Fool Proof Ways To Grow An Avocado Plant From Seed

Often I’ve heard how amazed people are that I’ve had so much success growing avocado plants from seeds. I think it is because the old toothpick-over-water method is such a hit or miss.

So far I’ve had 95% success with sprouting avocado pits with the method I’m going to share today. I can’t take credit for coming up with it…who knows where it first started, but a number of blogger friends have shared variations of this with great success. So I gave it a try myself with a few small tweaks, and a few different sets of pits to experiment. Sure enough, it lived up to expectations, so I’m excited to continue to share the love!

Fool-Proof-Method-to-Sprout-Avocado-Seeds

Here’s how I successfully sprout avocado pits:

#1. Soak The Avocado Seeds Overnight

As soon as you remove the pit from the avocado, clean it and soak it in warm water overnight. If you aren’t on well water, use filtered or mineral water moving forward.

#2. Peel Away The Outside Husk

You probably won’t be able to peel all of the outside husk at once, but get as much as you can. Don’t worry, in the next few steps you’ll have opportunity for the husk to soften up and peel more away.

While this step is technically not required, occasionally a harder husk may prevent the root or shoot from growing properly. I had to remove the husk on a couple of my avocado pits because the root couldn’t penetrate it and grow straight out the bottom. It rerouted to grow out the side, which you don’t want. Give your avocado seed every advantage you can!

#3. Wrap In A Wet Paper Towel

Wrap each seed in a  wet paper towel. It doesn’t have to be dripping wet, but it should be more than just a little moist, and use warm water.

#4. Place In An Airtight Plastic Container In a Dark Place

Place the wrapped avocado pits in an airtight plastic container, or a ziplock bag. Set it in a dark and warm or room-temperature location (or just make sure the location isn’t cool).

Clear-plastic-container-with-avo-seeds

I put mine in a kitchen cabinet where I wouldn’t forget about it.

#5. Check Once A Week & Change Paper Towel

Check in on the status of your avocado seeds at least once a week, and rise them off so they don’t get mildewy. Swap out the old paper towel with a fresh wet paper towel weekly; this prevents it from drying out, or molding.

During these checks you should be able to peel the rest of the husk off the avocado (bit by bit), and eventually they should all split. That is usually an indication that a root is starting to form.

avocado-seeds-split-open

Leave it in that dark warm location until the root starts to protrude out the bottom. Don’t let the root get long otherwise it will grow bent. It should protrude just outside the seed…

#6. Place On A Jar of Water Once Rooted

Once the root is protruding from the avocado seed move it to a jar filled with filtered water if you are on public water, or buy mineral water to sprout your avo seeds. My well water is like magic super sauce when it comes to propagating. You can use the toothpick method to hold the avocado above the water at this point. Or get a jar with a mouth just wide enough for the avocado seed to sit atop, or use a prop cone like this one I bought here.

Don’t submerge the whole seed, but make sure the root is touching the water. In the next week or two you should see the root grow down into the water and even send out root offshoots.

Sprouted-avocado-pit

Be sure to place your sprouted avocado seed in a bright spot (indirect sunlight) in your house for it to grow.

Helpful Care & Growth Tips

Once the roots are deep down in the water it is okay that part of the root is exposed to air. However be careful to not allow the water to evaporate over time.

It may take several more weeks before the shoots finally emerge and you get any leaves. But in the meantime rinse the roots and refill with fresh water if you start to see buildup on the roots. And move the seed to a taller jar once the roots start to hit the bottom. You don’t want to stifle root growth.

Avocado-plants-with-root-and-small-shoots

Typically it takes about 8 weeks to go from day one soaking the seed, to having roots and shoots with small leaflets. However some avo seeds are late bloomers while others burst on scene, but on average this is the approximate times my various sets of avocado plants have taken to grow.

  •  Soaking (Day 1)
  • Seed splits and root is visible inside split (Week #2-3)
  • Roots grow down into water and branch out (Week #3-5)
  • Shoot starts to emerge and grows tall (Week #4-6)
  • Shoot grow real leaves (Week #6-8)
  • Nice sized leaves, established root system…you have a real plant! (Week #10)

Moving It To Soil + Plant Care

The seeds sprout, grow, and do well in water for quite a while. But once your plant starts to grow tall (about a foot), it will need the nutrients it can only get in soil. It will grow tall fast and get top heavy, but the stem/trunk will be skinny instead of hearty if you don’t transfer it to soil before it grows too tall.

Avocado-plants-from-pits

Use potting soil, and a pot with drainage holes in the bottom plus a drip tray. Avocado plants can end up with root rot and die if the roots sit in moisture for too long. Water it deeply and allow the top 2 inches of soil dry out between waterings.

Make sure your avocado plant gets plenty of indirect sunlight. Too much direct sun may burn the leaves, especially while it is young and just getting established. Avocado plants like the sun, the warmth, even humidity. It also needs to be fertilized periodically, but the frequency depends on the type of fertilizer…follow instructions.

And finally don’t forget to transplant into a bigger pot if you want it to grow tall and bushy. Once it is a few feet tall and looks like a regular tree, you can trim the top to encourage it to grow bushier and branch out.

Will It Ever Bear Fruit? / Why Grow It?

Let’s be honest, your chances of ever bearing quality avocados from your little seed sprouted tree aren’t very high. Avocado trees need other companion avocado trees in order to pollinate (so plan to grow more than one). And even if they do, it could take upwards of 15+ years to fruit and the produce might not be the best quality. Typically fruit bearing avocado trees produced from a graft are your best bet to get a ‘real’ plant that produces good fruit within a couple years. I bought two grafted avocado trees online, and it would have produced fruit in a year or two if I hadn’t killed it from over-watering. I was a rookie back then…

Avocado-trees-from-grafts

Alternatively you could use your seed-sprouted avocado tree as a base and actually graft a piece of a fruit bearing avocado branch onto it once it is big…but that requires a lot more knowledge and effort than simply buying a ready-to-go avocado tree.

So why grow it? Well I consider my seeded avocado plants a free houseplant. Think of it no differently than you would think of a Fiddle Leaf Fig tree. This variety of fig tree will never produce actual figs, and it’s not the easiest plant to care for, yet we love it in our decor as a sought after houseplant. So if my avocado tree does well over the years and I’m lucky to get fruit from it before my kids have kids, great! Otherwise I will likely buy a more mature tree for the purpose of gaining produce, and enjoy these seed sprouted ones as likely ornamental.

How about you? Have you had success sprouting or growing avocado plants? Share with us over on Instagram or Facebook!

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18 Comments on Fool Proof Ways To Grow An Avocado Plant From Seed

  1. Brendon
    November 22, 2020 at 2:37 am (5 days ago)

    Hello
    Tnx for the toturial
    My seeds have changed color to a dark brown and grey, the brown color also transfers to the paper towels
    Does this mean they’ve gone bad?

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      November 22, 2020 at 6:36 pm (5 days ago)

      I’ve had a couple that turned a brownish color that still sprouted. It’s hard for me to tell without seeing it. It shouldn’t be soft, moldy, or smell bad.

      Reply
  2. Sheyla
    September 5, 2020 at 9:22 pm (3 months ago)

    I’m normally a black thumb, but I’ve been successful with this tutorial! How large of a pot should I plant this in? I’m a lost wanna be gardener.

    Reply
  3. Christy
    July 30, 2020 at 8:28 pm (4 months ago)

    What type/mix of soil do you use for planting? I have many baby plants in various stages thanks to your tutorial!

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      August 2, 2020 at 6:17 pm (4 months ago)

      Nothing special, just regular potting soil…

      Reply
  4. Katie
    July 28, 2020 at 6:42 pm (4 months ago)

    How deep do I plant the seed once I put it in soil? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      July 29, 2020 at 10:05 pm (4 months ago)

      I leave the top of the seed poking part way out of the ground.

      Reply
  5. Paul
    June 14, 2020 at 4:19 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi, so before I get a chance to putt in water my root grew fasted than I expect and is now bent growing in the opposite direction than it started. Is there anything I can do to recover from this?

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      June 15, 2020 at 2:23 pm (5 months ago)

      It’s admittedly hard to recover from, but you can try! Just break off the bent piece of root, put the pit suspended in water so that the remaining root is ‘just’ touching it. It may grow, but it also might be easier to just start over.

      Reply
  6. Amy
    June 4, 2020 at 7:04 pm (6 months ago)

    Thanks so much!
    If the acocado seed has been sitting out for awhile will it still grow?
    Also it’s the start of winter here now, would I be better to wait for the start of summer to try to propagate or can you do it in winter as well

    Cheers

    Reply
  7. Kathie Moore
    May 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm (6 months ago)

    Thank you for the insights on these seeds!!! am growing about 18 of them now. Using wet papertowel method in dark closet. One did split in 1/2, so I rolled each 1/2 in it’s own towel, now they both are sprouting roots!!!!! Have 2 Q’s for u or anyone pls………………HOW to support these 1/2’s in top of a jar? next, I have several seeds that are sprouting, yet the roots are growing out and ALONG both sides of the seeds, am afraid to try to straighten them out and then put in a water jar, so HOW to deal with this please? I now just have them in a little bit of water, enough to cover roots on each side. yikes. Any advice is helpful please. Thank you!!!!

    Reply
  8. Ray
    May 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm (6 months ago)

    I see the two types of water and wondering if rain water will work as well or be somewhat the same as well water. I collect and use rain water for many of my other plants instead of public water.

    Reply
    • Karen Hanzel
      November 3, 2020 at 3:09 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Rain water is an elixir for houseplants.

      Reply
  9. Susan Raven
    March 9, 2020 at 4:45 pm (9 months ago)

    I root is growing but the seed broke into two. So l’m leaving the two half together with the paper towel to hold the two halfs together. Will it still kept on growing or do l have to start another one

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      March 10, 2020 at 8:20 am (9 months ago)

      I always have a few growing at once just in case I accidentally kill off one once it’s grown. So go ahead and start another…however keep growing the one that split. Once the root is strong enough, it should be fine. I had one that a side of the seed split and fell off, and it did just fine without it. But it was a little harder to keep it balanced and upright in the jar.

      Reply
  10. Carol
    August 8, 2019 at 7:17 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you for the directions to grow an avocado tree! I have a 12 year old tree I started purely by accident. It’s been repotted several times and topped once. It loved my PA home and grew to the ceiling. I am a fan of the mini avocados so let’s see if I can revive my green thumb.

    Reply
    • Ursula Carmona
      August 11, 2019 at 10:47 am (1 year ago)

      That is AMAZING! You are so lucky to have it produce too! A friend of mine has had hers for almost 20 years with no fruit in sight…but it still makes for a beautiful tree. I hope to be so lucky as to have as much success as you have. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
      • Margo
        July 25, 2020 at 1:53 am (4 months ago)

        Not really sure why specific water? I use tap water and they do just fine. Anyone worried about chlorination can fill a an open container and let it sit a few days the chlorine will evaporate out. While is extremely difficult to get them to bear fruit it is not at all impossible in the right conditions. Avocado trees take up to 6 years to bear their first fruit. And it will probably never happen (or rarely) inside the house in a pot. But if you live in hot climate and plant it outside in the dirt where it can grow into the tree it’s meant to be it can and will bear fruit.
        Again. If the conditions are right. My mother took many avocado seeds (collected from avocados eaten from the store just as we’re doing) to Thailand and had a small avocado farm for many years. It took 5-6 years of babying them IN THE GROUND after sprouting plants for them to bear fruit. She had up to 13-15 trees at one point. Thai people don’t typically eat avocado but she loves them so much and she gave them away freely. Yes, they produced that much fruit. From seeds from grocery store avocados. Yes.

        Tragically they all caught a disease or got over watered when she was away for a year by caretakers who didn’t care for them well. Almost all of them died at the same time.

        Having said all that. Your plants will only grow into fruit bearing trees if put in the ground and temperatures are never freezing. They like hot weather all year round. But if they’re in the ground obviously you can’t bring them in during the summer.

        Enjoy the journey and the destination won’t matter! ❤️

        Reply

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