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Grow Avocado From Pit: The Toothpick Method

Written by Gabriela

A couple of days ago I received the most awesome birthday gift from my wonderful friends. Here it is. Nice, isn’t it?

OK, enough with the teasing. Here’s what was inside the box.

Oh, and there was a brush as well. More on that in a bit. They know of my gardening activities so they thought of a fun idea that would keep me occupied and one that they would get involved as well.

Here’s the gist: I’m supposed to take the pit of every avocado an try to grow it to an avocado tree. There are six avocados. There’s six pots. There’s six of us. It’s a race.

Each of us decorated their pot the way they like. That’s why there was a brush in the box. Well, we ended up not using it because we just squeezed the paint directly from the tubes.

Anyway, I’m going to take this opportunity and turn it into an experiment. There are many different techniques for growing avocado from the pit and I’m going to try as many as I can. We’ll see which ones work best and which one don’t work.


I removed the pit from the first avocado on February 1st. The first pit will be the ‘Mateja’ pit. I’ll start out with what is probably the most common technique. Here’s how to do it.

When you split the avocado, take out the pit and wash it under warm running water. Make sure you wash all of the green fruit off. Dry it with a paper towel. Don’t peel the brown skin of the pit off!

Take four quality toothpicks and stick them into the sides of the pit at about the mid height of the pit. The toothpicks will be used to suspend the pit in water, while keeping the top half in the air. Push the toothpicks about 1cm into the pit. Less is fine, as long as the toothpicks are firmly in place.

Don’t worry about making too much damage to the pit. It seems that the pits don’t mind having toothpicks stuck in them. Well, we’ll see if that’s true.

Take a clean glass or plastic cup and fill it with water. Place the pit in the cup, so that the toothpicks sit on the rim. The bottom 1cm of the pit should be under the water.

Tip #1: Use clean glass (I didn’t) or plastic cup so that you’ll see the roots when they emerge (I won’t ).

Tip #2: It’s better to use a narrower cup than a wide one. It keeps evaporation to a minimum.

I pushed the toothpicks in the pit at an angle. That way a larger portion of the pit can be submerged in the water.

Check the water level regularly. See that the bottom 1cm of the pit is always covered with water. Every couple of days replace the water with a clean one to prevent infection.

Place the cup in a bright windowsill. In a couple of weeks the pit will split and the roots will begin to grow at the base. At the top, the stem will emerge.

When the stem is about 15cm high, pinch the top set of leaves. This will force the plant to grow in a more bushy form.

After some time, new leaves will appear and more roots will grow. This is the time to pot the plant. Don’t put it too deep. The top half must be above the soil line.

After that just water regularly, but lightly. The soil mustn’t be soggy. If you see (or feel) it drying out, pour a bit of water on, but not too much!

Tip #3: If you want a bushier plant, pinch the top two leaves every time the plant grows additional 15cm.

If you keep at it for a couple of years, this is what you’ll end up with.

Nice, huh?

Did you ever grow avocado from pit? What technique did you use? Do you have any special tricks up your sleeve? Please write a comment below.

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