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A Step-by-Step Guide

Don’t throw that pit away! I’m going to show you how you can grow an avocado tree from seed right in your own kitchen/ backyard/ compost pile.

I have a friend who has a dream of moving to a smallholding a couple of hours from here and starting an avocado tree farm. For me, I actually don’t like the taste or texture of this fruit, but people go nuts for them and I get joy when a tree is living and thriving!

As kids we used to do this for fun; grab the avo pit, poke toothpicks in the side and suspend it in a jar of water – and inevitably, a tree would start to grow. It’s really as simple as that!

The downside? For all you avo lovers out there, it will take anywhere from 5 – 13 years to bear fruit if you are growing the tree from seed. If you buy one from the garden center it will take half that time (about 4 – 5 years after planting). 

Let’s get started!

how to grow an avocado from seed

Why Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed?

A lot of people have grown a small avo tree from the seed, right on their kitchen windowsill. It’s just one of those things you do. Kids do it, parents do it for their kids to show them how it grows, and people do it just to see if they can. 

If you want to take your avocado tree from seed to a tree you can plant in your garden, you will eventually need to take it out of water. 

For avo lovers, a ripe avocado is a sign of summer. Think of guacamole and tortilla chips, sliced avocado in your fresh salad, or simply smearing fresh avo on warm buttered toast.

Avocados are packed with nutrients, they have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, they don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, and they are a low GI fruit that keeps you fuller for longer.

Best Ways to Germinate Your Avocado Seeds

To get started growing your avocado from seed, you do have a couple of options when it comes to germination, but eventually, you’ll need to move it into soil. If you have a couple of pits available, why not experiment and try them all.

Your options are:

  • Leaving it in your compost bin
  • Planting the pit directly into soil
  • Suspending your pit in a jar of water
  • Germinating your avocado seed in a Ziploc bag

So let’s jump straight into method number 1.

avocado seed growing into a tree

The very first thing you need to do is distinguish between the top and the bottom of the seed.

The more rounder, flatter side is the bottom of the seed where your roots will grow out from. Think of it as the ‘bum’ and it sits on it’s bum so that’goes at the bottom.

The other side is the pointy end and is the top of the seed where your stem will grow from.

1. Germinate your avocado seed in your compost bin 

Because a compost bin is a heap of garden goodness, it is a perfect place to germinate your avocado seed. The other benefit is that the bacterial activity in your compost pile creates a by-product of heat which ultimately creates excellent conditions for new seeds.

You can literally just leave your avo seed in the compost heap and come back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s going. I would suggest marking out where you have place the seed or you might never find it again!

2. Germinate your avocado seed directly in soil

Fill a pot (it doesn’t have to be a large pot yet) with potting soil and moisten it. Dig a hole in the middle and plant your avocado seed ‘bum” down into the soil. Leave about 1/3 of the top of the seed sticking out the top of the soil. Keep it in a warm place where it will get sunlight, and keep the soil moist. It will take a couple of weeks before you see any action happening.

** 2nd method **

I haven’t tried this way yet but I will have a go soon and see if it’s any better.

Take your avocado seed and slice off the top (the side where the stem will grow from) – only about 5cm/ 0.5 inch. I’m not entirely sure why but I can’t know it because I haven’t tried it.

Start off the same way by filling a pot with potting soil and moisten it. Dig a small hole in the middle, bury your avocado seed leaving 1/3 sticking out the top, and then gently water the soil again. Then cover the pot with plastic and secure it by using an elastic band or by tying it. This will create a mini-greenhouse. Leave it in a warm, sunny place (even the top of your fridge if it gets sunlight there) and wait a couple of weeks for your avo to germinate.

3. Germinate your avocado seed in water

This is the most common way to germinate your avocado seed, in a jar of water.

I love this way because you can actually see what is happening! I mean soil is great but if it were see-through it would make a gardener’s life a lot easier!

– Take your avo seed, rinse it off and gently remove the brown husk surrounding it.

– Figure out the top from the bottom and inset three toothpicks/ matches into the seed, just above the halfway mark (you still want 1/2 of the seed sticking up out of the water). Insert them at a slight downward angle at equal distance from one another around the circumference of the seed.

– Fill a jar with water and then suspend the avo seed in the water.

– Make sure that the avocado seed’s bum is always in the water. 


germinating an avocado seed  in water
avo seedling in water; how to grow an avocado from seed

4. Germinate your avocado seed in a Ziploc bag

For this method you will need:
1. Avocado seed
2. Paper towel
3. Ziploc bag
4. Water

Again, rinse your avo seed well, dry it, and then remove the brown husk.

Place your avo seed on a layer or two of paper towels and then fold the paper towel over the seed so it will fit into the Ziploc bag.

If you are using water from a tap, mositen the paper towel now – but not so that it’s dropping with water. Only so that the paper towel is damp.

If you are using a spray bottle, then first place the wrapped up avo seed into the bag and then spray it until the towel is moist. Flip the bag over and spray the other side too. There shound’t be any puddles of water collecting in the bag. If there are, pour this excess water out as it can lead to a range of problems. 

Seal the bag and leave it in a warm space. Seeds do not need sunlight to germinate, they will only need the sun a little later when they get leaves.

Keep checking on the seeds and don’t let the paper towel dry out. It can take a good few weeks before you see any action in the bag.

The first thing you will notice is the taproot growing. When that has happened you can move it to the jar and water, or plant it in soil.

Choosing the Best Pot for Your Avo Seed

Avocado trees do not like to have wet feet as they are susceptible to getting root rot. 

Clay pots , or terracotta pots are perfect but even plastic will do – AS LONG AS THE POT IS WELL DRAINING. 

Best Soil for Your Avocado Plant

Avocado trees need well-draining soil. You need to ensure that the soil is well aerated so that the roots are not sitting in pools of water otherwise they can get root rot which could end up being the death of your plant.

You can use river sand or cacti soil as this is well-draining, and mix it together with potting soil. You can also add perlite or vermiculite which is natural and does not absorb water so it will helping with draining the soil.

Avo trees prefer soil that is slightly acidic. Use a pH reader to ensure the levels are correct – avocado trees prefer slightly acidic soil of around 5 – 7 so if your soil is higher than 7 (7 is neutral), your trees are going to suffer as this alkalinity inhibits the uptake of zinc and iron.

To try and avoid this from the beginning, add peat moss into your soil mix. 

A good homemade soil mix for your avo trees is one part potting soil, one part peat moss, and one part perlite or vermiculite.

avocado on tree
preparing the soil for planting a lemon tree

How Much Sunlight Does an Avo Tree Need? 

Your avo tree needs to be in an area to receive full to partial sunlight. Ideally, they should receive 6 hours of sunlight a day.

Too much direct sunlight on avo trees younger than 3 years can burn the stem and the leaves. Older trees love getting more sun – up to 6 hours a day.

If your avo tree is indoors, place it near a large sunny window. If you live in the northern hemisphere then a south-facing window with lots of light is an ideal spot for your plant. If you live in the southern hemisphere then a north-facing window will be perfect.

Avo trees originally come from south-central Mexico and thrive in a Mediterranean climate. They need humidity level between 45% –  65%. If you want to increase the humidity for your avo tree, you can mist the leaves with a spray bottle up to twice a day.

If choosing to grow your tree indoors, make sure to rotate your plant every day or two otherwise it will grow at an angle as it leans towards the light.

Get planting!

Even if you germinate avo seeds for your kids’ enjoyment or learning experience, it’s simple and fun. 

Eat your avo, keep the seed, wash and rinse.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions remain my own.