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Avocado Seeds Not Sprouting

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Q: Any ideas why my avocado seeds that I have had in water now for 2 months still aren't sprouting, I have them suspended pointed side down. Also, what other plants can you grow using fresh vegtables or fruits?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Miniduck from Indianapolis, IN

A: Miniduck,

Suspend your avocado seeds in a glass of water, broad side down, by inserting 3-4 toothpicks into the seeds. Place it in a warm location out of direct sunlight. Keep the jar filled with water so that at least an inch of water covers the bottom of the seeds. You can expect it to take 2-6 weeks to sprout.

Most root vegetables can be "rooted" in water. Remove the greens and cut off a 1-2 inch piece from the crown. Place crown-side up in a glass jar and fill with just enough water so the crowns remain uncovered. Beets, carrots, turnips and parsnips can be started this way-as well as pineapples. Potatoes and sweet potatoes can be rooted using the same method as avocado seeds. Change the water weekly.

Make sure you use organic produce and wash it thoroughly. Some produce sold for mass consumption is treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting while in storage. These same chemicals can prevent seeds from sprouting for you.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By gblaca03/19/2010

I have roots on the avocado seed a tiny sprout came an 1/15 of inch in one but has not been growing out. It has been in the water for 3 months now.

The other 2 have roots which are growing out a little, a little brown looking, but they have not sprouted a stem up yet. How can I get the stems to come out? Do I have to put the seeds in the dark? They are under a lamp now.

By (Guest Post)02/16/2008

You have to make sure your avocado hasn't been previously refrigerated!

By Emeril (Guest Post)08/27/2007

Actually it was the Catholic Church that didn't want the brides to gaze upon an avocado. Avocado's spanish name Aguacate comes from the Aztec (Nahuatl name), Ahuacatl meaning "Testicle".

To speed up the time it takes to sprout a seed use a surform and grate the seed coat on the broad side just down to the endosperm, but not to the embryo. It should sprout within a week if kept warm.

By Ted Parsnips [2]11/12/2006

I've never had any luck sprouting avocados using the toothpick method, but this way works well for me:

Wash the pit in warm water.
Let it dry for a few days.
Take a few sheets of paper towels and fold them down to about 4" square.
Take a sandwich-sized or quart-sized Ziplock-type bag, put the paper towels and the avocado pit in there, and then put some water in there from the faucet so the paper towels are thoroughly wet.
Gently squeeze the paper towels, loosely, around the seed (pointed up). The baggie should have enough water so there's, oh, about a quarter of an inch to a centimeter of water at the bottom.
Seal it up - good and tight! - and put it in a dark cupboard for a few weeks.

You might want to put the sealed baggie in a bowl or coffee mug in case it should somehow start to leak.

In anywhere from a few weeks to almost two months, the seed should split and start to sprout. Now bring it out into the light and the sprout will start growing like mad, pushing its tip against the top of the bag.

I'd say about two out of three seeds sprout this way for me. The others just become moldy and then I throw them out.

Here's a photo of a recent avocado pit I sprouted. I was out of potting soil and so I had no choice but to let the thing grow just like that on my counter, for a week and a half before I could repot it!

By the way, I usually use paper towels, but I had some stuff called "rock wool" lying around and I used that for this pit, and it worked excellently.

RE: Avocado Seeds Not Sprouting

By hungurr (Guest Post)03/01/2006

I planted an avocado seed in dirt at work in a small pot. It took about 7-8 months to sprout.

By Linda Bolander [1]02/04/2006

I mean it split completely in two separate seeds.

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]02/03/2006

Hi apugdog,
The seeds often split before they get leaves and roots so it looks like it is working. Don't Panic, all is well.
Susan from ThriftyFun

By Linda Bolander [1]02/03/2006

My avocado seed split open. I was using the method with the toothpicks but I had it sitting in a south window. By having it in the sun is that way it split open? Also it didn't get any roots.

By Cate (Guest Post)11/17/2005

I have a 20 year old avacado tree that I started from a seed (flat side down) in a glass of water. No toothpicks, just a little water in the bottom of a juiceglass, I also have grown trees from mango seeds, Cut off the outer husk and place in juiceglass w/ small amount of water...place in window w/ indirect light. Keep warm. Seed will split and plant will emerge. Grapefruit seeds also start easily, as do melon seeds. I just use dirt for those. I entertain the kids with carrot tops as well, cutting them about 3/4 of an inch below the end, sticking them in soil and having the little ones water. The resulting foliage is lovely and we use it in bouquets.

By (Guest Post)11/14/2005

put tooth picks in the avocado seed and keep it in a juice glass flat side in the water. Be sure and take off the skin on the seed as it will keep the seed from sprouting if it is in the way. they take quite a long time to sprout. once sprouted let it gro to about 7 inches and then cut off about a fourth of it at the top to encourage more leaves. Mamo

By Carrie [2]10/23/2005

Avocados are a never-ending barrel of laughs. Mine was a full-grown tree when we bought our home, but wwe were told it had not yet born fruit. Also, it needed a tree of the opposite sex to do so.

Three years later, we saw it! One beautiful avocado. We watched it grow, waiting, along with the fruit rats, until it was maximum size, but hadn't dropped. The next day, it was gone! Cut down by our gardener's chain saw.

Now we have avocados all the time.

Quaca = avocado ......... mole = sauce

The Aztecs believed that unmarried women should not look at avocados (thus shutters were closed while the harvested fruit were carried into town) until they were made into quacamole.

So I warned my daughters not to look at avocados. They said, " It's OK, Mom, we're not ...well, you know the rest of the story. hahahahaha

By Harlean from Arkansas [125]10/23/2005

I had the same thing as Susan. I did the toothpick & cup of water thing, and after 2 months in the pantry with no results, I threw it in the garbage under the sink, and from there it ended up in the compost. I had forgotten all about it until it popped up in my compost pile. I transplanted it into a pot. Last summer, I put it in the ground so that I could keep it watered better. It grew to be about 2 1/2 feet high. Although I am in Hot Springs Arkansas, I decided to take a chance and leave it there for the winter. I mulched around it with a thick layer of leaves. By Spring, it looked dead as a doornail. Then in early summer, I saw a sprout growing about an inch from the ground on the dead looking plant. It continued to grow....I cut off the dead part above the new growth, and now it is about 5 feet tall. Guess I will mulch it well and see if it can survive another winter :)
Harlean from Arkansas

By lynda [5]10/20/2005

whoops, I better turn the avocado seeds the other end up. Im going to have to try the pineapple next.Thanks

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]10/19/2005

You want them fat side down not the pointed end. That is the end where the leaves come out. Try flipping them over and see what happens. They may be too dry at the end that roots but maybe not.

I've never had a lot of luck with the glass of water and toothpick thing with avocados but they've always grown very well in my compost pile. I just toss them in and then dig them up from there and pot them up. It's warm, dark and has lots of nutrients.
Susan from ThriftyFun

By Louise [7]10/19/2005

Some avocados can take a very long time - - up to six months. Patience is a must with these. Some, however, are just tough nuts and won't sprout at all. I would say, if after 6 months, you still don't have anything, toss it and start a new one. You are keeping it in the dark aren't you? They should be kept in the dark until they get their first set of true leaves. A good place to keep it is in the back of the closet. Make sure that you refresh the water daily and that the closet is not cold.

By DEE (Guest Post)10/19/2005

CARROT TOPS WORK GREAT, TOO! I FOUND TAKING THE OUTER SKIN OFF THE AVOCADO FIRST, MAKES IT EASIER TO START GROWING. BE SURE NOT TO PUT IT ALL THE WAY INTO THE WATER. PUTTING IT ON TOOTHPICKS WORKS GREAT THERE.

By Cookingcajun (Guest Post)10/19/2005

I have had alot of success with pineapple plants.

I cut about 3/4 to 1 inch off the top of a pineapple and plant in dirt to botton of leaves

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