How to Grow Avocado from Seed (2 Easy Ways!)

2 easy ways to grow avocado tree from seed in soil or water, better than toothpicks method! Best tips on germination, indoor & outdoor planting, & more!

We have all seen lovely photos of avocado seeds on toothpicks over a jar of water. The truth is, the toothpick method is not as great as it looks, and many have ended up with their avocado pits rotted or shriveled.

grow avocado plants from seed in water

As plant lovers living in Southern California – the biggest avocado growing region in the US, we have grown many avocado plants from seeds and learned lots of tips and tricks along the way. 

grow beautiful avocado plants in water from seed pits

* Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here .

Now it’s time to share with you how easy it is to grow an avocado seed into a beautiful and unique indoor plant, or a fruit bearing tree! Let’s start with a question that everyone asks 🙂

Can you grow an avocado tree that bears fruit from just a seed? 

2 easy ways to grow avocado tree from seed in soil or water, better than toothpicks method! Best tips on germination, indoor & outdoor planting, & more!

Avocado trees grown commercially or sold in nurseries are grafted to ensure the reliable varieties. When we plant an avocado seed pit, the tree seedling may take 5 to 10+ years to bear fruits. The fruits can be a little or a lot different (either superior or inferior ) than the original avocado from which you got the seed. 

grow avocado  indoors in boho farmhouse living room

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It is important to know the top and bottom of an avocado seed. 

When we grow an avocado seed, the roots always come out of the bottom and the stems come out of the top of seed pit. Therefore we want to plant the seed with the top part pointing up.

regrow avocado seeds

The top of an avocado seed has a pointed shape, like the top of the avocado fruit. The bottom of the seed is flat.

Helpful tip: avocado seeds that started to crack are great for planting, because roots have already started to develop!

top and bottom of avocado seed

How to plant an avocado seed in soil

In warmer weather, all you really need to do is to bury some avocado seeds in soil either in the garden or in a pot, keep them watered. Avocado seedlings will grow in 1 to 3 months. We can’t even count how many avocado trees have grown from pits in our garden compost! 

how to plant avocado seed in soil

If you want to plant avocado seeds in pots, place the pits in soil with the top side pointing up, and cover with soil to the top tip. 

Keep the soil damp but not soggy. Keep the pot in a warm sunny place. Like mentioned earlier, seeds with cracks will be the first to germinate and leaf out. 🙂

grow avocado seedling in soil

Some gardeners like to soak or germinate their avocado seeds in plastic bag first before planting them in soil. This way they know the seeds with roots will keep growing. If you want to try this method, go to the next step.

avocado tree growing in a pot

How to grow avocado seed in water 

I love this method because it is so much fun to watch beautiful avocado trees growing from seeds in jars of water! If you just want some pretty indoor plants to decorate your home, you will really enjoy this technique.

A big thank you to Brad on YouTube for the great video tutorial!

First, let’s look at a better alternative on how to sprout an avocado seed without toothpicks. The problem is actually not the toothpicks, but the timing!

Clean the avocado seeds and peel off the skin

Clean the avocado seeds and peel off as much of the skin as possible. This reduces the chance of the seeds molding while germinating. 

Wrap the seeds loosely in damp paper towel, and place them in a plastic bag or a container with lid.

grow avocado seeds in plastic bag or a container with damp paper towel

Check on the pits once a week.  If the paper towel smells or look slimy, wash the seeds, the plastic bag or container , and change to a clean piece of paper towel.

Once the avocado seeds crack, look for tiny white roots that sprout from the bottom of each seed, and be careful not to damage the roots. When the roots grow and protrude beyond the bottom of the seeds, it’s time to start growing them in water.

sprouting avocado seeds on paper towel

This stage can take 1-2 months. It’s a good idea to start with more seeds than you need, and just keep the faster sprouting ones, because some seeds take much longer time to sprout, for no reason! You can also plant the cracked or sprouted avocado seeds in soil at this stage, like mentioned in previous method.

At this point, you can actually use tooth picks or something more unique! There are avocado tree growing kits you can get on Amazon here. You can also use recycled plastic water bottles to make some! 

DIY  avocado tree growing kits using plastic bottles

Cut off the top portion of a plastic water bottle without the lid, and place it on top of a glass jar as shown. Put a sprouted avocado seed inside this half sphere with roots pointing down. Add water until the bottom half of the seed is submerged in water. 

how to make  avocado tree growing kits using plastic bottles

Always eep the roots submerged in water as it grows. After a couple more weeks, stems and leaves will start growing out of the avocado seed.

grow avocado plants without toothpicks

Here are some of our avocado seedlings growing in water at different stages. All we do is replenishing the water once a week, and add a drop of all purpose liquid fertilizer once a month. 

avocado seeds growing in water without toothpicks

The water stays clean and clear usually. If you occasionally see signs of algae, clean the jar and change water. 

grow avocado plants indoors in water or soil

The only difference when you grow avocado indoors in soil vs in water is that avocado plants growing in jars of water need to be away from direct sun, because algae can grow in water exposed to sunlight. 

propagation station with beautiful avocado trees

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Additional tips

If you eat an avocado but are not ready to plant the seed right away, you can wash avocado pits clean and keep them in a jar of water so they don’t dry out.

soak avocado seeds in water

Can you grow avocado trees indoors and outdoors? 

Avocado trees can be beautiful as indoor plants.  Check out these tips for indoor plant care. 

small avocado trees growing in jars of water

Avocados are subtropical trees, so most of them do not like temperatures below 32F. The cold hardy varieties such as Fuerte or Bacon will grow outside down to USDA cold hardiness zone 8. You can also grow potted avocado trees in a greenhouse in colder climates. 

usda hardiness map

Happy growing! 🙂

Love Gardening Ideas?


    • hi Michelle, the plant can stay in water for long time, but it grows much faster and stronger in soil. you can plant it in soil at this point 🙂

  1. Hello,
    I have been growing my plant from a seed and it is about 14″ tall. I have it in soil, but it is not getting bushy. It is just growing taller. It has lost some leaves. Should I cut it back to 6 inches?

    • hi sharon! i would let it grow more. if you want to cut it to encourage branching, i would do it in spring or summer when it’s actively growing! 🙂

  2. Love your site and instructions for growing avocados from seed. I have a question, actually, and a bit of a challenge that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere online so far. I have been growing avocado plants by germinating them in soil for a few years. My oldest plants are 3 years old. Here’s the rub: I just put the pits into existing pots with other non-avocado plants: as an experiment I put them in among all kinds of other plants in various pots, all in the same window but only had success with one big pot…and now I have 18 germinated pits in one pot! It became a bit of a game to see if they’d keep germinating and they basically ALL did! Not only did they germinate but they are doing so quickly, some sending up shoots in less than a week! But my dilemma is, the roots don’t like to be disturbed so I don’t believe I can transplant any of them. Now I have an avocado jungle and obviously they are all vying for light and space. I do not know what conditions exist in this pot to have this happen….So I do not know how to emulate it for transplanting and as I said, I tried seeds in other pots and no germination occurred. Has anyone else encountered a situation similar to this? T

    • hi Suze! i had a 5 gallon pot with 6 avocado seeds growing, and i was able to separate them and transplant them into other pots with no problem. i think you can keep all your plants in one pot, or separate a few out to test so you still have many plants in the original pot to be safe. 🙂 just try to keep as much roots as possible on each plant, and keep the transplants in shade for 2-3 weeks to adapt.

  3. Yes! Thanks for recommending the water bottle method. I have tons of little mason jars and didn’t want to mess with toothpicks. My little avocado seed has its root startong to peek but not quite ready for the water. This will be great to use and I may just start a few more seeds now. They are pretty and I’m in AZ so the sun always shines here.

    • hi Nikki! if you can set the bottom of the seed in water where the root is touching the water, i would go for it. happy growing!! 🙂

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for this. I opened an avocado and discovered it has started sprouted but noticed the tip of the root at the bottom is darkened, (looks rottened) will it germinate if I grow in water jars?

      • Thanks so much for your advice. Glad to let you know that I tried both, the glass jar and the one for pots and they are doing well. I can see the roots for the one in glass jar, also the pits are divided showing sprouts. Same for the one in the pot.

  5. We have always wanted to try growing avocado pits. Just followed your tutorial and started a few seeds with our kids. Very excited to see the roots coming out! 🙂

  6. I wanted to grow Avocado as indoor plant. Today I kept the seed in the glass jar adopting the toothpick method.. Since it is a very long time consuming process, I will wait for some to response. Thank you.

  7. Great tutorial. Wonderful pictures. Great instructions. I will try the soil method next time. MUCH better than the toothpick method. Thanks for sharing! Be safe.

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