Growing an avocado tree from seed

Although growing avocado tree in the ground is only possible in tropical regions or in the Mediterranean area, it is easy to sprout an avocado from seed and grow it indoors.

You’ll need time before harvesting your first avocados, but the growing of this tropical tree is a joy in itself, at the same time simple and comforting. The one featured here is already three years old!

Growing an avocado tree at home

Let’s see how to plant an avocado seed :

  • Avocado pit, cleaned and pointed tip up, set up over a water-filled saucer with three toothpicks.Choose one or more nice avocado pits, sizeable and that escaped unscathed from the knife opening the fruit.
  • Clean it without damaging it, with running water and remove any flesh that might still be stuck to it.
  • Dunk it in warm water, between 95 and 105°F (35 to 40°C) for a short half-hour.
  • Dry it then in the sun for several hours or in a dry and ventilated place, so that there is no trace of any residual moisture.
  • Pierce the pit with 3 matches or toothpicks around the circumference, and place atop a glass so that it doesn’t touch its sides.
  • Avocado seed sproutingPlace the toothpicks around the “equator” of the pit so that the pointed tip can face up, and the round bottom part will be immersed in water.
    You can also put cotton drenched with water in the glass beforehand.
    Change the water on a regular basis.

This is when patience may be required. Depending on the season, it may take from a couple weeks up to several months for the seed to start sprouting! The two to the right are five months apart, with the seed “prepared” in cold, dark February.

  • After a couple weeks, the roots will have reached ½ inch (1 to 2 cm).
  • That is when you can plant the seed in a pot with soil mix and regularly water because the soil must stay moist at the beginning.

Note that in many cases, young avocado leaves have a copper-reddish hue. This stays true as the tree gets older. It’s similar to Photinia in that respect, but the effect isn’t as strong.

Sprouted avocado in a small white pot.Another technique is to simply plant the seed directly in moist soil mix.

You must then water regularly in order for the soil mix to stay moist until the first leaves appear.

Even though it is a bit quicker to set up, the outcome is sometimes not guaranteed.

But go ahead and try, it might work! It’s quite common to find avocado seeds sprouting out of the compost area in the garden.

Watering a potted avocado tree

Take care to ensure regularity in the watering, but without drenching the plant, especially at the beginning when the avocado tree is most vulnerable. The older the tree, the less water it will need.

Where to place an avocado tree

It needs as much light as can be and will savor the summer sun. You can bring it out after any risk of freezing has disappeared (between May and September).
Indoors, always place it near a window.

How to prune an avocado tree

No pruning is required at the beginning because it would delay the first bearing of fruits.

Only maintenance pruning to clear away dead wood and suckers is effectively needed.

Harvesting the avocados

The first avocado harvest will take place around 7 to 10 years later.

Meanwhile, its magnificent evergreen leafage make it a magnificent indoor plant.

  • Note: to increase future avocado harvests, it’s best to grow two different avocado varieties together. Purchase your avocados from different locations or brands to ensure you have different varieties before starting!
  • This is due to the benefits of cross-pollination

Smart tip about avocados

Try growing avocado trees with your children, it is fun and very easy.

If you have several pits at once, your chances of success are multiplied!


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Tall home-grown avocado by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Avocado seed setup by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Avocado first sprout by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
Avocado seedling by Monika Baechler under Pixabay license