Next time you enjoy an avocado, recycle the seed and grow your own ornamental avocado tree. With a little loving care, you can have a lush green, easy growing avocado tree to adorn your patio, entryway or living room.

By Coletta Teske

Our neighbors think we are plant-buying fools. There are container-grown plants scattered around the yard, hanging from the rafters and peeking out from the kitchen window. We love our plants and, contrary to what the neighbors might think, we’ve invested very little money in our collection of greenery and flowers.

How did we collect a yard full of plants without shelling out a lot of money? We grow our own. One of our favorite home-grown projects is to sprout avocado seeds and grow small trees. Right now, we have three sprouted avocados. The oldest is a three year old tree that is about four feet tall. The middle tree is two years old and about two feet tall. The baby seed sprouted its first limb a month ago.

It’s easy to grow an avocado tree from an avocado purchased from the produce market. Just clean the green grease from the seed, set it in a tall container of water, sit back and watch it grow.


Photographs Copyright 2014 Huckaberry’s Cryptic Crydders. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


Tips for Avocado Recycling Success

Materials

  • Avocado seed
  • Round toothpicks, nails or corn cob holders
  • Tall container
Step 1

Prepare the Avocado Seed

Remove the seed from the avocado and rinse the green avocado fruit off of the seed. This prevents the seed skin from growing mold. Also, leave the papery skin on the seed. This protects the plant as it sprouts inside the seed.

Insert three round toothpicks or nails into the side of the seed. These supports should be evenly spaced around the side. Corn cob holders work very well for large avocado seeds (the seed in this picture is 3 inches across). If you don't want to puncture the seed, use a hurricane vase and set the seed on top of the narrow opening.

Suspend the seed over a tall, water-tight container. Vases, Mason jars and quart-size yogurt containers work well. Fill the container with water so that the bottom of the seed is submerged.

Step 2

Set the Seed in a Sunny Spot

Avocado seeds sprout best in a brightly lit location that does not get direct sunlight. I keep my seeds near a north-facing kitchen window to give the plant filtered light all day long. This spot also stays warm during the winter months.

After the stem sprouts from the seed, the stem may reach toward the light. When the stem begins to curve and reach toward the sun (as shown in this picture), turn the plant to encourage the stem to stand upright.

Step 3

Water the Seed

It may take several months for your avocado seed to sprout. I keep the sprouting seed in the kitchen so that I can watch it constantly and so that I don't forget about it.

Add water to the container regularly. Make sure that the bottom of the seed is always in the water. I use tap water and I never add any fertilizer to the water. The seed contains all the nutrients that the growing plant needs.

The roots will appear before the plant. There will be a large root mass long before there are any leaves on the plant. In a healthy plant, the roots will stay white even when grown in water for four or five months. The while bumpy nodules on the roots are normal.

Step 4

Transplant the Sprouted Seed

When the seed has a large root mass and six or more sets of leaves, the plant can be removed from its glass of water and planted in a container. Use an all-purpose potting soil that contains compost.

The container should be about 8 inches across and 12 inches deep. Keeping the plant in a smaller container will stunt the growth of the plant and cause it to grow slower.

When planting your avocado tree, the top of the seed should be 1/2 inch above the top of the soil. As the plant grows, the seed will decompose and you may need to add soil around the base of the tree to fill in the hole left behind by the seed.

Step 5

Care for the Plant and Watch It Grow

Water the plant deeply and let the soil dry out before watering it again. Avocado trees like humidity. Avoid placing the plant near heaters and air conditioning vents. Fertilize lightly and infrequently. We add compost to the soil every two to three months and never use commercial fertilizers.

Young plants should be kept in an area with filtered light. Older plants (over two years old) can withstand short periods of direct sunlight. The trees can withstand temperatures down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Our trees are kept on an outdoor covered porch and can tolerate the two-hour freezes we experience in Central Florida.

Re-pot the tree every two to three years into a container that is one size larger. Don't be afraid to slightly neglect your avocado tree. It's not a plant that likes to be pampered.

Some sources recommend cutting the top of the main stem when it reaches 12 inches tall. We do not prune our avocados. Our oldest tree started branching out when it reached 3 feet tall.

After you've enjoyed an avocado in your favorite salad or as guacamole for a taco, plant the seed and grow more green in your home.

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Comments


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  • smine27 Mar 13, 2014 @ 10:06 am
    I never knew you could do this. Very cool.
  • peteolake Feb 25, 2014 @ 8:09 pm
    Ohh what a great lens. I have been trying to grow one from a seed for awhile with no luck. Mow I see the trick. Thanks, as I have heard many different ways (none worked..grin), like dry the seed first, etc. Ha !! Now I can grow one thanks to you Coletta. Nice :)
  • BearTale Mar 02, 2014 @ 10:51 am
    Good luck, PeteOLake! and, have fun! Thank you for visiting!
  • Papier Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:06 pm
    We used to grow avocados from the pits also, but just don't have the right exposure here. Your tutorial will no doubt prompt a bunch of new trees among a lot of happy people.
  • Anahid Feb 17, 2014 @ 11:32 am
    hi great idea will try it. All the best. Anna
  • trevorjb1406 Feb 17, 2014 @ 7:03 am
    Nice lens! I'm going to give this a try!
  • egyptiancotton Feb 17, 2014 @ 4:10 am
    Congratulations! I am a big recycler and I'll definitely try it,love your Lens
  • NuttSoRuff Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:32 pm
    Very cool - I never knew you could do that but I think I'll try it. Congrat's on the LOTD!
  • cleansweeping Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:30 pm
    Interesting! Hmmmm..... maybe this will work for me!
  • BunnyFabulous Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:29 pm
    I think I'll have to try this with my daughter. She'd love it! I'm in Central FL too, so it's good to know these will do great in our climate. Congrats on Lens of the Day!
  • BearTale Feb 17, 2014 @ 8:54 am
    Hi BunnyFabulous! Use the seed from a Florida avocado. They're in season right now. Thank you for visiting!
  • RockinPicks Feb 16, 2014 @ 7:32 pm
    We have low humidity here, but for some reason they do grow. I am trying this. Just sent hubby to the store for one.
  • rauspitz Feb 16, 2014 @ 7:17 pm
    Very cool tutorial. Congratulations on getting LotD!
  • Feb 16, 2014 @ 6:39 pm
    Great lens. I will try this!
  • esmonaco Feb 16, 2014 @ 6:03 pm
    Well this is something that I never knew!! Thanks sharing this, I'm going to give it a try:) Congratulations on LOTD!! Well deserverd!!
  • MSchindel Feb 16, 2014 @ 5:54 pm
    Wonderful tutorial for growing avocado plants from seed! I've had uneven results in the past, but one or two of mine have thrived for extended periods. (I don't live in a warm or humid climate, which probably has something to do with it.) I love avocados and definitely will give it another go - hope springs eternal, and now I have your excellent directions to refer to. Congrats on a well deserved LOTD!
  • BearTale Feb 17, 2014 @ 8:55 am
    Have fun, MSchindel! Let me know how your latest avocado experiment works out! Thank you for stopping by!
  • RubyHRose Feb 16, 2014 @ 5:53 pm
    congrats on LOTD! They do make such pretty trees. Easy to follow steps too.
  • Steve_Kaye Feb 16, 2014 @ 4:41 pm
    Congratulation on receiving the LOTD. Now I need to buy an avocado.
  • eilval Feb 16, 2014 @ 4:21 pm
    I have a little avocado tree in my yard growing rather slowly . Thanks for the step-by-step instructions ; inspires me to sprout more avocado seeds .
  • nancycarol Feb 16, 2014 @ 3:17 pm
    Back once more to congratulate you on LOTD! It's a fabulous lens and I sent the link for it to my daughter who loves to do this sort of thing. Thanks for sharing your expertise on this!
  • ibidii Feb 16, 2014 @ 2:58 pm
    Over the last 10 years I have tried to sprout an avocado see and did not have success. I have followed these steps. I had success 20 years ago and beyond. so I am suspecting that some of the avocado's in recent years are not the sprouting varieties! I will see if we can purchase some from another vendor and see if that will make a difference! Great lens'story! :D
  • BearTale Feb 17, 2014 @ 8:57 am
    Hi Ibidii! Look for an organic avocado. I know that they give potatoes an inhibitor so that they don't sprout. Maybe some avocados are in the same situation. Thank you for visiting!
  • Lewisgirl Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:33 pm
    I have tried as well with no luck or not enough patience. Great lens!
  • hmsweaver Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:00 pm
    Fantastic!! I've tried sprouting avocado seeds before, but I run out of patience. Maybe I'll try it again.
  • babyfurnitureplans Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:52 pm
    I was making guacamole one evening and decided I wanted an avocado tree of my own. That little pit has been sitting in the window sill for about a month now, and I finally see some roots. Can't wait for a shoot. Congrats on your LOTD!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:03 pm
    Awesome, BabyFurniturePlans! Now that you have roots, the seed with start to split. It may take another month for it to sprout. How exiting! Thank you for visiting!
  • partybuzz Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:47 pm
    This is a great tutorial, but, sorry, but I have a brown thumb!
  • ArthurPrittNdubi Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:45 pm
    wow actually this is unique and congratulations for winning lotd. So thanks for this informative article. i did not that avocado seeds can be recycled.
  • susan-zutautas Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
    I cannot remember how many times I've tried to root an avocado seed. I don't know what I've done wrong or missed but I've never had any luck. I am going to give it one more try and post your instructions to my fridge in one last attempt to get a plant started.
    Congrats on your very well deserved LOTD!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:05 pm
    Hi Susan! I'll start a seed for you. That will give you a reason to come visit me!
  • LynnKK Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:32 pm
    I have always wanted to do this but in my arctic climate -- for real, folks, just try one of these crazy "Polar Vortexes" on for size -- I would have to keep the tree inside for 8 months out of the year. Love the idea of a seed started in a glass shading the yard from a two story height. I might give this a try, but my thumb is pretty darn "ungreen" when it comes to indoor plants. Great LotD! Congrats.
  • Mommie-Moola Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
    Great info - I need to start my own avocado tree.
  • im2keys Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:16 pm
    Great job on this- I love your collection! I have a small avocado tree that is about 8 months old, from an avocado off my sisters tree, can't wait to see if one day I get some fruit :o)
  • Palmerl Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:52 am
    Love your lens. I sprouted an avacado pit just as you did and it grew about a foot high and didn't survive. I gave up. I live in Wisconsin and perhaps that is why it didn't want to grow any more.
  • d-artist Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:45 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! I'm a big recycler and even include it in my artworks. I never had luck in growing a seed avocado...once got it to root and sprout, then immediately it croked!
  • StephenJParkin Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:40 am
    I am wondering how hardy these trees are? Can they stand Canadian winters where the temperature could drop to minus 30 C? Well done on the LOTD.
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:07 pm
    Hi Stephen, Avocado are sub-tropical plants. They won't survive a long or hard freeze. My oldest tree (3 years old) can withstand 40 F for days in a row. Thank you for stopping by!
  • mbgphoto Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:35 am
    Stopping back with a big CONGRATULATIONS!!! for your LOTD. Well deserved
  • WeeCatCreations Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:33 am
    Congratulations on your LOTD! I remember ad/comic strips in women's magazines back in the 70's that featured a woman chatting with her avocado plant about life. I guess it was when avocados were a "new" food to the general public.
  • Graceonline Feb 16, 2014 @ 11:18 am
    This is a lovely page, and your avocado trees look so healthy. When my children were little, we sprouted avocado seeds, among other plants. I did not transplant our first one, but kept it in water. It kept adding leaves and adding leaves, which I supported on a makeshift trellis up, around, over and down the other side of the kitchen window, which made a very pretty leafy frame for it. The children loved it as much as we did.
  • mukunda22 Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:58 am
    Can you actually harvest avocados from your trees? If yes, I will proceed! Congrats on LOTD!
  • charlino Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:53 am
    You have inspired me to start another tree. Love this article, avacados, and starting avacado trees. I've done it. In fact, I had an avacado tree that lived for me for ten years, and it was eight feet tall. Beatiful - I took it in and outside the house ever for the warmer months and it flourished. Unfortunately, it did not survive the scale attack from an outside bug that literally sucked the life out of the tree.
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 1:08 pm
    Best of luck on your new tree, Charlino!
  • angemari Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:45 am
    Congratulations for your nice avocado plant!
    In recent years I have tried growing apricots, apples, lemons and peaches from seeds.I have got the best results from peaches and apricots.
    Thanks for the detailed explanations how to grow the avocado plant.
  • sybil-watson Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:56 am
    I sprouted the seed from a really delicious avocado about 13 years ago and planted it in the yard when it got to be about a foot tall. It's now as tall as our two story house and it shades the southern side of the yard. Congratulations on your LOTD!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 10:03 am
    Hi Sybil-Watson! That is incredible. Do you get avocados?
  • georgepmoola Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:50 am
    Excellent idea, great lens, clearly explained.
  • dawnraeb Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:30 am
    I am back to say congratulations on your LotD!
  • grammieo Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:25 am
    Congratulations on LoTD! Good work! You are featured also on the FB page for Weekend Gardeners. I will update the status over there too!
    https://www.facebook.com/GrammieKnowsWeekendGardeners
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:58 am
    Thank you! I am so glad everyone is enjoying this how-to!
  • Merrci Feb 16, 2014 @ 9:02 am
    Congrats on LotD! I enjoyed reading your lens! The seeds do grow to very pretty plants then trees, don't they?
  • anansescribe Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:48 am
    I LIKE YOU POST AND IT IS REALLY REVEALING
  • ismeedee Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:04 am
    Love the idea. I know it won't grow over here- not nearly enough sun!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:45 am
    Thank you for visiting, ismeedee! We grow one of our avocados in a shaded area. As long as it get filtered light, it should be okay.
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Feb 16, 2014 @ 7:22 am
    Stopping back by to celebrate your Lens of the Day. Woot! :-)
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:44 am
    Thank you! I'm thrilled!
  • eva_writes Feb 16, 2014 @ 6:11 am
    I forgot to say that I pruned some of mine and nothing happened - it just kept growing straight up with no branches!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:46 am
    Hi Eva-Writes! My trees don't start branching until they are over 3 feet tall. The one time I pruned mine, it didn't survive.
  • eva_writes Feb 16, 2014 @ 6:09 am
    I planted lots of them some years ago, but it was too cold for them here and too dry inside the house, so most of them died or became ill. The only one which still lives on is the one I gave to my grandmother as a present, maybe because her house is a bit less heated than ours... now that I see yours I miss my avocado trees...
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:49 am
    Hi Eva_Writes! Thank you for stopping by. Avocados like humidity and the roots like to be on the dry side. It can be difficult to maintain that balance with indoor plants. We also keep our trees outside much of the year. The trees stay happy even when the temperature stays in the 40s.
  • Arachnea Feb 16, 2014 @ 3:31 am
    I've done this before. Sometimes it's hit and miss whether the seed sprouts. I'm gonna try again going by the info provided in your lens.
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:53 am
    Hi Arachnea! Best of luck. I have waited as long as 3 months for a seed to sprout. Growing an avocado does teach patience.
  • lawrence01 Feb 16, 2014 @ 2:33 am
    This looks awesome. I've grown Apple trees using a similar technique but never avacado. I might just try it.
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:54 am
    Hi Lawrence01! I tried growing an apple tree once. I opened an apple core and found sprouted seeds. They grew for a few days and then quit. I'll have to try again. Have fun growing an avocado!
  • Ruthi Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:14 am
    Seeing your avocado seeds grown into trees reminds me so much of my mom - Thank you! She would always eat avocado, spinach, and egg salad and promptly nurture that seed into a plant. She had them in cans and pails everywhere. I don't care for avocadoes, so I doubt I'll grow one. ... Congratulations on LOTD!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:55 am
    Hi Ruthi! Thank you for visiting and I'm glad I brought you some fond memories. Your mom sounds like my kind of gal. I should start an avocado tree just for you!
  • Brite-Ideas Feb 15, 2014 @ 3:48 pm
    I seriously lack a green thumb for things like this, but you make it seem like I can do this too! love how you explained all of this
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:56 am
    Hi Brite-Ideas! This is easy. The hardest part is being patient. I'm glad you enjoyed the tutorial!
  • nancycarol Feb 15, 2014 @ 2:27 pm
    Wish I could get my daughter to sit down long enough to write about the odd things she grows from what she buys at the supermarket. She has all kinds of plants, including avocados. I'm sending her this link, because I think it will encourage her. BTW, we DO love avocados too!
  • BearTale Feb 16, 2014 @ 8:57 am
    Hi NancyCarol! Thank you for visiting. If your daughter does decide to write about her odd ball supermarket plants, let me know. I'd love to see what she has going on!
  • Ladymermaid Feb 15, 2014 @ 2:14 pm
    Love your tutorial on growing from an avocado seed. I have never even tried an avocado although I keep telling myself that I have got to get with the program. Maybe this year.
  • MarathonRunning Feb 14, 2014 @ 12:42 pm
    Thank you for sharing those tips BearTale! We love to eat avocados in my home so I will certainly try to grow one.
  • BearTale Feb 15, 2014 @ 10:02 am
    Hi MarathonRunning! It is fun. And the trees really are attractive.
  • Sylvestermouse Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:22 pm
    Well, from one plant buying fool to another, this is really awesome! I have never grown avocados. My husband would absolutely love this! Plus, he would note the motorcycles fools unite too :) Yes, I saw it! lol
  • BearTale Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:26 pm
    Hi Sylvestermouse! I love my Harley. And, the avocados are easy to grow. They just require patience.
  • dawnraeb Feb 13, 2014 @ 8:47 pm
    I love this. I love that you have the three different sized trees to compare.
  • BearTale Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:28 pm
    Hi DawnRaeb! I only have three because it's been kinda tough convincing my family to eat avocados. It's that Green Grease thing. But I did find out that they'll eat avocados if I hide them in chocolate cupcakes.
  • mbgphoto Feb 13, 2014 @ 7:20 pm
    How interesting? I must try this with an avocado seed.
  • BearTale Feb 15, 2014 @ 10:03 am
    Hi MBGPhoto! You must. It is a fun adventure. Thank you for stopping by!
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Feb 13, 2014 @ 6:29 pm
    I would love to grow an avocado plant from seed. I happen to have a couple of avocado pits. Going to give this a try. Thanks for the tips. Appreciated!
  • BearTale Feb 15, 2014 @ 10:03 am
    Hi RenaissanceWoman! Check back with me in a few months and let me know how your avocados grow! Thank you for visiting!