Skip to Content

How to Grow an Avocado Tree From Seed

If you’re patient, you can grow an avocado tree from seed and harvest your own avocados. What’s better than freshly grown produce right from your own backyard?

Dark green avocados on a tree.

Even if you don’t live in an area where avocado plants can thrive outside, they still make lovely houseplants for you to decorate your space with just like any other indoor plant, and it is possible to eventually grow avocados.

Avocado pits are especially fun to sprout because of their size, which allows you to observe the entire process. Make a fun experiment out of it with your kids to learn about seeds and plants!

Different Ways to Grow an Avocado Tree From Seed

There are several different ways you can germinate an avocado pit to grow an avocado tree from seed.

For all of these methods, the first step is cleaning your avocado seed to remove any remaining fruit.

Bag Method

The bag method for sprouting an avocado seed is a great way to get any seed to sprout quickly, and can also help you determine if a seed is viable enough to grow into a plant at all.

An avocado pit that is sprouting roots.

What You’ll Need

  • Your avocado seed
  • A damp paper towel
  • A resealable plastic bag
  • A dark place to keep your pit while it sprouts

How to Sprout Your Avocado Pit

  1. Wrap your prepared avocado seed loosely in a damp paper towel.
  2. Place the pit into the plastic bag. Seal it most of the way, leaving a small opening to allow for airflow without losing humidity.
  3. Keep it in a cool, dark place. You may need to swap out the paper towel every so often.
  4. You should start to see a root emerging within two to eight weeks. If you don’t, it likely means that the pit you’re using is a dud; try another one until you see some activity.
  5. Your avocado is ready to plant when the roots are about half an inch. You can also place it in water if you want to continue watching it grow.

Pros and Cons

This is probably the most reliable way to grow an avocado tree from seed. It’s also an accelerated process, so you don’t have to wait too long before you know for sure if it’s working or not.

You can see any progress when you check on your seed, so it’s easy to monitor growth.

There aren’t necessarily any cons to this method unless you prefer something a bit more aesthetically pleasing than a wet paper towel in a plastic bag. If that’s the case, the other two methods might be more your speed.

Toothpick Method

You may have seen this method somewhere online already, and that’s because it’s a popular way of growing an avocado tree from seed. It involves using toothpicks to suspend the pit partly submerged in water, allowing you to observe its progress daily.

An avocado pit held in water by toothpicks, one method for how to grow an avocado tree from seed.
The toothpick method is a popular way to grow an avocado tree from seed.

What You’ll Need

  • Your avocado pit
  • A small plastic or glass container
  • Three or four toothpicks
  • Water

How to Sprout Your Avocado Pit

  1. Locate the two ends of the avocado pit: the “top” will have a slight point where the sprout will emerge, and the bottom will be a bit flatter where the roots will emerge. Orient the pit with the bottom end down.
  2. Carefully insert your toothpicks into the pit, angling them slightly downward.
  3. Place the pit into your container. The toothpicks should restff on the rim of the container with the pit dipping down into it.
  4. Add water to the container until it covers about half of the avocado seed.
  5. Place in a sunny spot where you can watch it grow. You should see roots reaching down within a few weeks.
  6. Change out the water regularly, especially if you notice any cloudiness.
  7. When you see the roots starting to take up space in the container, it’s ready to transplant.

Pros and Cons

This method for growing an avocado tree from seed is ideal if you want to be able to watch the progress right from your kitchen counter, and it’s great for kids to learn about the lifecycle of a plant.

However, there is potential damage when you insert the toothpicks, which can mean you won’t get successful germination.

Soil Method

While none of these methods are particularly complex, this is definitely the simplest way to grow an avocado tree from seed. All you need is a pot and soil.

An avocado pit seedling growing in a pot of soil.
A pot of soil is another method for growing an avocado tree from seed.

What You’ll Need

  • Pot
  • Porous soil with good drainage, preferably potting soil or sandier cactus mix

Note: A great soil to use is Dr. Earth Potting Soil from Nature Hills Nursery.

How to Sprout Your Avocado Pit

  1. Fill your chosen container with soil.
  2. Place the seed in the center of the pot with the “bottom” side facing down. Bury the seed about halfway with the “top” half above the surface.
  3. Water it well and place in a nice sunny spot, preferably with bright but indirect light. Water it regularly to maintain soil moisture.
  4. If your seed is viable, you’ll notice it sprouting from the top within a couple of months.

Pros and Cons

Planting directly into soil is the most tried and true way to grow anything, and you don’t need any special materials. Transplanting will also be easier since you just need to transfer your seedling into a bigger container once it’s established.

The only real downside to growing an avocado tree from seed in soil is it can take a bit longer. And unlike the previous two methods, you won’t be able to tell if the roots have emerged. You could end up waiting a while before realizing the seed you’ve been patiently and diligently watering is a dud.

Taking Care of Your Sprouted Avocado

Once you have established roots, your avocado plant is ready to go into soil (if it isn’t already). Choose a large pot and fill it with porous soil, then plant your seedling roots down into the soil.

Place your seedling in a sunny spot, avoiding too much direct sunlight, and keep the soil moist.

How to Care for Your Avocado Plant

As your avocado plant grows, it will need continued care and maintenance to help it grow strong.

Continue to keep it in a sunny area so it can soak up sunlight, and continue regular watering.

An avocado seedling growing in a windowsill.

Once your avocado plant reaches around a foot tall, it will need to be pruned. With sharp trimmers, clip it down about halfway. Don’t worry, this will help the avocado tree grow stronger and be more productive.

As it grows, your avocado will require added nutrients just like any other plant. You can use fertilizer or compost, adding it to the soil once each spring, summer, and fall. It will go dormant in Winter, so you won’t need to fertilize it during that time.

Keeping an Avocado Tree Inside

As your seedling grows, make sure you move it into a larger pot. Full-grown avocado trees will need plenty of room both in the pot and in the area you want to keep them.

An indoor avocado tree of two seedlings in a pot.

Whether you eventually get any avocados or not, avocado trees are beautiful to decorate your space with and it’s rewarding to enjoy an avocado tree grown from seed.

Transplanting an Avocado Tree Outside

When you’re ready to plant your avocado tree, there are several factors for consideration. Make sure the spot you choose gets a lot of sunlight daily.

Person planting a young avocado seedling in the ground.

Keep up with pruning to help your avocado tree put most of its energy into productive growth, and definitely fertilize in each season except for Winter.

Avocados prefer a lot of water, so don’t let the soil dry out.

Other Tips for a Happy Avocado Plant and Troubleshooting

Just like any other tree, your avocado will require regular monitoring to stay on top of any potential pests or diseases and help it grow healthy.

Pruning is an important part of plant care. It’s especially important if you want your avocado tree to produce a lot of fruit. You can even eventually grow more avocado trees from the tree you started from seed!

There are several diseases that can impact the health of your avocado tree. Learn about all the potential issues you might see over the life of your avocado tree and how to treat them most effectively.

Pests can cause a lot of damage, so make sure you read through our guide on the most common avocado pests to look out for and how to get rid of them.

The sooner you catch any issues, the more likely you are to avoid irreparable damage. An important part of keeping a healthy avocado is checking on it and acting quickly if you notice anything that doesn’t look right.

When Will I See Avocados?

Well, that depends.

A woman picking an avocado from a tree.

If you’re hoping to grow a fruiting tree inside, you may never see avocados. There are dwarf varieties that might work for you, but a full-grown avocado tree is big and starting an avocado tree from seed takes a long time to reach its mature height. Indoor avocado trees also tend to have fewer avocados.

If you live in an appropriate climate and can plant your tree outside, you’re looking at waiting anywhere from five to ten years before your tree will bear avocados you can harvest and enjoy.

Enjoy Your Avocado Tree

Growing an avocado tree from seed is a fun and rewarding experience, and you don’t have to be an expert to do it. They grow into beautiful trees and, in the right conditions, can even give you fresh avocados.

Green, shiny avocados on a tree.

For even more in-depth information on avocado trees, check out our Avocado Trees page. You’ll find all kinds of growing and care guides, profiles on different avocado varieties, plus helpful articles on how to get the most from your avocados in the kitchen!