If you love tropical greenery, you can simply plant an avocado pit and grow your own avocado tree. But what if just nothing wants to sprout? We’ll tell you why that might be.

In our vegetable baskets, the avocado is found almost by default between tomatoes and cucumbers. While the flesh of the exotic fruit provides flavor on our plates, we can grow small avocado trees from the thick seeds, which then provide tropical flair on the windowsill. The avocado seed can be planted or rooted in water – two popular methods, but some things can go wrong. It takes a lot of patience for the seed to germinate – it can take a few weeks or months. And not every seed will reliably sprout shoots and roots. But if you avoid the following mistakes when planting the avocado, you can increase your chances.

Mistake 1: Putting the avocado pit in the wrong way around in the jar or planting it in soil

You have placed your avocado pit directly into a flowerpot with soil or placed it on a glass with water with the help of toothpicks – and nothing is happening? Then you should check if the right side of the seed is facing up. This is because the seed has an upper side, from which the shoot later breaks out, and a lower side, from which the roots grow – it does not work the other way around. Accordingly, the upper side must always protrude from the soil or water. If the seed is egg-shaped, it is easy to see where the top and bottom are then the pointed side must point upwards, the blunt side downwards. If the seed is more oval or even round, the bottom can also be easily identified by the fact that it has a kind of navel or lump there. Also make sure that the underside protrudes about a third into the water or is surrounded by substrate and place the avocado for germination best in a bright and warm place.

Mistake 2: Not checking and replenishing water levels regularly

Moisture plays an important role in growing a new avocado from a seed. As with pretty much all seeds, dryness prevents them from swelling at all and eventually germinating. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the water level and refill the container regularly so that the pit is always in contact with the water. Ideally, you should also replace the water completely about every two to three days. Once you can enjoy a shoot with leaves and some strong roots, carefully plant your mini avocado tree in a flowerpot with container plant soil. Only the roots should be below the substrate.

Even if you grow the avocado in soil from the start, you need to ensure adequate moisture – no seedling will grow in parched substrate. Water the soil a little after planting the avocado pit and keep it moist by spraying it with water regularly. However, you should avoid waterlogging in the pot and thus the formation of mold.

Mistake 3: Poking toothpicks too deep into the pit

If you prefer the water glass method, you must make sure that the seeds of the avocados do not sink. To ensure that only one-third of the seeds are suspended in the water, toothpicks are often used to hold the seeds in place by inserting three toothpicks into the pit at the same height as the center of the seed. However, if the toothpicks are drilled too deep, the kernel may be damaged to such an extent that germination is no longer possible. In addition, such “injuries” also always carry the risk of germs entering or the seed beginning to rot at the site. Therefore, do not prick the toothpicks deeper than 3/16 inch into the avocado seed. Alternatively, place it on special vases or a container with a narrower opening so that the sticks are not needed at all.