Growing up in California, long before they became trendy, I ate avocados regularly. And long before avocado toast was a thing, my friend who was in culinary school introduced us to the simple but angel-chorus-cuing combo of crusty bread, slices of fresh avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. But the avocados of my childhood weren’t just for eating—with my grandmother’s help, and in a way that now reminds me of the good old lemonade adage, we turned our pits into plants. Here’s how you can too.
Growing an avocado plant indoors is just a matter of coaxing its pit to root and sprout. It won’t bear fruit, but you’ll have a cute little new houseplant for free. Here’s how to get one started:
How to Plant an Avocado Seed
- Once you’ve finished your avocado, wash and dry the pit.
- Fill a jar with water, almost to the brim.
- Locate the broad end of the pit. This is the end that will point down into the water.
- Press three toothpicks around the pit. These will suspend the pit from the rim of the jar. Place the toothpicks so about one inch of the avocado pit is in the water.
- Place the jar in a warm, sunny spot, but out of direct sunlight. A window sill is pretty ideal.
- Replenish water as needed.
- Your pit should start to sprout roots and a stem in two to six weeks.
- If you don’t see any growth by eight weeks, start over with another pit.
- Once the stem reaches six to seven inches tall, cut it back by half.
- When the roots have grown thick and the stem has leaves again, plant in soil in a pot about ten inches in diameter, leaving half the seed still exposed above the soil.
Avocado Plant Care
- Keep your avocado plant in a warm, sunny location.
- Water frequently with an occasional deep soak. Keep plant moist but not overly saturated. As with most plants, make sure the soil drains well.
- Pinch the stem back every time your plant grows another six inches or so, in order to encourage a bushier appearance.
- If you live in a warm-enough climate, plant your tree outside once it is big enough. In time (we’re talking many years), it might actually bear fruit.
Want to skip all this and go right to a bigger tree? You can fast forward a couple of years and buy 3-foot-tall avocado plants from Amazon instead.