How To Grow An Avocado Tree


Highly flavored and nutritious, avocados signal a healthy diet, whether we’re talking about guacamole or salad. If you like not having to make regular trips to the grocery for your daily supply of fresh avocados, try growing an avocado tree at home. It’s surprisingly easy. In 10 easy steps, you will see how you too can get a full-grown avocado tree from a little seed, making the whole process very educational and easy to remember.

STEP 1: Without cutting the pit from the avocado, remove and wash clean of all the avocado fruit. You might find it helpful to soak the pit for a few minutes in some water. But make sure you don’t remove the brown skin from the pit!

STEP 2: All avocado pits, despite not being perfect round shapes, have a top and bottom side. From the ‘bottom’, the future roots will grow, as for the ‘top’ the sprout will do the same. You can find which is which by looking after the slightly pointier end. When you noticed that, you found the top. In opposition, the bottom will have a flat end. It’s important to place the bottom in water, so the roots will begin to gently grow.

STEP 3: Next, stick 4 toothpicks into the top side of the avocado seed. Make sure the injections are made pointing down at a slight downward angle and are spaced evenly around the circumference. Wedge the toothpicks strongly because they will allow you to place your avocado base in the water but still have the fruit hanging over a glass.

STEP 4: Place the glass with the half-submerged avocado in a place with sunlight. Use a clear glass for this operation, so you can observe when the roots start to grow. It’s useful for warnings of mold, bacteria and fungus growth, so you can change the water when it’s needed. You can do the latter regularly every day, as many professionals recommend, but it’s better to change the water every 5-7 days.

STEP 5: Sprouting can take as long as 8 weeks, although many websites suggest only 2-4 weeks. The best advice is to be patient. And pay attention so the seed goes to the necessary stages of sprouting: the outer brown seed skin will slough off as the top of the avocado pit will dry out and form a crack; the crack will extend and to the bottom side of this, a tiny taproot will begin to emerge; this will grow longer and longer until a small sprout will peek through the top of the avocado pit. Don’t forget to maintain the taproot submerged, because not doing so will be synonymous to the death of your plant.

STEP 6: There are a few tricks when it comes to planting the newly born sprouts. When the stem reaches 6-7 inches in length, cut about 3 inches off it, as this will make the new part grow faster. Cut and put it in a rich humus soil pot, when it has reached 6-7 inches again. Use best with an 8-10inch diameter pot. Before placing in a sunny area, make sure that you leave the top half of the seed exposed.

STEP 7: In this stage of planting your own avocado, you need to know two things about its relationship with water: the soil should always be moist. If you start to see yellow leaves, it’s a sign you exaggerated and over-watered it. No need to panic though. Let the plant some time to absorb the water and continue after it has dried.

STEP 8: Encourage the plant to grow larger, by pinching out the top two sets of leaves. Do this when the stem has reached about 12 inches in height. Repeat the method when another 6 inches have grown additionally on the plant.

STEP 9: If you happen to come across some nasty bugs, like aphids, you will need to wash them off the avocado. You can do this by showering or gently hosing down your plant. When there are no more pests on it, spray the avocado tree with a solution of water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid and one teaspoon of neem oil. Check in 4-5 days to see if it’s clean. If not, repeat the process until it is.

STEP 10: In the autumn or winter, if it gets cooler than 45 degrees F, you must bring the baby avocado tree indoor, so it won’t freeze to death.

And there you have it. All you need to know about how to plant your own avocado tree from a seed. After a couple or so years, the tree will begin to give fruit. On some occasions, some trees take about 15 years to bear fruit, and some never do at all. Even if your commercial avocado – seed you used to plant the tree – is one of the tasteful fruit on Earth, don’t expect that yours should be the same. Naturally grown avocado are different. You can grow several avocado trees together to aid with pollination and ensure your fruits are good as well.


72 Responses to “How To Grow An Avocado Tree”

  1. kareen strathearn says:

    this works ~~~!!!!!!

    • Susie says:

      This works. My mom planted 3 pits, when it was about 3′, she gave me on for my new house. It is now about 20′ tall and produces ginormous avocados. But, it did take about 10 years for the tree to produce. Worth the wait!

  2. mary branham says:

    My mom always started avocado trees and she would cut the top off fresh pineapples and start them the same way and hers would get little pineapples on them.
    You can start a pretty vine by cutting the top off a carrot and doing the same thing as you do for avocados . Also sweet potato vines can be started by cutting a sweet potato in half and then using the toothpicks and putting it over water just touching it. .

  3. Debra O says:

    how many years from start to finish till you get fruit?

    • Be wary of using seed from a commercially grown fruit. Most commercially grow fruits are hybrid offspring. This means most (98%)of hybrid fruit will not come true to seed. It will share characteristics of only one of the original parent fruits. Meaning, more than likely, the fruit will taste like crap. This is the same reason most peaches and plum started from commercially bought hybrid fruit, never comes true to seed (in horticultural terminology). This experiment is very effective In demonstrating germination, how ever I would not recommend it in obtaining a tree from which to get fruit. Second, most varieties of avocados do not tolerate cool temperatures, even below 40’s. Even the best avocado cultivars for cool tolerance only tolerate degrees in the 30s and maybe high 20’s. Be mindful of this. Also, these trees must reach a relatively mature height to bare fruit, and it would be inappropriate to try and house one inside, because of space and soil volume needs. Unless you have a well equipped greenhouse. With that said, if you are serious about growing an avocado tree for fruit and you live in a temperate climate, check out a online nursery and purchase an already established seedling in a variety that would grow in your area. It may cost a little more, however an already establish seedling will fruit much faster and half the work is already done for you. Plus you can select a fruit whose quality is to your liking ie. taste and texture. Save the germination experiment to demonstrate to your kids how your tree came to bee. Best of luck and good gardening from Clemson University.

      • Antoinette says:

        I have an Avocado tree, grown from seed which is producing lots of fruit.
        We live in a frost prone area in Winter and a very hot summer, 40 degrees plus, in Australia.
        I poked the seed into the ground after the seed was dry and the tree grew.
        I clipped and shaped the tree to create a shade canopy and to have a nice shady spot under it. Last year I noticed 3 fruit which took 2 weeks to ripen after picking. The fruit was delicious.
        This year 3000 tiny avocados were on the tree after pollination and now there is about 200+ almost ready to pick.
        Cannot wait!
        It is a 7 year old avocado tree, grown from seed, producing fruit in the wrong area and everyone tells me it is not possible.
        Whether we got lucky or the widely held beliefs are myths, I don’t know, in any case, try it and if it doesn’t work, no harm done.
        Our avocado tree looks great and fruit is divine!
        Best fruit we have ever tasted!

        • Anita Worley says:

          Greetings from Yellville, Arkansas, USA. You said you have frosty weather and temps in the forties? Did you have your plant outside always?
          We have temps down to 0* (Zero) and with ice and or snow. I’ve thought of starting an Avocado plant indoors and continuing it indoors with a “Plant-Light”. I have some large plant containers and also a board with rollers under it, so in the spring-summer I can put the plant outside. Do you have any thoughts/suggestions about my plans? By the way, I’ll bet Australia is an awesome place to live! Have you always lived there? I am on face-book too I am Anita Worley

      • laura sharpe says:

        well in fact, seeds of hybrids will have a 25% chance to be either of the parent trees and 50% chance of being a hybrid itself. So not really horrible odds.

    • Marty Richardson-marksrue says:

      did anyone notice in the picture that they have top in the water and not the bottom you will never get fruit from one planted ,u have to buy a mature fruit bearing tree from a nursery that has already been mated with another,,,,,,, its a process they do,,and i checked the price, they start at 40 dollars

    • JoeSnow says:

      A long waiting period from planting to fruit is a turn off for many people wanting to grow their favorite foods. Chestnut trees are a perfect example. It takes 20 years for some species to start producing chestnuts but the trees still have to be cared for in all that time, so it’s an investment with no payoff for years and years. You really have to consider whether you have the time and the money to care for a tree or plant that won’t produce anything edible for a long period of time or whether it’s just easier to buy them from the store. Farmers also produce in bulk so they get economies of scale that you won’t from your home garden so your produce will end up costing more than store bought.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    No no no!!! It is extremely, extremely unlikely that this method will grow a tree that gives you avocados. For that, you need a grafted tree. Avos also need cross-pollination … which to some extent is climate related. Do research before buying.

    BTW, a very simple google search would have told you that this was a useless method of growing a productive tree. By perpetuating gardening myths such as these, you waste people’s time AND (even more importantly) diminish their belief that they can actually grow their own food.

    • Joe Snuffy says:

      Beth, I think the point is that it CAN be done and is a nifty project. Please re-read the last paragraph where the author says “Even if your commercial avocado – seed you used to plant the tree – is one of the tasteful fruit on Earth, don’t expect that yours should be the same. ”

      That said, I’ve never had an avocado seed sprout, but it looks like I’ve been putting them upside down… Whoops!

      • Lori says:

        I just stuck my avocado pit right into a pot of dirt, left on vacation for a month came back and it had grown about 2 feet. Now it will remain to be seen whether or not it bears fruit.

  5. Avis Truitt says:

    I have found that using a piece of Styrofoam with a hole in it floating in a bowl works better than thetoothpicks for keeping the seed just touching thewater.

    • Sharon says:

      I just put them in a cup of water until they crack and then plant them, never use toothpicks. Trees are pretty even if i never get fruit.

  6. loveplants says:

    “On some occasions, some trees take about 15 years to bear fruit.”

  7. Chris says:

    I found an avocado tree growing in our compost. (obviously, from a discarded pit). I transplanted it from the compost to a garden bed – sharing space with some tomato plants. It did well over the summer months – standing about 30″ tall.

    When the weather started getting colder in Sept/Oct I transplanted it to a pot and brought it inside. It wilted a little – but it seems to be regaining it’s posture. Perhaps it will survive the winter indoors. We try to have it in a well-lighted area, with as little cold air as possible.

  8. Pioter says:

    i’ve planted 6 avocado. i waterred it a little, but leaves turned yellow & brown, i didn’t waterred it, it dried (leaves also turned brown).
    i don’t know whats wrong… why it dies??
    i’m left with only one… why they die waterred or not….??

    • Jack V. says:

      Hi Pioter, when you’re sure you didn’t give them too much or less water, then it is because they lack magnesia/magnesium. Try this experiment: buy a bottle of anti-acid liquid for stomach burns, or use the one you might already have in your home. Read the labels, to make sure it says that it contains soluble magnesia/magnesium. Add it to the water you give your avocado plant. When it grows new leaves that stay shiny and green, you know you have to fertilize it with magnesia/magnesium rich fertilizer. Ask your garden nursery if they sell it.

    • lefebvre says:

      mine did the same but it was due to sun burn

  9. susan says:

    The picture seems to show the avocado with pointed side down, while the instructions say pointed side up. So which is it?

  10. Brenda says:

    I have 6 avocado plants all I do is put them in the pot of dirt and they come up. I water 1 or 2 times a week.

  11. Cynthia says:

    My advice for you, Dear Writer, is to run any future works past some trusted mentor for editing, because your writing is terrible, lacking both clarity and basic structure. Additionally, your article is full of misinformation and poor instructions.

  12. Rochelle says:

    Actually…I have found…you get better results if you just plant the pit into the soil to begin with and skip the whole toothpick over water bit. 😀

  13. Stacie says:

    Why do I always see adults being bullies! If you can’t say something nice then keep your thoughts in your head!!

    • Stacy says:

      We wonder why there are so many bully kids these days – the avocado doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? Shameful.

      Also, if you live in an area that has avocado trees, they CAN be pollinated and bear fruit by wind.

      Finally, hubby started a tree like this when he was a kid. Maybe 10 years later, it was a 50′ tree and bore GREAT avocados.

  14. Nadine says:

    I just put the avocado’s pit directly in the earth in a jar and it also grows . Not so complicated and the same result.

  15. Michael says:

    Just plant the pit in soil – in a flower pot. Skip the ‘toothpick / water’ thing, altogether. Keep the pot in a window in the winter, and outside during the summer.

    You WILL get an interesting plant by planting the pit in soil. You won’t get avocados – at least not for many years (like 40!)

    You will have much better luck planting a pineapple top (after it has callused / hardened for 3 – 5 days after cutting it off the fruit, but before planting it. You will get a full-size pineapple in 3 – 4 years after planting the top.

  16. Norman says:


  17. melissa says:

    This is an interesting project! So sad to see such negativity over something so simple as an avocado however. Anyway, if you really want to grow your own fruits and veggies from seeds, you can order them offline, go to pretty much any garden store (for most common plants) or a nursery for pre – started trees and plants. If you really want to start from scratch then be sure to buy organic foods that have been grown naturally. And yes you can grown a little pineapple plant. That is how they do it in the Dole plantation field by my house; cut off the top and replant it. Takes 20 months for first fruit to grown then 16-18 for second. you cannot grow bananas however, you must get a cutting from another tree. Hope everyone can enjoy the little gardening! I know as soon as we buy our house I will be!!

  18. Susan says:

    For weeks I have been trying to grow an avocado tree ( just for fun, don’t really care if it gives any fruit) but it takes so long. So far I only have a seed that has been almost split into two and has like 3-4 mm sapling coming from it. I wouldn’t even call it that. I have it in half-submerged water like every guide tells, but it barely grows. I would say in the last month it has grown like 1 mm! What am I doing wrong? It can’t be becouse of the seed since I have had other avocado seeds and they haven’t really grown either. Should I just put it straight into pot and soil?

  19. Marie says:

    LOL…I was reading this pleasant post…when I came across this put down from Cynthia….what an unhappy creature! I got what I wanted from this site…now to the girl that is miserable and rude…go on facebook for this crap! Who do you think you are??? Would love to have a chat with you but would be a waste of time…you are nasty!!! well take these angry comments off of this site…then it will be much more pleasant…don/t need to be hurt or to hurt people to live….such an angry society out there….anyways…thank you for all the tips! I will try them!

  20. Cindy Rowe says:

    lately i have been poking little holes around the border wall of my garden and dropping all sorts of seeds into it. if it grows, it grows. the soil is very rich and i can already see little plants sprouting after the last six weeks. it’s a rental property and i probably won’t have use of it for too much longer but i’ve been doing this as a measure of good faith. who knows. i trust nature will take it’s course. ps: only organic seeds (as far as i know) i avoid gm foods as much as possible. luckily i live in the western cape in south africa and we still have alot of organic farming going on. who knows for how long though.

  21. couponrani site review says:

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  22. Maybelle A. Okeefe says:

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  23. Harrie says:

    I have never gone to this much trouble to grow an avocado seed. The largest tree I have grown over the years is one about 7-8 feet. It was beautiful and healthy until I forgot to bring it in one winter and it froze. Normally I just throw a seed in a pot of dirt, keep it watered and in a month or so it will sprout. I completely cover the seed with dirt, at least 1/2 inch or more. At present I have one growing that is about a foot tall. Come spring I will replant it. I just throw the seed with the pointed end down and cover with dirt, nothing, more nothing less. I have tried the toothpicks and water and just end up with a stinking mess.

    These trees freeze easily so they need to be brought into the house before the first freeze. I am hoping this tree is as nice and full as the one I lost.

  24. Hilary says:

    avocado trees will never bare fruit unless you graft them

  25. Rebecca says:

    Wow such a shame that all you care about is grammar and “perfection” let’s not appreciate the post for what it is instead let’s nitpick like a grammar Nazi …yeesh….I mean come on now be nice…and to the person who wrote this article I think you did a wonderful job 🙂

  26. Eric says:

    I grow them all the time. I just usually wash the seed well. wrap it in a very moist paper towel and place in a ziploc. put in the cupboard for a month or two. The seed will have sprouted and roots formed, then I transplant to a pot or an old coffee can. I’ve even used this method with a mango seed.

  27. anonymous says:

    Not really, my daughter’s grandma planted the seed of one HUGE avocado that I got when I was pregnant 17 years ago and within 5 years it gave fruit and they were delicious!!

  28. Cyn~ says:

    I just find it amazing when I read something that offends NO ONE and when I get to the comments there is always a troll wanting to say something negative! I wonder how much this person must hate themselves to have so much desire to hate on someone else, the fact that Cynthia found something wlong in this shows she needs help….do you need a HUG sweetie???

  29. Cyn~ says:

    I just find it amazing when I read something that offends NO ONE and when I get to the comments there is always a troll wanting to say something negative! I wonder how much this person must hate themselves to have so much desire to hate on someone else, the fact that Cynthia found something wronhg in this shows she needs help….do you need a HUG sweetie???

  30. Veronica says:

    Can I plant this and keep it indoors? I live I Northern Norway so it would probably die if planted out.

  31. Fred Brooks says:

    I have 3 growing in my home 2 are 6ft tall the 3rd is 2ft tall I’ve been growing the tallest trees now for over 3 yrs the shortest is only 2yrs old I’m also growing lemon trees in my home a pineapple I grew from a top of a pineapple and 3 mango trees it is a great feeling to be able to grow these and I hop to see fruit from them in my lifetime lol. Wish I could post pictures.

  32. dave carr says:

    Why do people insist avacado, or ANYTHING for that matter MUST be grafted to fruit? Actually think about it have you ever seen in nature a twig broken off and reattached to a tree? I think not. Trees fruit in nature BY THEMSELVES. Always have, always will. The ONLY thong grafting does is stabilize fruit characteristics. ANY seed, from ANY plant has the potential to give you some sort of fruit. Plants were around long before humans and will probably be for long after we are gone.

  33. wendy says:

    i understand they are trees, but could they be trimmed and conditioned to be bush like?

  34. elwnyc says:

    Back in the ’70s, lots of people were planting avocado pits as house plants – they sprout so easily. I usually just put my avocado pit buried halfway (flat side down) in ordinary potting soil in a fair-sized pot, because they’re a pain to keep transplanting to bigger and bigger pots. They get big and ungainly, so were usually discarded when they outgrew their apartment.

    I kept one at my job for many years, but we had 12-foot ceilings. It was planted in a large plastic garbage can. When it began taking over, I’d just cut it back with ordinary hand-clippers. The lower trunk got quite woody – well, it WAS a tree, after all.

    Since it was indoors, with no direct sunlight, it never flowered/had fruit. It would have gone on forever, I think, if a boss had not made me get rid of it. People who had come to the office to visit the tree (not me) were horrified that it was gone. Since I knew that boss had made her decision based on spite, I always told the visitors who it was who had made me get rid of it.

    For what it’s worth, I think mango pits grow into more attractive house plants. They seemed to grow a little more slowly and less leggy.

  35. LittleBit says:

    I have several avocado trees started with seeds. Some were done in water and some in soil. Mine are indoor plants in the winter and outdoor for spring and summer. My largest was about 13 foot tall so I put it in a greenhouse for the winter. We lost electricity and it froze. I cut the stalk down to the dirt, brought it indoors and it came back in the spring more beautiful than ever. They get very tall so if you bring it inside you will need to top it. Put the top and any limbs that break off down in the soil and they will root and grow also. They make beautiful indoor plants. Mine are decorated and used as Christmas trees too. I have also put white lights on them and placed in my foyer to be used as night lights. They’re great for that use.

  36. Evey says:

    Thank you!

  37. dan says:

    You are the one who has been mislead. I have a wonderful 8 year old tree started from a non nursury / non grafted tree, i.e. a seed, and it provides all the buttery goodness I can eat in November/December. The trick is getting Avocados from trees that have not been grafted and are old enough to bear fruit. I have grown a number of these in Hawaii and California. Grafted nursery bought trees had to start somewhere and from a tree that produces fruit. The issue is where you obtain your seeds.

  38. Tracey Davenport says:

    Guys, don’t forget Australia uses the metric system and 40c is about 90f. It’s the cold that gets them. 0c is 32f.

  39. Tracey Davenport says:

    Also, I’ve successfully grown one from seed. It was killed in a random overnight freeze, i haven’t given up, yet and will attempt again, next year.

  40. Brenda says:

    i live in Tn.i have a plant about afoot tall or a little bigger,my question is when can i plant it outside? in the winter our temperature’s get down to the teens,thanks

  41. Joey says:

    First of all there is absolutely no need for toothpicks and a jar of water. Every avocado seed I’ve ever thrown into my raised garden bed grew a tree. Every single one. No muss no fuss they just grow.

  42. Leslie says:

    I just received an avocado plant for Mother’s Day it’s a little tree going to house about 12 leaves on it where in my home may I place the tree so it will do good I live in Salt Lake City Utah

  43. Sandy Cook says:

    I live in Australia and my hubby put an avocado seed in one of my pots without telling me and forgot all about it. A 30cm plant sprouted, not knowing what it was, I pulled it out. Hubby remembered what it was so I put it back in, not thinking it would survive. Lol it has started to sprout some leaves again as other ones died off. It’s still in my pot and I am thinking of planting it in a pot on its own to see what happens. Even if it doesn’t fruit it was determined to survive so I will give it a go.

  44. The Mrs. says:

    My husband just sprouted an avocado by wrapping the put in a damp paper towel and placing in a Zip Loc bag like the beans in elementary school science. It’s been sitting on the kitchen counter for several weeks and today had a root! We don’t even have anywhere to plant the tree and live in the Midwest so it wouldn’t survive the winter but it’s been a fun experiment. Worst case it doesn’t make and best, we get a fun house plant out of it!

  45. Luposian says:

    I have an avocado tree that is 50″ tall. Didn’t prune it right but gave it some organic fertilizer, put it in a bigger pot, and nipped off the new growth tip in hopes that will cause some side branches to form.

    Wish I had a way of posting pics and my Email, for help.

  46. Roberto Rodriguez says:

    Yes mean lady keep your trap Shut

  47. Roberto Rodriguez says:

    Yes mean lady keep your trap Shut
    Ok fu any ways

  48. Timarie says:

    Pointed Side Up flat side down

  49. Julie says:

    Or stick them in an open sandwich bag with a wet paper towel, change the towel now and again. Far easier and simpler. I’ve sprouted and potted dozens this way…

  50. Clayton Gonzalez says:

    Be nice, this world is already full of Democrats and Liberals! So adding some positivity into it is never a bad idea 🙂 #MAGA2020

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