From the Pit to the Plant: How to Grow Your Own Avocado

avocado from seed Gardening

It is very easy to grow an avocado plant from the pit at home. Read here how to grow an avocado on the window sill and what the further cultivation and care should look like.

Whether ‘Hass’ or ‘Fuerte’: the avocado is more popular than ever, because it is a real jack-of-all-trades. The healthy fruit brings flavour to the table, cares for the skin and decorates the window sill as an indoor plant. In the following, we explain which methods you can use to grow an avocado tree from a pit and how to cultivate it at home.

How to grow avocado

Planting an avocado: This is how it’s done.

You can plant an avocado pit directly in a pot with soil or put it in water to root. To do this, insert three toothpicks into the pit and place it on a glass of water with the tip facing upwards. A bright and warm location, for example on a window sill, is important for growing. Once sufficient roots have formed after a few months, the avocado can be planted in soil. Even when planting directly, keep the soil evenly moist and ensure warm temperatures between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius.

Avocado plant: The tropical tree for the windowsill

Botanically, the avocado (Persea americana) belongs to the laurel family (Lauraceae). It is also known as the avocado pear, alligator pear or aguacate. The avocado plant is native to Mexico, Central America, Peru and Brazil. Archaeological findings show that it was already cultivated there as a useful plant over 8,000 years ago. The Spanish tried their hand at cultivating the exotic fruit from the beginning of the 16th century. In Mauritius, avocado trees have been cultivated since about 1780, in Africa only 100 years later. In Asia, avocados have been cultivated since the middle of the 20th century.

Because of the great demand for the healthy fruit, the avocado plant can now be found wherever the climate allows – in other words, in tropical countries around the world. Most of the fruit comes from Florida and California. In suitable locations, the avocado develops into a 20-metre-high tree. Small light green flowers form in the leaf axils, which some time after fertilisation produce the popular dark green berry fruits with the wrinkled skin. Their original propagation by seed is no longer of interest for plant production, as the offspring go wild and thus lose their typical varietal characteristics. Instead, like most of our native fruit trees, they are propagated by grafting. In indoor cultivation, however, it is still easy to grow a small tree for the windowsill from an avocado seed. Even if these propagated avocado plants do not bear fruit, it is a wonderful experiment for children and all other plant lovers.

Planting avocado pits: The best methods at a glance

  • Grow avocado in a water glass
  • Planting avocado pits in soil

Growing tip: To ensure that the experiment is crowned with success, we recommend using several avocado pits for propagation. Unfortunately, not every seed manages to germinate, develop strong roots and grow reliably.

avocado from pit

Growing avocado pits in water

Getting an avocado seed to germinate and sprout is actually quite simple. The water method is particularly suitable for observing the development of an avocado plant from seed to tree. To sprout an avocado seed in water, all you need is three toothpicks and a container with water – for example, a jar. Carefully remove the seed from the fruit, wash it well and dry it. Then drill a toothpick about five millimetres deep in three places around the centre of the seed and place the blunt egg-shaped avocado seed on the jar with the tip facing upwards. The lower third of the pit should hang in the water. Place the jar with the seed in a bright place – a sunny windowsill is ideal – and change the water about every two days.

After about six weeks, the top of the seed will open and a sprout will emerge. It grows very quickly. Long, straight roots form at the bottom. After a few months, when enough strong roots have grown from the lower end and a strong healthy shoot has grown from the upper end of the avocado pit, the pit can be transferred to a flower pot with soil. Carefully remove the toothpicks and plant the seed in moist soil – without damaging the roots. The avocado pit remains on the surface, only the roots are potted.

avocado from seed

Planting the avocado seed in soil

You can also plant the avocado seed directly in soil. To do this, simply fill a pot with soil – a humus-rich potting soil with a clay content is ideal – and place the clean, dry seed inside. Again, two thirds of the avocado seed should remain above the soil. A mini greenhouse for the room keeps the temperature and humidity evenly high, but is not absolutely necessary. Water the soil lightly and keep the pit moist by spraying regularly. The soil in the plant pot must not dry out, otherwise all your efforts will have been in vain.

Jonathan Harvey
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