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How do I start an avocado tree from the pit? Mine NEVER grow!

Updated on November 3, 2016

Growing an Avocado

Guacamole is a very tasty dish: one impossible to make without avocados; however, you can grow your own avocados starting right in your kitchen or any room with a spot for a glass of water and some sunlight.

Just think fresh avocados and it all began with that pit you removed from the last avocado you bought.

Who has not at least tried to get an avocado to grow?

There are two ways to grow an avocado from seed, one uses a glass of water and some toothpicks and the other involves a more traditional planting method and that is putting it into the soil.

Which method you choose may well be determined by why you are growing the avocado in the first place.

If you are looking for an interesting house plant and have a space inside that is ideal for it then the water and toothpick method may be all you need. If the plant gets what it needs it may even produce fruit but if not may just look good.

If the reason for planting is to grow the tree to produce avocados for your food supply; then you can still start it indoors with the glass and water or you can plant it straight into the soil.

It will take some time for your avocado seed to germinate so patience is essential. It can take up to ten years for the tree to bear fruit and it is possible that an indoor plant will not live that long; so do not get your hopes up about fresh avocados.

The seed pit or stone likes it hot and moist which is one of the reasons that using the glass with water method is popular.

Follow these instructions:

  • pierce the seed with toothpicks and suspend it, pointed end up, over a glass of water. Roots should start to develop within two to six weeks. Then pot up the plant, leaving the tip just poking out of the soil. However, not all avocado seeds will germinate, so if your seed hasn't sprouted after six weeks, try again with a fresh seed
  • leave the seed in direct sunlight until it starts to split. Then pot it up
  • place the seed in a pot, and cover it completely. Water well, allow to drain and leave in a warm, dark place, such as an airing cupboard. Check on the pot every week to ensure it is moist, and water if necessary. As soon as the shoot starts to show, move the pot to a sunny spot, such as a windowsill.

Outdoors, the avocado tree enjoys a variety of soils but if given their preference they want a loose sandy loam with a pH level between 6 and 7. They need good drainage.

They are sun lovers but will grow in partial shade but may not bear fruit. The avocado has an extensive roots system so do not plant anything else too close.

One of the reasons the pit may not germinate is that the combination of heat and moisture is insufficient for germination to take place. A consolation is that if you love avocados and buy them regularly you will always have fresh seed to experiment with, so enjoy the process.

avocado

courtesy flickr. angela tchou
courtesy flickr. angela tchou

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  • profile image

    Mogamat Thompson 5 years ago

    I just began to grow my seed at first I put it in the wrony way but now I know how I must do it .

  • profile image

    ajschermer 5 years ago

    I have a tree doing very well right now, about two feet tall and decided to start another. The second however sprouted two stalks that are bright red is this normal. Will the end product be the same?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

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    trish mcclelland 6 years ago

    I am in Michigan. I started a pit and it gre and loved being outside. You water it as it becomes dry. I grew it in a plastic tote box. When the cooler temperatures came, I brought it inside, but, my cats slowly defoliated it, and after the second year of cats eating my leaves, I give up. They beed a bright window inside, however. If you want to get a seperate container and plant the cats, go for it.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for you input, it was most helpful.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    I've found that by angling the toothpicks downward that the pit sits lower in the glass. That helps keep the roots from drying out when the water level evaporates. Loved this hub and I'm always trying to remember which end to put up when starting the avocado. Now I know.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    Yep, you could put it out in Summer, leave it in the pot and place it in a nice sunny sot.

  • profile image

    jerry from idaho 6 years ago

    so thanks for getting back to me . so...just keep the plant in a pot inside? just a nice house plant. no avacados since i live in idaho. Boo!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    I'd move it to a pot now and yes moving it outside is a bad idea.

  • profile image

    jerry 6 years ago

    I started the plant from a pit. growing great it is now over 2 feet tall. I live in meridian id. and it gets cold! when shall I plant it in a pot and it is a waste of time thinking I should be able to plant it outside at all in idaho?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Is the plant gettings enough sun?

  • profile image

    lilly 7 years ago

    I used the water/toothpick method, and the bottom is split open now, but there arent any roots coming out. Its been almost a month... is it ever going to get roots?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    The odds are good.

  • profile image

    Wooden Greenhouse Guy 7 years ago

    Hi Bob, another of your high quality hubs, thank you for making them so useful to the community! What are the odds of them germinating?

  • profile image

    Jenniffer 7 years ago

    Hi, Bob i have a question for you is their anyway that I don't have to use toothpicks is there any other way? Thanks for the good tips.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Possible, light and water are two main reasons why plants thrive or fail

  • myweddingfavors profile image

    myweddingfavors 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    I used Denise's method (with the sandwich bag filled with a little water, hung sideways) and my seed sprouted within a couple of weeks. I planted it shortly thereafter (indoors in a pot) and my sprout didn't make it. Maybe it's because I neglected to give it "dark, moist" conditions upon first planting?

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Congratulations.

  • profile image

    Deb 7 years ago

    I tried the tooth pick method SEVERAL times with no luck whatsoever, so, on a lark, I washed the pit, and put it right into a pot of soil. Watered regularly, and kept it in front of a window, when warm weather arrived, took it outside, kept watering, and viola!! I have a beautiful seedling? I call it a mini tree, :) it's doing great!! I just planted 3 more in individual pots and cannot wait for them to "spring up" :)

    Love the fruit, and love the trees! :)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

  • profile image

    loving texas 7 years ago

    is texas a good place to grow avocodos( central texas that is Austin,round rock, goergetown, taylor etc)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Inventive, thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Denise  7 years ago

    I put the pit in a sandwhich baggie with water Hang it with a magnet on the fridge....diagnolly so the pit isn't completely covered. Go away and leave it. In a while roots grow and stem appears. I leave it on the fridge until the stem grows too tall for the baggie. Then I plant it. This is a new adventure so I have one potted and growing and one sprouting on the fridge.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • maheshpatwal profile image

    maheshpatwal 7 years ago from MUMBAI

    I was unaware of the method of growing avacaods indoors...... great hub indeed.....

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Good growing, thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Brad Suiter 7 years ago

    I've always wanted to grow Avocado. Planted mine about 4 weeks ago when the seed spit after leaving it in the window in the kitchen. Plant is now 3" tall. Looking forward to seeing how fast it grows.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Agreed, thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Ed Schenk 7 years ago

    Anything you can grow for yourself is a bonus.

    I have a plant that I have been growing for 2 years. This spring I plan on moving it to a larger pot and Bringiing it outdoors for the summer. I will move it back indors in the fall.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    I will and thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    Nicolefreckles 7 years ago

    I did the toothpick and water method and started it lastnight. I'm moving in a couple of weeks and will have my own patio area. I'm looking forward to trying it out. I even took a picture of it lastnight and added it to an album on my facebook page. I hope I don't kill the poor thing. No biggie, though if I do. I eat avocados ALL THE TIME. I hear they're great for warding off breast cancer and prostate cancer!! I like my breasts! :) LOL.

    Have a great day, Bob.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are right it will not like the winter, indoors a possibility, thanks for dropping by.

  • lewgard profile image

    Kathleen Lewis 7 years ago from Southern Michigan

    I can try "sprouting" a seed indoors, but I highly doubt it will survive outdoors here in Michigan without serious protection. I suppose I can pot it up and grow it in a pot on my deck then bring it indoors. Hmmm...I think I'll try it. Thanks for the instructions - I love avocados.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • ciidoctor profile image

    ciidoctor 7 years ago

    very good hub

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Avocadoes will not grow outside hee, but could ake a good indoor plant not likely to fruit though. Thanks for dropping by.

  • profile image

    ObiaMan 7 years ago from Deep South Louisiana

    I happen to have an avocado tree growing. It usually gets wacked back pretty good every winter, but just barely got burned this past one. Probably up 10 or 12 feet now. Never had any fruit though. Never got around to looking into it. We usually only have 1 or 2 days a winter below freezing, but that's all it takes it seems. I would love to have a tree that produces as much as I love avocadoes.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Indoors without the light would be iffy, thanks for dropping by.

  • Moon Daisy profile image

    Moon Daisy 8 years ago from London

    I've been wanting to do this ever since I saw a friend start an avocado tree from the pit in Israel, a long time ago. Ever since I was thinking that it would be impossible to do this in the UK as our climate's not quite the same as Israel's!

    But the very first comment shows that maybe it is possible after all. If you can grow avocado trees in Wales, then why not in London?! We're heading for autumn (fall) soon, so I wouldn't risk planting it outdoors. But are they likely to survive indoors? Especially as we can't really guarantee great sunlight all year round...

    Great hub!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Artemus Gordon profile image

    Artemus Gordon 8 years ago

    I wish I could grow avocados but it is not quite warm enough where I live year round.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and thanks for dropping by.

  • tbailey profile image

    tbailey 8 years ago from Missouri

    My wife and I love avacados, and we have been trying to figure out how to get one started. Planting them directly in the ground hasn't worked yet, but I am definately going to try the toothpick method. Thanks for the tip!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and thanks for dropping by.

  • eonsaway profile image

    eonsaway 8 years ago from New Mexico, USA

    Sounds like fun. Think I will give one a tooth-pick and a drink, good tips/writing, like the video.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks for the kind words, this is a good winter project.

  • Jerilee Wei profile image

    Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

    I haven't grown one in probably 25 years, but your very well written hub has reminded me of how easy it was and that perhaps I should start a couple now.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Good luck and let me know how it goes. Thanks for dropping by.

  • futonfraggle profile image

    futonfraggle 8 years ago

    The last time I tried to grow anything from a pit, it was a failure. Then there was that pineapple houseplant I tried to grow last year...let's just say yikes.

    You've provided great instructions here, Bob! I'm going to try to start an avocodo tree. Wish me luck! I think I can, I think I can :D

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and thanks for stoping by.

  • britneydavidson profile image

    britneydavidson 8 years ago from united kingdom

    i love food....avocada is one of my favourite...i will try this sure..thanx for sharing your ideas....looking forward to get some more tricks from you....have a nice time.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    It is if you are buying avocados anyway, it is worth a try. thanks for stopping by.

  • foodstorage profile image

    foodstorage 8 years ago from Utah

    That looks fun to try!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for adding this comment.

  • profile image

    Patsy 8 years ago

    My son started an Avocada seed with 3 toothpicks and water. He then transplanted it to nice sandy soil with lots of sun. That was five years ago. The tree is beautiful, stands about 18-20 feet tall, but no avocadas yet. How long does it take to bear fruit. It is a healthy full tall tree.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    The same way I favourite or bookmark any web page.

  • profile image

    LucrativeLombax 9 years ago from Seattle, Washington

    Not an avacado related question actually, but how do you favorite hubs? New to the site, thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, it is fun, give it a try.

  • Dottie1 profile image

    Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

    I Love avocados and have one in the house right now. I've always been intrigued at the size of an avocado seed. I have never tried growing one until maybe today!!! Thanks.

  • mulder profile image

    mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

    In perth Western Australia we have long hot summers but it goes for 3 to 4 months its gets very hot and dry .

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    yep it is an avocado; http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/73493/ placement is an issue as you are gardening in space and time. Thanks for the comment.

  • profile image

    dafla 9 years ago

    I have a Brogdon seed growing now. Of course, I realize that it may take up to 7 years to get fruit, and that it may not be a Brogdon, but what they heck? It's an avocado, right?

    I also have a tree that was given to me by the garden center where I worked some 3 years ago that is still in the pot. I need to plant it out, but don't actually know where to put it. They get so big!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • lapak2000 profile image

    lapak2000 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    It is the easiest tree to plant. Take the seed and plant it directly in the soil then it grows. We have lots of them in the Philippines. Even if you throw it anywhere, it will grow. Mangosteen is very hard to care, if you plant 10, you are lucky to have one grows and become tree.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for the tip.

  • desert blondie profile image

    desert blondie 9 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

    I always use the toothpick/jar of water method...but I slice a thin sliver off the bottom...helps the moisture get through quickly and gives that first root -- which can be a doozy -- an easy way to 'break through.' And I add just a drop of liquid fertilizer to water about once a week.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    2patricias, how long is your growing season?Mulder that is correct, here is a pdf file with more info.

    http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_34_...

  • mulder profile image

    mulder 9 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

    thanks Bob for the info Im afraid i tried grow my own avocado trees they have alway died I know you are suppose protect when they are young from the sun is that right ?

  • 2patricias profile image

    2patricias 9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

    Do you think that England might be too far North? (We live on the south coast).

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    It is fun to watch plants grow but a bit sad when they don't survive. Thanks for the visit.

  • NJMom profile image

    NJMom 9 years ago from New Jersey

    Oh Bob. Your picture made me chuckle, as I had just topped off the water level in my toothpick riddled avacado seed.

    I have planted many avacado plants and I am usually very successful at getting them to grow into nice tall little indoor trees... however I never get any fruit.

    ...sigh... The longest I had a little tree was 8 years, and then one year I brought him outside too early in the year... and he didn't make it.

    But it was fun watching him grow

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    OK so that's 2 for mangoes, the pressure mounts. :) Thanks for the comment.

  • RachelOrd profile image

    Rachel Ord 9 years ago from Palm Coast

    so funny that you would write about this today...I was planning on asking you to write a hub on avocados from seed and MANGOS from seed! Thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by, good luck with the avocado, and I'll think about mangoes. :)

  • mureksoy profile image

    mureksoy 9 years ago from Florida USA

    I live in Florida and have always wanted to grow avacados and mangos. I think I'll start on my avacado today, maybe you can let me know how to grow a mango tree on your next hub? Thanks!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Patience is essential with avocados. Thanks, it was fun writing this.

  • Shadesbreath profile image

    Shadesbreath 9 years ago from California

    Thanks for writing this, Bob. I'm thinking my problem may be a lack of patience or maybe not enough sun for my pit and jar deal. Maybe I'll move it closer to a window. Good job, and thanks.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    It may make a great houseplant B.T. worth a try.

  • B.T. Evilpants profile image

    B.T. Evilpants 9 years ago from Hell, MI

    Always a pleasure to read your hubs, Bob! I doubt that Michigan is an ideal growing region for avocados, but I may just try it anyway. I did manage to grow a peanut plant in my living room once, so you never know.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Then this is something to look forward to, thanks for stopping by.

  • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

    Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

    There is no way I could get one to survive where I live now--no sun and not warm. I might try this when we move to California next year though. Thanks Bob!

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are most welcome, good gardening.

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

    I need to try this. I remember my grandad used to grow avocados like that in Peru. I've tried once or twice with no luck. This time I will follow your advice and hope that it works.

    BTW reading your hub brought back to me wonderful memories about my grandad. Thanks :)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and thanks for visiting.

  • Lifebydesign profile image

    Lifebydesign 9 years ago from Australia

    very informative and simple to follow-I've always always wanted to do this! thank you :-)

  • Bob Ewing profile image
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    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    moist and warm works, thanks for the visit.

  • Bard of Ely profile image

    Steve Andrews 9 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

    I think avocados are very easy to grow and have never planted one and not had it germinate. I used to grow them in my house back in Wales. Where I live now they grow into big trees.

    My method is just to plant the seed in a pot of compost and keep it damp.