How to grow avocado from the pit

Fresh avocado can be delicious on toast or next to the famous guacamole, but don’t throw out the seeds! Use it to grow fun (and free!) Houseplants to complement your collection of pothos, bromeliads, orchids and African violets. “It’s actually easy to grow avocados out of the pit, which you can’t really do with any other plant,” says Tim Spann, PhD, a plant physiologist and advisor to the California Avocado Commission. “These plants have been popular for decades because they require almost no care.” This is also a fun family project!

Although there are several varieties of avocados available in the United States, most are Hass, which is the most popular variety due to its high oil content and creamy texture. Their high season runs from May to August, although they are found most of the year. You can get other varieties all year round, but it doesn’t really matter what variety you use to grow the avocado plant.

Here’s what else you need to know about how to grow avocados from seeds.

Immediately “plant” the pit.

Do not allow the pit to dry out. Once you have finished consuming the avocado, insert three toothpicks into the side of the pit to balance on a small glass or bottle of juice partially filled with water. Be sure to position the picks so that the bottom 1/3 (wider end) of the pit is submerged. “In the tropical forest, the avocado falls to the ground and is eaten, and the pit stays under the litter on the forest floor,” says Spann. “He tries to imitate this environment by keeping the pit partially above the culture medium, which in this case is water.”

Give it a strong light.

Place your glass and seeds in a place where you get a lot of strong light, such as on an east or west windowsill. Change the water every few days to keep it slimy. The seed should start in about 2 weeks. These two halves are full of carbohydrates and nutrients that the plant needs to grow. Soon roots should appear from below. If nothing happens after about 3 weeks, throw it away and try again with a new pit.

Transplant the avocado.

If you’re lucky with your plant, the roots will fill the cup in about two months. This is a sign that it is time to put the seeds in pots. Fill a 6-8 inch diameter pot with common flower soil. Also, make sure there is a drainage hole in the pot because the avocado doesn’t like to get too wet. And don’t choose a larger pot because the plant can’t use all the moisture from a large pot fast enough.

avocado seeds in a pot for germination on a wooden background

Andrej NikitinGetty Images

Place the germinated seeds in the soil in the same way as in the glass, so that about 1/3 of the pit is in the soil and the rest is above the ground. Most potted soils have some form of fertilizer that the plant can use for a few months and then start feeding monthly or bi-monthly with any liquid houseplant fertilizer. Follow the instructions in the package.

How do you care for the avocado plant?

Avocados, like most tropical houseplants, prefer strong indirect light, so keep it in the brightest spot in your home. Irrigation is the biggest challenge. “Avocados are extremely sensitive to wet feet, so let the pot dry between waterings,” says Spann. Insert your finger into the ground to check the moisture level; do not water if you still feel wet and check again within a few days. You probably only need to drink a few weeks in the summer and a little more often in the winter when the air is drier.

Do you get fruit from an avocado plant?

Unfortunately, probably not. First, it takes 7 to 10 years for them to be ready to bear fruit – and there’s very little chance they can keep them alive for that long, Spann says. But you can try! And you can always grow another avocado from the next seed you save.

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