Avocados are creamy and delicious tossed in a salad or spread on toast, and they provide us with many health benefits, but did you know that it is easy to grow a plant from the avocado pit? Discover how to grow an avocado tree in a pot in your home or outside and ways to care for your plant as it grows.
Avocado trees are subtropical and tropical, and most avocados you find at the grocery store are produced in California. While the trees grow up to 80 feet tall outdoors, there are dwarf varieties, and growing avocado trees in pots helps maintain their size.
Why not try your hand at planting and growing your own avocado tree at home? It’s natural to think of a fruit or vegetable pit as waste material and toss it in the trash, but this is far from true.
Nature has a way of making life simpler for us, and regrowing plants from seeds or propagation is one of them. The next time you cut open an avocado, keep the pit and grow your own houseplant or avocado tree.
- Growing Potted Avocado Trees at Home
- What to Know about Growing Avocado in Pots
- Which Avocado Type is Best for Growing Indoors?
- How to Grow an Avocado Tree in a Pot from a Seed
- Things to Avoid When Growing Avocado Trees in Containers
- Caring for Your Avocado Plant as it Grows
- How Long Does it Take for Avocado Trees to Produce?
Growing Potted Avocado Trees at Home
We often overlook avocados when planting fruits and vegetables. However, growing avocado in pots is a great way to enjoy a beautiful houseplant or produce the perfect, ripe avocado for your favorite guacamole recipe.
The most remarkable thing about these plants is they grow from the avocado seed you normally toss into the garbage can.
Growing avocado trees in containers takes some patience if you plan to grow avocado fruit since they take a bit of time to bear fruit, but it’s worth the wait.
You get to enjoy a beautiful plant during the growing process, too. We explain how to start your tree from a pit and the care your tree requires to grow healthy and strong.
What to Know about Growing Avocado in Pots
There are a few important things to understand when growing avocado in pots. Avocado trees are not like your typical garden vegetable or fruit.
They do not go dormant, and they require the right amount of sunshine, warmth, and humidity to thrive. Here is everything you need to understand to grow the healthiest plant, indoors and outside.
The most important thing to understand about avocado trees is that these plants are tropical. If you live in a cold weather region where the temperature drops below 50°F, growing avocados outside is not advisable. However, they are still good candidates as houseplants.
If you plan on planting avocado seed in a pot and prefer not to transplant it into larger containers as it grows, make sure to choose one that is a 15-gallon size.
Terra cotta is an excellent choice since it’s porous, allowing moisture and air to move freely through the dirt.
Whichever type you pick, choose a pot with proper drainage holes since these trees have a shallow root system, and too much water causes root rot. Select a light potting mix for your containers, making sure that it is loose, sandy, and fertile.
Avocado trees prefer bright, unfiltered light for at least six hours a day, but they tolerate light shade. If you’re planting your tree indoors, it’s vital to choose an area of your home with a window that faces the south or east for direct sunlight.
If you decide to place your potted avocado tree outdoors, check your hardiness zone for optimal growth since these trees grow best in zones 9 through 11.
Avocado trees are self-pollinating. However, there are type A and type B trees with varying pollination times. Type A grows female flowers in the morning to afternoon, with pollination from male flowers occurring the following afternoon.
Type B produces female flowers from the afternoon to evening, with the male flower opening the next morning. Manually pollinating the flowers increases the chance of fertilization.
Which Avocado Type is Best for Growing Indoors?
There are different types of avocados. Some of them are better for growing as a houseplant, while others are perfect for growing outdoors in a pot. We discuss the differences between them to help you decide which avocado type to grow in your home.
There are three good avocado candidates if you plan on growing them indoors, Holiday, Wertz, and Gwen. Holiday avocados are type A weeping dwarf trees that bear fruit between Labor day and New Year’s Day.
They produce roughly 12 to 18 months after blossoming and grow fruit every other year. They grow ten to 12 feet tall with eight-inch leaves.
Wertz trees are also a type A avocado, but they take longer to produce fruit than Holiday trees. They grow eight to 12 feet tall with densely packed weeping leaves and limbs and fruit from May through September.
Finally, the type A Gwen tree is a dwarf that grows 14 feet tall and fruits between February and October. This type has a higher yield than Hass avocados, is frost tolerant, and can tolerate colder temperatures.
How to Grow an Avocado Tree in a Pot from a Seed
Like many other fruits and veggies, avocados are simple to grow from the part you discard in the trash, so save your avocado pit and get ready to garden. Here is how to prepare your avocado seed for growth and ways to plant it in an indoor or outdoor container.
Start by cleaning the avocado pit under running water to remove the flesh without scrubbing away the light brown seed cover.
Insert four toothpicks into the outside perimeter of the seed, with the narrow side up. Pour water into a glass or jar and balance the toothpick edges on the rim so the rounded bottom of the pit rests one inch into the water.
Keep the glass of water on a windowsill, changing the water every few days as you wait for the pit to begin sprouting. The brown skin begins to peel away in two to three weeks, and the pit splits open at the top and bottom, followed by a taproot emerging from the base.
Soon after, a sprout appears at the top, unfolding a leaf bud that opens to bear leaves. Prune the stem and top leaves back to three inches after it reaches six to seven inches tall. Once it grows new leaves, it’s ready for planting.
Prepare the container by filling the bottom with rocks for drainage and the rest with sandy, loose potting soil.
Remove the toothpicks from the pit and carefully bury the root ball of the seed beneath the soil, leaving the upper portion of the pit exposed. Pack the dirt around the base and water it daily to keep it moist without overwatering.
Position the pot in front of a sunny window and make sure the room temperature is warm. If feasible, transport the container outside during the summer months after the temperature rises to 70°F or more and bring it back inside before the nights get chilly.
Things to Avoid When Growing Avocado Trees in Containers
While planting your own avocados is relatively easy, these trees are a bit fussy when it comes to growing conditions. Here are some things to avoid and keep an eye on while growing avocado trees in containers to ensure your plants grow healthy and bear fruit.
The temperature tolerance varies between trees, so it’s crucial to understand your avocado type when determining how much cold they can handle. Most types cannot live when temperatures continue below 60°F.
Older trees love a lot of direct sunlight, but trees younger than three years old tend to burn if they sit in full sun for extended periods. However, darkness is even worse. If you plant your avocado indoors, set it in front of a south or east-facing window or use a grow light.
When you first plant your avocado pit, do not use garden soil since it does not drain well, especially in pots.
If you place your tree outdoors, keep it away from diseased plants. Avoid overfertilizing your tree, which prevents it from producing fruit, and do not overwater it to avoid root rot and mold.
Caring for Your Avocado Plant as it Grows
After you sprout the avocado pit, plant it in a pot of soil, and watch it as it begins to grow new leaves, it’s a good idea to give it some tender loving care.
Providing your avocado tree with the right amount of sunshine, water, and food goes a long way to producing the beautiful plant you desire.
Water your plant daily when the dirt is dry. The best way to determine if you are under or overwatering your tree is to check the foliage.
If the leaves are yellow, you are giving the tree too much water, and if they are brown on the tips, you are not watering it enough.
Fertilizer is not necessary during the beginning of your plant’s growth. Wait until the tree is about three years old before fertilizing and only feed it once a year after that.
As your tree matures, it requires support to grow upright, so use a stake to hold the stem sturdy. Prune away plant suckers as they emerge and remove broken or injured branches and leaves to promote healthy growth to the rest of the tree.
How Long Does it Take for Avocado Trees to Produce?
Unlike tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant that produce fruit a couple of months after you plant them, or apple trees that bear fruit as early as two years, avocados have a longer growing period and do not grow fruit the first year.
The extended growing period is one of the reasons many growers prefer a grafted avocado tree. How long does it take for them to produce, and when are they ready for harvesting?
The time frame it takes for avocado trees to begin fruiting varies by type. Some, like the Holiday avocado, take five to 13 years to mature and grow fruit, while others, such as Wertz and Gwen, take eight to 20 years.
Once your tree produces flowers, it’s usually about eight months before it grows fruit, and don’t be surprised to see a lot of flowers fall from the tree with fruit production.
Harvest time also varies between tree types. These fruits do not ripen on the tree, so pick them when they are big and fat by carefully plucking or clipping them from the branch. To ripen the fruit, set the avocados in a paper bag and eat them when they soften.
Learn the way to tell when an avocado is ripe by looking at the skin and pressing gently on the fruit. If you have more avocado fruits than it is possible to eat, place ripe fruit in the fridge for two to three days. To store avocado halves, remove the pit and coat the flesh with lemon juice to stop it from turning brown.
For storing avocados, wrap the half in plastic and refrigerate it for a couple of days. If you don’t have lemon juice, pour a couple of inches of water into a container and lay the fruit, flesh side down, in the water. Put a cover over the top and set the container in the fridge.
We don’t often think of growing avocados as something garden growers do, but these plants are easy to grow indoors as a houseplant or outside if you live in the right climate. Provide your avocado tree with the right care, and it rewards you with delicious and healthy fruits.
Knowing how to grow an avocado tree in a pot is a great way to add a unique touch to your indoor plants or produce fruit in the yard, so why not share our avocado growing guide with the gardeners in your life on Facebook and Pinterest?