5 Signs Your Avocado Seed Has Died (With Images Explained)

Even a half-dead seed can still germinate and grow into a tree, so let’s make sure we throw away a dead one and not a potential sprouter.

The Most Common Signs That Your Avocado Seed has Died.

it shows a rotten avocado seed that has died

It is not easy to tell if the avocado seed has died or is still in the process of developing roots. A common sign of seed death is the black color that often appears due to rot. If more than half of the seed is black then most likely it is dead. The same thing can happen to the roots and stem while still germinating.

  1. The seed has turned black and is falling apart.

Scott from  Scott Grows an Avocado Tree YouTube channel has showcased a perfect example of this. There could be multiple reasons why this is occurring, it might be due to contamination present in the water, toothpicks, or in the seed itself.

  1. The roots of the seed have started to turn black and no new roots are growing.

Here is a visual example of a phytophthora avocado root rot. In this case, it can still be salvaged but in more severe situations it is a lost cause. If no new white healthy roots are growing, it means that the seed is dead.

avocado root rot example

  1. The seed has not cracked and several months have passed.

Most likely the seed has been either contaminated or is a tough one to crack. It can take up to 6 months for a seed to start developing roots. So it can be hard to tell if the seed is either dead or just very stubborn. Not all growth methods are made equal, there will be a list down below where we will look at the most popular methods.

  1. The stem is dry at the tip and has no leaves.

The stem is dry at the tip and has no leaves example

This might be caused by nutrient insufficiency and if not treated the seed will slowly die. If you are doing the toothpick or the paper towel method and you encounter such an issue a few drops of nitrogen and zinc in the water will help the seed grow a healthy stem that will develop leaves.

  1. After transplanting the avocado seed stops growing.

Depending on how you germinated the avocado seed it might be easier or harder for the plant to survive the transplant shock. Water roots and soil roots are slightly structurally different. The plant will have to grow new roots once it has been potted. 

If the plant has enough energy to grow the roots it will start growing leaves in a couple of months. The best you can do is make sure the soil has all the nutrients it needs, which include nitrogen and a little bit of zinc.

What can you do in order to boost your growth success rate?

Try applying the following growth methods to ensure you get a nice-looking avocado sprout.

Avocado Seed Growth Methods.

  1. Toothpick method

Small disclaimer, we can oftentimes see people complain that the toothpick method is not working, this is why we do not recommend this method of germination.

  • Remove and clean pit.
  • Wash it clean by soaking in water and scrubbing the remains of the fruit off.
  • Do not remove the brown skin of the pit.
  • Locate the top and bottom, the pointy part is the top.
  • Pierce the sides of the seed with three of four toothpicks in a uniform way.
  • Place the seed with the pointy part up half-submerged in a glass of water.
  • Change the water once every week and wait for about 6-8 weeks.
  • Once you have roots and a sprout that is a few inches tall you can transplant it.
  1. Wet towel method

This method has a much better success rate than the toothpick one. This is the one which we highly recommend.

Apply the first 4 bullet points as with the method above with a small twist.

  • Soak the avocado seed overnight, try using filtered water.
  • Peel away the outside husk. Remove as much as you can, it does not have to be 100% clean.
  • Wrap it in a wet paper towel. The paper towel has to be just a little moist, that’s it.
  • Place the wrapped seed in an airtight plastic bag or container. Put the container in a dark place. Make sure the place where you put is warm or room temperature.
  • Check once a week and change the paper towel.
    Once the seed has cracked and the roots started to protrude out of the bottom take it out of the container and place it in a jar just like with the toothpick method or you can plant it.
  1. Soil/Compost method

This method is ideal if you have a greenhouse.

  • Rinse the seed and peel the brown skin off gently without harming the inner layer.
  • Place soil halfway in the pot and moisten it. Make sure the soil is slightly acidic pH 6-6.5.
  • Place the seed with the bottom part into the soil and press into it slightly so it does not fall onto its side.
  • Put the rest of the soil in the pot and make sure a thin layer is covering the top pointy part of the seed.
  • Make sure to keep the soil moist while the seed is sprouting.
  • Pinch off the new leaves at the top so the avocado grows fuller and bushier.

In order to get the best results, we recommend germinating several avocado seeds at once.

Good luck in your endeavors!