Growing an avocado tree from a pit is a fun and easy way to break into the gardening hobby. While it could take many years for your avocado tree to grow fruit, it is still an enjoyable way to take an avocado pit, which would otherwise be composted, and turn it into a living and breathing plant!
- Preparing the Avocado Pit
- Sprouting the Avocado Pit in Water
- Caring for your Avocado Pit
- Planting the Avocado Pit
- Waiting for your Avocado Tree to Grow Fruit
1. Preparing the Avocado Pit
To start growing an avocado tree you will first need the pit from an avocado. Avoid cutting or damaging the pit when removing it from the avocado. Once you have removed the pit from the fruit, clean off any fruit residue by rinsing it under water. Next, you will need to find a small jar and fill it to the top with water. Any jar that fits the pit works, but a glass jar works best because it will allow you to see the avocado pit’s progress and if the water is getting low or dirty. Reusing food containers like glass yogurt jars is a great way to make this project even more sustainable!
2. Sprouting the Avocado Pit in Water
To start the sprouting process, stick two to three toothpicks into the side of the avocado pit so you can suspend the pit in your jar of water. Placing the toothpicks in the pit at a slight upward angle will help the seed sit lower in the water. Make sure the bottom half of the pit (which is the flatter part where the root will come out) is submerged in water while the top half of the pit (the pointier end) remains out of the water.
3. Caring for your Avocado Pit
Place your jar by a sunny window and make sure to top off the water if you ever notice it getting low. You should also change the water every week to prevent mold and bacteria from growing, both of which could harm your avocado sprout.
It is also a good idea when changing the water to take a wet rag and wipe off any slime accumulating on the bottom of the avocado pit. This should help keep the water clean.
Over time the pit will crack as it begins to sprout. Eventually, a crack should extend to the bottom of the pit and you will be able to see the sprout. The pit’s skin will also start peeling and cracking more as the sprout grows through the top, but as long as the pit stays moist these are all good signs!
4. Planting your Avocado Pit
Once the stem of the sprout grows about 5 to 6 inches high, cut the stem back down to about 3 to 4 inches to encourage new growth. Once it reaches 5 to 6 inches again, plant it with Earnest potting soil in a roughly 10-inch diameter pot.
Then, place the plant back by a sunny window (the more sun, the better) and water regularly. Make sure the soil is always moist but not oversaturated. Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering.
Once the stem grows to about 12 inches, snip the top two leaves to encourage the plant to become bushier. Every time the plant grows another 6 inches, snip the two sets of leaves on the top.
You can plant the avocado tree outdoors as long as the temperature does not go below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that in most places you could move it outside for the summer and bring it inside once the weather starts to dip.
5. Waiting for your Avocado Tree to Grow Fruit
In some cases, your avocado tree may grow fruit in as little as 3 to 4 years, but it could also take anywhere from 10-15 years before you can enjoy your homegrown avocados.
Sadly, some avocado trees will never bear fruit, and if they do they will be far different from the store-bought avocado your pit came from.
Nevertheless, sprouting and planting avocado pits is a fun indoor gardening activity that could be done any time of the year! Just keep in mind that the pits will sprout and grow much faster in the summer when there is plenty of warmth and sunlight coming through your windows.
If you decide to wait for your avocado plant to grow fruit, it’s likely you will need to re-pot your plant several times as it grows. Click here for information on how to re-pot a plant!
Growing an avocado tree from a pit is an easy process as long as you remain patient and take good care of your plant. Even if your tree never bears fruit, growing a tree from a pit you were going to compost anyways is a great way to get a “free” houseplant! Better yet, if you have the patience to wait up to 15 years you might just get a free avocado!
For more tips on gardening and planting, visit our in-depth how-to page!