How to Grow an Avocado Plant From Seed

Updated on May 8, 2018
1 year old avocado seedling
1 year old avocado seedling | Source

If you ever wanted to know how to plant an avocado seed and grow your own avocado tree, then you have arrived at the right place.

Your self-grown avocado tree may itself be able to produce fruit one day, but it may take 4 - 6 years. Until then, you'll have a really unusual houseplant to look after.

Avocado trees can grow to almost 70 feet tall, given the right conditions, so if you need to keep it as a houseplant, you will want to pinch out the growing tip to encourage it to bush rather than grow straight upwards.

Growing avocado seeds is fun, and you get to eat a delicious avocado too. Simply buy an avocado, take it home, eat it, release the seed (which is huge) and carefully clean it under cold or tepid running water.

Any flesh left on the seed with inhibit germination, and encourage rot.

Dry your seed completely, and now you are ready to plant.

There are two methods that I know of to get an avocado seed to germinate, and I will tell you both here so that you can take your choice.

avocados and their seed
avocados and their seed
avocado seed
avocado seed

How to plant an avocado seed

The common method of growing an avocado seed is to insert two or three cocktail sticks into the fleshy side of the seed, and suspend over a glass of water until it sends a shoot downwards to take a drink.

The bottom (rounded end) should be actually sitting in the water. You may need to top up the water levels to ensure it doesn't dry out.

If nothing happens by the end of six weeks, it probably isn't going to sprout and should be discarded, but give it that length of time, just in case. They are quite slow at germinating.

Once it has sprouted, it can be planted in a compost filled pot, root downward. Leave the tip of the seed above the soil level.

avocado shoot emerging from the seed
avocado shoot emerging from the seed
avocado sprout stretching upwards
avocado sprout stretching upwards | Source

How to plant an avocado seed type 2

The method above never seem to work for me, and generally the seed just rots.

Of course it could be that it just hates thetap waterhere. It's salty and chemical-laden. Avocado trees hate saline water, and no doubt their seeds do too.

The other method I have had some success with, involves taking the seed and planting it directly into a compost filled pot, rounded end downwards.

Water in well, and leave to drain.

Then pop the whole pot inside a plastic bag and seal. Place in a warm cupboard. Light is not required at this point, and wait for signs of a shoot at the top.

Bring out and place on a sunny window-shelf. Leave in the bag for a day or two longer to allow the fledging plant to adjust, then take the bag off and put a saucer underneath the pot to which you can add water for your baby avocado plant to drink.

This method also avoids the shock of moving the seedling from water to compost.

avocado seedling
avocado seedling | Source

Growing on your avocado seed

Your avocado seedling can be placed in a sunny position and given frequent waterings.

Let the soil dry out between waterings, and always water from below.

Never let it sit in water that its not drinking up, so if after an hour or two there is still water there, throw it away (the water that is, NOT the plant!).

More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.

Though not in my mum's house - she always forgets to water hers and they usually all die. Her cactii do incredibly well, funnily enough.

Your avocado is a quick growing tree, so be prepared to have to pot on into bigger pots at least once a year or more.

As I said above, pinch out the growing tip to try to make it grow more side shoots. That way it won't grow so tall.

Avocado seedling waiting to be re-potted into larger pot
Avocado seedling waiting to be re-potted into larger pot | Source

Potting on your Avocado Seedling

Eventually your little (or not so little) avocado seedling will require a larger pot to grow on in.

Avocados let you know when the time is right. They requiring watering much more often than usual, and actually wilt to let you know.

To witness a tall, majestic seedling with drooping leaves is saddening.


To move your avocado seedling from one pot to another, follow the steps outlined below.


  1. Choose a day when your plant's compost is on the dry side.
  2. Obtain a larger pot.
  3. Line the holes in the bottom of the pot with broken clay pots, or pebbles, or even paper. You want a material that will allow water through but which will not allow the soil to drop out.
  4. Place an inch or so of compost in the bottom of the pot.
  5. Gently squeeze your plastic pot containing the avocado seedling all the way round to loosen the soil from the sides of the pot.
  6. Lift the whole avocado plant out including it's soil and place it in the centre of the pot.
  7. Fill in the sides with fresh compost.
  8. Place the whole pot in the sink and soak with water froom both the top and the bottom.
  9. Add extra soil as required. Some of the compost will sink with the addition of water as it settles into place.

avocado tree
avocado tree
young avocado tree
young avocado tree

Pollination of Avocado Trees

Avocado trees grow in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. They hate frost so if you live in an area prone to frost, you will need to keep the plant indoors, though you may put it outside in the summer if you have a nice sheltered spot available.

Your avocado tree may produce fruit after 4 - 6 years, but the tree itself is only partial self-fertile.

This is because its flower are male one minute and female the next.

How weird is that?

There are two types of avocado cultivars, type A and type B.

In type A, the flowers open in the morning as female and close at the end of the day. The next day, the same flowers open in the afternoon as males.

In type B, it's the opposite.

They open as female on the first afternoon, and the next morning open as male.

As we need both male and female to be open at the same time in order to pollinate, this is quite difficult.

What we can do, is wait until a male flower opens and collect some pollen on the tip of a small paintbrush or similar. Put the brush into a plastic bag.

When we next see a female flower we can carefully dab some pollen onto the stigma and then let nature take its course.

The fruit of an avocado tree is unlikely to be like the fruit you bought the seed in.

This is because avocados are commercially grafted by growers to ensure continuation of the exact trees and cultivars they have grown to produce the fruit.

If you live in a tropical or subtropical area, you can plant your avocado tree out in the garden. They like well-drained soil but hate alkaline soils with high salinity. If you have the latter two, keep your avocado trees in pots.

Grow in a sheltered part of the garden as they dislike high winds, and indeed high winds can ruin any potentialcrop.

In view of its potential maximum height of 70' (20m), it is advisable to plant away from the house, to prevent future problems with roots working their way into the foundations of your house. Normally, trees roots will spread 1 1/2 times their height.

If you really want to try growing your own avocados, why not buy a ready made avocado tree from Amazon that will possibly fruit as early as next year?

Where you can grow avocado trees out-doors

Avocado trees grow well in:

Mexico, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida, Ecuador, central America, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Spain, Crete, Peru, South Africa, Chile.

Questions & Answers

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      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 2 weeks ago from UK

        Avocado trees are deciduous in a cooler climate. Many lose their leaves over the winter (even when kept as house plants) but they will grow back in the spring.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 3 weeks ago from UK

        In a light place out of direct sunlight.

      • profile image

        Eva 3 weeks ago

        Where do you put the avocado seed after you put it in water ? In sunlight or dark room?

      • profile image

        Lin 2 months ago

        Hello! Thank you so much for the info above. My avocado is more than a year old but there's so few leaves and it's not brunching out. I'm worried that if i cut it it won't grow back. What do you think i should do?

      • profile image

        avocadian 4 months ago

        Hi dear!

        Thanks for your insightful and informative article!

        I’m Joy and recently started up a new venture to solve the avo-issues in Malaysia (you know it’s very hard to get good quality avocados in the market nowadays… more info at https://www.avocadian.com )

        And yes, it’s been a very tough journey to deal with avocados… Since you’re really well experienced with avocado, I wonder if you could shed some light on what I’m doing? Do you think I provide values to the people? How could I improve it?

        Thank you very much dear! =)

      • profile image

        Nanny 2 years ago

        I thought I read somewhere to keep them in the dark in the beginning?

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

        I've grown them in Scotland which is pretty far north. I don't have a conservatory but if I did I'd keep them there. At the moment I've still got one in the unheated greenhouse. It looks a bit miserable because it has shed its leaves for the winter, but it's getting big. I left it outdoors last summer and took it in when frosts threatened.

      • dearabbysmom profile image

        dearabbysmom 4 years ago from Indiana

        It was so exciting to read this and plan to get started...but then I read to the end about living in a frost zone. My son lives in Florida, however, and I may have him do this for me. Thank you for sharing this info! Voted up.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

        Excellent idea to have your own photos to hand! I've still got the tree shown above, although it is a lot bigger now. In spring when it's new leaves come through I will update this hub. I've also got several citrus trees - I can't remember if they are oranges or lemons LOL! Good luck with your seedlings :)

      • modern housewife profile image

        Sarah 4 years ago from Indiana

        Very Interesting! I have done this with apricot, plum and peach seeds. I started the seeds last August (2013) and now I have 2 tiny sprouts growing in pots in my window. The other 2 have good roots, so I am hopeful they too will sprout in the next few days. I am planning a hub about the process I used, but have been waiting to get good pics of the growing trees.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

        Over-watering? Try to leave him on the dry side for a few days and see if he improves. Sorry that's the only thing I can think of. You don't want to re-pot him because if he is suffering now, the shock could kill him.

        If his compost is already on the dry side, try increasing his watering. If there is a heatwave where you are his watering needs will have increased.

      • profile image

        Bparberry 4 years ago

        I started my tree from the water and 2 months now he's a foot. Going great and fast but the sorta new bigger leaves are droopy. Granted the lower ones dry out and are cut off and there are new leaves up top. In a 3 lb. Butter bin. I don't wanna lose him any advice?

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        You're very welcome :) Thanks for commenting!

      • dara60 profile image

        dara60 7 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thanks a million

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Absolutely Nate! I seldom throw any seeds away, and so have a mini forest of all sorts growing - apples, lemons, oranges, avocados etc. Reforestation is what we should all be aiming for :)

      • NateSean profile image

        NateSean 7 years ago from Salem, MA

        Now this is a very unique hub. Great info and thank you for providing some very useful info. If more people would plant seeds instead of just throwing them away, we might actually be able to help restore some of the damage we're doing to our planet.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        You need a nice warm conservatory or heated greenhouse so they get plenty of warmth and sunshine :)

      • Harlan Colt profile image

        Harlan Colt 7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

        I have always had good success using the toothpick/glass method, getting my seeds to start. Problem for me is, every time they get going, they die shortly after. I live in a high altitude area, so I am sure the cold and such has some to do with it.

        Nice hub tho,

        Good job

        - Harlan

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Excellent! Love to hear success stories :)

      • profile image

        A Fresh Approach 7 years ago

        Great hub! I always watched my parents try to do the water method growing up in California. I was never successful at it. I got tired of it and just threw three seeds in their own dirt and watered. To my surprise, they all sprouted. I have one left (they're tempermental to being moved and I've even changed states with them)that is about two years old. Everyone that comes over to my house comments on it. We love it! Good luck to all. Avocados are great fun.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Wow! You must have a budding gardener there!

      • profile image

        Seo company 7 years ago

        Had success with th glass method to the amazement and joy of my 3 year old daughter!

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Come back and let me know how you get on :)

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I’ve never grown an avocado plant but after reading your hub I’ve decided that I’m going try. I’m going to enjoy working on this project! Thank you for the instructions and the interesting information.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Be interesting to see if you can grow an upside side avocado LOL!!

      • Eaglekiwi profile image

        Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

        Oh I might have the wrong end dangling -lol,you know Ive done this before ,so I feel such a dummy now.

        Thanks for your reply :)

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Thanks :) Keep topping the water up so that the rounded part of the stone is sitting in the water. It can take up to 6 weeks to germinate so it's early days yet. Good luck!

      • Eaglekiwi profile image

        Eaglekiwi 7 years ago from -Oceania

        My avocado stone is just dangling in a little water ,but still hasn't sprouted any greenery? its been around 10 days now..do I just keep topping up the water ,as I know the air conditioner makes it quite dry inside?

        Loved your hub ,thumbs up!

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Sometimes the seeds just won't sprout no matter what you do! Just got to keep trying :)

      • profile image

        SilverGenes 7 years ago

        Izzy, thank you so much for this! I have tried and messed this up so many times but now will give it another go :)

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        here's hoping, so thanks :) I'd rather have the google traffic back though...

      • pertibha321 profile image

        pertibha321 7 years ago from india

        ya am agreed this is the example of a great hub which may be going to reach hubscore 100.best of luck to this hub and hubber.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Thanks :) Hope someone finds it useful :)

      • Peaceful life profile image

        Peaceful life 7 years ago from Las vegas

        this is a good informative hub!

      • profile image

        anjali 7 years ago

        I love plants..

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Yes they need either a tropical or a subtropical climate but you can grow them indoors in other cooler climates :)

      • SUSANJK profile image

        SUSANJK 7 years ago from Florida

        I love avacados, do they need a certain climate. I want to try and grow some.

      • rainmist profile image

        rainmist 7 years ago from Las Vegas

        It's a good idea to plant fruit tree at home garden .

        Maybe the whole joy of it is not avocado . I will have a try .

        good luck !

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Didn't realise the hub was featured so thanks for the heads up :)

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Hey good luck! Let us know how you get on :)

      • Denise Handlon profile image

        Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so glad I 'ran' into this hub, although I believe, nothing is by accident. Just this afternoon at lunch I made guacamole and removed the pit from both avocados. I placed them inside the water glass thinking this was what I remembered had to happen. And, now-you're hub! So helpful. Glad it made it to the featured hub section.

      • Money Glitch profile image

        Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

        I'm attempting to get one started by growing it in water. So far no luck, of course I think it has only been about 3 weeks and not 6. Guess I'll give it a few more weeks before tossing it. You are right though that some seem to sprout faster than others. Thanks for sharing all the tips. :)

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        If we're all growing our own (and saving a fortune) it is worth noting that avocado fruit, like bananas, ripen off the tree. Pick them when they are green and firm, then they will start to ripen.

      • GlstngRosePetals profile image

        GlstngRosePetals 7 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

        Hmm ill have to try this thank you

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        This hub is on the sign out page? LOL Thanks Hubpages! (not sure if that's good or bad)!

        Susan, the second method is a bit hit or miss too, and I think that's because it depends on the seed. Worth a try :) It works for me :)

      • Just Ask Susan profile image

        Susan Zutautas 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Great Hub. I love avocados and have tried the water method so many times with no luck at all. I did not realize that there was another way to grow them. I was just signing out of hubpages and saw your hubpage on the sign out page. So glad to have found it. Thanks so much. Now I will be off to the store to buy some avocados.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        I grew my avocado trees in Scotland so it can be done. They are just houseplants of course. I started to grow some here but they didn't survive their first summer - its just too hot and dry here and the tap water is awful!

      • chspublish profile image

        chspublish 7 years ago from Ireland

        Would love to grow one to maturity, at least to the fruiting stage. Unfortunately the climate here may not support the fruiting. However I have tried the first method wothout much success. I shall try the second way to see what happens. It's a shame to throw the seeds away without trying. Thanks.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        They made lovely plants. Good luck with it!

      • JD Barlow profile image

        JD Barlow 7 years ago from Southeast US

        The water method worked for me. My avocado plant is still in the baby stage, but looking good!

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Each avocado tree when they start flowering can produce 1,200 fruit each year! I hope you REALLY like avocados!

      • azure_sky profile image

        azure_sky 7 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

        Thanks so much for this useful hub!! Yes, it may take years to produce avocados, but think of the money I will save :) Maybe I'll just go ahead and plant a small orchard :) Thanks again!!

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        Yes you should because it's fun :)

      • profile image

        Nan 7 years ago

        You make it sound easy to grow the avacado plant and I am going to try growing a plant or two.

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        I would anyway. The last one I grew lives at an east facing window. It doesn't grow an awful lot but it looks healthy enough.

      • trish1048 profile image

        trish1048 7 years ago

        Hi IzzyM,

        I tried the water method many years ago. I didn't have any luck with it. My mom, however, did.

        I would love to try this again, however, I only have one tiny window with no sill that gets full sun. So basically, the only light I get in my home is from all exposures, but only the small window with an eastern exposure.

        Should I bother to try again?

      • IzzyM profile image
        Author

        IzzyM 7 years ago from UK

        You're welcome. It's great fun, but if you want to pick your own you are probably better off buying a tree grown by a specialist. I'm surprised at Amazon's prices. I can buy them in the local market - 5' tall or thereabouts - for about €15 ($25) each.

      • profile image

        Fay Paxton 7 years ago

        Thank you so much for this hub. I've always wanted to know how to do this. I love avocados!

      working

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