An Almost Foolproof Way to Grow an Avocado Plant from a Seed


After you eat an avocado, the temptation to try to grow your own plant is well nigh irresistible. I have started at least a hundred avocado seeds, and very few of them even sprouted, let alone grew into a lush and leafy green plant

Then I learned the secret to sprouting avocado seeds - and it is quite easy. Here's how to start growing your own avocado plant from a seed.

First, eat an avocado.

When you finish, rinse off the seed under running water.

Peel the brown skin off the seed. This is very firmly attached sometimes. If so, gently cut through the skin with a paring knife. Leaving very shallow lines on the avocado seed will not affect the germination of the avocado seed. I lift up the skin with the tip of the paring knife and then peel it off. As you can see from the pictures, this is not absolutely necessary, but may be more attractive.


Getting Ready to Sprout

Here is what you need to do to sprout your avocado.

Fill a plant pot with dirt. It can be potting soil, or dirt from your garden, or, if you are like me and have a few dead plants around in pots, use one of those.

Prepare the pot with a small rock, piece of broken china or a charcoal briquette on top of the drain hole.

If you are using new potting soil, all you need to do is put it into the pot and gently tamp it down.

If you are using dirt from the garden, make sure there are no weed sprouts or bits of grass to sprout before your avocado gets a chance.

If you are recycling an already used plant pot with dirt in it, remove the withered plant stub. That may pull out easily, but you should make sure you remove all the roots from the dead plant as well.

For both types of soil, look through the dirt for stray roots. Dump the soil onto a sheet of newspaper, as it is likely to have clumps and compacted soil. Break up the dirt and rub any compacted bits between your fingers.

Sift the dirt through your fingers into the plant pot.

Moisten the soil. I put my pots on top of mismatched saucers to catch water.

Take your avocado seed and gently press it into the moist dirt, until it is about halfway covered. Keep the wider end down. Water the soil again, and put your pot in a place where it is not likely to be disturbed or knocked over by a cat.

Note: I previously wrote plant the pointier end down in this article, but after comments from people I have experimented both ways, and I agree, pointier end up is the way to go. Thanks for the advice people.

Check the soil every few days to see if it needs more water. It may take up to two months to sprout. It is important to make sure the soil does not dry out.

First, you will see a crack in the seed. It is the sign of success.

A sprout will come out, although it may take a couple days. At the same time, a thick little root will be pushing down into the soil.

Put your pot on a windowsill, so the sprout gets sun part of the day.

I sometimes put several seeds into the same pot to sprout, adding them over a couple days as the avocados are eaten.

You can put your sprouting avocado outside if the weather is good. In fact, this is a good idea, as the plants are less likely to grow leggy.


Growing Up

When the avocado plant has grown a couple pairs of leaves, you need to nip off the tiny sprout at the top, so the plant does not grow into a three foot high stick with a couple of leaves.

Wait until there is a third pair of leaves popping out - the tip of the plant will show a tiny upright sprout and two tiny leaves.

I do this with the edge of my fingernail, carefully, as I have nipped off the new side leaves in the past. This is not a catastrophe, but may make the top of your plant look a bit lopsided as it grows.

What you have done is halt the avocados upward growth, and encourage it to spend its energy on sprouting new tips at the base of side leaves. A new leaf bud will start where the side leaves come out of the stem, and turn into branches.

If your avocado has not grown as tall as you want, go ahead and let a third or fourth pair of leaves sprout before you nip the new bud at the tip. Then go ahead and encourage it to put out some side branches.


I’ve found sprouting my avocados directly in dirt is a far more successful method than the traditional way of inserting toothpicks into the seed and letting it sit part way out of a cup of water.

My mother discovered this by accident, when she tucked an avocado seed into a plant pot and forgot she had intended to sprout it in a cup of water. She watered the plant regularly – and then noticed that her plant had an unexpected companion.

Let me know how well your avocados grow from seeds, or if you have additional tips.

Comments 134 comments

william 2 weeks ago

im sprouting mine a mason jar the root is around 3 inches and it doesent seem to be growing from the top please advise me thank you

Christin from Pittsburgh 3 weeks ago


I am growing an avacodo plant in water and it is starting to show a little green on the inside of my cracked seed. Root is about 2.5 inches long.

I am tempted to put a little liquid miracle grow in the water glass but wanted an experts opinion first. lol I am getting impatient and don't want to be hasty.

Susan Kasner 4 weeks ago

Hi I'm from South Africa, Western Cape. I bought my 2nd avo tree from Stodels, potting the 2nd one, put it under a tree for good sun but also shade in afternoons, looks fine in beginning (Feb - hot weather) but lost all branches after 2 months. Covered it with shadeclothing during the cold winter time and just opened it in Sept, less cold weather. How must I proceed with my avo plant to get some leaves?

Rosie 4 weeks ago

I unexpectedly have avocado's sprouting in my compost, how should I transplant into a pot?

Ernestine 6 weeks ago

My avocado was sprouted with toothpicks but I think the soil method sounds much better. My grandson gave me his sprouted seed when it was about 10 in tall about 9 years ago. It is now in the garden and approx. 8ft tall having been lopped two years running as I don't want it to grow too tall. It is very healthy, I believe they are gross feeders so do feed it with a slow release fertiliser. It had a few flowers two years ago but these did not produce fruit, although I sprayed it with sugar water to encourage bees and insects. Looking forward to this year, as I notice someone's tree has produced fruit after 9 yrs. I have been told it may take 15. In the meantime its a nice looking ornamental. Avos are very expensive here so I live in hopes.

Katie 7 weeks ago

This method really is fool proof. I took your suggestion and threw two seeds into a pot and they are BOTH sprouting. I've tried the toothpick trick many times and always failed. Glad I came across this article. Thanks!

Renae 2 months ago

My avocado is planted in a pot and growing nicely but the seed is now black... What do I need to do with it

Chris 2 months ago

"small apt" Doing tooth picks, my best performer was a smaller seed, although that could be to do with how ripe the avocado I took it from was (Riper the better) or because a smaller seed absorbs moisture and delivers to the root sooner. I also found my dead seeds were due to soil, not enough moisture with soil method, also peel the seeds husk to prevent rot. I'm also updating my last post, I wouldn't switch from toothpick to soil until the root is almost an inch long, so it can provide its self with enough moisture to servive. I only use mineral enhanced purified water because chemicals in tap water (sulphites) impede growth. I also only change the water every three days however watch that the water does not get lower than the bulb root once that process has started and watch for discoloured water ( a sign of contamination). Germination should have the water at least 2/3rds of the way up the seed. The warmer the better I think, around 24-30 C or 75-86 F seems to work well. the seed does not need direct sunlight for germinating until sprouting. After transplanted two thirds or more deep in soil (the soil will collapse after watering a few times). and lightly pack the root at the bottom with some soil so it is less likely to dry out, I have mine in a 8x8inch pot, I have been using a childrens tylenol syringe (10ml or 2 tsp) to apply the water only aproximatly twice a day depending on the heat, 1 or two tsp at a time. some times mid day if the seedling is being torched by the sun. I also have a cheat, diatomatious earth, farm feed grade, works to retain moisture and fertilizes, so by the feel of my hand i check the moisture content because below it will be about the same. I surround the seed with about two table spoons and wet it, creating a crust, don't flash flood it or it will spread out. This all makes more cents once you realize that avocado's grow best in rainy and hot sunny places howeever don't need to stay soaked just moist, and sandy earth is great, so excess moisture bleeds away. I could not find sandy soil at the store so I went with sapling starter and an over sized pot to wick away excess moisture. I also used 2 table spoons of hard wood ash from an apple tree as fertilizer. Don't worry about PH level because avocados do quite well in high or low PH. My first seed sprout is 1 inch above the seed at about 25 days. I haven't decided whether trimming the root later will be necessary to create more roots but I am going to pinch the centre leaves at six inches and higher to keep the tree broad instead of tall because I am in the northern hemisphere and it can't winter outside here and my house won't fit a 15 to 30 foot tall tree. Oh and when you first transplant into soil, give it a fare amount of moisture, like a cup so the soil packs around the root. I hope this helps someone. And if you have for sure knowledge of trimming the root after in soil please let me know.

Suzanne Sharpe'Boatwright 2 months ago

Thanks for the tips on growing avocados from seeds! I couldn't figure out for the life of me, what I was doing wrong, lol mine kept growing "leggie" as you say

Erin 3 months ago

Hi! Thanks- this method has worked for me after no success with toothpicks and water! Just wondering if you transplant them to separate pots and at what point? My 18" tree is doing well, but now I have another sprouting in the same pot and I'm not sure what to do! The bigger one has about 5 sets of large leaves and several baby leaves on top. I couldn't find any comments addressing this topic. Thanks for any advice!

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SmallApt 3 months ago from Toronto

I did the toothpick thing with my avocado pit and it seemed to take months then suddenly there was a root so I waited a few more weeks then put it in a pot

today there is a sprout I wish I could upload a photo

Chris 3 months ago

From what I've heard, go with semi shady (Part day), all plants need the sun however all day in a scorcher may burn out your plant, as specially as a sapling. Lol excuse my terminology I know its not an evergreen.

Chris 3 months ago

I have had good luck germinating with the tooth pick method they always crack and get a bulb root within a week. However I had one seed that was pre started with a half inch root when I opened my avocado. It cracked a bit when I took it out. I did the tooth picks. the root started to go brown after a week and then my seed fell in half. so I figured sitting in water was just encouraging rot. So I planted it in the backyard. Mainly clay, but it can grow if it wants to. maybe the earthworms will clean it up. But now I am paranoid of my healthier toothpicked seeds so I potted them and only left the most premature one in the water. I even planted a whole avocado in the back yard after I cut it open and discovered it starting to spoil. So I stuck it back together for the planting. Someone had also told me if the skin is not broken it turns to leather that the sprouts can't puncture so maybe it will work if it doesn't rot first. I live in Canada so I defiantly have to bring them in doors early fall. I also peeled two and did not peel the others being that i read that the seeds skin protects it. I didn't window sill them for germination however had them in the open on a shelf and it is july with no AC and its been about 24C. Also read that a good root system is essential. which in soil the roots get little hairs to help absorption, so I am personally not worried about my over sized pots, I figure, mimic nature and cross my fingers. I like seeing the variety of ideas here, thank you. To bad there are no definite answers yet. Maybe I'll get some, this is my first go at it.

Darlene Quinn 3 months ago

Hi Rebecca, I tried to plant a seed and it kept getting moldy at the bottom where it meets the soil. I was in a dry place with some light. I only watered the dirt when I first planted the seed. What do you think is wrong?

Amanda 3 months ago

At what point do you plant outside? Plant in sun or shade?

Dawood Khan 3 months ago

Hi..thanks for sharing such amazing idea of growing this lovely plant. I wonder if I could try this too in the northern Pakistan where temperature plunges down to -6 c in winter. thanks again

Kevin 4 months ago

I have never managed to grow an avocado until three years ago when two grew from the compost into which I put the potatoes. When I harvested the potatoes I found them and took one in the house and lost the other. The next Spring I found the lost avocado and although it was not so healthy it was alive and is now growing fine.

J Kenler 5 months ago

I have only ever grown one avocado plant from seed. I placed the pit into moist soil, covered it with Saran Wrap ,and waited a few weeks for a stem to appear. I then removed the Saran Wrap and placed my plant in a sunny window. It is now 11 inches high with nine healthy leaves at the top and I have never pinched it yet. I like the way it looks and will wait to see what shape it takes before I start pinching it. I am, however, a bit nervous about when to transplant it because I don't want to harm it.

Brenda kay 5 months ago

I live in the northern part of Arizona in Yavapai county. Close to the top of the mountain. It's pretty bad soil. But, the good thing is that I have a lot of worms. A few bins that I can start the seeds in. I have tried the water method and nothing. I have had a few try to start. Then nothing. I and my roommate purchased this 2 acres 3 yrs ago. Did not know that fruit barring trees would grow here. But with the Almond and Apple trees I'm thinking that Avocados with the right love and your methods I should be able to do this. Thank all of you for your helpful tips. I will let you know how things are coming along. Have a great life

Chantal 5 months ago

This is the best way to grow the trees! Now I just need to know how to keep them alive in our climate :-) We have frost in winter and very hot weather in summer which are both not conducive for growing avos Is there anyone that has kept a tree alive that may be a specific type of avo tree?

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Rebecca Scudder 6 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Rosie. I use miracle grow on all my houseplants. I mix it with the water about once a month.

Rosie Escobar 6 months ago

What kind of fertilizer do use for avacodo trees?

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lrdl3535 7 months ago from California

Sounds like a really good way to plant these. I might even give this a try.

8 months ago

this mimics the way the groiw in the "wild". They will srout if they are laying sideways too.


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Rebecca Scudder 9 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi SunPixie. Good luck with your seed. I liked your baby pictures :) You might want to plant Arturo a little deeper - I can't tell for sure from the baby picture. Just keep the soil moist. I think you should be able to keep him outside in Thailand. I'd like to hear if he sprouts.

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Rebecca Scudder 9 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Julie. The idea of using nylon screening is clever. Thanks for the tip.

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Rebecca Scudder 9 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Donna. I'd transplant the seedlings insode if you want to keep them. The most cold hardy avocados I know may be able to tolerate going below freezing for a short amount of time, but I think more than a night or so would be pushing it. Good luck

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SunPixiesfrmDixie 9 months ago from Boone NC

Thank you so much! I've been trying & trying & wasting so many seeds. Avocados are very expensive here and I hope your advice helps me improve my gardening skills - I've one seed left. For luck, I've named him Arturo. Crossing my fingers & keeping that soil moist!

Julie Gray 9 months ago

I use nylon screening to cover the drain hole. This way only the water comes out, not the soil.

Donna Sammond 11 months ago

I found out how easily avacado seeds root in a mulch bin by accident Today I was readying my bin for the fall/winter and found 3 avacado trees - each about 1 foot tall. I don't know if they'll grow in my area - coastal South Carolina

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Rebecca Scudder 12 months ago from Upstate New York Author

hi bec :)

I wish you the best with your avocado tree. Your method of sprouting in your compost heap is very similar to mine. I think the only difference is you don't have as much control over what direction the pit is in when it starts sprouting- and that is a problem the avocado seed seems to deal with just fine. Could you let me know what you mean by polytunnel? thanks

bec 12 months ago

Here in west Ireland i have a 4foot avocado tree planted from seed - it's doing great in a polytunnel!

It is about 4 yrs old - one tip to get the seed sprouting is to throw all the seeds in your compost bin - when you come to empty it you'll find all the avocado seeds have sprouted lots of roots! Collect them up and plant them! Easy!

I'm hoping to get mine to set fruit soon - it did well this year with healthy hopefully, fingers crossed it'll deliver the goodies! :-)

Sandra Waldo 13 months ago

i grew two in water and they rooted nicely. I planted one but gonna try this way with my other two. Thankyou

Verity 18 months ago

I've never found soil nor toothpick method works. Not sure though if it's a climate thing as I'm in the UK. What has work however is washng the pips and leaving them soaking fully for 48 hours then half submerged SAMs toothpicks for the remainder of the germinating period. I've managed to germinate a pip over a British winter and have done more since. I keep it as an indoor plant as we really don't have the climate here for it to live outside. Who knows if it'll ever bear fruit. Fingers crossed.

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Rebecca Scudder 20 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Mascha, A couple of people a ways down in this comment chain recommend using wet paper towels in a Ziploc bag, but I haven't heard of using tissue before. One of them also suggested keeping the seed in the dark for a while (under the sink I believe)

Do you put yours in sun or in the dark as well? I'm also curious- does the tissue eventually break down while the avocado is in the bag? Do you just put the whole thing into dirt once it has sprouted?

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Rebecca Scudder 20 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Snakesmum- it might be surprising how well your seedling does. They can get extensive root systems in the ground, and as long as it doesn't get too cold and can access some water, your seedling may keep growing.

Mascha 20 months ago

Even faster sprouting: wrap it in moist tissue paper and then put it in a ziplock bag. Will sprout within 2 weeks tops!

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Snakesmum 23 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Have only once tried to grow an avocado from seed. I just stuck it into the ground, and it came up.

When I left that home, it was about 18 inches high. Sometimes wonder if it's still there, but probably not. Our climate isn't exactly right for avocados, and they are huge trees anyway.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I'm delighted to hear that- now I only need to wait about 6 more years myself. Let us know how the tree does, and if the avocados seem to be any particular variety.

sergio 2 years ago

I am sure the seed works but will take longer to produce fruit. All trees reproduce without the help of humanity. Just try to think of the evolution of the tree without the humans hands. An egg is produce which is basically going to be the avocado which will drop to the grounds and produce a new tree. Well to make this short help my mother plant a seed from an avocado 9 years ago. It started flowering and producing fruit after 8 years which did not mature and drop around small lime size which was triggered due to much water. I will let u guys know what happens this year which it's the 9 year. By the way I am in southern california zone 10 which is a great location for avocados. Well it produce avocados for a fact last year.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I tend to keep my plants a little on the dry side- so when mine turn brown I water a little more. New branches come from the sprout bud just above where a leaf falls. Try to keep your plant damp and see if any of the leaf buds begin to grow. If the tip is dead, go ahead and nip it off. If the wood under it is still tender and green, there is a good chance your plant will make a comeback.

Have you given plant food to your plant at all? Too much will burn it, and too little mans your plant may be dying from lack of nutrients in the soil. Use plant food that dissolves in water, and be sure the solution is not too strong.

I'd also start a couple more seeds :) Let me know how it goes.

Hwells 2 years ago

My seed grew tall with lots of leaves. Suddenly the leaves started turning brown & falling off. I know that usually is a sign of over watering, but even when I cut way down on the watering they kept falling off. One I have a tall green stick, with no leaves & the tip of theorist is turning brown!! Any ideas why?

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I wish you luck- my experience actually having avocados sprout has been so much better since I tried starting them in dirt that it feels like I have a somewhat green thumb rather than a black one :)

Steve 2 years ago

Yes, they're difficult to grow from toothpicks. I have tried dozens. I did fair well several years ago and mine actually reached about 4' in 3 years. However, it suddenly died very quickly. To this day, i have no idea why. But I was bummed, and never tried again. Maybe I will try your technique.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Nicci :) In the meantime you will have an attractive house plant :)

Nicci 2 years ago

What I just learned about avocados grown from seed, they take ten years to mature enough to bear fruit. Lol I got time.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Valeria- I think that is a great idea. Best possible soil I could imagine to start the avocado. Where I am everything is frozen right now, including my compost bin- but next spring I think I'll drop in a couple seeds and see what happens. I don't have any worms in the bin (at least that I know of), but maybe I'll try to add a few next spring too.

Valeria 2 years ago

I put the seeds into my worm bin. the Worms clean it off and eat away any rotting bits. If the seed germinates successfully, it will send a shoot out of the compost and grow, it the seed fails, it becomes compost. I've had many successful germinations this way and because I have to keep the worms moist, the seed stays moist as well. I've had the tops of seeds turn black and rot in potting soil, then bugs attracted to it, so the worm bin is my preferred method now.

Kara Calabrese 2 years ago

Thanks Rebecca. I will look forward to your updates.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Heidi, I have seen an avocado tree grown from a seed that was about that tall, and with a lot of branches- but I do not believe it will fruit. You could be lucky - there are a few stories of people actually getting fruit from a seed they started. What you might have is a great base for a bearing avocado branch to be grafted to - if you could just find a branch. There are dwarf fruit avocados available from nurseries and Amazon. I am not sure they are suitable for zone 7 or not. There is a variety that is cold hardy, but most people in the north would need to grow it as a patio tree.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Al, I think that is wonderful. I must have had a very healthy root system in your compost heap. I think plants grown outside in good weather do not get as leggy.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Cynthia, if you transfer to a too big pot, the roots will grow more than the top. Only go up in size about 2 inches wider at a time. Keep pinching the center shoot so the plant will get bushier.

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Rebecca Scudder 2 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Kara, I have found Amazon sells avocado trees - dwarf ones- that are fruit bearing. They are grafted ones, so they bear sooner. I've actually asked for one for a Christmas present- so I'll keep this updated with what happens.

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Kara Calabrese 3 years ago

Does anyone know where I could get or purchase a branch from a fruit producing avocado tree to use to graft my tree?

Heidi 3 years ago

My daughter sprouted a Haas avocado in her dorm room last year and brought it home for me to care for. I repotted it in garden soil and put it in a 3 gallon pot. It sat outside for the rest of the summer and I brought it in to my kitchen during the winter (zone 7 here). This spring I placed it outside next to my house facing south and it has grown to about 8 feet in height with plenty of large 12 inch leaves. I did start pinching the top as soon as it reached 12 inches and then when the new shoots reached 12 inches. It is almost too big to bring indoors and am wondering if I should make a plastic enclosure over it with maybe a light bulb for a heat source during our winter... Would be kind of cool if it got old enough to withstand winter and still bear fruit. Anyone heard of this plan?

Al 3 years ago

I found a two-foot (leggy) avocado plant growing in my compost bin. Dug it out and planted it in the garden. It appeared to be dead after a few weeks, so I cut it back but left it in the garden. That was about a month ago. Now I have a healthy little "green" plant growing. I'll be more careful when I dig it up again to bring it inside for the winter.

cynthia 3 years ago

I've done everything you've said here. My plant is about 10 inches tall even though I nipped the growth after two leaves. Should I transfer to a bigger pot maybe, to allow it to gain thickness? Don't want a 3 ft. tall stick after all this time invested. Thanks.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi RC. Let me know how your seeds grow. I've always considered them ornamental, since I don't expect them to produce fruit, and I'd love to know more about using avocado seeds in cooking.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Kim- I've occasionally found a sprout on an avocado when I opened it, and those are pretty surefire plants, if you give them moist dirt. When you put yours in water, did you go ahead and put toothpicks in it?

RC 3 years ago

thanks for all the tips , I have been trying to grow avocado trees from seeds without success; since I use the leaves for black bean tamales and barbacoa. will try all those tips

Kim 3 years ago

I just happened upon an already slightly sprouted seed in an avocado, put it in warm water in the sun & kept changing the water every couple of weeks.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Bootsie, I am glad you had such success with the toothpick method. Unfortunately, I don't. Mine kept never sprouting or dying. I really don't think there is a method for you to post a picture of your plant in comments.

Bootsie 3 years ago

I did toothpick,water method and my plant is huge in just a few months. It has eight . huge leaves now. It sits in a sunny window. How can I send you a picture?

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Abbey,

According to some of the comments, a couple people have said they or family members have grown avocados on their trees- but it seems to be very unusual. If you want an avocado tree with fruit, I suggest you get one from a nursery- which probably will be grafted.

abbeybandon 3 years ago

Has anyone had an avocado from a seed planted this way. Living in California, we were always told the plant had to be grafted on to another plant.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Cynthia- that might be the longest time that I've heard about them sprouting. It's great to know your perseverance paid off. I think the most important thing is to make sure the soil around the seeds stays moist.

Cynthia 3 years ago

I did this method and it took my seeds about 4 months to sprout. Keep faith and don't toss them out!!!

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Barbara, that's great news. Some of mine have taken a really long time to sprout too. I don't give up and throw them out unless they seem to be turning into the shrunken head version of an avocado seed.

Barbara 3 years ago

I tried the toothpick and cup of water three times. Didn't work. Then I read about your mom putting her seed in with a potted plant and forgetting about it. So, that is what I did. I didn't totally forget about it but it made it easier to care for it. Then I went on a trip for a week. When I came home I watered my plant and there was a sprout coming out of the Avocado seed. It had to have taken almost 2 months for it to finally show itself.

So anyone trying this be patient.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Rachael, I have heard from a few people that their plants have reproduced after many years, but generally people who want an avocado fruit tree get nursery stock. This is really just a way to create an unusual houseplant yourself.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Patb, I think you should give your plant a chance and see if it bounces back. Let me know how it goes.

Rachael 3 years ago

Will these plants grow avocados and after how long? Thank you for the awesome tutorial!

Patb 3 years ago

I have an avocado pit with good roots growing out sitting in water. It had grown two sprouts about 2 inches tall and my cat bit off the growing tips. Should I throw it away or will the little stems grow new leaves? I know that you are supposed to nip off the growing tip when it has grown some good leaves but this one had barely gotten started.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Raelynn, it is nice to hear a success story with the toothpick method. With my luck doing it, I'd begun to think it was a myth.

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Christine, that method sounds exactly the way my mother discovered how the seeds sprouted :)

I've usually pulled out the seeds from the dirt after 5-6 months- they get all wrinkled and prune like, and I figure they don't have much chance of sprouting by then.

Raelynn 3 years ago

I've got a 3' tree in my kitchen now, from a seed I started with the toothpick method a few years ago...when it started to sprout I cut off the "zip" of a ziplock bag and put it over the seed/tree growing (while still in water with toothpicks) to create a humid atmosphere for it, it grew so much better that way, once it outgrew the height of the ziplock I planted in dirt, only goes outdoors in the spring and nice summer days in Denver. Currently have 4 seeds in the window awaiting them to sprout! Heard it can take several years before it bares a fruit.

Christine Kinch 3 years ago

Hi All, Here in Ireland we just push the avocado stones into our house plant pots until they sprout - takes a lot longer but is so very easy. No additional work involved. I have found that it can take up to 6 months to see a shoot come up though depending on when the pip was planted. Good Luck!

Miguel Perez 3 years ago

It was very useful at some times

jemeives 3 years ago

I have forgotten avocados ripening in a dark cupboard, and found them sprouting on their own, feeding off themselves. I think that is the best way. It needs nutrients from itself, naturally.

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KA Pederson 3 years ago from Texas

We've been going through a lot of avocadoes lately, I can't wait to try this! Pinning this!

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi rutley. It's nice to hear other stories about success growing avocados from pits in the dirt. And your smoothie recipe looks very good too.

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rutley 3 years ago from South Jersey

I've always just thrown the seeds into my other potted plants. They've all sprouted and grown quite large. I just don't know how long before they bare fruit. Great hub.....if you get time take a look at my Avocado smoothie hub. Thanks and happy hubbing!

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Rebecca Scudder 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Yessi, thank you for telling me - this is the first time I have heard of a sprouted pit bearing fruit. What sort of sauces use avocado leaves?

Yessi 3 years ago

I grew one by using this method in 2003...I got deployed and left the tree to my uncle-who grew it and now 9 yrs later during this past summer, it finally gave him 2 small avocados. It is a huge tree-and I use the leaves for special sauces!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, ITcoach for the praise. Let me know how your avocado grow.

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Mow180- what irony! Next time you try, you could use some of the compost, though. Have fun!

Mow180 4 years ago

I wish I had read your post last year LOL I did the seed and toothpick trick and after 6 months of watching it, I threw it in the compost.

This fall when empting the compost I found that the poor seed had started growing, sent out a long root and was then smothered by a couple of feet of coffee grounds...

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Good luck, Damsonia- let me know how it goes.

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Damsonia 4 years ago from UK

I'm going to try grow my own one! :)

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Jamie, for the information. I have tried pointy end up and pointy end down, and overall, I like pointy end down. You can see from the top photo that the pointy end up method certainly works, but I think it is easier for the sprout to grow out and up with the broad end up. It is very important to have good drainage in the soil, and to keep it moist.

I am not sure that using old almost split in two seeds will give you a good success rate. As well, any sort of seed, easy to start or hard, will die quickly if it starts to sprout and then dries out from lack of moisture.

I am really not sure about different types of water. My lack of success with the toothpick method used chlorinated tap water, but my Mom used well water and still had trouble- and her water tastes wonderful. :)

Jamie 4 years ago

I am cleaning up old planters for the winter so the cracked open almost split in 2-seeds I have I will try the dirt-way to see if anything happens by Springs. I'm in zone 7, 8 considering. I've successfully got my avocado seeds to do the above by the 3 toothpicks, point up in filled baby jars of fresh water in the SW window which happens to be over my kitchen sick^^I will send pictures of any new spouts from those and any I see from the dirt and hopefully by then I can share all I've done to successfully grow them to matched by my non-so-green thumb grandmother who does nothing really special to her plants.

I just know from other bloggers on these hard-to-grow seeds in the past, the dirt method is difficult especially if you forget to keep the dirt moist and also avoid root rot at the same time :( not to mention gnats if the soil is not fast draining.

Thank for your stories !

Jamie 4 years ago

You wrote, "Pointed end down" (in the dirt) that's incorrect. It's Pointed end UPWARD. The spout comes through the broad end of the seed.

The reason many seeds DO NOT sprout is largely due to the crap in alot water supplies all around the cities. I'm miles from the mexican border. My seeds crack open and split in two, the rest bake in the sun :( But my grandmother who has well water, can sprout these seeds in the typical empty baby jars with the toothpick method and practically forget them completely except when her kids or grandchildren will add water for her, no problem whatsoever, she has 2 three ft. trees growing in well drained cactus soil and compost. Worm castings thrown onto the top sooil every six months. She lives 50 miles from me. Wish I had her water !

I've never tried dirt nor any type of medium

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Talha - I hope your seed sprouts. Chances are you will be growing a houseplant, not a tree that will bear fruit. I have been told that the avocado seeds we plant are not necessarily pure stock. I was also told it could take up to 10 years to fruit - and I don't have any plants that old yet. Good luck

Talha 4 years ago

hi Rebbeca

I am from Bangladesh and avocados are a very rare & expensive commodity. I first tasted one 2 months back and wanted to grow a tree. I surfed the net and found the toothpick method... So I tried but failed, they were all dud!! I had one tonight and am going to use your prescribed method. I will surely take your advice and plant one after peeling the skin off. Hope it works!!!!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Have fun - after you plant the seed, just keep the soil moist. I often put several seeds in the same pot - since not every one may sprout all the time.

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Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Wow! It seems easy to plant avocado. Thanks for sharing. I would try it this afternoon.

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Kat. I was wondering myself if anyone had success with blossoms or fruit from a plant they started. How old is your Mom's ten foot tall tree?

kat 4 years ago

most avocados need to be grafted in order to produce fruit. my mom grew many trees from the seeds, but it wasnt until she had her trees grafted did they produce fruit. she has a ten foot tall producing tree now.

AJ 4 years ago

Okay, Thanks for the info

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi AJ - I have never even had blossoms - this is really just going to give you a house plant. If you really want an avocado that will fruit, I suggest getting seedling stock from a nursery.

AJ 4 years ago

Will this method bear fruit?

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

lol - let me know which one's the winner.

Roe 4 years ago

Always eating avacadoes- love the look of the seed- will try both ways- a race to the finish- tks for sharing

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I've always grown mine inside- which you should be able to do everywhere. I live north of NYC, so I've only put plants outside in late spring and summer, and bring them back inside in early fall.

Terry Devine 4 years ago

Can you grow them in KY?

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Jessica, I put a seed into a ziplock bag with a paper towel a couple days ago to see how sprouting goes. I'd put it on the window sill, but keeping it in the dark for a while sounds like a good idea, so mine will go under the sink too.

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Iris, I'll try that method too. It sounds like you submerge the seed completely?

I agree, drainage is important.

Do you have your tree outside for part of the year?

Jessica 4 years ago

I also do the plastic baggie method. Eat avocado, rinse seed, get a paper towel wet, wrap around seed, put in a corner of a plastic baggie, twist closed (so I can do 2-3 per baggie), toss under kitchen sink for a while. Check back in a week or so to make sure paper towel is still damp (re-wet if necessary) and then plant when it's sprouted to satisfaction. My most successful tree grew to about 4' tall and about an inch diameter trunk in 2-3 years before a very very naughty puppy heartbreakingly chewed it down.

Iris von Brandstatter 4 years ago

I put my avocado seeds after rinsing in a jar of water for about 1-2 weeks - until you see the pointy bit break open - then remove the skin, easy by then - and THEN

I start sprouting ... I have grown a huge avocado tree this way :)

Also, I use a layer of pebbles in the pots first to provide better drainage ... maybe that helps too for those who have not had any luck so far.

Happy planting! Iris

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I was told that sprouting in the dirt wouldn't work either :) Makes you wonder where new avocado trees come from.

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Jojosi 4 years ago from Complicated

I have always used the toothpick and water method and had them sprouting each time. I have used this method because my sister told me years ago that, they do not sprout when planted directly into the soil. I will try your method just to prove her wrong. Hope it works for me!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for telling me about your method. it's new to me - but I'll try it next time I eat an avocado. Do you leave the bag sealed the whole time?

Dc 4 years ago

When I was in Puerto Rico I had several avocado seeds that I wanted to bring home and plant, I wrapped them in wet paper towels and put them in a ziplock bag...even before I left they had started to grow! I've used this method ever since and I can't think of one time that a seed didn't grow. Please try it. I do peel most of the dark skin off, but that's just me.. I think they look better that way and I feel like it's a barrier that the poor seed needs to fight in order to grow. Just plant the seed in soil when you're ready.. They continue to grow in the bag for quite a while.

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rbm 4 years ago

This is great! I definitely have to try it out. I'm a big fan of avocados, so i'll have plenty of seeds to try it with. :)

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I put the seed into the dirt pointy side down, although when I used to try sprouting them in water I put them pointy side up. I've seen them sprout successfully sideways in the dirt too.

Kate C 4 years ago

Pointy end of seed down? Photos seem to show it up. My experience has been up. I've had success, but may do even better your way. ????

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I wish you lots of success :) Let me know how it goes.

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rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I did one long ago. Thanks for reminding me. I will try this way. Great instructions, well illustrated!

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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Thank you. I have failed with the water in a glass method many times. Am going to try this. :)

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Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Just came across this, I will try it too! Thanks!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I've never gotten one to bloom. I raise them as houseplants. If anyone has had any experience with blooming or growing fruit, I'd love to know.

Mike W 4 years ago

Are these good for growing avocados or just as plants to have around?

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I think I managed to sprout two avocado seeds with toothpicks in more than ten years - and I too must have had a hundred seeds that didn't sprout. Since I started sprouting the seeds this way, I have about ten plants growing - and I've given away a couple of sprouted seeds to people. (I feel a little like an infomercial- LOL)

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

Just great! I must have planted a hundred avocado seeds in plastic cups over the years and had no luck..your tips will surely change this and I am extremely happy about them thank you. I once saw a house in Long Island that belonged to someone who worked on a movie, and her whole sitting room was lined in pretty avocado trees in little pots she had grown and I wanted to have the same!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

My thumb is only slightly green, so I need plants that stand up to a certain amount of neglect. And it makes me feel virtuous to recycle pots from plants I let die - those pots aren't sitting there in silent accusation anymore :)

I'd love to know if people succeeed with this.

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AllieRambles 4 years ago from Bay Area, California

I live in CA, land of avocado on everything. And I LOVE avocados! We have always sprouted them from seed in water with toothpicks but then gave up when the water dried up. Not a great way to get started.

You made me laugh, "if you are like me and have a few dead plants around in pots, use one of those." Are you in my backyard? LOL.

This sounds easy and I may need to try this next time I make guacamole!


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Shawn Scarborough 4 years ago from The Lone Star State

Great hub. I love avocados but have never tried growing my own. I will follow your instructions, hopefully I'll have some avocados. Congrats on your Hubnugget nomination!

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ripplemaker 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I have eaten a lot of avocados lately but now it's no longer in season here. Thanks for sharing this. I will forward it to a friend who loves to plant too and a lover of avocado as well!

Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. You can also vote here: best of luck!

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

If you enjoyed this article, think about voting for it in HubNuggets before Wed November 30th. Thanks, Rebecca

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I'd really like to hear back from people on their success with the avocados - let me know how your mother's plant does.

There should be a couple more recipes going up this week - soups I think.

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DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Thanks for this tip, Rebecca! My mom loves avocados and this will make an excellent surprise little gift for her. Great hub, voted up...any more recipes in the offing, lol.

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Rebecca Scudder 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I was flabbergasted at how easy this is. Let me know how it goes. It can take a month to start - but some have sprouted in a week, and once one I was meaning to toss and didn't sprouted after at least 2 months. Just keep the soil damp.

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Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I've never had any luck with avocado's but will try your method.

Welcome to HubPages.

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Shelly McRae 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I haven't had any success with the toothpick method either. I'll give your method a try. Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.

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