Posted by / August 23, 2012

Progress Report: Growing Avocados From the Pit

In addition to several other vegetable window growing experiments we have going on, we've been trying our hands at growing avocado trees from their pits. Today we wanted to give a full update on how they've been coming along.

Here's how we're looking right about now:

You might recall we started trying to sprout these avocado pits last November and over the past 9 months have had luck getting them to sprout roots, stems and leaves.

Last we checked in, almost 4 months ago, the stems of the avocado pits had shot up and begun to sprout leaves. At this point, we tried what's called "pinching them out" in order to promote multiple stem growth in a more horizontal or bushy direction.

The stems stayed cut off and seeminly dormant like this for several weeks (maybe three) before new stems began shooting straight up from where they had previously been cut. They did not form 2 stems and we realized we should have "cut" the stem right above to new leaves rather than where we did. Here's a good shot showing where the new stems just re-grew themselves from where we previously cut them:

Here's what they looked like at the end of May, when they began growing new leaves from the new stems:

Just as the stems sprouted new leaves, we cut them again right above the 2 new leaves, hoping this might do the trick, however, these new cuts also stayed as they were for about 2-3 weeks before sprouting new stems vertically up and out — still no luck on double bushy stems.

We've since just let the plants grow as they want to before trying any more cutting. They've grown large green leaves and seem to be doing well. You can see more of the various places we've tried cutting them in this shot:

At one point the leaves on one of the plants began to brown and dry out:

So we snipped these off the plant and changed the water before anything spread further — it's continued to grow and sprout new leaves just fine.

All in all, we've really just let these guys hang out in the same environment over the past 9 months, continuing to water and watch their progress. We're so ready to transfer them over to potted planters and think this will really help them along.

We've come across several planters we like, but many of them do not have a hole in the bottom for drainage. We think we could drill holes, but we'd love to ask those of you more experienced gardeners out there: what do you do with planters that don't have the drainage hole — use rocks in the bottom?

Oh and you may have noticed, we started a third plant from a new pit a few months back, which has already caught up to and grown taller than the original two!

We'll keep you posted on the progress of these guys — we can say we are thrilled we haven't killed them yet!

Our other window vegetable growing experiments:


  1. I am totally blown away by these!

    1. Thanks Ashley — we are having fun with it all!

  2. you will need to get planters with drainage holes (preferably more than one) so that old water can escape. If water can't escape the roots will rot and the plant will die :( and this will happen to any plant without drainage holes.

    To start with, just pick a planter that is about 3 times the size of those glass jars you have them in now. Then gradually increase the size

    1. Thanks Kathy — this is just the info we needed!

  3. That's awesome! They're looking great!! I wish I liked avocados...

  4. Nice! Thanks for all the posts on growing food from scraps. I'm really enjoying your blog!

    How long do the avocado seeds take to root? I have one in water right now and it has been at least a month or more and no growth. (My celery and green onions are doing great btw!)


    1. Rosie, thanks so much for reading along! Ours took weeks to sprout roots — it was the toughest part! Peeling back the thin layer of skin on the avocado seemed to help!

  5. We planted our avocado saplings in an 8 gallon pot each with drilled drainage. I didn't want to mess with repotting any time soon. I'm in Georgia and we've had a LOT of rain here lately. Even with the drain holes my saplings were getting too much water and started to droop and yellow. Moving the pots right against the house where they are under the eaves helped shield them from more rain and they were back to having normal shiny green leaves within a few days.
    Do you have any idea when it's time to stop plucking new leaf growth?

    1. Hey Susan! Sounds great! We've stopped plucking our new leaf growth and are just trying to see what happens. We haven't had luck yet with getting the tree to form double branches from a pinch. We'll keep the blog updated if we are successful!

  6. I stuck a pit in a pot of old dirt beside my pool and it grew very quickly and bushy. I didn't do any water first. Ive since moved but I know that my grandma did this also and now gets fruit of her tree.

    1. Wow that is what we are hoping for! Thanks Jane for the heads up on your success!


Mary and Tim Vidra, here! Both Richmond natives & do-it-yourselfers by nature, we are continually in search of simple solutions for living more sustainably — sharing ideas, tips and tricks for DIY home decor, urban gardening and cooking.


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