Grow an Avocado From Seed—the Easy Way!

Discover how to grow an avocado from seed. Sprouting avocado pits is not as difficult as you might think…. It just takes patience!

Grow an avocado from seed (The Grow Network)

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Grow an Avocado From Seed—the Easy Way!

Today we’ll cover how to grow an avocado from seedthe EASY way.

Though you are probably familiar with the “toothpicks and water” method of sprouting avocado pits, there is an easier way that seems to have a higher success rate.

The short of it? Plant them in potting soil or compost.

The long of it? Well, watch my video on how to sprout avocado pits, then we’ll meet on the other side for a step-by-step. A couple of important things should happen in order to guarantee your avocado pits sprout.

Avocados, like many tropical trees, have seeds that are designed to hit the ground and grow. The pits are not designed like many cold-climate seeds which have an embryo sitting in suspended animation that can be saved on a shelf for a long time and then spring to life when planted.


These guys need to get into the ground fast, so it’s important to plant your avocado pits quickly or keep them damp until you can plant—preferably by keeping them inside the fruit!

You May Also Enjoy:

“Growing Bananas and Other Tropical Delights Beyond the Tropics”

“The Top 10 Tropical Staple Crops (VIDEO)”

“Zone-Pushing Tips for Growing Ginger and Turmeric in Cold Climates”

But I’m getting ahead of myself—let’s do a step-by-step picture guide on how to grow an avocado from seed, breaking down the frames from the video.

Sprouting Avocado Pits Step #1: Open an Avocado and Take Out the Pit

How to Sprout an Avocado Pit From Seed (The Grow Network) Grow an avocado from seed -- step #1 is taking the pit out of the avocado (The Grow Network)

This avocado grew out back of our current homestead. They are nice and large with rich buttery interiors. An excellent tree and well worth reproducing.

When I took out this pit it already had some small roots growing on it—all ready to go! I took it along with a half-dozen other pits outside to plant, which takes me to step two.

Sprouting Avocado Pits Step #2: Plant Your Avocado Pits in Potting Soil

Grow an avocado from seed -- step #2 is planting it in potting soil. (The Grow Network)


There is a right side up on avocado pits. It’s the rounded side. Plant the flat side down since that’s where the roots will emerge. You could probably make a mistake and still have the tree come up fine, but I like to give my sprouting avocado pits every advantage.

A nice, loose potting mix is good, but you can also easily germinate avocado pits directly planted in the ground—or, what seems to be even more successful, let them “accidentally” come up in your compost pile and transplant them.

Sprouting Avocado Pits Step #3: Water and Wait!

Grow an Avocado From Seed Step #3: Water and Wait!

This is the hard part—waiting for the avocado pits to sprout.

They will, though. Keep them watered but not soggy in a nice sunny location. Then, one day…

germinating avocado


When you sprout pits in water indoors, they then need to go through a “hardening off” period of adjustment to the harsher, brighter outdoor conditions or you can kill the young trees. When you instead grow an avocado seed in pots in full sun, you don’t have this issue. They’re ready to go.

Now many of you live in a northern climate where this is impossible. That’s fine—you can start avocado trees indoors and even grow them as a houseplant; however, they’re unlikely to fruit under those conditions. They need more sun.

How Long Does it Take for a Seedling Avocado To Bear Fruit?

The earliest a seedling avocado tree will fruit is at four to five years of age. My friend Eddy, however, scared his tree into fruiting at three years.

I have a beautiful avocado tree growing in The Great South Florida Food Forest Project. The picture below was taken a few years ago now, but it gives you a good idea of what an avocado plant looks like when it is getting close to bearing size.

avocado seedling I started by sprouting avocado pits

I wish I could pay that tree a visit again. Maybe when it fruits. The avocado I started it from had fruits as big as honeydew melons. It’s some sort of Thai avocado variety that was being passed around the local Thai community in South Florida. I’m excited to see this thing produce!

The California Avocado Commission claims it takes 5-13 years for a seedling tree to bear but you’re much more likely to see it fruit on the earlier end of that spectrum if they are well-tended, watered, and grown in full sun.

Why Grow an Avocado From Seed?

Common objections to growing avocado trees from seed are:

  1. Trees don’t always come true from seed.
  2. It takes a long time for them to bear.
  3. Purchasing grafted trees will give you exactly the type you want.

All of these objections are easy to answer.

  1. Who cares? Maybe you’ll get something better!
  2. So? Are you planning on dying soon?
  3. What if you don’t want to spend money? And like experiments?

I really find the arguments against growing fruit trees from seed tiresome. The “common wisdom” on the subject is lame. Man has grown trees from seed, including avocados, for thousands of years. We have the varieties we have today because of gardeners like you and me who love to experiment and take joy in raising up good things from tiny seeds.

If you get a variety that just isn’t great, graft it!

Seedling trees make great root stocks. Heck, even if they don’t fruit for you fast enough, you can graft on a piece from an already fruiting tree and speed up the process.

Start your own avocado pits the easy way and, eventually, you’ll be bringing in baskets of fruit. It’s great fun, especially when you can plant seeds with children, and totally worth the time.

When you grow an avocado from seed, it costs nothing and will give you a sense of accomplishment like nothing else. I still remember how excited I was when my seedling peach trees fruited for the first time. It’s a great feeling.

So go start sprouting avocado pits. I’m rooting for you… and so will they.

What Do You Think?

Have you ever successfully grown an avocado from seed? What tips can you share to ensure a higher success rate when sprouting avocado pits and growing seedlings? Let us know in the comments below!


This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on January 17, 2017. The author may not currently be available to respond to comments, however we encourage our Community members to chime in to share their experiences and answer questions!

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This post was written by David The Good


  • Alyssa says:

    I tried to get about 5 to sprout (using the soil method and making sure I planted them right side up) but only one was successful, and it’s about 1 year 3 months old now. There was one time though where its lower leaves were getting brown edges and falling off one by one, but luckily that stopped.

  • Maria Rose says:

    I enjoyed the article and video. I did have one question as to which avocado will grow better especially since my access to avocados is whatever is available at markets locally. I have used the in dirt technique over the toothpick method but it takes many avocado pits before I see one sprout. I have a feeling that most avocados at markets in area are shipped cold to stop avocado from getting ripe which probably effected the pit from sprouting.

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  • RoT says:

    I managed to sprout one with the toothpick method once and it lived for several months but eventually it started to drop its leaves and in an effort to save it I trimmed it, which killed it. Boo!

    I’ve tried putting them in soil but that seemed to not work at all, maybe I’ll try it again.

  • I have three avocado trees growing here in my living room. The climate is too cold to have them outdoors. They are two different varieties of avocados, I like the large green ones, but most sold here are the smaller brown ones. But when I had a green one, I planted the pit and it did well! I eat a lot of avocados and most of the time I just throw the pits in the compost heap. This autumn I saw many of those had sprouted, but I do not have room for more trees indoors, so (sorry) they all died because of the winter. But the three indoors are doing well, as I said.

  • Jan says:

    Another one here with a sprouted pit nicely growing so far – and going to have to be an indoor tree (winters here in Oregon get too cold, for sure) — Already have full spectrum bulbs in all the fixtures in the room, and anticipate needing to move it to a bigger pot in a room with a higher ceiling in a few months (fingers crossed it keeps going!) Am thinking a dedicated grow bulb will come into play then, on timers for regular light rhythm — Anybody have success stories growing one indoors??? Would dearly love to hear. Thanks!

  • GUS IN FRANCE says:

    We have got big 5 m high avocado tree from a pit here at the Mediterrian coast Southern France. It is more than 10 year old, and still has not given any fruits. Why? Is it a sterile variety?
    We are contempling to cut it down! “A tree that doesn’t bear fruits will be cut down and burned!”

    1. Regina says:

      Hi, as far as I know, you need a male and a female tree to have avocados.

    2. Hi Gus, see my comment further down. There are male and female flowers on each avocado tree. But they are produced at different times of the day. To get pollination you need to either do it by hand or, more easily grow “A” varieties close to “B” varieties as each type bear their male and female flowers at the opposite time of the day. See further on my comment on David’s pit growing video.

  • Barnabas Paul says:

    I have a tree about 5 feet tall that I transplanted into a sunny area (from a pot). Initially it did well, but through the winter, some of the top branches have died. Do you have any recommendations on pruning it?

  • Hey David, Thanks for that. Excellent video. Just thought you might be interested in being able to get avocados on young trees even in the first year or two. The secret is knowing that there are both male and female flowers on each avocado but they come out at different times of the day. To get cross pollination and therefore early bearing you need to plant the trees close to each other and mix the “A” and “B” varieties. Each type bears their male and female flowers at different times of the day. You can see a listing of “A” and “B” varieties at http://ucavo.ucr.edu/Flowering/FloweringBasics.html and also other searches with more full information. In California and Chile growers in the know are planting avocados close together, mixing “A” and “B” and keeping them pruned low so they are easy to harvest and have a greater surface area to the central part of the tree as the fruit occurs on the outer sunny area. I learned this though a supplier I use in New Zealand. There is more information on his site at http://www.avopro.org/about/avopro-trees. Hope this is useful.

  • Sue says:

    Thank you for showing me how to successfully take an avocado pit and grow a new plant
    out of it. Great use of the pit. I’ve done this with other seeds like peppers and I saved some
    from acorn squash to try as well. The only thoughts I have in growing an avocado tree is
    there special temperature requirements for growing this type of tree or climate?

  • con says:

    I threw some avocado pits in my worm bin and had 10″ shoots by the next time i fed them, rough tote setup with a lid, couldn’t believe they grew that much in the dark…growing good in 10″ planters now indoors with lots of leaves. in south facing window in little bit of worm dirt and some organic potting soil, fastest sprouters yet, go worms!

  • Alan says:

    I live in an Apartment in Phoenix Arizona I do have a balcony on the second floor Can I grow an Avacado in a bucket?

  • Happy says:

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  • Janene McMorris says:

    Can you successfully grow avocado trees in the Phoenix, Arizona hot climate?

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  • CAT MILLET says:

    How do you know if you have a type A or type B avocado pit?

  • Clyde Myers says:

    I just toss avocado pits into my worm bins and I always find them sprouting in a few weeks. Now I have my first tree growing!

  • Linda says:

    We are running an experiment too. Squirrels go through our compost daily. They wear overalls and carry pitchforks. Needless to say, they planted several avocadoes around the yard. Not really a problem. However, living in Zone 6 where it is currently 16°, our experiment is based on climate change. Every year, we wait out the winter to see if the trees will come back to life come spring. We’ll let you know how it goes. This year I heavy mulched. Is that cheating?

  • Don Pablo says:

    Great article and so true. I have 20 avocado trees growing in Southern California. I mulch with the fallen leaves…about 2 feed deep…when I irrigate I sometimes find little seedlings growing right beneath the mulch. The trees have given fruit in about 3 years.

  • sslaird1963 says:

    Thanks! I will try this tomorrow

  • Lisa K says:

    I agree David, the best part for me is the experimenting!

  • Scott Sexton says:

    If only my yard could straddle 3 diverse growing zones. Then I could REALLY start growing some things. Ha! Good article.

  • marjstratton says:

    I live in the Northwest. I’ve tried sprouting avocados science experiment. Got to say the toothpick method doesn’t do so well. Never did expect to actually get fruit from it. But they are such a pretty tree. Think I’ll try it again for a nice house plant maybe future green house plant.

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