2 easy ways to grow avocado tree from seed in soil or water, better than toothpicks method! Best tips on germination, indoor & outdoor planting, & more!
We have all seen lovely photos of avocado seeds on toothpicks over a jar of water. The truth is, the toothpick method is not as great as it looks, and many have ended up with their avocado pits rotted or shriveled.
As plant lovers living in Southern California – the biggest avocado growing region in the US, we have grown many avocado plants from seeds and learned lots of tips and tricks along the way.
Now it’s time to share with you how easy it is to grow an avocado seed into a beautiful and unique indoor plant, or a fruit bearing tree! Let’s start with a question that everyone asks 🙂
Can you grow an avocado tree that bears fruit from just a seed?
Avocado trees grown commercially or sold in nurseries are grafted to ensure the reliable varieties. When we plant an avocado seed pit, the tree seedling may take 5 to 10+ years to bear fruits. The fruits can be a little or a lot different (either superior or inferior ) than the original avocado from which you got the seed.
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It is important to know the top and bottom of an avocado seed.
When we grow an avocado seed, the roots always come out of the bottom and the stems come out of the top of seed pit. Therefore we want to plant the seed with the top part pointing up.
The top of an avocado seed has a pointed shape, like the top of the avocado fruit. The bottom of the seed is flat.
Helpful tip: avocado seeds that started to crack are great for planting, because roots have already started to develop!
How to plant an avocado seed in soil
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In warmer weather, all you really need to do is to bury some avocado seeds in soil either in the garden or in a pot, keep them watered. Avocado seedlings will grow in 1 to 3 months. We can’t even count how many avocado trees have grown from pits in our garden compost!
If you want to plant avocado seeds in pots, place the pits in soil with the top side pointing up, and cover with soil to the top tip.
Keep the soil damp but not soggy. Keep the pot in a warm sunny place. Like mentioned earlier, seeds with cracks will be the first to germinate and leaf out. 🙂
Some gardeners like to soak or germinate their avocado seeds in plastic bag first before planting them in soil. This way they know the seeds with roots will keep growing. If you want to try this method, go to the next step.
How to grow avocado seed in water
I love this method because it is so much fun to watch beautiful avocado trees growing from seeds in jars of water! If you just want some pretty indoor plants to decorate your home, you will really enjoy this technique.
A big thank you to Brad on YouTube for the great video tutorial!
First, let’s look at a better alternative on how to sprout an avocado seed without toothpicks. The problem is actually not the toothpicks, but the timing!
Clean the avocado seeds and peel off as much of the skin as possible. This reduces the chance of the seeds molding while germinating.
Wrap the seeds loosely in damp paper towel, and place them in a plastic bag or a container with lid.
Check on the pits once a week. If the paper towel smells or look slimy, wash the seeds, the plastic bag or container , and change to a clean piece of paper towel.
Once the avocado seeds crack, look for tiny white roots that sprout from the bottom of each seed, and be careful not to damage the roots. When the roots grow and protrude beyond the bottom of the seeds, it’s time to start growing them in water.
This stage can take 1-2 months. It’s a good idea to start with more seeds than you need, and just keep the faster sprouting ones, because some seeds take much longer time to sprout, for no reason! You can also plant the cracked or sprouted avocado seeds in soil at this stage, like mentioned in previous method.
At this point, you can actually use tooth picks or something more unique! There are avocado tree growing kits you can get on Amazon here. You can also use recycled plastic water bottles to make some!
Cut off the top portion of a plastic water bottle without the lid, and place it on top of a glass jar as shown. Put a sprouted avocado seed inside this half sphere with roots pointing down. Add water until the bottom half of the seed is submerged in water.
Always eep the roots submerged in water as it grows. After a couple more weeks, stems and leaves will start growing out of the avocado seed.
Here are some of our avocado seedlings growing in water at different stages. All we do is replenishing the water once a week, and add a drop of all purpose liquid fertilizer once a month.
The water stays clean and clear usually. If you occasionally see signs of algae, clean the jar and change water.
The only difference when you grow avocado indoors in soil vs in water is that avocado plants growing in jars of water need to be away from direct sun, because algae can grow in water exposed to sunlight.
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If you eat an avocado but are not ready to plant the seed right away, you can wash avocado pits clean and keep them in a jar of water so they don’t dry out.
Can you grow avocado trees indoors and outdoors?
Avocado trees can be beautiful as indoor plants. Check out these tips for indoor plant care.
Avocados are subtropical trees, so most of them do not like temperatures below 32F. The cold hardy varieties such as Fuerte or Bacon will grow outside down to USDA cold hardiness zone 8. You can also grow potted avocado trees in a greenhouse in colder climates.
Happy growing! 🙂