olive tree - (mini 1/2 standard)
A lovely focal point against a warm sheltered wall in a Mediterranean garden; grow in containers as a half-standard in a sheltered spot; offers fantastic evergreen form in a sheltered winter garden
- Position: full sun
- Soil: deep, fertile, sharply drained soil (or loam-based potting compost for container-grown specimens)
- Rate of growth: slow-growing
- Flowering period: June to August
- Hardiness: frost hardy (needs winter protection in cold areas)
As our climate gets milder, the popularity of olive trees continues to grow. Olives respond particularly well to pruning, and they look elegant and modern grown as standards with a long, clear stem. The leaves are pointed, grey-green and leathery and are retained all year. Tiny, fragrant, creamy-white flowers are followed in hot summers by edible, green fruits. Olive trees make excellent specimens for a sunny, Mediterranean-style garden, or try this standard in a large pot to frame an entrance or terrace. In milder winters it can be left outdoors in a sheltered spot, otherwise, it will need to be overwintered under glass.
- Garden care: To protect against wind damage stake using a low angled stake, driven into the ground on the windward side at a 45° angle. Water regularly during dry periods, keeping the planting area weed-free. Apply a top-dressing of a nitrogen-rich general purpose fertiliser twice or three times each year during the growing season.
1/2 Standard plants have a 40-45cm clear stem with a 25-30cm diameter head
3/4 Standard plants have a 70-80cm clear stem with a 35-40cm diameter head
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Q:Dear Plant Doctor,
Last year I bought two Olive standards from you which are superb, they both flowered and produced masses of fruits which remained very small ( 1 cm)
when I prune these trees to maintain the shape should I remove last years fruit ?
BrianAsked on 2/26/2013 by offshoreyachtsman from Eastleigh
So glad you are pleased with your olive trees, I would recommend prunning them towards the end of March. It will do no halm leaving the olives on the tree but if you prefer the tree without the olives you can remove them. By removing them energy will be diverted to growth instead of fruit growth.Answered on 2/26/2013 by Steve
Q:Can I grow an Olea europaea in a conservatory?
Hi As the weather is not good in Manchester, could I keep an Olive tree in a pot and grow it inside in a conservatory, and then maybe move the pot outside in the summer? Thanks NigelAsked on 2/18/2010 by Nigel Gordon
A:Hello Nigel, These plants can be overwintered in an unheated conservatory during the worst of the winter weather, however they will prefer being outside for the majority of the year. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 2/19/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Hoe do I care for my Olive tree?
Good evening, I was given an olive bush from yourselves as a 50th birthday present at the end of August. It arrived in beautiful condition, but now 3 weeks later it has begun to shed its leaves and olives. I only have to look at it for 'bits to fall off'. Please could you give me some advice about care, watering etc. I live in the frozen north, but the plant is kept in the house, as it is too cold and windy outside. It is in a west facing window with afternoon and evening sun (when we get some). Any advice would be very much appreciated. Yours PennyAsked on 9/25/2009 by Penny Giddings
A:Hello Penny, These plants will not thrive indoors at all, so you should move it outside as soon as possible. As you don't have a greenhouse or conservatory, you will need to give it some form of protection as the temperatures start to drop. The best way to do this is to keep it against a sunny, south facing wall, and cover it with frost fleece throughout the winter, but make sure it is still watered when the compost becomes dry. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/28/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Olive tree not flowering
About 5 years ago I was given an olive tree from your nursery as a present.I have taken great care of it as per instructions and it has grown very well apart from the fact that it has never shown any sign of flowering let alone producing fruit. It is kept very well sheltered and fed, watered and the leaf growth is brilliant but no matter how much I talk to it -no flowers! Can you advise me where I am going wrong please. Regards AdrienneAsked on 7/18/2009 by Alan Harris
A:Hello Adrienne, It does take an olive around 4-5 years to become mature enough to start producing fruits, so it still may not be ready to flower. When it does start though, the flowers are so tiny they are very easy to miss, and they are largely hidden by the leaves. The flowers are self-fertile, but having another tree nearby may help improve cross pollination. It has to be said though, that even with a bumper crop of flowers and good pollination, the chances of getting edible fruits are pretty slim as they will need a really long and hot summer for the fruits to ripen. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/20/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Do your Olive trees produce edible fruits?
I would like to buy my partner an olive tree for his birthday. However, it has to produce edible fruits. We live on the east coast and have harsh, salty weather conditions. What would you recommend? Thank you SandraAsked on 6/15/2009 by sandra kunz
A:Hello Sandra, The Olea europea will produce edible fruits after a really long and hot summer. They are tolerant of coastal conditions, but they won't thrive without some protection and as they are only borderline hardy, they will need protection from the harshest weather in an exposed position. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 6/17/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:How do I look aftter my olive?
My olive plant isn't looking too well. It has been kept in a sunny, sheltered courtyard garden and I wonder if you can give me any advice as to how to help it recover.Asked on 9/27/2006 by amanda mccaffrey
A:Below are some care notes which hopefully will help. Olives like a sunny, sheltered position. They will grow quite happily in a pot, and this would be preferable to planting them in the ground. Generally it would survive the winters in Britain - if it's in a sheltered garden, but if it gets really cold then you can move it temporarily to a warmer position or wrap it in fleece. Pot it up using a good tree and shrub compost like John Innes No. 2. (or 3 if it's a more mature plant), and keep it slightly on the dry side, especially in winter. If there is one thing that olives hate, it is having wet roots. They can withstand cold but they cannot abide being wet and cold. Olives need very little care, and are mainly pest and disease free. To keep the tree small you can prune it in early summer - once all the frosts have definitely passed and before it flowers. Usually olives flower in mid-summer with olives produced in late-summer. Unfortunately the olives will never ripen and be edible in our climate! Olives shouldn't really need feeding too much as they would naturally survive without much. In their native habitat they survive on very thin soils.Answered on 9/28/2006 by Crocus
Q:Can I prune my Olive tree...and also scale insects?
I bought a potted Olive tree 2 years ago and last summer I planted it out in the garden. It seems to survive quite well. But it's not looking very bushy. It puts on growth on the end of the branches but nothing seems to grow further down the branch. Can you prune Olive trees and if so - how? It also suffers from a black scale problem - round black grey scales, which I remove with my fingernails, but which seem to come back. Any suggestions?Asked on 3/30/2006 by Heidi Koenig
A:Olives tolerate pruning very well, and this can help restrict the size of the plant if it gets too big. The best time to prune is in early spring. Prune back branches by about one third to encourage new growth. As for the scale, it is very difficult to spray with chemicals as the mature scale's outer shell is impenetrable and it is only the young that can be killed by spraying with chemicals. You will need to spray every fortnight so each new batch that hatches is treated or keep removing them by hand.Answered on 4/3/2006 by Crocus
Q:What size pot do I need for my Olive tree?
I have just bought a half standard Olive tree, but am not sure what size pot I need. Can you help?Asked on 8/3/2005 by Alison Cutts
A:These plants look good when the diameter of the pot is roughly the same as the diameter of the crown of the plant. Therefore you should try to get a pot with a diameter of around 30-35cm for a 1/2 standard and approximately 50cm diameter for the 3/4 standard plants. Also, as these plants can be top heavy, it is always a good idea to choose a pot that has a wide base, which will stop them toppling over in strong winds.Answered on 8/3/2005 by Crocus
Q:What tree can I plant in a pot?
I have quite a large patio area at the front of the house and want to place a large patio pot between the entrances/exits on my driveway. Ideally I would like something that will look good most of the year. Any suggestions?Asked on 3/31/2005 by email@example.com
A:Growing small trees in containers is usually pretty sucessful as long as you make sure they are potted into really large containers and that they get plenty of water and nutrients. Here are some of the best trees to grow in containers, and most of these will be between 5-6' when delivered. Acer palmatum var. dissectum Crimson Queen http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/other-trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/acer-palmatum-var.-dissectum-crimson-queen/classid.87/ Acer palmatum Osakazuki http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/acer-palmatum-osakazuki/classid.109/ Salix caprea Kilmarnock http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/shrubs/trees/deciduous/small-garden-trees/ok-for-small-gardens/salix-caprea-kilmarnock/classid.4700/ Arbutus http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=arbutus Olive http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=olea+eur Magnolia stellata http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?ContentType=Plant_Card&ClassID=4139&CategoryID= Bay http://www.crocus.co.uk/findplant/results/?CommonName=laurus+nobilisAnswered on 4/1/2005 by Crocus