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!

7 People Made This Project!

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113 Discussions

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sharpstick

1 year 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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caitd3sharpstick

Reply 4 weeks ago

Thanks for the info. I live in Fla too, on the East coast. My tree is only about 12 feet high. I did not realize they got that big and I will keep it trimmed because of your note. No fruit yet, but we keep hoping.

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sharpsticksharpstick

Reply 1 year 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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caitd3

4 weeks ago

Many plants can be started from the original fruit. I have had luck with pomegranate, kiwi, Japanese Plum and dragon fruit so far. One never knows until you try.

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rv8flyboy

4 weeks ago

The last 10 or so pits I tried did not germinate.

Looking into this, some avocados appear irradiated or otherwise treated to make them last longer, it also kills the pit :(

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chg1008ella868

Reply 5 months ago

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

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Tweetysvoicechg1008

Reply 4 weeks ago

Can you please tell me which step mentioned this. I've re-read several times and cannot find one mention of the fat side of the seed going up or down.

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Breezy777

Question 3 months 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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RobynD27

11 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 11 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 11 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 11 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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KimP144

Question 1 year ago on Step 3

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

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JudyH104

Question 1 year 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???