Avocado Seed Has Roots But no Stem? (Solved)

A common query I receive from people growing avocados from seed is that they grow eventually, but leaves or shoots don’t appear even after some time.

This article is for you if your avocado seed has roots but no stem. Ahead, we will uncover the reasons it happens and how to give optimal care for better outcomes.

Why Your Avocado Has Roots, But No Stem?

Generally, the roots start emerging before the stem. So, it’s all right if the stem is taking time to grow. However, there are a few errors that result in avocado plants not developing stems or shoots that become rotten before growing. Some include lack of sunlight, improper watering, nutritional deficiency, or a transplant shock.

Listed below are a few examples of these problems and how they can be avoided:

Cause 1: The Temperature is Too Cold

To ensure an avocado’s growth is not hindered, it is important to analyze the temperature and make sure it is warm but not too hot and not directly exposed to intense sunlight.

Chances are that the temperature around the avocado is too cold, and it is impacting its growth. Even if it sprouts, it will take considerably longer. So, analyze the temperature and ensure it doesn’t go below 77°F (25°C).

Like every plant, avocado needs sunlight and warmth to flourish. However, make sure it doesn’t receive a direct, intense light when it is young (It can happen once it starts growing).

Cause 2: Improper Watering

Watering an avocado plant correctly requires checking the top 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of soil for dryness. Then it is about watering at a depth of at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) to avoid under and over-watering and prevent root rot.

The avocado plant enjoys a frequent watering routine. However, there is no need to overdo it as it can delay or decline plant growth. When soil becomes waterlogged, it develops a disease called root rot. The disease eats away the tree’s roots and can even kill it if not amended.

On the other hand, it’s crucial never to let the soil become completely dry. To water this plant effectively, you should water it only when the top 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of sand is dry.

This way, you will avoid both under and over-watering. You can push a finger into the soil to check if it’s dry. Water the tree at a depth of at least 2 feet (0.6 meters) since over 90% of its roots are at this depth.

Cause 3: Transplant Shock

Transplant shock can be minimized by ensuring the soil in the new container is well-drained, keeping it in a sunny spot, and adding mulch and compost.

In case your avocado is noticeably slow after repotting or moving from glass to a container, it may be experiencing transplant shock. When a plant must build a new root system in a new environment, transplant shock happens.

Transplant shock is usually more pronounced in avocado seeds first grown in water than those started with soil.It is difficult to avoid but can be minimized.

Make sure that the soil in the new place is well-drained. Keep the container in a sunny spot and water it regularly. On top, add 4-12 inches (10-30 centimeters) of mulch and 2 inches (5 centimeters) of the highest-quality compost.

Cause 4: Improper Nutrition

Balanced fertilizing with organic liquid fertilizer and mulching with high-quality compost can help ensure the proper nutrition for an avocado tree.

Similar to watering, it is essential to ensure you aren’t over or underdoing the plant nutrition. The excess of nutrients produced by overfertilization can cause discoloration and stunted growth.

Additionally, the roots of trees can chemically burn. Similar circumstances result if the tree is stressed due to the nutrient deficiency. Luckily, this issue can easily be resolved by balanced supply of fertilizers.

You can use compost or fertilizer for this purpose; both are good. If you are going for a fertilizer, try getting an organic liquid fertilizer, as chemical fertilizers tend to burn the roots.

Burpee Natural Purpose Granular can be a healthy addition to your avocado care routine. You can add this to the potting mix, as it is fantastic for containers. (You can purchase this product by clicking this link.)

It is also wise to apply mulch to the soil to replenish its nutrients. Compost promotes water retention and offers adequate nutrients. Select high-quality compost that is still living and contains healthy soil life.

How to Properly Care for Avocado Seed?

Here’s how to properly care for avocado seed:

  • To properly care for an avocado seed, you must prepare it by inserting toothpicks into it and setting it in a glass of water in a warm spot that receives indirect light.
  • You should then transfer it to a container filled with well-drained and coarse potting soil when the stems grow to 6-7 inches (15-17 centimeters) in height.
  • Place the pot in a spot receiving direct sunlight and water regularly to maintain moisture.
  • Prune the plant to stimulate growth and branching, and fertilize it three times a year with an organic fertilizer.

Whether you decide to grow an avocado from seed or bring a young tree from your local nursery, patience is the key. Avocados cultivated from seed, often known as the pit or stone, are slow-growing plants that may take 10-15 years to reach fruit maturity.

However, it is a fun experience to grow them as houseplants, and it is wholesome to see them develop. This is how to prep the pit and properly take care of it:

Prepare The Seed

For starters, remove the seed from the avocado and rinse it gently to get the residue off. Next, grab four wooden toothpicks.

About a third of the way down from the pointed end, firmly insert toothpicks into the seed. Your seed will be kept in suspension in the water glass by these toothpicks.

Set The Seed

Now, set the seed in the glass of water. Set the pointed side up to let the toothpicks support the edge, and place the glass at a light receiving spot.

Make sure it is a warm area that receives indirect light. Maintaining moisture at the seed’s bottom will encourage an avocado seed to sprout. Keep refreshing the water whenever it becomes cloudy.

Transfer It to The Container

The seed starts developing roots in roughly 2-5 weeks. Later, the shoots also start emerging from the top. When the stems grow up to 6-7 inches (15-17 centimeters), transfer them from glass to a container filled with well-drained and coarse potting soil. Plant the seed in a way that half part stays above the ground and the other half sits below.

Place The Pot in A Warm Location

Now, place the container in a spot that receives direct sunlight and water it regularly to ensure the soil stays moist. It is better to place the pot outside in summer to enjoy the sun and move it indoors when the temperature drops to 45°F (7°C) or lower.

Prune to Promote Branching

Pruning stimulates growth and branching. Therefore, prune the plant back to 6 inches (15 centimeters) when its stems reach 12 inches (30 centimeters) in height. Repeat this technique each time the stems increase by 6 inches (15 centimeters).

You can expect the plant to start bearing fruit in about 10-15 years if you give it optimal care and support. Sometimes, you might have to wait even longer, or it may not bear fruit as well. However, there is a certain satisfaction in watching a plant that you have cultivated yourself mature and expand.


Avocados don’t need a lot of fertilizer; three applications per year are plenty. However, make sure to choose a healthy and organic fertilizer for the plant, as the chemical options can be detrimental.

By following these tips, you will be able to see a gradual change in the overall appearance and development of plants. Plants require a little bit of consistency and patience, so be ready for that in advance.


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