Growing an Avocado Tree

Last week I finally got to transfer one of my Avocado seeds into a pot.  Like a mother waving a kid off to University it was kind of a bittersweet, nerve-wracking moment removing those cocktail sticks, tossing the cup of water and transferring it into a very grown up pot 🙂 And, I kid you not, I’m now absolutely terrified it’ll die – mostly because it’s taken so bloody long to get it to this momentous step that the thought of it drying out and having to start all over is… well, unthinkable.  I just won’t, is the short answer.  (I don’t think Sunny would let me anyway, he’s getting sick of the size of our leafy brood as it is!)

The process itself is very easy, it just takes a hell of a lot of time and patience!

1. Eat an Avocado and then save the nut (making sure you don’t cut it in the process).  Wash it off so it’s sparkly clean, and then work out which part is the top and which is the bottom.  All nuts come in all different shapes and sizes (…um…) so sometimes this can be tricky.  I’m holding this one upside down!  That lighter, flatter patch is the bottom of the nut.
2. Next, fill a couple of cups or ramekins with fresh water and then what you’ll need to do is create a sort of cradle for your avocado nut so that its bum will be sitting in the water, while its top stays dry.  The easiest way to do this is to stick a few cocktail sticks into the nut half way down, at a slight upward angle.  Now all you have to do is wait… and then wait some more!  Change the water and clean the bottom of the nut at least once a week to prevent any bacteria growth, and stay patient!  It’s going to take at least eight weeks before anything changes.
3. Just when you’re about to give up a crack will start to appear along the side of the nut and then a tiny tap root will plunge into the water.  Things start to happen quickly from there – the roots will grow and then eventually a little sprout will emerge from the top of the nut.  You might want to upgrade your water bath like I did if the roots get a little too long 🙂
4. Once the stem reaches 15cm, trim it back to 6cm.  Wait for new leaves to grow and then you can transfer the sprout to a pot, making sure the top of the nut is visible above the soil.  Keep pinching out the top two leaves to encourage it to grow into a bush (rather than shooting straight for the ceiling!).  And here’s where I’m currently at, watching and waiting and praying it won’t die!

6 replies on “Growing an Avocado Tree”

It’s so rewarding! And amazing how fast they can grow (mainly in the summer – they do slow down a lot the rest of the year). We’ve got a few at the same stage as the ones in the latter pictures here, but we’ve got three that we planted last year that are still alive (and have survived living on the balcony in London for a few months now). Most recent pic I have of them is from June (as I’m working away from home right now) – they’re the big ones on the right: (takes you to instagram). That’s about a year old. They’ve grown again in the months since then! Now every time I have an avocado I stick the seed in water.
Are your small pots Gu pots by any chance? Your setup looks awfully familiar… 🙂

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Oh wow, yours look amazing! Do they survive alright out on the balcony in winter too?

I went away for a week and mine seem to have sprung up a few extra inches! It was a slow process to begin with, but now that they’re in pots they seem to be growing fast. (Hehe, yes, they are Gu pots – I went through a stage of hoarding them as tea light holders, dip bowls etc…).


We’re not sure how they’ll cope over winter, and I’m not sure we should try it. Last year they lived in the kitchen. My flatmate who’s the main gardener for our balcony wants to leave them out to force them to adapt, but I’m not so sure. They’re ok out there for now but I might bring them in when it gets bad. They’ve survived some pretty intense wind though – they’re pretty sturdy at this stage. Need a lot of water though – we had a couple that we tried out on the balcony last year during the summer and they got too scortched and died. Don’t think we appreciated how much they drank in intense sunlight! Think for these three we’ll either bring them all in, bring one or two in (and leave the other out for comparison), or find someone who owns a greenhouse and give them away – my least favourite option, but they’re too big for the kitchen now and the only other option is my bedroom and I’m not sure that’s practical! Haha

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