Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. The next time you make guacamole or slice an avocado for a salad, you could save the pits and grow them into avocado trees. It’s surprisingly easy to grow an avocado from pit. The following handy guide will tell you how to grow a plant from seed.
Table of Contents
- Grow avocado from pit
- Grow avocado from pit: How to care for the new plant
- Best growing conditions for plants
Grow avocado from pit
Follow these simple steps to grow your own avocado tree from pit. You will need a little patience until you can enjoy the new plant.
Step 1 – Remove and clean the pit
First, carefully remove the pit (without cutting it open) and then wash it free of all fruit debris (it often helps to soak the pit in water for a few minutes and then scrub off all fruit debris). Be careful not to remove the brown skin on the pit – this is the seed coat.
Step 2 – Locate the ends.
Some avocado seeds are slightly elongated, while others are shaped almost like perfect spheres – but all seeds have a “bottom” (from which the roots grow) and a “top” (from which the seedling grows). The slightly pointier end is the top, and the flat end is the bottom. To get the seed to germinate , you need to put the bottom end of the root in water. So it is very important that you figure out which end is the “top” and which is the “bottom” before you pierce it with toothpicks.
Step 3 – Pierce with four toothpicks
Take four toothpicks and insert them into the pit at a slight downward angle, evenly spaced around the circumference of the avocado. These toothpicks are the scaffolding of the avocado that will allow you to place the bottom half in water, so the toothpicks need to be wedged firmly there. It is recommended that you insert the toothpicks at a slight angle (pointing down) so that more of the avocado base is in the water when you place it over a glass.
Step 4 – Place in a glass with water.
And place it on a quiet windowsill with sunlight. It is helpful to use a clear glass so you can easily see when the roots start to grow and when to change the water. Many guidebooks recommend changing the water daily, but I have found through trial and error that it is better to change the water every five days to about a week. You should change the water regularly to avoid mold, bacteria and fungus growth that can be the undoing of your little avocado bud.
Step 5 – Wait for the avocado seed to germinate.
Germination can usually take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, but it can take at least 8 weeks, so be patient. Here is the process you will observe:
- The top of the seed will dry out and form a crack, and the outer brown seed coat will peel off.
- The crack will extend to the bottom of the kernel, and a tiny taproot will emerge through the crack at the bottom.
- The taproot will grow longer and longer (and may branch), and eventually a small shoot will emerge from the top of the core.
- Never let your taproot dry out unimmersed – that would be the death of your plant.
Step 6 – Planting in soil
When the stem is 15-18 cm long, cut it back to about 8 cm to encourage new growth. When it is 6-7 cm long again, pot it in a rich humus soil, leaving the top half of the seed exposed. Place it on a sunny windowsill. Avocados love the sun – the more sun, the better.
Step 7 – Water and let it grow
Water the avocados regularly and water occasionally. The soil should always be moist, but not soggy. Yellowing leaves are a sign of overwatering; let the plant dry out for a few days.
Grow avocado from pit: How to care for the new plant.
- When the stem reaches a height of 30 cm, cut off the top two rows of leaves. This will encourage the plant to grow side shoots and more leaves, making it bushy. Each time the plant grows another 15 cm, cut off the 2 newest leaves at the top.
- Some avocado trees seem to collect aphids – and they can’t get enough of the delicious avocado leaves. If you get them, here’s how to get rid of them: Wash all the aphids off the plant by hosing it down outside or rinsing it off in the sink/shower. Once the little pests are gone, spray your plant with a mixture of water, with a small squirt of dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon of neem oil. This will keep the aphids from returning. Check your plant every 4-5 days and clean and spray again as needed.
- Baby avocado trees can grow outdoors in the summer, but if you live in a place where it gets colder than 7 degrees C, you will need to bring them back indoors in the fall/winter before temperatures drop.
- Some plants bear fruit after only 3 or 4 years, others take 15 years or more to bear fruit, and still others never bear fruit. It is helpful to have several avocado trees growing together to facilitate pollination. However, don’t expect the fruit to look like the avocados that produced your seed. Commercial avocados are grown from grafted branches, and a naturally grown avocado may look very different from its parents!
Best growing conditions for plants
To keep your plant comfortable indoors, place the tree in a south or west facing window where it will receive at least six hours of indirect sunlight.
Temperature and humidity
Avocados do best at temperatures between 16 and 30 degrees C. The plant thrives in an environment with high humidity. Place them on a tray with pebbles and water to increase humidity, or use a humidifier if the climate in your home is dry.
Although avocados like high relative humidity, they do not like soggy soil. Plant them in a fast-draining mix and allow the soil to dry between waterings. It is best to water the plants once a week. Be sure to use a container with a drainage hole to allow water to drain away.
Avocados only need an all-purpose fertilizer. Fertilize every few months as directed, but not too often or too heavily.
Cutting back the leaves helps the plant’s trunk stay strong and gives it an overall bushy growth habit. When the plant reaches a height of 30 cm, cut off the top and uppermost leaves just above a growth node. As mentioned earlier, this will encourage healthy lateral growth and that is important for the new plant. As the plant grows, you may need to prop up the trunk to prevent it from bending or breaking off. That’s how easy and simple it is to grow avocado from pit!