Avocados have become an extremely popular menu item in recent years. At the same time interest in growing avocado trees has risen, as well. While the indoor trees may not bear fruit, they make wonderful houseplants. There’s no need to visit the garden center to purchase a starter plant or even a seed. With a pit from your next healthy meal, you can grow your very own avocado tree in no time and for free.
Quick, Easy, and Creative Ways to Grow an Avocado Tree From a Pit
How to Grow an Avocado Tree from a Pit
There are two ways to grow an avocado plant from a pit, which is the seed. One involves suspending the pit or seed in a glass of water. The other, which is the more traditional route, simply requires dirt. Both methods will produce a plant, however, you may find that you’re more comfortable or more successful with one than the other.
The Toothpick Method
Begin by removing the pit from your avocado. Carefully cut it out of the center, without damaging its brown covering. Gently wash off any fruit scraps that may remain so the seed is completely clean. Soak it in water for a few hours and then let it dry on a paper towel.
Next, find the top of your seed. It’s generally a little more pointed than the bottom. It’s important to locate, because this is where the plant will sprout so you don’t want that part of the pit submerged.
Poke the avocado pit with three or four toothpicks and balance them on the rim of a cup or glass. You can place them on a bit of angle so the seed will drop down into the cup a little further, if necessary, then fill the container with enough water to cover the bottom half of the seed.
Place the container in bright, indirect sunlight and make sure to refill the water as it evaporates and replace it altogether if it begins to turn colors or gets cloudy. You don’t want your seed to rot or get moldy.
In a few weeks time, it should split open and drop roots. Then a little while later it should sprout. The entire process could take anywhere from two to eight weeks, so don’t give up hope if you don’t see anything happening right away.
When your sprout reaches a height of about 6 - 8 inches, prune a few inches off so it fills out. When it reaches that height a second time, you can move it to a pot.
Make That Pit Pretty
If the toothpick idea appeals to you, but the messy aesthetics of it does not, why not pretty it up a little bit. Instead of poking the seed to keep it suspended, select a jar or container with a narrow mouth. Fill it with enough water so that the bottom half of the pit is submerged, remembering that the top of the seed must be facing up. Place the pit inside the jar and tuck a little moss around it to secure it in place. Lastly, drape some more of the moss around the neck of the container and anchor it there with string or twine.
Again, you’ll need to keep your seed jar in a bright location and make sure the water is clean and clear. It may be a bit more difficult to access the water with this set up, but it can still be done.
If you’d like to share, this wrapped seed makes a sweet housewarming, hostess gift or place card. Just hot glue a clothespin to the moss and attach a gift tag with a name or care instructions and soon the recipient will have a homegrown houseplant.
Planting the Pit Directly in the Dirt
The second method doesn’t require as much construction as the first, but the process begins the same way. Remove the pit from the avocado and wash it off, soak it in water for a few hours, and dry it on a paper towel.
Choose a pot that’s large enough to accommodate the seed and leaves a bit of room for it to grow. Fill it with a good, well draining potting mixture and cover most of the seed with it. You still want to make certain that the top is pointing upwards and that it is not covered with dirt.
Water the seed regularly, but do not drown it or let the water puddle in the pot. The seed will rot and never sprout. Place the planter in bright, indirect sunlight and watch the top to split open and sprout. It will take the same two to eight week period of time to see progress.
Of course the easiest way to start your plant is in the ground, during warmer spring months. Simply dig a hole in the garden and partially bury the seed, leaving the top exposed. It should not be placed in full sun, but in an area that gets both bright light and shade for at least part of the day.
Move Your Avocado Plant to a Pot
Most avocado plants do best in moderate climates. So whether you start your tree in a cup of water, a tiny planter or outside in the ground, eventually you may need to move your fledgling plant to a pot, especially if you live in an area where temperatures regularly fall below freezing. Of course, you can move your pots outside in warmer months to decorate patios or porches.
Choose a planter with enough space to accommodate the entire root ball a bit of extra room for your tree to grow. If there are no drain holes in your pot, add a few small rocks to the bottom for drainage. Place the avocado plant in the pot, cover the roots and most of the seed with soil and water it to keep it moist, but not soaked. For optimal growth, place your avocado tree in a sunny location and fertilize it every couple of months.
Your new plant may need to be staked, until the stem is sturdy enough to support itself. However, pruning your new avocado plant every now and then, by clipping a few buds, or a few inches, off the top, will encourage it to fill out.
It’s important to keep in mind that most indoor avocado trees will not bear fruit. In fact, trees from avocado pits rarely, if ever, grow fruit. Even outdoor fruit bearing trees, growing upwards of 30 feet tall, can take about a decade before they’re large enough to produce avocados.
While you may not be able to harvest your breakfast from it, an indoor avocado tree is an easy plant to grow and care for that will dress up your home with its large, green leaves. By saving a the pits each time you dine, you can cultivate a container garden full of avocado trees with a few toothpicks and old jars. Or if you’re a more traditional gardener, just pop them in the dirt and watch them sprout.
Have you grown an avocado tree with either method and want to share your tips? Do you have questions about the process or want more information before planting your own? Well, head on over to Hometalk and join our community of avid gardeners and DIYers. We’ve got the answers to your questions and so much more.
Written for the Hometalk community by: Kim | Exquisitely Unremarkable
Lovesunique on Aug 28, 2020
I have a huge avocado (zutano I believe). It is about 35 years old and this year there are 65 avocados on one branch alone. I took two seeds and started them this year. They are different in the way they decided to grow although I started them with the toothpick method. One is six foot tall string bean and the other shorter, more fuller. I did pinch off the taller one, but it is still a string bean! They are both in pots now. I know if we get a bad frost it will probably kill them (I will try to protect them). Our big tree almost died from the frost twice, but came back. It's fun to watch them grow