While one can plant avocado seeds directly in the ground, people often opt to sprout the seed before planting. Doing this helps them confirm if their seeds are viable or not. In some cases, people choose to sprout their avocado seeds before planting because it is too cold outside.
There are various methods for sprouting an avocado seed before planting it in the soil. While each one offers a similar environment to the seed, the success rate and requirements differ.
Below, we discuss 3 easy methods for sprouting an avocado seed and much more.
How Long Does It Take for an Avocado Seed to Sprout?
A couple of sources say it takes around 2 to 4 weeks for an avocado to sprout. But in some cases, it may take as long as 6 to 12 weeks before you notice any germination.
When Should You Plant the Avocado Seedling?
The best season to plant an avocado seedling is in spring.
Avocado seedlings thrive best under full sun and at temperatures between 60° and 85° Fahrenheit. And you are most likely to get these conditions in spring. So, plan to plant your avocado seedling between March and June.
Summer may not be the best time because there is a chance of sun damage to the seedling. Winter is not ideal since avocado seedlings cannot survive freezing temperatures.
3 Easy Methods for Sprouting an Avocado Seed
The Toothpick Method
The toothpick method for sprouting an avocado seed is possibly the most well-known. This method involves suspending avocado seeds in water using toothpicks.
While the toothpick method is popular, some have criticized its reliability. Nonetheless, if you would like to try this technique, follow the steps below:
- Start by removing the pit from the avocado gently. Ensure you do not cut or damage the seed while getting it out of the avocado.
- Wash off any avocado fruit on the pit. Soaking the seed in water will make removing the fruit easier.
- While washing the pit, do not remove the brown covering of the pit.
- Place the pit on a clean surface, with the pointier end facing up and the flatter end facing down. This step is vital because you must place the seed in water following this alignment.
- Next, pierce the circumference of the pit with 3-4 evenly spaced toothpicks. Ensure the toothpicks enter the seed at a slightly upward angle. The toothpicks will hold the upper half of the pit above water while the bottom half is immersed.
- Set a glass of water by a windowsill that receives sufficient sunlight. Use a clear glass so you can readily monitor the pit for sprouting. The clarity of the glass also helps you know when it’s time to replace the water.
- Place the avocado pit in the glass of water, ensuring only the bottom half is immersed in water.
- The next step is to wait. It can take anywhere between 4-12 weeks for the pit to sprout.
- Try to fill the glass with a fresh water every 5 to 7 days.
- When the avocado seed is about to sprout, it will form a crack from top to bottom and dry out.
- From the bottom crack, one or more taproots will eventually emerge. Then, later, a stem will appear at the upper end of the pit.
- Once the taproot shows, never let it dry out. Else, the seed will die.
- When the stem is at least 3 inches long, you may transfer it into the soil.
The Wet Paper Towel Method
The wet paper towel method is becoming increasingly prominent as a technique for sprouting an avocado seed. This sprouting mode works by creating a highly humid environment for the pit. The humidity, in turn, favors seed growth.
To use the wet paper towel method, follow these steps:
- Start by removing the pit of a ripe avocado without damaging it.
- Clean off any fruit on the seed gently by placing it under warm, running water.
- Some people recommend soaking the pit in warm water overnight. But this is not a compulsory step.
- You may also try peel off the seed covering. But it is not necessary.
- Dampen a sheet of paper towel. Then wrap the seed in it.
- Next, set down the enfolded avocado seed in a plastic container or plastic food bag. You do not have to seal the plastic bag or container shut.
- With the wrapped seed inside, place the plastic food bag or plastic container in a warm, dark place. A dark kitchen cabinet or cupboard may suffice for this purpose.
- Check on the pit every 5 to 7 days.
- Whenever you check on your avocado seed, replace the damp paper towel. This way, you can ensure that the environment around the pit does not go dry and that molds do not form.
- After a few weeks, the pit should start sprouting. The signs of germination are pretty much the same as we described here.
The Potting Soil Method
The potting soil method is commonly used when the soil outdoors is too cold to plant avocados. It may also be used by people who do not want to go through the long processes of the other two methods.
If you intend to sprout your avocado seed using the potting soil method, do the following:
- Get a pot and fill it with light potting soil. If you intend to leave the avocado in the pot throughout its lifespan, get a large one – a 15-gallon terracotta pot with drainage would be perfect.
- Once you have prepared the soil in the pot, bury the avocado pit in it with the pointed end facing up. Then place the pot in a warm spot that receives a lot of sunlight.
- Water the soil regularly and ensure you keep it damp but not sodden.
- After about 1-3 months, you will noticing the seed growing.
Things To Note
- Water is vital to the survival and growth of avocado seeds; excessive or insufficient watering may kill the pit, so ensure you only keep the soil slightly wet.
- While watering, make sure the soil drains well. Drainage is almost as vital as water to the survival of the pit. Besides getting a pot with drainage, you may place some stones in the pot before adding soil to enhance the draining process.
- Temperature is also crucial to the survival of avocado pits. Ensure you place the pot in a warm area – room temperature is okay. The avocado pit should not be in a spot that is too hot or too cold.