Growing avocado from seed is fun and easy, and you can use the pit from your grocery store fruit.
In this post, I will give you detailed instructions for how to grow an avocado seed in just 5 simple steps.
You’ll also learn the best method to use (water or soil), when to start, how to pot up and care for the seedling, and get tons of tips along the way for the best success.
Overview Of Growing Avocado From Seed
|When to start:
|Late winter through spring are the best times
|Sprouting the seed in water
|Indirect bright light during germination
|Suspend the pit so the bottom ½ is submerged
How Long Does It Take To Grow From Seed?
It takes about 6-8 weeks to grow an avocado from seed. Sometimes it can be faster, depending on the environment. To try speeding up the germination time, put it in a warm location.
The time it takes from seed to harvest is much longer. It can take 10-15 years for them to become mature enough to set fruit …that is, if they ever produce anything.
Many times, an avocado plant grown from seed will not produce fruit – and if it does, it will be different than what you buy at the store. So most people just keep them as houseplants or ornamental trees in the garden.
Related Post: How To Care For An Avocado Tree
Tips For Planting An Avocado Seed
Before you go planting your avocado seed, it’s important to plan ahead so you get it right the first time. Below I’ll talk about the different methods you can use, how to harvest and prepare the pit, and when to start.
There are two methods you could try for growing your avocado seed: planting it in soil, or sprouting the pit in water.
- Planting in soil – You can plant the pit in soil just like any other type of seed. But this method is more difficult, because they are fussy about the moisture level, and it can be hard to get it just right.
- Starting them in water – It’s easier and much more fun to start them in water, and you can watch the roots sprout. So this is the method I’ll focus on in this guide.
When To Plant An Avocado Seed
The best time to start them is in late winter or early spring, when the sun is getting stronger and the weather starts warming up.
But you can plant an avocado seed at any time of the year. Just keep in mind that it may take longer to germinate during the cooler fall and winter months.
Preparing The Pit For Planting
To make sure you have the best success, here are a few things you should do to prepare the avocado seed before you plant it:
- Be sure that you take the pit from a ripe avocado. The riper the fruit, the more mature the seed will be. An immature one probably won’t germinate.
- Gently remove the pit with a spoon rather than a knife, and try not to damage or cut it in the process.
- Wash the seed in warm water, rubbing it gently to clean off all of the bits of flesh, otherwise it could mold.
- Make sure you know which side is up – the bottom is the end that goes into the water. Some pits have a distinct point on top, while others are more rounded. Either way, the bottom is a bit flatter, and has a circular spot where the roots will come out.
How To Grow An Avocado Seed In Water
You only need a few things to get started, and growing avocado from seed in water is pretty easy. The steps are the same no matter if you have a Hass, or some other variety.
The biggest thing to remember is that it can take as long as 6-8 weeks for the roots or stem to break through the pit, so you have to be patient.
* Your container does not have to be clear – but it’s way more fun if it is because you can watch the roots grow.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1: Stick toothpicks into the pit – Take three toothpicks and stick them into the pit, equidistant from one another. You’ll need to push firmly, but it isn’t difficult to insert them.
Alternatively, you could use a growing kit that it specifically designed for this purpose, and then you won’t need the toothpicks.
Step 2: Suspend the seed in water – Fill your vase or jar with water, then gently set the pit on top with the toothpicks resting on the rim of the container. Make sure that only the bottom 1/2 of the seed is submerged, and the top stays dry.
Step 3: Put it in a bright, warm location – Place the vase in a warm location where the pit will get bright, indirect light – keep it out of the direct sun at this point. Also, the warmer the temperature is, the faster the seed will sprout, ideally it should be between 70-80°F.
Step 4: Keep the water fresh – While you are watching and waiting to see the roots sprout through the bottom of the pit, the water will get foggy. This is normal, but you should replace it regularly with tepid water so your avocado seed won’t rot or mold.
Also, top it off as it evaporates, so the bottom of the pit remains in the water at all times, and never allow it to dry out completely.
Around the same time as roots begin to develop, the top of the pit will break open as the stem emerges. So don’t panic when the seed cracks, that means it’s germinating! If this doesn’t happen after 8 weeks, or the seed becomes black and mushy, moldy, or stinky, then discard it and start over with a fresh pit.
Step 5: Cut the stem back – After the roots (from the bottom of the seed; in the water) and stem (from the top of the pit; upwards) have sprouted, allow your avocado seedling to grow until it reaches 6-7 inches tall. Then cut it down to 3 inches.
While this is scary, and it seems like you’re killing the new plant, it’s actually the best way to encourage a stronger, healthier trunk and root system. Be sure to use a sharp and sterile pair of shears or pruning snips. After cutting it back, keep it in the water until the stem has leaves again.
How To Care For Your Avocado Seedling
When the roots are healthy and thick, and the stem has new leaves, it’s time to plant your avocado seedling in soil. Below I’ll show you how, and give you tips to help ease the transition:
Potting It Up
Use a clean container that’s deep enough for the taproot and has drainage holes in the bottom. As you work to repot your seedling, be very careful because the roots are delicate and can break easily.
Remove the toothpicks and position the seed at the same depth that it was in the water – the pit should stick out at least half way. Fill the pot with soil, making sure to cover all of the roots. Gently pack it in to hold the plant upright, then give it a drink.
When you’re done potting up your avocado seedling, place it in the same area where the vase was. It’s best to give it indirect light at first so it can recover from the shock of being planted in soil.
After a few weeks, you can slowly move it to a full sun location outdoors, or put it in a south facing window inside the house.
You should water your avocado seedling fairly frequently, especially in the beginning. Keep the soil consistently moist until it’s established in the new container.
Always let the excess water drain completely from the bottom of your pot, the soil should never feel wet or saturated.
When it reaches 12” (one foot) tall, cut your seedling back again – this time down to 6 inches. It seems scary to prune it back that much, but this encourages new shoots and branching for a fuller, bushier plant.
No, they do not need light to germinate. But for the best results, you shouldn’t plant them very deep, or the stem might not be able to emerge properly. Over the years, I have found many germinated avocado seeds buried deep in my compost bin (haha!), so I know from experience that they don’t need light to germinate.
There’s no need to dry your avocado seeds first, you can plant them right away. In fact, it’s a good idea to plant the pit as soon as you can after you remove it from the fruit.
If your avocado seed has only been dried out for a few days, it should be fine. But if it dries too much, it might not sprout.
Once it’s established in the new pot, you can keep your avocado as a houseplant, or transplant it outside if you live in a warmer climate. Growing avocado from seed is fun, and it’s so exciting when you see your first root or stem poke through the pit!
Do you want to learn everything you need to know to grow any type of seeds you want? Then you need to take my online Seed Starting Course today. It’s a comprehensive, detailed, self-paced online course that will walk you through every step of the way. Enroll and get started today!
Otherwise, if you just want to quickly learn how to grow seeds indoors, then my Starting Seeds Indoors eBook is just what you need. It’s a simple, quick-start guide that’s perfect for anyone.
More Posts About Growing Seeds
- How To Grow Seeds: The Ultimate Seed Starting Guide
- How To Grow Lavender From Seed & When To Plant
- How To Grow Onions From Seed & When To Start
- Tips For Growing Seeds Indoors For Beginners
- How To Test The Viability Of Seeds With An Easy Seed Germination Test
Share your tips for growing avocado from seed in the comments section below.