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How to Grow Avocados Indoors and Out

Updated on July 12, 2011

Avocado Seedling

Avocado Seedling
Avocado Seedling

Where to start

How to grow avocados is a question with a few answers possible. First it depends on how soon and if you want the tree to fruit. Grown from the seed an avocado fruit will take about ten years to mature and bear fruit - and this will only happen if you live in the tropics. It’s therefore not a suitable tree for most American fruit gardens; This option might be tempting but is open to just a few of us.

But you can still grow an avocado tree indoors. If you want them to bear fruit its best plant a few of them and place them outdoors in summer. The reason to give them fresh air in summer really is the old story of the birds and the bees, it will aid their pollination. These (small) trees are decorative and make great eye catchers on your patio or porch container garden. They can bear fruit in about five years when grown this way.

Your Container Grown Avocado

When you just want one avocado tree as house plant, it will bear no fruit but is an interesting project for yourself or the children to see if you can germinate an avocado seed. Some people like to leave them out in the sun until the outer shell splits, and then plant them like you would an amaryllis bulb, with part of it exposed.

Tips and tricks to Germinate the Seed

Others like to suspend the seed in a glass of water using toothpicks on each side. The fattest part should be under the water, while the pointed end should remain in the fresh air. Make sure you replenish the water as it evaporates. Place the glass on a sunny windowsill for best results. Not all seeds will germinate this way. Allow six weeks and if there is no sign of germination throw it away and start again. Better still, do it with several seeds to save time. You are sure to get at least one germination.

Taking Care of the Seedlings

Once the seed shoots and grows a bit, it should be planted in a pot with good quality potting mix. Keep the top half of the seed out of the ground, just as it was out of the water. Water it lightly - if the leaves turn yellow you have given it too much water.

Avocado Fruit

Your Outdoors Avocado Tree

The easiest way to grow an avocado is by purchasing a tree from your nursery. The more mature the tree is, the less time you'll have to wait for fruit. The best site for an avocado tree to grow is on a gentle slope because they hate having waterlogged roots. Nitrogen is the main fertilizer for avocados, but they also need phosphorus and potassium so your fertilizer mix should be NPK 7-4-2, with some zinc added.

Do not plant an avocado in the lawn, as it will not grow well in competition with grass. It should be in a garden with plenty of compost, and sheltered from frost and wind. Each tree needs from 1/3 to ½ a pound of nitrogen annually, but not all at once. Application can be spread throughout the year. Water it at least twice a week; three times in dry, hot conditions. A mature tree can take up to 20 gallons a week. The question how to grow avocados can only be answered with pointers along the way. As with all living things no hard and fast rules exist, life even avocado life comes without guarantee, but it will improve the probability on success.
Tree

The easiest way to grow an avocado is by purchasing a tree from your nursery. The more mature the tree is, the less time you'll have to wait for fruit. The best site for an avocado tree to grow is on a gentle slope because they hate having waterlogged roots. Nitrogen is the main fertilizer for avocados, but they also need phosphorus and potassium so your fertilizer mix should be NPK 7-4-2, with some zinc added.

Do Not Plant Avocado Trees in your Lawn

Do not plant an avocado in the lawn, as it will not grow well in competition with grass. It should be in a garden with plenty of compost, and sheltered from frost and wind. Each tree needs from 1/3 to ½ a pound of nitrogen annually, but not all at once. Application can be spread throughout the year. Water it at least twice a week; three times in dry, hot conditions. A mature tree can take up to 20 gallons a week. The question how to grow avocados can only be answered with pointers along the way. As with all living things no hard and fast rules exist, life even avocado life comes without guarantee, but it will improve the probability on success.

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    • Christa Dovel profile image

      Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

      Thanks for the information! I have always wanted to sprout an avocado.

    • Hugh Chism profile image

      Hugh Chism 7 years ago

      Nice, I think I'll try to grow one in pot when I move into my new apartment.

    • profile image

      Joanie Egipto 7 years ago

      Without any success, I had tried many times over the years to start a seed in a glass of water w/toothpicks. Recently, I put one in a baggie w/cotton just to see if it may take off and it did! Now I have information to plant it and hopefully it will continue to grow. Thanks!

    • barb2082 profile image
      Author

      barb2082 7 years ago from Amsterdam/Chicago

      Good luck Joanie, please keep us informed!

    • profile image

      Agnese 7 years ago

      Past 2 years and i have approx. 2 meters high avocado , started from seed and without any fertilizers, only tap water sometimes, very rare.

    • profile image

      skayc1 6 years ago

      I too have found that the pit in water tends to rot. So I wrapped several pits (help I can't stop!) with a damp paper towel and placed in a ziplock baggie. This has worked wonderful, and so far I have 6 avocado seedlings... one from one of the large avocados that had a smooth shiny skin...plus more pits that need to be planted cause the roots are growing well.

    • Lesley D profile image

      Lesley D 6 years ago from Sarasota, Florida

      My neighbor brought me a hardy little seedling in water, but I couldn't get it to take in soil...maybe I'll ask her for another one.

    • profile image

      JERBEAR 6 years ago

      Thank you for the tips. I've been trying to grow avacodos from seed for several months now to find out my seed was pointing downwards instead of up (pointed end up) I had grown one years back so I think I actually did it right without knowing. So Thanks for all the information.

    • profile image

      AJAY 5 years ago

      I did not know Avocado can be grown indoor. cool i love the idea .

    • profile image

      maria 5 years ago

      I planted a pit this summer and I have a beautiful plant, about 15 inches. I want it to bear fruits but, from what I hear, I am getting a little discouraged...

    • profile image

      Susan 5 years ago

      I have 2 trees about 8ft tall, I brought the pits back from Vieques pr. I want to cut them down and take them back to plant, I'm in ny. can I do this without killing them?

    • profile image

      Martha 5 years ago

      Can I grow big avocado seed in a glass container changing the water every other day? So you can see the roots.

    • profile image

      Susan 5 years ago

      yes u can u don't have to change the water every day just add water so it doesn't dry out.

    • profile image

      Susan Le Strat 5 years ago

      I took 3 pits and soaked them in water for a very long time,till they softned. I then planted them in dirt all 3 in a pot( large) then left the tips up ...it has taken a while but they are all cracked in half now and have a root system......so just waiting to see them sprout now.

    • profile image

      susan 5 years ago

      i am trying now to grow an avocado with cotton and water its really work now am doing it every day

    • profile image

      Shirley DeFrank 4 years ago

      I havestarted an avacado tree in water. It is now transplanted in a pot. It is about 6 in. Tall Doing quite well for now.

    • profile image

      Paula, Chicago 4 years ago

      I grew a avocado see to about 2 ft. Tall a few yrs. back. It died. I think I watered it too much. Now I 'm trying my second one. It's about 6 inches tall, but the roots are all over in the glass. I think it might be time to put it in soil.

    • profile image

      Dale L Walker 4 years ago

      I have had really good success getting them started, using the toothpick & water method. I usually let them dry up a bit so that I can peel the skins off, before starting in water. I have also put them right in the water & later peeled the skins of as I could, but the dried method seems to work better. Be patient some have started really quick & other has taken quite a while. Once root is shooting out the bottom I found planting them in a self watering pot, like an african voilet planted, seemed to work really good for me. I make sure it always has water in it & set it in a sunny windows.

    • profile image

      Doris Henderson 3 years ago

      Thanks, I planted one avocado seed in an indoor pot in May 2013. There is a long stem that have grown and I'll let you all know how well it has come along.

    • profile image

      Donna George 2 years ago

      I found 2 seeds in my compost growing so put them in a pot with potting mix. One is now 5 years old, the other died from frost. I still have no fruit, but was told they can take up to 7 years to fruit.

    • profile image

      bri 2 years ago

      There is no need to do any of these ridiculous germination steps you all are taking. Just put them in a pot not covered all the way with dirt and make sure to not let them dry out too much.... like any seedling. I just planted 25 pits in 2 one gallon pots in the beginning of june and I have 22 plants already a foot tall and in the ground and it's mid september. Over half of them sprouted multiple sprouts per pit too. Most of them sprouting 2 sprouts and a few sprouted 3.

    • profile image

      Vivek rai 23 months ago

      My Avocado plant almost 3 yrs old but still not given fruits pls advice me thanks

    • profile image

      Jorge l 18 months ago

      I have an avocado tree about 3ft tall that is a year old, I used tooth picks and a glass of water, it took about a month to grow a root once it did I waited until it was thick enough to put it in soil. After I plant it I covered the pot with a plastic that made like a little green house I didn't had to water it often, this way it took about 2 weeks to sprout and leaves started coming out. From there I took it outside next to my house where there is good shade and sun light at the same time this help a lot and now it's big, for every new set of leaves I change the pot size due to roots needing more space to grow. It's about to get cold so I'm bringing it inside until the cold ends.

    • profile image

      RedKat 14 months ago

      Yes, just place the seed(s) in a pot of potting soil and they will grow faster than those ever placed in a glass of water. Just keep well watered and the seed 1/4 of the way out of the soil. Good luck

    • profile image

      Dianne Martin 12 months ago

      I grew mine from a seed in a glass it is 3 ft. Tall. I have it outside in am sun. The leaves are getting brown around the edges. Should I give it less sun?

    • profile image

      Mitch 11 months ago

      I have grown many avocado trees by just sticking the avocado pit in dirt. My first was one of my wife's house plants and about three months later there was my avocado tree. Since then I just put the seed in soil in a half wine barrel. Lots of avocado trees but no avocados because Haas avocados are grafted and have not produced anything yet.

    • profile image

      Pandi 8 months ago

      I simply put a pit in a container which has a curry leaf plant. I had the base, 1/2 inches in the soil. As the curry plant was watered, the pit germinated and now I have a 12 inch avocado plant. Just transplanted it to its own pot. Hopefully, it will survive the winter months.

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