How To Grow Your Own Avocado Tree
Don't throw out that seed! You can grow a beautiful houseplant or even your own tree following these simple steps.
- Wash the seed. Using three toothpick, suspend it broad end down over a water-filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed.
- Put it in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see roots and stem sprout in about two to six weeks.
- When the stem is six to seven inches long, cut it back to about three inches.
- When the roots are thick and the stem has leafed out again, plant it in a rich humus soil in a 10-1/2" diameter pot, leaving the seed half exposed.
- Give it frequent, light waterings with an occasional deep soak. Generally, the soil should be moist but not saturated. Yellowing leaves are a sign of over-watering; let the plant dry out for a few days.
- The more sunlight, the better.
- If leaves turn brown and fry at the tips, too much salt has accumulated in the soil. Let water run freely into the pot and drain for several minutes.
- When the stem is 12 inches high, cut it back to 6 inches to encourage the growth of new shoots.
- While it is true that you can grow a tree from an avocado seed, keep in mind that a tree grown from seed will be very different from its parent variety and may take 7-15 years to begin producing fruit. Fruit from a tree grown from seed tends to have different flavor characteristics than their parent variety. Known varieties such as Hass avocados are grafted to preserve their varietal characteristics rather than grown from a seed. Learn more about grafting in the Troubleshooting section below, under Ventura County Avocado Handbook
California Avocado trees are a popular for landscaping. They like soil ph of 6 to 6.5. It is a shallow rooted tree that needs good aeration and does best when mulched with coarse material such as redwood bark or other woody mulch about 2" in diameter. Use about 1/3 cubic yard per tree, but keep it about 6 to 8 inches away from the trunk. Plant in a non-lawn area with full sun, protected from wind and frost. The ideal time to plant is March through June. During summer there is risk of sun damage since young trees can't take up water very well.
The hole should be as deep as the root ball and just a bit wider. Gently place the root ball in the hole taking care not to disturb the delicate root system. If the ball is root-bound, carefully loosen up the soil around the edge and clip away any roots that are going in circles. Back fill the hole with soil. Do not use gravel or potting mix.
The major nutrients needed by avocado trees are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) in a balanced fertilizer with zinc. Feed young trees sparingly (1 to 2 teaspoons per tree, per year) of balanced fertilizer. Spread out over several applications if you like.
When watering, it is best to soak the root system well, and then allow the surface to dry out somewhat before watering again. Depending on the weather, this may mean watering once a day or once every two weeks.
This information was provided by Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia, Extension Subtropical Horticulturist, Kearney Agriculture Center, Parlier, CA. and Dr. Ben Faber, Farm Advisor, Soils and Water, Avocados and Subtropicals, Ventura County, CA.
Not finding what you are looking for? Contact a master gardener* or see the below resources for how to grow an avocado tree or plant. All links will open in a new window:
- Tips for the Backyard Avocado Grower (PDF)
This sheet, developed by the California Avocado Commission, was designed to provide Do-It-Yourself tips on growing an avocado tree
- Ventura County Avocado Handbook*
This helpful handbook, hosted by the University of California Cooperative Extension, provides text book-like information on growing an avocado tree including grafting, planting, flowering and more
- Growing Avocados (YouTube)*
YouTube offers a helpful selection of avocado growing tips and videos from avocado enthusiasts all over the worl
- Avocado Source*
The free, virtual library of avocado knowledge. Search for documents, research and more
- Avocado Variety Information*
Almost 1,000 varieties of avocados are identified on this page. Also available through this site is general avocado information, resources on flowering, irrigation, phenology and rootstocks
For cultural advice on your avocado tree or plant, please contact a master gardener* or nursery nearest you. The California Avocado Commission does not sell, produce or have avocados, seeds or trees available for purchase. For information on where avocado trees are sold, please contact a nursery nearest you.
* Please note: The California Avocado Commission provides this link as a convenience to you; the link should not be considered an endorsement by the Commission of the third-party website or the company who owns it. The Commission is not responsible for the quality, safety, completeness, or accuracy or nature of the content of the linked website.