Planting An Indoor Avocado Tree is Easy: Here’s How to Grow Avocado Indoors
Growing avocados indoors makes perfect sense when a pack can set you back $6-8 – Ouch! But there’s one catch…you’ll have to extend your patience.
If you are ready for the challenge, roll up your sleeves and get your toothpicks and an avocado pit ready. It’s time to grow avocado plants!
What You’ll Need To Plant Avocado:
- One or two avocado pits
- 3 or 4 toothpicks
- A drinking glass
- A 10″ (25cm) pot or bigger with holes at the bottom for draining
- Potting soil
Growing Avocado Indoors In 4 Simple Steps
Growing an avocado indoors from seed to tree does not require many tools. You just need to use toothpicks, and you are ready to go! Here’s how:
1. Prepare Your Pit For Sprouting
Your first step is to secure one or two avocado pits. You don’t have to buy from your local garden center. You can get an avocado fruit from any grocery store, eat the creamy flesh, and keep the pit.
After you’ve consumed the fruit, the next step is to scrape any leftover flesh around the pit. You’d want it to be clean as possible. You can wash the pit under running water or wipe it with a kitchen towel.
Once the pit is clean, you will then have to leave it in water overnight for a deep soak.
In the morning, take the pit out of the water to prepare it for sprouting. You will need to suspend the broad end or the bottom in water for many weeks to sprout.
Although you can use any pit, you should choose a variety suitable for your climate. This will give you more success in growing your avocado tree.
To do this, push toothpicks into the seed about 2cm (0.75″) up from the bottom. They will sit on the edge of the drinking glass and let the bottom of your avocado pit open. From here, the pit will sprout and will grow roots first, and then a stem.
If you use four toothpicks, use a cross formation. If you want to use three toothpicks, think of a clock face and push them in at 12, 4, and 8 o’clock.
However, as long as your avocado seed can balance comfortably on your glass of water or container, choose whatever formation you need.
2. Let The Roots And Sprout Grow
Avocado trees usually grow in warm, sunny conditions (like California, Australia, or southern Italy), so warmth will be an important factor for your pit.
In this step, you will need to find a warm, sunny place in your house for your avocado pits to grow. Direct sunlight is your best bet to encourage the seed to grow.
Try to keep a minimum room temperature of 18°C (you can use warm water to help keep the temperature up).
Here’s an amazing time-lapse of a sprouting avocado:
Change the water regularly, and your plant should grow its roots and stem in two to six weeks.
3. Plant Your Sprouting Avocado Tree
Once the root growth is strong, and the roots are at least 5-7.5cm (2-3″) long (1), it is ready to be planted. Let’s get your avocado tree into some soil!
Search for a pot with a diameter of at least 25cm (10″) and fill it with potting soil. Place your avocado seed (pointy side up) into the ground. Try to keep the top of the seed level with the soil.
The soil needs to be moist but not wet (2).
Avocados are very sensitive to poorly-drained conditions and are also susceptible to Phytophthora root rot, which thrives in poorly-drained soils.
With that in mind, you should plant your sprouting avocado tree in a pot with good drainage holes and avoid over watering the tree.
So, how do you know if it has enough water?
The solution is simple: touch the soil. If it’s crumbling, it needs more water. When the soil is too wet, dial-back the watering.
Some sources recommend using a potting mix that contains sand, which helps increase drainage. This can help protect your avocado tree until it is well established in the soil.
4. Watch It Grow
Your avocado plant now has everything it needs to grow! Sit back and enjoy the steady growth of your pit into a tree. To keep your avocado plant growing strong:
- Keep it in a sunny location, at least 6 hours of sunlight per day
- Watch the moisture levels of the soil
- (Optional) Use fertilizer once or twice a month during Spring and Summer.
As your plant grows, you might need to transplant it into a bigger pot or help support its main stem with a stake. Apart from that, your new tree should not require any additional products to stay healthy.
While you’re waiting for your avocado to grow, you can work on another indoor gardening project like growing mint, cilantro or lettuce.
Avocado Tree Care: 3 Common Avocado Plant Issues & How To Solve Them
While caring for an indoor avocado plant as a houseplant is relatively easy, you may come across a few issues listed below:
Curled Leaves and Soft Stem
If your avocado plant has curled leaves and a soft stem, it means that you’re overwatering. Stop watering the plant for a while and let it recover.
Once the leaves start to return to normal, restart your watering regime but reduce the overall amount of water you give the tree (e.g., reduce from 1 glass to 3/4 glass). Make sure to keep the soil moist (but not wet) and see how the plant adapts.
If you are ever unsure how much water your plant needs, touch the soil: it should be moist but not wet. By doing this, you will stop overwatering your plant, and the problem will disappear.
If your avocado plant has dried leaves, it means that the soil is too dry. To fix this, give your plant a little more water each time but keep an eye on the soil moisture.
Start to increase the water you give to the avocado trees (e.g., increase from 1/2 glass to 3/4 glass) and monitor the soil moisture with your fingers: it should be moist rather than dry.
If the soil feels dry, add a little more water and wait to see how the plant reacts. Do not add too much water at once because this may overwhelm the plant and cause other issues.
Once the water level is okay for your plant, you should notice the leaves returning to normal.
No New Growth of Side Shoots
Aside from water, you should keep in check the plant’s exposure to sunlight.
Whether as an indoor or outdoor plant, you will need to provide full-sun to grow an avocado tree. Position the plant at an area in your home that will let its top leaves and side shoots receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Don’t forget to trim the top leaves to encourage the new growth of side shoots.
Whenever you have an avocado pit, don’t throw it into the bin. Keep it so you can grow an avocado plant – and save money buying avocados.
Remember, growing avocado plants take small, consistent actions rather than long, time-consuming care.
This can make them a great houseplant, especially for new gardeners. It can also be a great project for kids who can watch the transformation from pit to tree!
Avocado trees grow best in warm climates. To grow, they will need full and unobstructed sunlight for at least 6 hours per day. If you live in an area that reaches 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to -16 degrees Celcius), you can still grow an avocado.
However, unless you live in a tropical or warmer region, bearing fruit might be lower. If you’re adamant about growing your own avocado, pick a more cold-hardy variety and provide supplemental lighting for warmth.
An avocado tree is good for either a small apartment or outdoor space. However, you should keep in mind that avocado trees, regardless of variety, love full sun – they thrive in subtropical climates.
If sunlight is limited within your abode, you can purchase full-spectrum lighting, which replicates the sun’s natural spectrum. However, once it grows, you’ll eventually have to move the tree outdoors to get all the sun that it needs. Plus, you don’t want a huge tree inside your home.
If you don’t have enough outdoor space or prefer the tree indoors, you can consider getting dwarf avocado varieties like the Little Cado or Wurtz. A fully mature Wurtz variety will only grow 8 to 10 feet, making them great indoor plants.
It can take five years or more for your avocado tree to bear fruit, especially when grown from seed. If you are considering growing an avocado tree from your local nursery or garden center, you will also need to be super patient because it will also take years (3 to 4 years to be exact) to bear fruit.
If your fully-grown, mature avocado trees do not bear fruit, you may need to check the soil, placement, and temperature. Otherwise, you can keep it as an avocado houseplant for many years.
- Sprouting An Avocado Seed. Retrieved from: https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1999/7-16-1999/sproutav.html
- Planting And Growing Avocados. Retrieved from: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/agriculture/plants/fruit-vegetable/fruit-vegetable-crops/avocado/planting-and-growing-avocados
Hannah Gregorio has been active in the writing industry since 2010. She holds a BA Journalism degree from the Manila Times College.