Last fall, after making some guacamole, I decided to grow an avocado tree from the pit that I’d removed from the avocado. I mentioned in this post that it took until March to get a root. I also mistakenly told you that the pointy end of the pit gets submerged in water. Maybe that’s why it took so long to root!
There are a couple of ways to grow a tree from an avocado pit, but the one I’ve used is the toothpick method. The steps are:
- After carefully removing your pit from a ripe avocado, rinse it off and figure out which end of the pit is the top and which is the bottom. The narrower end is the top and the broader end is the bottom.
- Insert 3 to 4 toothpicks into the seed, preferably on an angle. Fill a jar with water and suspend the toothpicks on the mouth of the jar, with the bottom half of the pit submerged.
- Place the jar in a sunny spot and refill as needed to keep the bottom half under water. You can see the plant beginning to emerge from the top of the pit in this photo.
- As your tap root grows, you may need to move your pit to a taller jar or vase to allow it more room. Mine had a huge tap root.
- When the roots have emerged and are well established, plant the pit in a pot with soil. The top half of the seed should be exposed above the dirt. I used a large enough pot to allow room for growth, so I would not have to re-pot it later.
- Keep the pot in a sunny spot. You can keep it outside, but if temperatures will drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you should bring your avocado tree indoors. Also, keep in mind that they do not like to become too moist. I only water mine about once a week, unless the leaves look droopy and the soil seems too dry.
One mistake that I made was not to trim my plant back. I read the recommendation to do this after it was way over 6 inches tall, and I as afraid to do it at that point. This page has information on trimming your plant, which will encourage your tree to be bushy, rather than leggy, like mine. It also explains how to plant your tree outdoors if you live in a warm enough climate. We do not, so I am going to keep mine as a houseplant.
I keep mine in the front window of my house next to the front door and people are often curious about it, since you can clearly see the pit sitting above the soil at the base of the plant. I’ve read that if an avocado houseplant bears fruit, it will take about 20 years. My 22-year-old son joked that he is going to eat the first avocado that it produces, when he is 42!
So, the next time you slice open an avocado, consider growing your own avocado tree.