With the rise of “healthy fats” and decade-defining foods such as avocado toast and guacamole, these warm-weather fruits have been in incredibly high demand, meaning that their prices in the grocery store continue to rise. If you love avocados and gardening, you’ve likely looked into growing your own avocado plant to help save a few bucks and fulfill your avocado obsession. Unfortunately, unless you live in a southern region, you won’t be growing outdoor avocado trees any time since they can’t survive freezing temperatures. Thankfully, there is another option – read on to learn how to grow avocado indoors!
Here are a few simple steps so you can learn how to grow your own avocado plant indoors. With a little patience and time, you’ll be the proud plant parent of a thriving avocado tree.
Grow an Avocado Tree From a Pit
Instead of throwing away avocado pits when you slice the fruit, use them to grow your own houseplants with just a few simple steps.
Avocadoes grown from pits usually don’t produce fruit; however, they do make lovely houseplants and are a fun project that won’t cost you a penny. To grow an avocado tree from a pit, simply follow these steps when growing an avocado.
- Step 1: Once you’ve enjoyed your store-bought avocado, you will be left with the unassuming pit that you’ve likely just thrown away in the past. Instead of tossing it out, wash and dry the pit and fill a jar with water.
- Step 2: Stick three toothpicks into the pit to help suspend it in the glass of water, making sure that about 1 inch of the broad end or fat part of the seed is touching the water.
Your pits should look like this. Use a drinking glass or extra mason jars you have lying around. Change the water frequently.
- Step 3: Move the jar to a sunny windowsill and fill the water as needed to ensure that the avocado pit stays wet. Give it a deep soak once a week. Change the water regularly to prevent mold, fungus and bacteria from growing.
- Step 4: Over time (about two to six weeks) you should see roots and a stem start to develop. If nothing is happening by week eight, you will want to start fresh with another pit.
- Step 5: When the stem is about 6 inches long, cut it down to 3 inches. This will help encourage growth and strong roots.
- Step 6: Once the stem has leaves again, plant it in a well-draining, 10-inch pot with quality potting soil, leaving about half of the seed above the soil line. Trim the top leaves to encourage fuller growth
Keep your avocado plant in a sunny area with warm weather, water so that the soil stays moist but not soggy, and fertilize regularly with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. If you notice the leaves turning yellow, you may be overwatering your avocado tree.
This is what healthy avocado trees grown from seed will look like. If your avocado tree is drooping or the leaves look yellow, stop watering as much.
Note: you may need to repot your avocado plant as it grows since a healthy plant will eventually need a larger pot. Wait until it has mature, well-established roots to transplant.
Growing from a young tree
Though you can grow an avocado from the pit for a decorative houseplant, to produce fruit, you will have more luck by growing a graft of a dwarf variety avocado tree if you want to harvest avocado fruit. It can take many years to bear fruit, however – anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
Interestingly, avocados grown in a nursery aren’t actually grown from seed, but rather are cloned from already existing avocado trees in warm weather. This means that they will bear fruit because they mature faster and already have the start they need to flourish in warm weather. Growing an avocado tree this way is more likely to bear fruit as opposed to growing from avocado seed.
Purchase a young tree online or from a nursery to grow your avocado trees indoors. Remember, time and patience are key and there are a few very important steps you must follow for optimal success.
- Step 1: If you ordered online, you will need to plant your tree in a large, well-draining pot filled with a cactus or citrus potting mix right away. If it is from the nursery, it may do well in its nursery pot for a while until it outgrows it. If it seems root bound or is already getting too large for the pot, repot it immediately.
- Step 2: Place the pot in an area that receives full sun such as right next to a south-facing window, but not in direct sunlight. If you don’t get enough sunlight in your home, consider investing in a grow light. This may also be helpful for the winter months when there is no full sun or the sun isn’t as strong. The plant generally prefers temperatures that are at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but can survive in temperatures as long as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Step 3: Water regularly but be sure not to overwater as this can lead to yellowed, wilting leaves. Stick your finger at least one inch into the soil before watering and only water if the soil feels dry.
- Step 4: In the first year, prune your tree by trimming off the new growth at the top once the plant is 12 inches tall. This will help encourage a bushier growth pattern and allow your plant to grow stronger.
Indoor-grown avocado plants can actually be transplanted outdoors in the right growing conditions if the tree has become too large for your home.
Note: Though you can fertilize your avocado trees, finding the right balance of nutrients can be tricky and your plant will thrive just fine without it.
Even an avocado plant grown from a young tree will still take four or more years to develop fruit. Use this time to ensure that it gets a healthy start and learn the water and light requirements of your plant
Once you avocado tree finally produces fruit, it will likely produce a large amount in the first year, dropping many and putting energy into growing just a few to maturity. This is totally normal and is actually a good sign! Once the avocados seem like they have reached a standard size, pick one and let it ripen on your counter for a few days. You will be able to tell if the other fruit is ready for harvest based on how this fruit reacts. If it never becomes soft or simply shrivels up, you will know to leave the fruit on the tree longer. Repeat this process with a new fruit every week until the avocado softens properly. This will allow you to harvest your avocados at the perfect ripeness.
The mature avocados will usually be green on the plant and will ripen off the tree at room temperature.
Though it seems like a lot of work to grow your own avocado plant indoors, it is actually super easy and incredibly rewarding. Be patient, give it time to grow, and you’ll be stunned by the resulting harvest. If you’re growing avocado houseplants from seed for decorative purposes, try growing a few extra to give to your friends for a unique gift. They’ll love the thoughtfulness and will appreciate having their very own avocado plant.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.