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Avocado pit problems

smiles317
15 years ago

So I started an avocado pit using the 'submerge half pit in water and tooth pick' method about 2 months ago. The pit has split about 3 weeks ago.....and that's about it.

Should I give up and try another one using the 'put in potting soil' method? or hold out another month to see if I have any signs of life? Should i just move the pit out of water and put it in soil now?

I posted this somewhere else but lost the thread in my travels. Please help :)

Comments (62)

  • arjo_reich
    13 years ago

    That plant in the picture above is very 'leggy' for an avacado and looks like it could have used a lot more light during germination...

    I start my seeds from water and have had several successes - and failures - but the most important thing to remember when water-rooting them is that the water must be changed every couple days at the very minimum and daily if you want the best possible conditions.

    This is not only because the diffused oxygen within the water is constantly being evaporated out but also because once the plant actually starts to grow a lot of the sugars it produces will be leached into the water where, over time, will begin to ferment and actually kill the plant.

    I have one that's about two months old on my office desk at the moment using the desk's "reading light" as it's light source and it's growing very compact and bushy - has about ten leaves but is only about 4" tall so far - but all the leaves are red. I think it's time to put it in real soil and give it some natural light to green it up. I'll try to remember to post an image tonight when I take it home... :shrug:

  • daer0n
    13 years ago

    Avocados take FOREVER if you just do the water toothpick method. I tried 4 in feb and had them split by march and rot by may. Tried again with a differnt method in may with organic avocado, new method was slice top 1/3 off pit, wrap in moist paper towel and put in fridge for 24-48 hrs, then put into ziploc -i used empty mayo jar- and in cupboard -i used one beside oven cause it seems to be the warmest- i checked on in every few days to see how the root was dooing and as soon as i could see definate tap root -about 2-3 weeks- i potted it into soil, and put it under low energy high output light -1200 lums- i got a shoot about 2 inches long when i decided it was time to put it outside -i was bending towads the lamp- however i didn't harden it off just put it straight outside in mid june and i think i have killed it now. I took a look at the roots the other day and it is getting root bound in a 4in pot, but the trunk looks pretty weak and the 4 leaves it has starting have done nothing since i put it in the sun, i am just hoping it recovers from the sun shock so i will leave it for a few more months and see how it does. I ma not too worried cause after that one got a shoot i started another 4 which are in cups of dirt in the sun so they won't 'burn' when they push thier shoots up.

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  • lil_sprout_grower
    13 years ago

    I remember years ago, my brother had a soda machine which used CO2 cannisters to carbonate the liquid. He had carbonated only water & used it to sprout several avocado seeds using the toothpick method (just out of his curiosity). Every seed sprouted within a week's time. Not sure why (someone with some biological know-how may be able to explain). Prior to this, success rate was maybe 20%.

  • skayc1
    11 years ago

    I started some avocados using a damp towel and ziplock baggies, then planted them when they grew roots.
    {{gwi:111353}}

  • jims-in
    9 years ago

    Hello
    My first ever Avocado pit using the water and tooth pick method.
    I got the root out the bottom come through about 3 weeks after starting then thought it was time to plant but nothing since then, the pit was a little green looking but now its very green and the split at the top is just brown and does not appear to be doing anything.

    Should I leave it and wait or is this one dead?
    I've added a picture for you to see

  • penina33
    8 years ago

    I've had my avocado pit in water (on toothpicks) for about 5 weeks. It's completely split, with just a thick 3" root, but no sprout. Most of the skin on top is gone, the pit is yellow. It has been outside my window, with a little direct sun and a lot of indirect light. I wonder if I should just plant it in some soil to see if a shoot emerges. Would love to have it sprouted before winter, so I can take it indoors. Any suggestions, anyone? PS: This is the very first pit I've gotten to produce even a root.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    8 years ago

    I tried and tried to sprout avocado pits over the years and never had any luck. Having had it happen twice recently, somewhat accidentally, thought I'd share.

    The first one, no memory of when I tossed a pit in this area, possibly last fall. Went to pull this and realized what it was since the pit was still attached.

    {{gwi:220472}}

    {{gwi:220473}}

    So I decided to put another pit on the ground, just laying on the soil surface outside in a flower bed. After what seemed like a long time, about a month, it sprouted.

    Compared to trying before, I made sure to not damage the pit with a knife when opening the fruit, and laid it outside right away, without drying out first or burying it under (which I figure is what would happen if one fell off of a tree.) No toothpick holes to invite rot.

    Also, apparently squirrels aren't interested, there are several who live, garden, patrol & investigate every inch of our yard, so doubtful it escaped their attention. That's why I threw the first one out there anyway, a treat for the squirrels. Not really something that would compost, and I wasn't trying to grow avocado trees, which I don't think are hardy here (when there's actually a winter, wasn't one last year.) Now these little guys are growing on me, pun intended. I just know I'm going to dig one up and bring it inside.

  • penina33
    8 years ago

    Hi all! My avocado pit finally sprouted -- two shoots about equal in height. At 6.5" I cut them both back to about 3", as I want a bushy rather than leggy plant.

    After reading the posts about so many problems, I've come to the inevitable conclusion that, like people, avocado pits are individuals, responding (as people do, also) in many different ways to the diverse environments in which they find themselves. I myself live in Manhattan, New York, with only a windowsill ledge available for outdoor plants (and illegal, at that!). It's an east/northeast exposure.

    I've never been able to grow a plant from seedling, let alone a pit. Also, I had hacked into the pit with my knife when opening the fruit. Miraculously, in a few days, this pit had cracked halfway (not where I cut it) and had a small but sturdy root beginning at the bottom, so I decided to keep it in water by the "toothpick method" and see what happened. In a week I had a thick root about an inch long, and the root grew rapidly after that. When the root was almost 3 inches long, I put it into soil in a container.

    What I didn't see for a couple of months was the sprout, although the top of the pit had been cracked open for a few weeks. I didn't give up, however, changing the water every couple of days, and was rewarded with these two sprouts. Now to see what will happen having cut them back from 6.5 to 3 inches.

    I have little planting experience but figure, if it isn't decaying there could be a viable plant coming, so I waited. Also, I just decided to do what "joy4me" said she did, i.e., cut back after 6" stem is reached. Thanks for all the tips everyone -- I may be able to grow one of these yet! Will certainly update as my plant, I hope, progresses.

  • penina33
    8 years ago

    Clarifying the chronology of my lengthy narrative above: after keeping the pit on toothpicks in water (changed every 2 days), I put it into soil around the end of July (nothing special, just some soil left from a thyme plant I discarded). Then the root was 3 inches long and there was no sprout. It now has two sprouts that I cut today from 6.5 to 3 inches. I hope this information will be of some use. I've benefited much from everyone's collective comments.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    8 years ago

    That's exciting! Thanks for the update!

  • rainna
    7 years ago

    So this is my first time trying to grow a avocado plant well I don't no if this is normal but the pits are turning black if submitted a picture with it

  • stephen1975
    6 years ago

    I started my seed in sept and got a great root growing from it. it is now dec and it still has not split open but the roots are real good. is this a bad seed by chance?

  • jctsai8b
    6 years ago

    I ate a lots of Avocado, buried the pits back to the garden, growing well,
    but damaged by hard freeze.

  • 3170760
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago


    I have a question. I have started growing Avocados from seed using my cousins advice. He said to take the seed and place it in a damp paper towel (placing that into a ziplock baggie) until it cracks and begins to produce a root. Then you suspend it in a glass of water until it is time to plant it in soil. I have one that has grown into a beautiful leafed plant and 2 other seeds I have just started rooting, so I placed them both into glasses of water, and the root of 1 is beginning to turn dark and it hasn't grown any. The root hasn't begun to set foot out of the seed and it has been 2 weeks already. The other seed is rooting nicely and is having no problems. Does the dark color mean it is dying, or should I give it more time? Need help!

  • 3170760
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago


    Also, when people say trim an avocado down that means cut it and all the leaves that have started growing off? They will grow back, right?

  • Celestine Tan
    5 years ago

    i am having the same problem as 3170760. The root is beginning to turn dark, does this means it is dying? or i should just wait and be patient?

  • flagirl69
    5 years ago
    I cant remember if mine turned dark...I would wait it out,though..What do you gave to lose :-)
  • mackthompson06
    5 years ago

    My seed sprouted and is sending out multiple sprouts but the tips of the sprouts are turning black and fail to grow taller. Any suggestions?

  • flagirl69
    5 years ago

    Maybe time to plant..could be starting to rot from water.

  • Michele Clow
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I planted 4 avocado seeds in soil in February and not one has sprouted. I water them every day because I figured they sprout in water the soil needs to stay moist. They are planted correctly with the tips up and not covered up. Does anyone know why nothing has happened? Btw, I'm in Southern California.

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b
    5 years ago

    Not sure Michele, but they do love water, just not WET feet. Is your soil well drained? In Southern California, you should be able to find decent grafted varieties at any box store. Atkins Nursery in Fallbrook has wonderful varieties for really cheap. I know you want to start one from seed, and it really is not hard to do. Just, you must know it will take years to fruit and when it does, you might be disappointed in the quality of that fruit.

  • Michele Clow
    5 years ago

    Thank you so much Suzi. The soil does drain well. These particular seeds were from an avocado ranch in Santa Paula so I guess I was hoping for better luck:) I appreciate your advice.

  • Justin Collier
    4 years ago

    Your problem is temperature. Try to make your house a little hotter and toss the old seed. Also this time keep it away from window sills until it has fully sprouted because seeds don't need sunlight to germinate. The sunlight only promotes algae growth which kills the seed. If you can use filtered or spring water or water with a little of Epsom salt in it.

  • Linda Ennis
    4 years ago

    Help! I started 2 pits about 4 months ago in water. Both rooted and the root is quite long in both. I can see a sprout inside the cracked pit of both and they were green a few months ago. They never came out of the pits though and started turning brown. I planted one 1/2 way in potting soil, nothing happening yet. The other is still in water, still the sprout hasn't emerged from pit. Is this normal? What am i doing wrong??

  • gradwex
    4 years ago

    Next time try to keep them out of sunlight until they sprout. When they sprout blacken out the part where the roots are so no algae will grow on them. That and also keep your house at a temperature between 72 degrees and 75 degrees.

  • Anita Loving-White
    4 years ago

    I've had great success using coconut coir as the germination medium, keeping it moist but not soggy. The pits I use are from fruit that i allowed to over ripen. I peeled the skin off, scooped the flesh off with a spoon, wiped it clean gently with a paper towel and set it on my dresser for a week allowing the parchment type skin to become brittle and dry. I carefully peeled this off, and pushed the pit down into the coir that I had prepared in a tub with a lid ( like an old margarine container ) I keep this tub on my PC where it stayed warm from contact with the warm top. It takes about three weeks to split. Once it germinates, keep a broad spectrum bulb about 5 inches from the top of the sprout, and move it up as the sprout gets longer. One word of advise ( if you use avacado from outside of the USA, it is mandatory for it to be irradiated before entry to our market. This ruins the seed genetically ) If you find it turning black that's a sign of fungal rot. Make sure you clean it gently before starting the process. If you keep a light close to the sprout it wont become leggy, so you wont need to trim it back. Always give the roots plenty of grow room with nice size pots. You can move the plant inside in the winter if potted ;) happy growing

  • Nicole Duff
    3 years ago

    I just transplanted my seed from water to soil and my seed broke.... will it be ok. Sprout still attached to half seed

  • Kendell Churcher
    2 years ago

    Mine started getting a Sprout but it just split completely

  • Maxine Harrison
    2 years ago

    Avocado seed in water, Sept. 2018, has roots but no top growth.

  • HU-914543775
    last year

    My avocado pit was doing good. I did the toothpick meathod. There was a thick root that appeared. I lookid at it put it hid an edge and half of the root broke off!! Will it survive??

  • party_music50
    last year

    It will probably survive as long as it still in water or you potted it.

  • Verushka Naidoo
    last year

    after my 3rd attempt, my avocado tree keeps getting the white like spots of mildew. This is making the older leaves start browning from the edges till the whole leaf is brown. This has happened on the second regrowth now.


    Please someone help me, I legit have no idea why its dying.

  • KHUSHI AERY
    last year

    My avacado pit has red spots all over it and I don’t know if it will still sprout.

  • Radka Nayeri
    last year

    I have a one and half years old avocado , and today After I come back home I saw one squirrels cut the pits ( seed ) which the tree attached to that and grow from that, and drop the tree to the floor, I put it back in the pot and add soil to that, but I am not sure if my avocado stay alive and survive without that seed or not since it has a hug root now?

  • HU-422288901
    last year

    Yall. I read all this thread and let me say some things

    one "If the leaves or pit or stem are turning black that means that the plant is suffering from shock, either too much sunlight or too much change of water"

    TWO "Avocados LOVE water... if you are doing the toothpick method dont change the water frequently.... i would say once in 2 weeks its okay."

    THREE "Make sure the water doesnt have high amount of chlorine and is distilled water, avocado root rot is common even if ur avocado pit is still in water.

    FOUR "Never put your avocado in direct sunlight, avocado will need indirect sunlight( behind a window sill) . Even if the avocado has root and a stem keep it inside your house. If you dont want to send your avocado in shock start by exposing it to indirect sunlight for 3-4 hours when its just a pit and then when it has the stem expose it to 5-6 hours of indirect sunlight. After ita grown bigger start exposing it to some morning sunlight but AVOID letting it out in the hottest hour because the avocado will get sunburnt and die. "

    FIVE "If you are gonne trim an avocado make sure you trim it 0.5cm above a node.

    SIX " You dont have to plant it after it starts a root. Avocado can stay in water for over a year anc be healthy....Also trimming can send your avocado into shock. Avoid trimming and pitting it close to each other. Also NEVER pot an avocado unless its summer months. The soil needs to be warm and not cold. After potting it make sure the soil has all the right nutrients an avocado needs and keep the soil damp but NOT wet.....

    GOOD LUCK YALL

  • Roxane Esterhuyse
    last year

    Help my avo has been sprouting a root since March ... longer and longer and longer ... when the HEK will a stem ever come out???? 😂😂😂 nothing is happening 👀👀👀👀

  • Calin Radulescu
    10 months ago

    Water must be chlorine free, and low ph, so if you live in a dry area and your tap water has too many minerals in it, you're better off using distilled (demineralized) water. Also, some avocadoes bought at the supermarket come from overseas, travelling long distances; they may be frozen or treated in a way that prevents germination. So it's better to stick to local plants when possible. Here in Europe we have few choices, only fruit coming from Spain or maybe Israel will germinate OK, others may not.

  • Rob Walrond
    3 months ago


    Im having tro with this one. it split and has stayed like this for weeks now almost loke its growing leaves inside

  • Rob Walrond
    3 months ago


    Looks like a bud inside the split

  • Rob Walrond
    3 months ago

    I’ve had pretty good success sprouting in my previous flat in london but nothjng seens to wanna sprout here. here are two from before. green pot in background is about 5 and a half years old and the terracotta is about 2 and a half. im thinking it might be the diffence in water hardness or something.


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    3 months ago

    Great pic, Rob! You can see the inside part that is damaged by sticking toothpicks into the seed.

  • White Wolf
    2 months ago

    It's better to grow in soil then the hydroponic way .

  • Rob Walrond
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I’ve always sprouting in water then transfered to soil and never had issues. as you can see from my previous picture.

    it has now produced (several) roots, but is slow to produce a stem.

    i doubt it’s because of toothpick damage as someone else suggested either.

    The only change I made was to move them away from the sunny windowsill and place them in a shadier shelf away from direct sunlight. Now they are showing signs of life.


    A mango I’ve placed on the same windowsill, on the other hand, is growing like crazy.

    This is after less than a month. sprouted in a foodbag with a damp paper towel then mov to soil when i noticed a small root showing.

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    2 months ago

    I never claim one way is better without having tried at least one other method to compare, several times.

  • HU-974491116
    last month

    I am growing Avacado Bonsias ( find more info about on IG.) Still same issue of trying to get them to sprout. I've had luck with both the damp towel/plastic bag method & suspended over water. However, many of them either don't do anything or don't make it once planted. So, I started throwing all of the seemingly dead ones in my compost, which is filled with incredible compost soil & worms. I have found every single one I gave up & threw in there sprouting & ready to be planted! I love that none have gone to waste.

  • asangare8
    last month

    @Rob, the first pic with the leaves growing inside the pit is upside down, the flat bigger part should be at the bottom submerged in water and the thin part above water 😀.
    I had great success (4 out of 5 plants) by scoring the bottom of the seed before putting in water toothpick method and leaving it on kitchen window sill. Temperature is 23-24C inside. The seed get sunlight about 4 hours in the morning to midday. I put a bit of turmeric in the water and only change it every 2 weeks at first. When the root grows 2 inches I add a bit of potting soil to the water and change half the water once a week. I transplant the seed when the root is about 4-5” depending on how thick it is. I left them outside during summer. My plants are green and thriving but today a chipmunk digged one of my pot and half the seed of my best avocado plant fell out. Not sure if my plant will survive with only half the seed feeding it 😢. Anyone knows?

  • White Wolf
    last month
    last modified: last month


    Have been growing for Awhile 4 home grown and 1 is store bought . Hugh difference .


  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    28 days ago

    Definitely Hugh.

  • Rob Walrond
    28 days ago

    @asangare8

    the seeds were the right way up. they were just very slow to grow. now they are growing.


    This is them at the base of my older avocado plant there are 3 more in the kitchen now too

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