How to Grow an Avocado from Seed
Avocados grow on large trees native to Central America, but also make an interesting houseplant that is easy to grow from seed. Unless you live in a frost-free climate, avocados must be grown indoors. Although it's challenging to get an indoor avocado to bear fruit, they make really cool-looking houseplants. We'll show you how:
First, make sure you choose a ripe avocado. Cut it in half like normal, making sure not to cut the seed in the center. Remove the seed and wash off any remaining fruit under lukewarm water. Then dry it off.
We're going to show you two different methods to sprout an avocado seed. You could also plant it directly in a pot with the top 1/3 out of the soil, but it can be hard to provide enough moisture for it to sprout, so these methods can help you succeed.
Method 1: The "Bag" Method
You'll need two damp (squeeze out the excess moisture) paper towels, a plastic bag, and your clean and dry avocado seed.
- Place the seed in the center of one of the damp paper towels and fold the sides over the seed.
- Fold the first paper towel (with the seed) into the second paper towel and place the bundle in the bag.
- Place the bag in a cabinet until it sprouts. Be sure to check the moisture level daily, every so often you'll need to slightly re-wet the paper towel.
- Sprouting can take about 2-4 weeks, so be patient.
Method 2: The "Toothpicks" Method
For the "Toothpicks" method, you need a glass 3/4 full of lukewarm water, 4 toothpicks, a plastic bag (to cover the glass; use a toothpick to poke a few holes in it), and your clean and dry avocado seed.
- Determine the top and bottom of your avocado seed. The top is more "pointed," and the bottom is more flat, with a raised point in the middle where the taproot will grow from. This is the end that you want in the water. See the illustration below:
- Poke the toothpicks very slightly, at a 45-degree angle, into the sides of the seed. The goal here is to suspend the seed above the water in the glass, but to have the bottom 1/3 of the seed to be "dipped" in the water. Adjust the angle and placement as needed, but be sure not to poke too many holes or damage the seed.
Above: the placement of toothpicks in an avocado seed.
Below: the bottom 1/3 of an avocado seed in water. Note the angle of the toothpicks, which is less than 45 degrees in our example.
- Once the seed is suspended (as shown above), place the bag loosely over the top of the glass and place it in a bright spot like a windowsill or under a grow light (as shown below).
Once your avocado seed has sprouted (usually in 2-4 weeks) you'll need to plant it in a 6" pot of well-draining potting soil (any general-purpose potting soil should be fine). We recommend a terra cotta pot, but any pot will do.
We'll be documenting our process of planting our avocado seeds to show you how to do it, so in the mean time, get your seeds started and follow along with us!