Potted olive trees, ideal for terraces

Potted olive trees are a great idea to decorate a terrace or balcony.

Potted olive tree key facts

Name – Olea europea
Family – Oleaceae
Type – fruit tree

Height – 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – soil mix

Foliage – evergreen
Harvest – September to December

Caring, pruning and watering all take a part in letting potted olive trees grow well and bear olives.

Follow our tips on growing and caring for beautiful olive trees:

Repotting an olive tree

Growing olive trees in pots is perfectly possible since they adapt well:

  • Choose a pot or garden box that is large enough for roots to freely develop.
    Olive trees don’t necessarily require extremely large pots that would be difficult to move around.
  • Use olive tree soil mix or planting soil mix.
  • Choose a sun-bathed area, sheltered from stronger winds.

A pot will sustain growth up to three times wider than the pot itself.

  • If you’d like a larger tree, repot it early spring.
  • To replenish soil nutrients, topdress every two years. Prepare fermented fertilizer and apply regularly, especially during the growing season.

Watering a potted olive tree

Growing plants in pots, and specifically olive trees, requires that certain rules be followed as regards watering.

  • Soil dries up much faster, so it is necessary to water on a regular basis.
  • Olive trees do not like excess water, so only reduced watering is called for.
  • Every two weeks, during the growth phase, add olive tree fertilizer to the water.
    This phase more or less extends from May to July.

Pruning and caring for a potted olive tree

Annual pruning is recommended at the end of winter or at the beginning of spring.
Potted olive trees prefer light pruning
yearly instead of severe pruning every two or three years.

  • Remove branches that have grown from the foot of the tree or along the trunk.
  • Cut branches that point downwards. Only those branches growing horizontally towards the sky must be kept.
  • Free the center of the tree, trimming branches growing towards the inside and keeping major branches that will shape the silhouette of the tree.

Add olive tree fertilizer to get magnificent olive trees.

Potted olive in winter

They need cool winters, and normally resist frost spells as long as they are short and not too harsh.

If the temperature drops for some time below 23°F (-5°C), protect them with horticultural fleece and wrap the pots with a cover to protect the roots from the cold.

In case of harsh freezing, it is necessary to bring olive trees indoors in a well-lit room where the temperatures never drop below 32°F (0°C).

All there is to know about olive trees

Olive trees are enchanting, merely mentioning their name brings to mind images of Provence and of the Mediterranean!
This tree has a lifespan that extends over a thousand years. It is typical of Mediterranean regions, but it can be found already in more temperate climates such as along the Atlantic coast.

Its edible fruits are olives and are most often seen to be black or in shades of green.
They can be eaten raw, or spiced with garlic, basil or any from a number of other spices.
They also are the source of olive oil, famous for its many health benefits!

Diseases and parasites that often attack olive trees

Smart tip about potted olive trees

In cooler climates and in case it freezes hard, cover your olive trees with horticultural fleece to protect them from the cold, and wrap the pot itself with a cover to protect the roots.

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Olive tree in pot shared by Hans under © CC0 1.0