Olive trees are one of our most popular plants, and for good reason! These Mediterranean beauties are elegant, minimalistic, and have been revered for centuries as symbols of peace.
Are you wanting to add an olive tree to your home or backyard? Keep on reading to see how you can replicate the golden shores of the Aegean Sea to keep this amigo happy and thriving!
Indoor Olive Tree Care
If you're keeping your olive trees indoors (which is highly recommended during the winter months in Canada!), it will require slightly specialized care.
Lighting: Place your indoor olive tree near a south-facing window where it can receive ample sunlight. Olive trees thrive in full sun, so ensure they get at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. If natural light is limited, consider using grow lights to supplement. Ideally, you want you window to be well insulated so no cold draughts come through.
Temperature and Humidity: Olive trees prefer warm temperatures, ideally between 60-80°F (15-27°C). They can handle slightly cooler temperatures during the winter, but it's essential to protect them from frost. Olive trees are used to drier air, so no need for additional humidity. An indoor humidity level of around 40% should be just fine!
Pot and Soil: Choose a well-draining pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogged roots. A mixture of potting soil and sand helps replicate the olive tree's natural habitat. Repot every couple of years to refresh the soil and provide space for root growth.
Watering: Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering thoroughly. Olive trees are drought-tolerant, so avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. During the dormant season, reduce watering frequency.
Pruning: Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and size of your indoor olive tree. Remove dead or diseased branches and pinch back new growth to encourage bushier growth.
Outdoor Olive Tree Care
For those lucky enough to have the space and climate requirements, outdoor olive trees can become stunning focal points in the landscape. If you're placing your potted olive tree outdoors, follow the steps above and be sure to regularly check the soil. If you're planting it in the landscape, follow the steps below!
Location: Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil for your outdoor olive tree. They prefer a Mediterranean-like climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Ensure proper spacing to allow for growth and airflow between trees.
Soil Preparation: Olive trees thrive in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Improve drainage by amending the soil with sand or gravel. A layer of mulch helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.
Watering: While olive trees are drought-tolerant, they need consistent watering during their establishment period (first 1-2 years). Once established, water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Monitor soil moisture and adjust watering during extreme weather conditions.
Fertilization: Olive trees have modest nutrient requirements. Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring before new growth begins. Avoid excessive nitrogen, as it can promote excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruit production.
Pruning: Pruning outdoor olive trees is essential for both aesthetics and health. Remove any suckers from the base and trim away any dead or crossing branches. Open up the canopy to improve airflow and sunlight penetration, which can reduce disease risk.
Harvesting: If your olive tree produces fruit, harvesting is a rewarding task. Give yourself a pat on the back! Wait until the olives are fully ripe, which varies depending on the cultivar. Harvest by handpicking or gently shaking the branches.