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 your own avocado seed into a beautiful and unique indoor plant, or a fruit bearing tree! Let’s start with a question that everyone asks 🙂
* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .
Can you grow your own avocado tree that bears fruit from just a seed?
Avocado trees grown commercially or sold in nurseries are grafted to ensure the reliable varieties. The fruits can be a little or a lot different (either superior or inferior ) than the original avocado from which you got the seed.
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 sprout and grow avocado seed in water
I love this method because it is so much fun to watch beautiful avocado trees growing from sprouted 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 sprout 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 first sprouted seeds, 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 keep the roots submerged in water as it grows. After a couple more weeks, stems and leaves will start growing out of the avocado seed. keep the plants in a very bright place, but out of direct sunlight.
Although avocado plants love direct sunlight when growing in soil, we need to keep them out of direct sunlight when growing avocado plants in water, because algae will grow when water is exposed to direct sun.
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.
Again, 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. 🙂
Another tip: 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 for several weeks, so they don’t dry out.
How to plant an avocado seed in soil
While it is fun to grow avocado seeds in soil, if you want a bigger avocado tree as indoor plant or a garden tree, you will want to plant them in soil, which will allow them to grow to much bigger size.
In warmer weather, all you really need to do is to plant 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!
You can started with the seed straight from an avocado, or sprouted seeds, or avocado plants growing in water like we just did! Some gardeners like to soak or sprout their avocado seeds in plastic bag first before planting them in soil. This way they know the seeds with roots will keep growing.
When planting avocado seeds in pots, choose a well drained potting mix with slow release fertilizer. My favorite potting mix is kellogg raised bed & potting soil mix which you can find at Home Depot.
Place the pits in soil at a depth about equal to the seed, with the top part of the seed pointing up, and cover with soil to the top tip.
Avocados like well drained soil and direct sunlight.
Keep the soil damp but never let the soil get soggy. Keep the pot in a warm sunny place. Like mentioned earlier, seeds with cracks will be the first to germinate and leaf out. 🙂
If you live in a warm climate, your avocado tree can grow into a 40′ tall big tree in the garden.
How long does it take for avocado plant to fruit?
When we plant an avocado seed pit, the tree seedling may take 5 to 10+ years to bear fruits.
Can you grow avocado trees indoors?
Avocado trees can be beautiful as indoor plants. Although they may not fruit when growing indoors in a pot, due to limitations on size & pollination requirements. Use these tips for indoor plant Fiddle Leaf Fig care to care for your avocado plants!
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.
Love regrowing unique plants? Check out this guide on how to regrow kitchen scraps into more herbs, veggies, or houseplants!
Happy growing! 🙂