Avocados make everything taste better: eggs, sandwiches, salads, even desserts (well, according to some people). But as they can cost more than $2 a pop, it’s tempting to start growing these nutrient-packed, heart-healthy fruits — and yes, they’re fruits! — yourself.
First, the good news: Growing an avocado tree indoors is as simple as saving a leftover pit and gathering up a few common supplies. It’s an easy foray into gardening and pretty much the perfect low-cost science experiment to try with kids.
Now, the not-so-great news: It can take anywhere from five to 13 yearsfor avocado trees to start producing fruit (DARN, we know) and they rarely do so indoors. Now you know why those grocery store avos cost so much!
Alas, here’s how to grow your own avocado tree from a pit in five simple steps:
What You'll Need
- Avocado seed
- Drinking glass or jar
- 10-inch pot
- Potting soil
How to Grow an Avocado Tree
1. Save an avocado pit (without cutting or breaking it) and wash off any residue. Let dry, then insert 3-4 toothpicks about halfway up the side of the pit.
2. Suspend the pit broad end down in a drinking glass or jar. Fill the container with enough water to submerge the bottom third of the seed, the Missouri Botanical Garden advises.
3. Place the glass in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and change the water regularly. Roots and a sprout should appear in about 2-6 weeks. If not, start with another seed.
4. When the sprout gets about 6 inches tall, cut it back to about 3 inches to encourage more root growth.
5. Once the stem grows out again, plant the pit in an 10-inch pot filled with rich potting soil. Now it’s time to let your avocado tree grow, grow, grow!
Note: You can buy older trees instead of starting from scratch. Amazon sells grafted, 4-feet tall avocado trees that may yield fruit in 3-4 years instead of 10.
How to Care for an Avocado Tree
Place the pot in a sunny spot and water lightly but often. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not sopping wet, California Avocados recommends. You can place the tree outdoors in the summer as long as temps stay above 45°F. Occasionally prune your plant (every 6 inches or so) to encourage fullness.
TIP: Yellow leaves signal you’re overwatering. Dial back to avoid root rot.
You can also plant avocado trees outside in USDA Zones 10-12, a.k.a., regions with no frost. They do best in rich, well-drained soil with full sun. Water 2-3 times per week by soaking the soil thoroughly and then letting it dry out before watering again.