 2 layers on top. It doesn't matter how the seed is positioned. I fill the container all the way with hot water then poor it all off until it drips once. and cap it off tight with a fitted lid. Put it someplace dark and warm. And in less than a week you will have a rooted avocado seed.

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RobynD27mohammed.shahbuddin.7

Reply 8 months ago

I rooted my avocado seed in a 8" tall x 3" plastic storage container. It rooted in 5 days. I run hot water into the container with a papertowell in the bottom folded into fours, seed on top of the 4 layers and one on top folded in half and half ripped off so its only 2 layers on top. It doesn't matter how the seed is positioned. I fill the container all the way with hot water then poor it all off until it drips once. and cap it off tight with a fitted lid. Put it someplace dark and warm. And in less than a week you will have a rooted avocado seed.

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RobynD27Betty Ashley-Faith

Answer 8 months ago

I rooted my avocado seed in a 8" tall x 3" plastic storage container. It rooted in 5 days. I run hot water into the container with a papertowell in the bottom folded into fours, seed on top of the 4 layers and one on top folded in half and half ripped off so its only 2 layers on top. It doesn't matter how the seed is positioned. I fill the container all the way with hot water then poor it all off until it drips once. and cap it off tight with a fitted lid. Put it someplace dark and warm. And in less than a week you will have a rooted avocado seed.

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sharpstick

10 months ago on Step 6

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.

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sharpsticksharpstick

Reply 10 months ago

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.)

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KimP144

Question 11 months ago on Step 3

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

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JudyH104

Question 12 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?

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Ann Damico

Question 1 year ago on Step 1

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

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Pppa Paul

1 year ago

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.

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GrooveBass

9 years ago on Introduction

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 :)

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stormy0314GrooveBass

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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.