Yes, You Can Grow a Fruit-Producing Avocado Tree From Its Pit—No Matter Where You Live

Although it will take the tree years to produce your favorite toast topping, caring for it in the meantime is relatively simple.

Avocado tree
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Have you ever reached for avocados in the grocery store and thought, "I wonder if I can grow my own tree and harvest the fruit myself?" The answer, believe it or not, is yes. The subtropical plant, also known by the scientific name, Persea americana, thrives in warmer climates where it can grow up to 80 feet tall. In colder areas, the tree is often raised as a houseplant and typically doesn't grow past 10 feet.

The care level for an avocado tree is minimal, but growing one is still a labor of love. Most trees don't produce fruit until they are about three- to four-years old, despite the seeds taking just six to 14 weeks to germinate. Although it requires a lot of patience, you'll eventually have your own tree to pluck avocados from any time you're craving a good toast topping.

How to Grow an Avocado Tree from Seed

There are several ways to get the avocado seed (the pit in the center of the fruit) to sprout. "An easy way is to root it in a cup of water," says Em Shipman, executive director of KidsGardening. "Or try wrapping it into a damp paper towel and placing it into a sealable plastic bag."

  • Remove the pit from the root (don't use a knife, as it can damage the seed).
  • Wash the pit in warm water and remove any remaining fruit.
  • Wrap the seed in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic food storage bag without sealing it completely.
  • Check the seed every four to five days to ensure the towel stays moist and the seed does not rot.

In six to 12 weeks, the roots will begin to emerge from the middle of the seed—but be careful not to touch or break them (they're very fragile). When the roots are about 3 inches long, it's time for planting.

How to Plant an Avocado Tree

Avocado trees thrive in hardiness zones 9 to 11 in tropical and subtropical climates that range from 50 to 85 degrees. However, if you live in a colder climate, avocado trees can be grown in a planter indoors.

Planting in the Ground

Start by finding an area in your yard that gets about eight hours of sunlight per day and has well-drained, aerated soil.

  1. Dig a hole in the soil that is as deep and slightly wider than the root ball.
  2. Place the root ball in the hole.
  3. Back fill the soil around the rootball, pressing the soil in as you go.
  4. Water the ground generously.

Planting in a Pot

If you live outside of zones 9 to 11, plant your seed in a container rather than in the ground. You can keep it outside when temperatures are warm, but bring it inside once they dip below 50 degrees.

  1. Fill a growing container no bigger than a gallon with a well-draining potting mix.
  2. Dig a small hole and plant the seed just below the soil surface, leaving about a half-inch off the top of the seed above the soil line.
  3. Water generously and place it in a warm, sunny location.

How to Care for an Avocado Tree

In order to increase the chances of your avocado tree producing fruit, you must meet its soil, water, fertilization, and light requirements.


Avocado trees enjoy a lot of sunlight and should receive at least four to six hours per day. If it's growing indoors, find a location with bright indirect light.


The plant prefers rich, loamy, well-draining soil. "It's important that the soil does not hold onto excess water and is aerated," says Carrie Spoonemore, From Seed to Spoon by Park Seed. If growing the tree outdoors, be sure to test your soil prior to planting. The ideal soil pH for an avocado tree is between 5 to 7.


Avocado trees should be watered deeply and frequently; make sure you give the soil a chance to dry out between waterings. "More frequent watering may be necessary in warmer summer months, and younger trees need more frequent watering," says Spoonemore.


Avoid using fertilizer on avocado trees in the first year. After one year, apply a balanced citrus tree fertilizer or a fertilizer specifically made for avocado trees, ensuring the one you choose is high in nitrogen.

Types of Avocado Trees

There are three main varieties of avocados: Hass, Fuerte, and Pinkerton.


Hass avocados are a hybrid of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties and are the type you typically find in grocery stores. "These trees are known to have a reasonably sized yield," says Spoonemore. "Hass is a type A tree; the avocados produced have thick and bumpy skin and a creamy inside."


Like Hass, Fuerte is a hybrid of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties. Despite their similarities, these avocado trees are more sensitive to heat, notes Fuerte. "The fruit produced have smooth, thin skin and contain less oil content than Hass," says Spoonemore.


Pinkerton avocado trees are a Guatemalan variety that produce a smaller size fruit, but larger yield. "The avocados that come from this tree are similar to Hass—creamy and rich," says Spoonemore.

Common Problems With Avocado Trees

Overwatering, too much sunlight, and mineral deficiencies are all common issues that can affect the health and appearance of your avocado plant.

Root Rot

Although avocado trees like water, the plant is prone to root rot. If the leaves turn yellow, you are overwatering, and should scale back your hydration schedule. Another way to avoid root rot is by using a well-draining potting mix. "Most store-bought mixes have a high amount of peat that holds water," Shipman says. Improve soil drainage by using amendments like perlite or large bark.

Burnt Leaves

Another important consideration is light: Avocado trees enjoy a lot of sunlight but can sometimes suffer from sunburn. Brown leaves indicates the tree is too hot and should be moved to a cooler, less sunny location.

Mineral Deficiency

Sometimes avocado trees can become deficient in certain types of minerals. Like overwatering, a fertilizing issue is commonly a symptom of yellow leaves. "It is important to fertilize on a regular schedule of about once a month to avoid this problem," says Spoonemore.


Common pests that plague avocado trees include mites, borers, caterpillars, lace bugs, and thrips. "Taking prompt action is the best way to get rid of these pests before they get too out of control," says Spoonemore. "Avocados are hardy trees and can withstand many things, as long as disease and pests are taken care of promptly."

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