How to Germinate an Avocado Seed

Grow an Avocado Tree Indoors from a Seed

Though most people discard the large seed within the flesh of an avocado fruit, there are many practical uses of avocado seeds. When you make guacamole or refrigerate half of a fresh avocado, the seed prevents the avocado flesh from turning brown. Avocado seed oil is an ingredient in many lotions and cosmetics. The milky fluid that seeps from a cut avocado seed was used as ink by conquistadors, since the liquid turns red when exposed to the air. But the most obvious use of avocado seeds is growing an avocado tree.

Even if you live far from the tropical climate where avocados grow naturally, you can germinate an avocado seed indoors. Avocado trees make beautiful houseplants, and if you live in a climate where the tree can be planted outdoors, it may grow large enough to bear fruit. The guide below explains how to germinate an avocado seed hydroponically (in water).

First, insert 3 or 4 toothpicks around the middle of the seed, between the pointed end and the flat end. Space the toothpicks evenly around the "equator" of the avocado seed. If the seed is too hard, use the nail to start the holes.

Place the seed and toothpicks on top of a glass so that the flat end of the avocado seed is facing downward into the glass. Fill the glass with water so that the bottom of the seed is at least half an inch underwater. Put the glass near a sunny window, and refill the water periodically.

After 4 to 6 weeks, the avocado seed should develop a root and a stem. When the stem is between 4 and 6 inches tall, you can transfer the avocado tree to a pot of enriched potting soil. Plant the young tree in a pot that is at least 9 inches in diameter, and leave some of the seed sticking out of the soil (don't bury the entire seed under the surface of the soil). Avocado trees need good drainage and frequent waterings. If the leaves start to turn yellow, it means you are overwatering the plant.

© Had2Know 2010