How to Grow an Avocado Tree From a Seed
Interested in growing an avocado tree from a seed? 5-Minute Crafts has prepared a handy-dandy guide, complete with photos, to learn how to grow a whole tree from an avocado pit. You can easily manage this using some toothpicks, water, soil, and a pot.
1. Wash the seed thoroughly.
If you want to grow an avocado tree from the comfort of your home, you can simply use a seed from a fruit that you bought in a store. Then be sure to clean the seed properly and wash any residue that is left. Remove all the bits of avocado, otherwise, it will attract mold and mildew and ruin the seed. Use a clean napkin to dry it well or just let it air-dry. The avocado seed should be whole without cuts or breakage.
2. Prepare a jar.
You’ll need a jar or a drinking glass where you can place the seed. The jar should be filled with enough water so that when you place the bottom of the seed in it, a third of it should be submerged (or 1 inch). Basically, the seed should just be barely over the water. The reason for this is that the seed should sense the water that is beneath it and send out roots to soak it up.
3. Poke the seed with picks.
Use picks that you prepared beforehand and press them into the seed. The picks will act as suspenders, holding the avocado seed so that it stays in place when put in a jar. The toothpicks should be at an equal distance on each side so they can keep the seed stable.
4. Put the jar in a warm spot.
After you put the avocado seed in the jar or a container, you’ll need the perfect place for it. Growing avocados favor a warm spot with enough sunlight, so a bright window can be preferable. However, be sure that the seed is out of direct sunlight. Also, make sure that the container is in a safe place where it can’t get knocked over.
5. Wait for the roots.
When everything is done properly and the seed is placed in a jar, make sure you change the water regularly. You should also mind the temperature — whether you are growing it inside or outside, bear in mind that growing avocados thrive in climates with medium to high humidity and temperatures ranging from 60°F to 85°F. In roughly 2 to 6 weeks, roots and a sprout should emerge. If not, try again with a different seed.
6. Prune the tree regularly.
Frequently prune the tree. Trim the top 2 sets of leaves every time it reaches a new height of 6 inches. Cut the plant back to 6 inches when it reaches a height of 12 inches. Cut it back to 12 inches when it reaches 18 inches, and so on. This will encourage plant growth.
7. Move the plant to some soil.
When the roots have grown thick and the stem has leaves again, plant the seed in the soil, in a pot about 10 inches in diameter, leaving half the seed still exposed above the soil. It’s best to use high-quality potting soil once the stem has grown out once again. Your avocado tree should now be ready to continue its growth.
8. Place the pot near a window.
If you are keeping your avocado tree indoors, place the pot in a sunny spot. In the summer, you can put your pot outside as long as the temperature is above 45°F. To promote fullness, trim your plant occasionally (every 6 inches or so).
9. Keep the soil moist.
A growing avocado likes moist soil, so be sure to water it regularly. However, the soil should be damp but not drenched. Keep the plant wet but not soggy. Make sure the soil drains effectively, as you would do with other plants.
10. Use fertilizer.
During the summer, it will be best to nourish the tree on a weekly basis with fertilizer that contains nitrogen. Avocados also require a little bit of zinc, so look for a fertilizer that contains this mineral. It is advised not to use the fertilizer during the winter months, as the growth is at its lowest.
11. Plant the avocado tree.
If you placed the avocado tree in a container, you can re-pot it as it gets bigger and put it in pots that are 2 inches wider in diameter each time. If you live somewhere warm enough, when your tree is big enough, you can plant it outside. It may eventually produce fruit (however, it may take years).
For those in milder climates, the avocado tree can be placed outside during the summer, but it should be brought inside if the temperature during the winter is below 45°F.
12. Other tips for growing avocados
One thing you should know before you start growing your avocado is that it normally takes these trees 5 to 13 years to bear fruit. They might be pretty expensive in stores at times because it can be difficult for this to happen indoors. Some other things to remember are:
- Since the avocado is a tropical plant (originally from southern Mexico), you can also grow its trees in the outside areas without freezing temperatures.
- Rich, well-drained soil with direct sunlight and somewhat high humidity are ideal for them.
- Ideally, you should plant the tree between March and June.
- When you plant, give them lots of room, especially if you’re growing several trees because, under the right circumstances, they may grow up to 20 feet wide and 40 to 80 feet tall.
- The avocado tree roots are extremely shallow and mostly develop in the top 6 inches of the soil, so you can consider mulching after you plant it, as it can be a good option.
- Water the soil 2 to 3 times a week, giving it a good soak before allowing it to dry up.
- Avocado trees are vulnerable to damage from caterpillars, thrips, mites, borers, and other insects when they are grown outside.
Bonus: other methods for growing an avocado tree
You can also grow the avocado directly from the soil and skip the method with the jar and picks. It is preferable to start your avocado in a small container that you would typically use for small seeds. For a short time, while the tree begins to grow, this will be large enough for the seed and the roots that will eventually emerge. Then be sure to do the following:
- Before putting the avocado seed in the soil, thoroughly water and clean it.
- Fill the pot with the soil until it is roughly three-quarters full.
- With the bottom side facing up, place the seed in the center of the pot.
- Press the seed down on it while giving it a couple of twists. This will ensure that the seed is stable in the ground.
Your seed should have the pointy end protruding out above the earth and be just partially covered by it. Remember to keep the soil moist as you wait for the young avocado sprout to emerge.
The last method you can use for growing an avocado from a seed is called the “bag germination” method. To use this technique, you’ll need to do these steps:
- Let the avocado seed dry out for a few days in a dry, dark area.
- The brown skin will become dry and incredibly simple to peel off. You can use a spoon for this. Try not to damage the little disc that is at the bottom.
- Prepare either a small towel or many layers of paper and soak them. They should be wet but not soaked through.
- Place the towel in a Ziploc bag and put it straight on its side.
- Inside the bag, place the avocado seed on its side.
- After sealing the bag most of the way, leave an opening that could fit 1 or 2 fingers for the airflow.
- Place the bag in a dark and secure place that is easily accessible so you can keep an eye on it.
Some people think that this method could actually give the best results since the risk of root rot is minimal. However, it has its downside too, as it can be sensitive to mildew. To prevent your avocado seed from developing mold, be sure to check it every day.
Have you ever grown a tree from an avocado seed? Which planting method did you use?