Can I grow an avocado tree from seed?

It is simple and fun to grow an avocado tree at home, using the seed – or pit – of a store-bought avocado

Avocado pit growing in water
(Image credit: Getty Images/Emilija Manevska)

If you are looking for kitchen and vegetable garden ideas that are both fun and easy, consider growing an avocado tree from seed, otherwise known as the avocado stone or pit that is found within the fruit.

Although this isn’t the best way to produce a fruiting avocado tree, understanding how to grow avocados makes for a fun family project, helping to engage children with plants and learn how seeds germinate and grow.

Helpfully, the tools and equipment that are required to germinate an avocado seed are minimal, and the process is relatively straightforward to follow. Read on to discover our simple step-by-step guide and grow an avocado tree from seed at home this year. 

Avocado pit in water

(Image credit: Getty Images/Manex Catalapiedra)

How to grow an avocado tree from seed

Growing an avocado plant from seed is an easy and fun project that can be done at home in the kitchen. If you are looking for kitchen garden ideas to engage children in the art of gardening and growing, consider holding on to your avocado stone before throwing it in the trash or on the compost heap. 

'Before you begin to grow an avocado seed,' says Jeannie Psomas, plant expert and owner of The Plant Lady: San Francisco, 'it is important to manage expectations.' Indeed, growing an avocado plant from seed in this way is unlikely to result in lots of fruit.

Importantly, however, this can be a 'free houseplant to add to your collection, and it's a fun project, especially for kids if you're trying to teach them about gardening,' Jeannie says.

Jeanie Psomas headshot
Jeannie Psomas

Jeannie Psomas owns The Plant Lady: San Francisco, an indoor plant shop located in San Francisco, California which caters to collectors and hobbyists alike.  With a strong emphasis on plant science and education, Jeannie's philosophy is that anyone can grow gorgeous plants indoors. 

How to germinate an avocado seed

Avocado pit germinated in water

(Image credit: Getty Images/ELENA PETRUNEVA)

'Gently remove the avocado pit without damaging or stabbing it,' Jeannie says. It is important to clean the seed, taking a 'small brush and cleaning the pit under lukewarm running water.' 

As seen in the image above, carefully insert three or four wooden toothpicks into the avocado pit, suspending this over a glass of water so that only the bottom of the stone touches the water. 

Place this glass on a warm, well-lit windowsill, changing the water every few days. 'Check on your avocado every few days,' Jeannie says, 'to make sure that air is circulating well and that it isn't growing any mold or mildew.' 

You can also mimic this process by wrapping the avocado stone in a damp paper towel and placing it in a sealed jar by the window. Ensure that this towel stays moist – not too wet, not too dry – and change it regularly to avoid mold. 

Whichever method you opt for, after a few weeks you will start to 'notice the avocado seed splitting and eventually a little root will emerge,' Jeannie adds. When the root is 2-4 inches long, your avocado pit is ready to be planted into a pot with soil. 

How to care for young avocado plants

Avocado plant in terracotta pot

(Image credit: Getty Images/Crispin la valiente)

Once your avocado seed has small roots, lift it from the glass and carefully remove the toothpicks. 'Choose a container that is neither too big nor too small for your new plant,' says Jeannie. It is recommended that you use a container with a diameter of approximately 6 inches.

'Fill up your pot halfway, using a well-draining potting mix,' Jeannie continues. You can add perlite and vermiculite to your potting compost to improve drainage. 

Then, place the avocado pit into a little dent made with your knuckles. Following this, 'fill the rest of the pot with the potting mix, but leave the tip of the pit visible.' 

'Place the pot in a warm area of the home where it gets bright but indirect light,' Jeannie says. Kitchen windowsills are ideal, for example, as this position provides both warmth and light. 

Water only when the top inch of soil is dry, using your finger to check the moisture in the soil. During warm weather, closely monitor your new plant, ensuring that it does not dry out and does not stand in direct sunlight for too long. 


How long will my avocado pit take to germinate? 

This will vary depending on the location, determined by the temperature and light levels. As a general rule, avocado seeds can take 4 - 6 weeks to germinate, sometimes even longer in cold weather. 

While your avocado plant might not produce fruit, it will help to add interest to your indoor garden with its attractive foliage. Consider other small indoor plants to add to your collection, for example, you could learn how to grow tradescantia and add a unique indoor plant with colorful foliage to your collection. 

Thomas Rutter
Content Editor

Thomas is a Content Editor within the Gardens Team at Homes and Gardens. He has worked as a professional gardener in gardens across the UK and in Italy, specialising in productive gardening, growing food and flowers. Trained in Horticulture at the Garden Museum, London, he has written on gardening and garden history for various publications in the UK.