How to Grow an Avocado Plant From the Pit

Overview

The avocado is a warm climate fruit tree with origins in southern Mexico, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers Association. Avocados grow well in climates that have a cool wet winter and a hot dry summer. Even the hardiest varieties will freeze if temperatures remain below 19 degrees Fahrenheit for more then a few days. Because avocados do not reproduce true to seed, commercial growers clone a known strain by grafting. Still, avocado pits are easy to sprout, and watching the roots and shoots emerge is a reward in itself.

Step 1

Take off the outer skin and fruit from the avocado pit. Wash it in cool water to remove all traces of fruit. Hold the seed so that the pointed end is up and poke three toothpicks into the sides of the seed.

Step 2

Fill a jar or drinking class with cool water. Suspend the avocado pit over the water with the toothpicks resting on the edge of the jar. Adjust the water levels so that the pit is half submerged in water.

Step 3

Place the jar on a warm, sunny, windowsill. The seed will take two to six weeks to form roots and a stem, according to the California Avocado Commission.

Step 4

Fill a 10- to 12-inch pot with rich, well-seasoned compost. When the avocado pit has sprouted a thick mass of roots, and the stem is about 6 inches long, transplant it into the pot. Cover the roots and the bottom half of the pit in soil, leave the top half of the pit and the stem above the soil line.

Step 5

Keep the soil around your avocado seedling damp by watering lightly every day. If the leaves start to turn yellow the roots are getting too much water. Let up on the watering for three to four days to let the soil dry out.

Step 6

Cut back the stem to 6 inches when the seedling is 12 inches tall. According to the California Avocado Commission, this will encourage new strong growth.

Step 7

Transplant the seedling when it is about 3 or 4 feet tall. Choose a well draining location where the soil will dry out between waterings. A loamy hill side or raised area is ideal, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers Association.

Step 8

Dig a hole that is slightly larger then the root ball of the seedling. Turn the avocado sapling onto its side in the pot and, grasping the base of the stem, gently wiggle if free from the pot.

Step 9

Place the seedling into the hole so that the base of the stem is level with the surrounding soil. Fill in the soil around and under the root system, add water as you go to encourage the soil to fill in any air pockets around the root system. Water the area until the roots and surrounding soil are damp to the depth of the planting hole.

Step 10

Keep the soil damp but not saturated for the first few weeks after transplanting. Then water weekly, letting the roots dry out in between. Fertilize your avocado sapling with 2 tsp. of a balanced fertilizer once a year.

Step 11

Spread a 2- inch thick layer of mulch over the root area of the tree, but keep it 4- inches away from the base of the trunk. The mulch will help keep the soil aerated, according to the California Avocado Commission.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothpicks
  • Jar
  • Water
  • 10- to 12-inch pot
  • Compost
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Growing Avocados from Seed
  • California Avocado Commission: Grow Your Own Tree
  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Avocado Fruit Facts
Keywords: propagating fruit trees, trees from seed, sprouting seeds, transplanting saplings

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.