How to Grow an Avocado Tree

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Avocado pit
Several toothpicks
Cup of warm water
Loose, sandy soil for planting
Watering can or hose
Spray bottle

Everyone loves a fresh batch of guacamole or avocado sliced on top of a salad. Maybe you love this fruit so much that you even enjoy the trendy avocado toast. The only thing that could make these meals and snacks better is growing your own avocados—and believe it or not, it is possible! All you have to do is recycle a pit from the fruit. Here's how to get your own avocado tree from the pit of the fruit itself.

Growing Your Own Avocado Tree

Step 1 - Prepare a Seed

First, you need to prepare a “seed” from which your tree will grow. The seed is actually the pit of an avocado. Once you extract one, clean it and dry it off so that it’s no longer slippery.

Step 2 - Put the Avocado Pit Over Water

An avocado pit sprouting growth from the top.

Next, secure several toothpicks into the pit at its widest point. The point of this is so that you can suspend it over a cup of water. Balance the avocado pit with the toothpicks on the rim of the cup with the pointy end of the pit sticking up, allowing water to cover approximately an inch of the seed. Maintain the water level as it evaporates and is absorbed by the pit. When filling the cup, make sure the water is warm or room temperature and not cold.

Step 3 - Let the Avocado Pit Sit

This is when some patience is required. Leave the pit in water (as in step two) for two to six weeks. Over time, roots and a stem will begin to sprout from the seed. Wait until the stem is about six inches long, and then trim it down by half the size.

Step 4 - Transplant the Seed

An avocado pit in a container with leaves sprouting from the top.

Once the stem leafs again after cutting it down, you can plant the seed in a pot containing loose and sandy soil. Plant the seed root side down, only covering half of the pit. The top half should remain out of the soil.

Step 5 - Nourish the Seed

To flourish over time, an avocado seed requires frequent yet light watering. These trees also need an abundance of sunlight to grow to their full potential, so be sure to plant accordingly. Also keep in mind that avocado trees cannot survive in temperatures less than 45 degrees, so an area that receives snowfall will not suffice. As the tree begins to flourish, pinch back the newest top leaves once the stem grows another six inches. This will encourage faster and more abundant growth.

Step 6 - Transplant the Tree

Once your avocado tree has gained some traction in growth, you should transfer it from the pot to the ground, as long as your area’s climate permits. Dig a hole about three feet wide by three feet deep in an area with well-draining soil that receives an abundance of indirect sunlight.

Continue Caring for Your Tree

Water your tree regularly, being careful not to over-water. A telltale sign that you’re overwatering is if the leaves of your avocado tree begin to turn yellow. Again, make sure that your tree receives about six hours of indirect sunlight each day. Your tree will also do well with humidity. If you don't live in a humid environment, you can create one by misting the leaves of your tree up to two times a day with a spray bottle. If you notice leaves dropping from your tree, don't panic. Avocado trees are notoriously sensitive, so this is not an unusual occurrence to lose some leaves once in a while.

Enjoy Your Tree

A female hand picking a ripe avocado from a tree.

Your avocado tree should now be well on its way to fruition, although it could take a number of years for avocados to actually bloom and be ready for picking. More specifically, it could be between five and 13 years! But don’t fret—avocado trees are a lovely addition to any yard, so even if you can't harvest avocados for a while, the trees are still enjoyable to have around. Once avocados do grow, you'll know they're ready to be picked when they're a deep purple color. Once picked, they will need to sit for approximately three weeks until they're soft to the touch and ready for consumption.

The next time you have an avocado pit on your hands, consider growing your own tree from it! You’ll love the look of it in your yard and the promise of fruits to come as the years pass.