July 31, 2021 is National Avocado Day!
In celebration of this delicious fruit, I wanted to share the super EASY, step-by-step instructions I use to root and grow avocado trees from my store-bought avocados so you can try it too!
Today’s post was inspired by trees.com, which reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in creating a post in honor of National Avocado Day.
Since I LOVE eating avocados and enjoy rooting my own avocado trees at home each spring, I gladly accepted.
Fun facts about Avocado Trees:
Will Your Grocery Store Avocado Tree Produce Fruit?
Our homegrown avocados are very unlikely to produce fruit in our homes.
BUT it is still likely to create a gorgeous little tree that you grew yourself, which is why many of us houseplant lovers give one a try!
Why isn’t your homegrown avocado tree likely to produce fruit?
- It takes a VERY long time for trees to reach a mature enough age to fruit indoors.
- Many types of avocado trees require 2 or more trees to effectively cross-pollinate and fruit.
- An avocado tree we grow from seed isn’t guaranteed to produce the same quality of fruit
How do professional growers ensure they produce yummy avocados?
They take a cutting from a mature tree that is proven to produce high-quality fruit.
That cutting is then attached (or grafted) to another tree trunk.
The grafted tree will then have the genetics to produce delicious fruit AND the tree will mature faster than a seed-grown specimen.
So, if you want to try to grow avocadoes to eat at home, buying grafted trees is the way to go!
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Root and Grow Your Own Avocado Tree from a Store-Bought Avocado:
#1 Harvest the avocado pit
- When removing the pit from the avocado, try to not cut deeply into the pit.
- I usually cut the avocado in half by rotating the knife gently around the pit
- Then I remove the pit using a spoon so I don’t damage it
- After removing the pit, I wash it off in the sink to remove any flesh that is left
#2 Peel off the outer seed coating from the avocado pit
- Now I take the freshly washed pit and use my finger nail to remove the dark outer seed coat
- This will make it easier for the seed to begin to root
- If it seems difficult to remove the seed coating, let the pit soak in water for an hour or so to loosen the coating
#3 Create a space for the avocado pit to crack and root
- Take a sheet of paper towel and thoroughly wet it
- Then squeeze any excess water out of the paper towel (this will decrease the chance of rotting the seed)
- Take the pit/seed and wrap it in the moist paper towel
- Take the wrapped pit and place it in a sandwich baggie, then seal
- Find a cool, dark place to put the bag (I usually put mine inside a cabinet that I don’t go into super often)
- Check the pit every few days to once a week:
- If the paper towel has dried, wet it down again
- Look for a crack in the seed – once you see the crack, you know the pit is officially beginning to root!
Above is the first sight of a crack in the pit
Below is the root beginning to creep out of the crack after a little more time!
#4 When it has a decent amount of root, transfer the avocado pit to root in water
Once I see the root has grown to be a couple of inches, I know the pit is ready for the next step
- I gently push a few toothpicks in the side of the pit just far enough to hold in the seed
- Then I banace the pit on a glass and fill the glass with water
- Now I monitor the water level to ensure it doesn’t get too low
- I watch the roots grow, and look for a shoot to begin to emerge from the top of the pit
#5 When the avocado pit is well-rooted and has at least one leaf, I transfer the tree to soil
- I keep the avocado in water until the shoot has extended and produced at least one leaf.
- Then I plant the rooted avocado tree in soil
- I like to leave the pit a bit above the top of the soil (like the first photo below), but last year a squirrel saw the pit and wanted to eat it! The tree did not survive this!
- So this year I planted the entire pit below the soil level and the tree has been doing fine.
While I perusing avocado information for the post, I found the fun infographic below which details the entire process!
Please note: There are lots of ways to grow avocado from seed. This is just one way that has worked for me.
You can also plant the pit directly into the soil to sprout the seed as well as use lots of other method combinations.
Do you like rooting your own avocado trees? What is your favorite method? Share with us in the comments below!
How to care for the tree once it is in soil:
Light: I give my trees the highest light I can provide.
If it’s warm enough outdoors, I place it outdoors. Like other citrus, it loves sun!
Water: I let the top couple of inches of the potting mix dry out before watering thoroughly.
I do not let the plant sit with extra water in the saucer. It will rot if left in water.
Pot: Any pot with drainage holes is fine.
Potting mix: A well-draining soil works well for avocado when grown indoors.
I use regular houseplant mix and add pumice, sand, and some horticultural charcoal to the mix.
Outdoors I do use a more water-retentive mix so that the tree doesn’t dry out too quickly.
Fertilizer: I use a citrus fertilizer (according to the directions on the product) during the growing season.
Problems I have had with rooting my grocery store avocado pits
Sometimes they never root
Some pits, just like all seeds, will never root.
And some pits take a REALLY LONG time to root.
How do you know when to give up on your pit?
If your pit starts to become discolored or mushy, it’s time to give up.
If it has been more than 6 weeks, I usually give up.
Passive hydro propagation
I tried to root a few avocado seeds in passive hydroponics last year, which I did not find particularly successful.
To read more about passive hydroponics, click here to see my post about rooting hoya cuttings using passive hydro.
I am not 100% sure why it wasn’t successful, but my best guess is that the roots weren’t large enough to grab onto enough moisture from the LECA (clay balls used as a growing medium) so only one of them thrived. The others slowly died.
If I were to try passive hydro for avocado again, I would let the plant root more thoroughly in water and then transfer a larger root system into passive hydro. I have a feeling this would be successful.
Maybe I’ll try again sometime and update you here!
Placing my trees outdoors has attracted a lot of attention from animals
Citrus trees, especially seedlings, need a lot of light.
To provide them with the best lighting, I put the trees outdoors.
The problem is that animals (I’m guessing squirrels) have taken an interest in my trees each year.
One year the pit was removed from the middle of the tree and that was the end of that one.
This year some animal or bird removed the top of the tree leaving just the trunk.
I’m still caring for it with the hope that it will develop more leaves and branches. I do think there are places that are beginning to show activated growth points where I might be lucky enough to see shoots and leaves soon!
Perhaps next year I will put some type of a cage around it to prevent wildlife from getting to it. 🙂
If animals don’t attack your tree, though, it will deeply appreciate the summer weather in many areas!
If you decide to try growing your own avocado tree, let us know in the comments below how it went! Or, even better, send me a picture via email and I can add your tree to this post if you’d like!
Happy growing and Happy National Avocado Day, everyone!