Avocados are more popular than ever. We use this yummy green fruit in salads, smash it on toast and dip our tortilla chips in it. The large pit can be a little difficult to remove, but did you know it’s not just annoying? It can be used for a fun DIY project: growing your own avocado tree. It’s easy and anyone can do it!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about growing an avocado from a pit in 5 easy steps.
Growing an avocado from pit step 1: Prepare the pit
I wish all DIY projects involved eating avocado! Use your avocado in a yummy dish and save the pit. Try not to damage it while removing it. Wash the pit thoroughly to remove any avocado bits, as residue can cause fungus. You can also peel the pit if you want it to germinate faster but it can be a little tricky to remove the brown peel, so leave it on if that’s too much work.
Growing an avocado from the pit works in both water or soil. The water method should make for faster germination and a more fun process since you can see the entire growing process. The soil method is more “set and forget” and works well if you have well-watered plant containers standing around.
Both propagation methods require you to identify the top and bottom of the pit: the top is pointier and will sprout leaves, while the bottom is flat and produces the tree’s roots.
Growing an avocado from pit step 2: Water or soil?
Growing avocado in water
If you want to start your avocado tree in water, find a glass to place it in. You’ll be looking at this glass for a while so be sure to find a pretty one!
Carefully insert three or four toothpicks into the seed at its thickest part, fill up the glass with water and suspend the seed over it so that the bottom half is submerged. That’s all you have to do. Place the glass in a warm, sunny place.
Tip: If you have kids and are afraid the toothpicks might pose a risk, a special avocado seed holder (yes, that is a thing) might be an option.
Growing avocado tree in a pot
Even less work than the water method, growing an avocado from pit in a pot is done by pushing it halfway into the soil (bottom down). And that’s pretty much it. The soil should be rich but also offer some drainage. You can easily achieve this by mixing potting soil with some perlite.
Just water regularly, make sure the pot is in a sunny place and be patient. I like putting avocado seeds in random planters and forgetting about them, only to suddenly find avocado trees everywhere a few months later. Some like to refer to this “technique” as guerilla planting!
Growing an avocado from pit step 3: Be patient
After you’ve got everything in place, all you really need to do is be patient for the next 1-2 months. If your avocado pit is placed in water, be sure to top it off if the water level seems to be getting too low.
Change the water every week or so to prevent rot or fungus. If your pit is placed in soil, just keep things lightly moist.
Growing an avocado from pit step 4: Success!
The first sign of avocado success is the appearance of a crack in the seed, running from top to bottom. If you’re seeing this happening you can expect the first signs of a little root sooner rather than later!
The root will keep growing for quite a while without anything else happening, but don’t let the lack of leaves discourage you. A stem should eventually appear at the top of the pit. Never let the root(s) dry out.
If you let the stem grow free you might end up with a very tall, thin stem with just a few leaves on top. If that’s not your thing, regularly pinch off the top leaves to encourage a shorter, bushy appearance.
Growing an avocado from pit step 5: Repotting
If you’re growing your avocado tree in water, you can move it to a pot once the stem has had some time to grow. You can also choose to leave the little tree in water. If you do move it, be sure to use a pot with a drainage hole and mix in a little perlite for a lighter soil mixture.
Place the pot in a sunny location and keep the soil nice and moist. The leaves and stem may look a little sad and droopy while they’re recovering from the move but they should perk up within a few days.
A few things to keep in mind if you’re attempting to grow an avocado tree from a pit:
- As with almost all plant-related things, this is not a fast process. It can take more than a month for the first signs of a root to appear and even longer before the first leaves develop. Things will progress even more slowly during wintertime when it’s a bit colder and darker. Don’t get discouraged!
- Your avocado tree unfortunately won’t carry fruit for quite a while. How long it takes can vary greatly, but don’t expect to see any avocados for at least a few years. And if fruit does appear, don’t get too excited. The avocados we love to eat are grown from commercially grafted trees. Your tree is not grafted and its fruits might be different from the parent both in taste and appearance. If you want fruit, try buying a grafted avocado tree (they have ’em here).
- Depending on your climate, you might be able to place the avocado tree in your garden. If things get cold during winter keep the tree in a pot and move it back indoors during fall.
If you have any more questions about growing your own avocado tree from seed or if you want to share your own experiences, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Interested in more projects involving growing plants from leftover food bits? Why not try the following:
- Growing a mango tree from a seed
- Regrowing a pineapple top
- Regrowing lettuce
- Growing a sweet potato plant