It's no secret that we're a little addicted to avocados. On toast, in salads, in dip form, fried, as a spread alternative, and on sandwiches, this green superfood truly does it all. But did you know you can also plant the pit to grow your own tree? We'll share how to grow avocado from seed two ways, plus key instructions for success with aftercare. It's time to guac and roll!

Great Expectations

avocados on large tree

Before we begin, it's important to explore the reality of growing an avocado at home. Please do not expect to eat from the tree you've planted. The avocados you get from the grocery store are specially designed with grafted branches to bear fruit and have been cultivated over decades of careful pollination cycles by experienced farmers. In all likelihood, the chances that your tree will produce any fruit are extremely slim. Even if it does, sometimes it can take 15 years for a plant to bear fruit, and other times closer to three or four. Either way, an avocado tree is a super cool houseplant, but just don't expect it to be productive.

The Paper Towel Method

variety of avocados in different colors

Our first recommended way to grow an avocado tree is also the easiest. Prepare for 4-6 weeks of wait time before planting.

What You'll Need

  • avocado
  • washcloth
  • paper towel
  • ziplock bag
  • 8-inch flower pot
  • indoor potting soil
  • gardening gloves
  • water
hand holding sprouted avocado pit


Step #1: Pit Out

Without using a knife, carefully remove the pit from a fresh avocado. Then rinse under warm water and softly rub with a cloth until the flesh of the avocado has all been removed.

Step #2: Sprouted Goodness

Place the pit into a wet paper towel, and set in a small plastic baggie in a dark cupboard. Approximately every three days, add more water to the paper towel to encourage germination. Keep repeating this for a month or so until the seed has split open and has sprouted roots about three inches long.

Step #3: Potting Time

Fill your pot half full with soil. Place the root end of the seed down, with the tapered side on top. Add additional soil, until only the top inch of the pit is exposed. Water until damp but not saturated.

The Toothpick Trio Method

close up of avocado pit

Our next way of growing an avocado tree is slightly more complicated but still approachable. This may result in sprouting as early as two weeks and as late as eight weeks.

What You'll Need

  • avocado
  • toothpicks
  • water
  • soft cloth
  • gardening gloves
  • indoor potting soil
  • 10-inch flower pot
  • glass
  • garden scissors
toothpicks holding avocado pit


Step #1: Pit Out

Without using a knife, carefully remove the pit from a fresh avocado. Then rinse under warm water and softly rub with a cloth until the flesh of the avocado has all been removed.

Step #2: Top Or Bottom

Before moving any further, it's time to ascertain which part of the seed will sprout (top) and which will root (bottom). This can be tricky because sometimes avocado pits are nearly perfect spheres. In general, the root part will be the flattest, while the sprouting top will be slightly tapered or pointed. This step is absolutely vital because your plant will not succeed if placed upside down.

Step #3: Toothpick Time

Pierce the seed halfway down with three evenly-spaced toothpicks. Then, carefully place on glass, flat side down. Fill the glass so the bottom inch of the pit is suspended in the water, with the toothpicks acting as a scaffolding, as pictured above. Make sure to keep the top (sprout) side dry.

flat lay of halved avocado with pit

Step #4: Sprouting Success

Place in a warm spot with direct sunlight, replenishing water as needed, about every four or five days. Once roots reach about six inches, trim back to three inches with garden scissors. Do not be alarmed if pit cracks open; this is simply part of the sprouting process.

Step #5: Perfect Potting

Once the roots reach six inches again, move avocado pit to your flower pot. Plant it in the soil so the top inch of the sprouting pit remains uncovered. Keep in a warm, bright, sunny location, and water until damp but not saturated.

All About Aftercare

baskets of green avocados

Now that you've successfully potted your budding avocado tree, it's time to watch it grow and thrive with our expert tips!

Beware The Bugs

Mix a simple homemade cinnamon spray to act as a natural pest repellent. Spray your avocado plant about once a week with just a couple spritzes. Added bonus? Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal remedy too, so spray your soil once a week as well.

Excellent Environment

Avocado plants love the sun, so make sure your little one is in direct sunlight. Rotate an inch or two every couple of weeks for even exposure. Additionally, remember that avocados are tropical plants, so they prefer warm temperature with some humidity. Spray leaves with water to create the humid effect. Please note that unless you live in a tropical climate, avocado plants are best kept indoors, especially in the winter months.

little avocado tree

Wonderful Watering

For best results, use room temperature water consistently for your plant. Do not saturate the soil, just dampen it. Pay attention to the leaves for signs of improper watering; brown edges and leaves falling off are signs of under-watering while curling leaves is a sign of over-watering.

Pretty Pruning

In order to promote a full avocado plant, rather than a tall and skinny one, proper pruning must take place. After the tree grows to a foot tall, use garden scissors to remove the top two leaves. Repeat this carefully for every six inches your avocado grows, removing the top two leaves each growth cycle. This encourages more side shoots for a bushier more balanced plant.

Timely Repotting

It's vital to the health of your avocado tree to repot at the correct time. It's best to do this in the spring, and should only be done when the plant becomes root bound, which means there's no more room for its root system to expand. To repot, slide a butter knife alongside the edges of the soil to encourage seamless removal; then, tilt to the side so the plant slips out gently. Place about an inch of potting soil on the base of the next size up pot, which should be about 2-3 inches larger than the original vestibule. Add the plant and root system, then fill in with soil around the edges until nearly full. Water as usual.

woman holding avocado and pit

So overall we've learned two stellar ways to turn your regular old avocado into a pretty houseplant. We've even explored some key tips to encourage your avocado tree to flourish. Happy growing!

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