How to grow an avocado tree from seed (with photos)

one year old avocado tree grown indoors

Let’s set the record straight: I have two main loves in my life. Food and plants. 99% of my blog posts are about my vegan baking adventures, and of course my new online vegan bakery. Right now, you’re reading the other 1%. Houseplants have always been a huge hobby of mine, and I’ve been getting a LOT of questions lately about my lovely one-year old avocado tree that I grew from a seed. Her name is Bao (which means ‘dumpling’ in Chinese) and she’s my pride and joy. This post will outline for you exactly how I grew this avocado tree indoors, so you can do it too!

Step one: the avocado seed

Let the record show that this was not my first time trying to plant and grow and avocado tree from a seed. My current tree, Bao, is exactly my 1e5p2985th attempt to do so. Many avocados were eaten in my pursuit to grow an indoor avocado tree, and Bao is the only one so far that has worked. So the first thing you have to do is probably go through a lottt of avocado seeds before you get one to sprout successfully and not die.

I got this seed from a regular Haas avocado, but here’s what I did differently with Bao: after I removed the seed and cleaned it thoroughly, I kept it wrapped in wet paper towels because I figured keeping the seed damp would help it eventually germinate.

And then, I entirely forgot about the seed and it stayed in my purse for a few days… so it dried out but turned out fine anyway.

Now, take your seed and peel away the papery brown skin on the top and bottom of the seed so that when (not IF but WHEN) your roots start to sprout they have proper room to grow.

avocado-seed-sprouting

Taproot visible after 4 weeks of the seed being in water.

Step two: growing the seed in water

Now, you have two options on how to grow the seed from here: you can either grow the roots in soil or in water. I’ve only ever tried the water method for avocado seeds. I’ve gotten quite a few to grow roots this way, although Bao is the only one who has survived long-term!

You’re going to need to find 3 toothpicks so that you can suspend the seed in a glass of water. First, identify the top and bottom of the seed. The bottom end is typically lighter in color and may have a small bump. It helps to imagine the seed as a teardrop shape – the bottom is the fatter end and the top of the seed is slightly more pointed.

Insert your toothpicks on three ‘triangular points’ around the sides of seed, spaced equal distance between the top and bottom.

Now, fill up a tall glass with water. Place the bottom of the seed in the water, balancing it so that it’s suspended in the the three toothpicks. The water should only come halfway up the seed. Make sure the top stays exposed and dry.

Place the seed in the sunniest spot in your home or apartment.

And now…we wait.

avocado-seed-taproot-and-stem

Four weeks later, the taproot has grown and a stem has sprouted.

Step three: sprouting the seed

It may take a month for the seed to sprout (if it ever sprouts). As you wait, make sure to add more water to the glass if it starts to evaporate. Make sure the bottom of the seed is always touching the water.

Change out the water if it ever starts to turn brown and murky.

If you’re lucky, after about 4-6 weeks you may notice the bottom part of the seed has started splitting. That’s a good sign! Keep it going.

A successful seed will start sprouting its taproot after a few more weeks of waiting. This is an even better sign. I’ve had some seeds that started growing a taproot and then died with no warning… but we won’t put that out into the universe.

Let the taproot continue to grow. The seed will continue to split vertically down the middle, and a stem will sprout from the top, too. I let Bao’s roots and stem grow for a whileeee because I was too nervous to move it into soil 🤣

When you the roots and stem are very sturdy though, it’s time to plant!

Three weeks later, even more growth! Leaves have started to fully form. The seed I tried growing on the left side didn’t make it though 😢

avocado-seed-taproot-in-water

A strong, fully formed taproot!

Step four: potting the seed in soil

When it’s time, fill up a large pot loosely with gardening soil (not packed in). Take your avocado seed out of the water and remove the toothpicks. Place the seed in the soil, taproot-side down, making sure the top half of the seed is exposed above the dirt.

Pack down the soil around the seed so it is secure. Leave the seed in a sunny spot and water it every few days, making sure the soil does NOT dry out completely. Your seed (soon-to-be-tree) likes to have its roots wet.

avocado-stem-growing-leaves

Two months later and more leaves have started to grow.

Step five: let it growww

If your seed has made it this far, all you have to do is maintain it and watch it grow into a beautiful avocado tree! Keep the seed in a sunny spot with indirect sunlight, and water the soil every few days so that it doesn’t dry out. Over the next few months, your stem will start to sprout and grow leaves.

In terms of growth, I’ve let Bao grow wild without trimming her new buds, but I hear that if you pinch off the growing buds the tree will be less “leggy” and more “bushy”. This is because the trimmed bud will sprout two more stem systems instead of one, which makes the tree grow horizontally.

One year later, and my avocado tree continues to grow. We are in the middle of summer and she’s sprouting new stems and leaves like crazy. During the winter months, she didn’t grow nearly as much.

I’ve noticed some of her leaves starting to brown on the tips. This may be because the hot July sun was too intense, so I’ve moved Bao further away from the window. Her leaves aren’t browning anymore.

Let me know if you have any questions about the process of growing your own indoor avocado tree. Overall, I was generally very hands-off and didn’t hover too much, with the exception of making sure her soil doesn’t dry out. Growing an avocado seed takes time so be patient during the process.

Good luck!

Avocado-tree-from-seed-one-year-progress

Happy first birthday, Bao!

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