Grow Your Own Avocado Tree: 5 Simple Steps

April 28, 2020
Avocado tree

Yes, you can grow your own avocado tree from a pit—if you have patience. Here’s how to grow in 5 simple steps! Try it out and let us know if it works!

How to Grow an Avocado Plant

  1. Remove the pit from an avocado. Eat the flesh. Wash the pit and allow it to dry for 2 to 3 days.
  2. Stick three toothpicks into the pit’s equator (or middle), equidistant apart and about ½-inch deep. Place the pit, with its fat base down, on the rim of a water glass, using the toothpicks to suspend it so that it doesn’t fall into the glass. Add enough water to the glass to cover about an inch of the pit.
  3. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Add more water as needed. Roots and a stem should sprout in 2 to 6 weeks.
  4. When the stem is 6 to 7 inches long, cut it back to about 3 inches.
  5. When the roots are thick and the stem has grown out again, plant it in potting soil in an 8- to 10-inch-diameter pot, leaving the pit half exposed.

Set the pot in a sunny spot and water!

How to Care for an Avocado Plant

  • Water the tree often, lightly, keeping the soil moist but not soaking wet. (Yellow leaves are a sign of too much water.)
  • When the tree is about a foot high, cut it back to 6 inches so that new shoots will sprout.
  • Your tree can live outside in the summer. Bring it indoors if winter temperatures go below 45°F.

Be patient! It may take 10 to 15 years for your plant to grow into a tree that begins producing fruit! In the meantime, enjoy a great houseplant!

Make an Avocado Shake

So what are you doing with the avocado fruit? Here’s a great idea. This is a popular treat in Brazil. Let us know if you like it!

½ avocado, peeled and pitted
1½ cups milk
½ cup ice
3 tablespoons sugar

Put the ingredients into a blender. Process the mixture on high for about 1 minute. Pour it into a glass and enjoy! Makes 1 serving.

Fun Avocado Facts

  1. Avocados are called alligator pears! Why? This fruit has rough, green skin like alligators and it’s shaped like pears. The fruit has such a smooth, creamy texture that they were once eaten only by royalty.
  2. The avocado tree originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7000 and 5000 B.C. Archaeologists in Peru discovered avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies that date from 750 B.C. The tree itself is an evergreen. It can grow 30 to 80 feet tall. 
  3. The oldest known living avocado tree is on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. It was planted in 1879.
  4. The avocado is a berry!  An avocado pit (its seed) makes up 10 to 25 percent of the fruit’s weight. One avocado tree can produce as many as 500 avocados (or 200 pounds of fruit) per year. An average harvest from one tree is about 150 avocados (60 pounds). 
  5. Guacamole may be the first thing that comes to mind, but avocados are used in all sorts of ways. For food, avocadoes are great in salads, sushi, soup, candy, guacamole—even in ice cream in Brazil! If you’re not sure that you like avocadoes, make sure they feel firm to the touch and not mushy. Try eating first in slices or pieces, not as smashed guacamole.
  6. Avocadoes aren’t just eaten as food! Avocado oil is used in sunscreens, skin moisturizers, hair conditioners, and makeup.

Now you know more about avocadoes! Tell us if you like avocadoes and how you use them. 


The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids, Volume 4



Reader Comments

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Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Easy to make Chocolate Avocado Pudding is delicious.
Frozen or fresh Avocados
Cocoa powder
Sweetener or sugar of your choice
If you like cold chocolate pudding use frozen avocados. If you like room temperature pudding use fresh avos.
Combine in a Vitamix blender.
You decide on how much chocolate and how sweet.
It is a perfect pudding texture and a wonderful way to make chocolate pudding. It tastes like the best chocolate pudding from childhood minus all the harmful ingredients found in a box mix.
BTW, I had to stop composting avos because they sprout very easily in my British Columbia garden. I wish I could grow them into a tree!

Just plant 'em!

My family tried the toothpicks-in-a-jar method numerous times when I was growing up, only once did we get an actual houseplant. I read about planting directly, leaving the top third above ground because the pits need light to germinate. I've done this several times, with a high success rate, resulting in lots of give-aways :-) One summer I even put a few pits out in the garden, assuming I could pot them up before winter if anything grew. Weeks later I was rewarded with a stalk shooting up. In only a couple of days, it reached at least 2 feet before the first leaves spread out. It thrived outside for another couple months - I finally dug it up when we got frost warnings. And found another one of the pits had a long, sturdy root, and its stalk was just about to break the pit open. Both of those plants have a happy life in a sunny hallway in an office building.
For early pruning, just pinch off the new growth (one helpful co-worker kept pruning one of the hallway plants this way, and it eventually became somewhat bushy). I would wait until you've seen at least three cycles of new leaves before I did a drastic prune as suggested in the article - I killed a plant once by cutting this much.
I currently have 3 pot-sprouted plants sharing a pot. Not ideal, but so far they are doing well (3 to 4 feet tall!). In my experience drainage is critical - they don't mind being watered from the bottom occasionally, but they really don't like having constantly wet feet.


Most avacodos are grafted hybrids, very rare that a tree grown from a seed will produce a tree that sets decent fruit id any at all....

Never had luck with this

I've tried this method multiple times and never had any luck. Finally, I threw a pit in pot of topsoil and got a sprout on the first try.

Cutting the steam back

I’ve been germinating and growing avocado pits with my son lately for “science” class. I have a planted avocado that’s growing pretty steadily it’s about a foot tall now. It has six big leaves.
When you say cut it back, do you mean just chop off the top? I didn’t know this step.
Is there a particular way or angle you’re supposed to cut at?

prune an avocado tree

The Editors's picture

Hi, Amber. You should cut about 4 to 6 inches off from the top.