How to Peel an Avocado Seed the Easy Way
If you’re growing an avocado tree from seed, you’ll need to peel the seed covering off first. Here’s why, and how to peel an avocado seed the easy way.
Why do I need to peel the avocado seed?
1. Peeling off the seed covering protects it from microorganisms.
When you cut open an avocado without washing it first, the knife carries microorganisms that can cause disease from the skin straight to the seed. The brown shell itself can hold microorganisms, so you should also wash it with a wet sponge and a touch of dish detergent before peeling.
3. Leaving the seed covering on can cause the seed to get moldy.
The seed covering can hold the moisture and cause mold to grow, especially if you don’t change the water often enough.
2. Sometimes the avocado seed covering is so thick it can’t sprout.
One of the things that causes problems when you’re trying to grow an avocado tree is a seed with a very thick seed covering. The shell can be so thick it hinders the growth of roots and a sprout. Or, it takes a much longer time to germinate because the seed shell has to soak in water, soften, and then fall off.
4. It’s scientifically proven that peeling the avocado seed increases germination success.
In 1963 Amnon Kadman, a horticulturist with The National and University Institute of Agriculture in Israel, conducted germination experiments with avocado seeds from a Mexican seedling.
He discovered that peeling off the avocado seed coat caused a 92% success rate in sprouting, and the avocados sprouted sooner.
Kadman thought that the seed coat was a barrier to the seed getting adequate water to germinate. “The results of this experiment show that the larger the
seed surface area exposed to moisture the faster is the germination.”
In 2020 at Scott Grows an Avocado Tree, Scott and his readers tried the same experiment. They got the same results. 15% more of the avocado seeds sprouted when the avocado seed was peeled, and they sprouted on average a week sooner than their counterparts that were not peeled but successfully germinated.
See the 1963 experiment report: free PDF
The easy way to peel avocado seeds.
Sometimes you get lucky and when you cut open the avocado, the seed covering stays with the fruit, leaving a clean seed ready to grow in water.
(You must be a real avocado lover to master cutting open an avocado right to the seed covering without damaging the seed.)
Some types of avocados are easier to peel than others – and some are downright stubborn. Here’s how to peel an avocado seed in 2 easy steps.
Step #1: Soak the avocado seed in water for 24 hours.
Keep an eye on it while it soaks because you don’t want it to crack apart. If there is the beginning of a crack, that is alright. Don’t pry the crack because the seed might break apart. (And don’t insert your wooden toothpicks in the crack when you’re ready to put your seed in the glass of water.)
Step #2: Peel off as much of the seed covering as possible.
Be gentle and patient. Don’t mark or damage the seed. Pull off whatever comes easily with your fingers first. Then use a wooden toothpick to pry underneath the shell and pull more off.
If there are a few pieces of shell membrane still clinging, that’s okay. It’s just important to remove the barrier to absorbing water – if there’s most of the seed showing that’s what’s important.
If the tip area at the top where it sprouts and the navel area at the bottom where the roots grow are clear of shell, that’s what you need the most. You also need to be able to push your toothpicks through at strategic points – unless you’re using a Seedo floating boat.
Any stubborn shell membrane remaining will fall off when it soaks up enough moisture while growing in the water for a few weeks.
Want more? See our tutorial: how to grow an avocado tree from seed in water.
Step by step guide to growing an avocado tree from seed in water, with photos for each step.
Easy to follow guide with more detailed explanations & instructions available if necessary.
If you’ve ever cut open an avocado and thought about trying to grow your own avocado tree from the pit, today’s the day!
We show you how to successfully grow your own indoor avocado plant with glossy leaves.
It’s your turn!
Did this tutorial make it easier for you to peel your avocado seed?
Did you find a better way to peel the seed covering off? Let us know! And please include a photo with your comment.