Crack in bottom of avocado pit

Growing an avocado stone

My earliest avocado related memory is my Dad trying to grow one of the stones. It lay covered in compost on the kitchen windowsill until we noticed a horrible smell wafting around. The stone had gone rotten. Needless to say, we never did get any avocados. I’d forgotten all about it until recently when I decided to try growing one myself.

Avocado stone in water

Don’t let my story above put you off, growing an avocado stone is simpler than you think. Place three toothpicks into the stone (pointy end up) and soak the bottom half in water. Then wait. And wait… and wait. If you are someone who likes quick results, growing avocado stones is probably not the hobby for you.

Row of avocado stones
The test subjects!

I came across a few different methods of preparing the stone. Thankfully we both like chomping through avocados so I had plenty of stones to use. Front left to right in the photo above:

  1. Washed clean and suspended in water
  2. Wiped clean but not washed clean (started to grow white mould)
  3. Soaked and peeled the outer layer off
  4. Washed clean and removed the outer layer on the bottom third
  5. Washed clean and suspended in water
Crack in bottom of avocado pit
Removed the outer layer on the bottom third of the stone

One month later, the stone I peeled at the bottom cracked and opened up! I’m still waiting for roots to form but it looks promising so far.

The stone below has been growing for three months and is the first one I washed and suspended in water. A green shoot growing through the split was a welcome sight after two months of waiting.

Green sprout growing out of avocado pit
Washed clean and suspended in water

Here’s a closeup of the guts.

Closeup of split avocado spoon

Avocado stone with sprouting centre

After a couple of weeks of slow progress, I decided to plant it out. Some people suggest leaving the stone in water until the first leaves appear, others say to plant it in soil once growth slows (which is what I did). Fingers crossed some leaves appear soon and I don’t kill it.

Avocado stone with roots

I wasn’t going to share any photos until I had a fully grown plant, but that was before I realised how long it would take to get to this point. Just having roots and a stem feels like an achievement. And you know, in another 6 years I may have my first homegrown avocado — that’s not a joke, they really do take that long. To be honest I’ll be happy with a nice houseplant and anything edible will be a bonus.

Update: my avocado plant one year on.

11 comments on “Growing an avocado stone

  1. Ooh, that’s so exciting! My mum tried growing one a couple months ago, suspended in water, but I don’t know what happened to it in the end. She’s growing a lemon tree though, and they’re just as slow haha! Might have to give it a go soon with the next avocado I eat!
    xo April | April Everday

    • Gemma Evans

      I’d really like to grow a lemon tree, perhaps that should be my next project! Out of the 5 stones, 3 have now split which seems pretty good considering they are just standard supermarket avocados — some people say they’ve had better luck with organic avocados. I’ll see how these ones do and I can always grow more if they don’t amount to much.

  2. ooo ooo ooo! that’s so cool Gemma!

  3. Hello, Dad (yes, that one) here..

    Gemma remembers things very well, and the stink of rotting avocado is something that is hard to forget.

    However, I did try again in Autumn 2016 and was amazed when my new seed not only developed a root but also a rather fine sprout from the top. “Avi” is now a fine young seedling growing nicely in the roof-space “cosy room” which in summer regularly reaches California temperatures. I’ve already potted him on once and he’ll be going into a big self-watering planter soon.

    My only regret is that we may have to wait some 15 years for our first avocado crop, and that’s only if Avi decides to self-pollinate. Who knows, Gemma might inherit it and reap the rewards!

    • Gemma Evans

      Send me a photo of your avocado plant! There are easier ways to get avocados but I bet they taste really good after a 15 year wait. Ours doesn’t have a name yet, I’ll have to think about that 🙂

  4. Hmmm… maybe I should try and force it and see if I can get a fruit in “just” 10 years instead!

    Anyway, here’s my pride and joy, sitting atop the office beer fridge: In fact he’s an Israeli avocado of the Hass variety and really seems to appreciate all the extra water he gets.

    One day Gemma, he’ll be all yours (if you can get him out of the room)

  5. I’m curious about the water temp when you refresh water every other day. Do you use water from tap? Or do you have room temp water in jug to refresh water? I worry water from tap might be a shock after seed has sat in water that becomes room temp. Then tape water refresh might be too cold and shock seed stopping growth.

    • Gemma Evans

      Hi Nancy, I hadn’t really given the temperature of the water much thought actually. I used tap water and while it was cool, it wasn’t very cold (like it is during the Winter). If your water runs very cold, it might be worth letting it sit for a while before pouring it into your growing container.

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