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Iowa State Univ. Yard and Garden: Sprouting Avocados

December 1, 2018
By Richard Jauron, Laura Sternweis - Iowa State Univ. Extension & Outreach , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

AMES Wondering how to sprout an avocado seed? Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share information on propagation. To have additional questions answered, contact Hortline at 515-294-3108 or at

How do I sprout an avocado seed?

To sprout the seed, remove the large seed from the center of the fruit and wash it in water. For propagation purposes, the broad end of the seed is considered to be the bottom. The pointed end is the top. Insert three or four toothpicks into the sides of the seed. They should be placed about halfway up the pit. Then suspend the seed in a glass of water. The bottom one-fourth of the seed should rest in water.

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The seed should sprout within a few weeks. During this time, periodically add water to maintain the initial water level. If it doesn't sprout within two to three months, discard the original avocado and begin another. The roots are usually the first to emerge from the seed. The stem appears later. Pot up the seedling when the roots are 2 to 3 inches long.

Remove the toothpicks and plant into a 6- to 8-inch-diameter pot using a commercial potting mix. Position the seed in the center of the pot. The top of the seed should be level with the soil surface. After potting, water thoroughly; then place the plant in a brightly lit location. A location near an east or west window is ideal. Water the plant regularly. Keep the potting soil moist, but not wet. Fertilize once or twice a month in spring and summer with a dilute fertilizer solution.



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