We all know and love olive trees. With their stunning silvery green foliage, and nostalgic air that can transport you to the hot summer olive groves deep in the Mediterranean.
Yet olive trees aren’t just a pretty sight, they are among the oldest cultivated plants on the planet. That’s right, the humble olive tree has been domesticated for over 6000 years! That’s older than written language, and even older than Stonehenge.
Because these are such ancient plants, they’ve learned to deal with some of the harshest conditions on earth. They’re super resilient, drought tolerant, able to bear the most delicious fruit, as well as one of the most spectacular house plants you can find.
When grown in the wild, olive trees can reach enormous sizes, however a growing trend we have seen lately is placing potted olive trees into designer pots and having them as indoor plants.
Because these have been so popular in our studio, we thought we would share some tips on growing and caring for your own olive tree.
Olive trees are able to tolerate drought conditions, however that’s not a free pass to neglect your newest pot plant. It’s best to water your olive tree regularly, but lightly, which will ensure it stays happy and loves you back. You can definitely over water an olive tree, so make sure to let it dry out between watering. When olive trees are indoors they are much more susceptible to root rot from overwatered and soggy soil.
Olive trees are best potted into well-draining, rocky soil. If you are making your own soil then it’s a great idea to mix some small rocks or pearlite into your potting mix. Olive trees also love nutrient rich soil, so if you are thinking of placing one indoors it’s best to top it up with fresh soil every year or so, and give it a good hit of fertiliser to ensure it stays nice and nutrient rich. When olive trees are inside in poor soil their leaves can wilt and look a little sad.
Once your olive tree has settled into its new home with you, it will be much happier with regular fertilising. It’s best to fertilise them in early Spring as well as late summer. A well-balanced organic fertiliser is a good start, and remember your olive tree is a fruit tree so that will help you pick the right fertiliser. Fertilisers not only feed the plant, they also enrich and replenish the soil.
Don’t feel like you must trim or prune your olive tree. Although if it is getting a tad unwieldy for your liking, you can prune it back. This encourages new growth and the plant will generally sprout two new shoots from the spot that’s been trimmed. It’s best to prune your olive tree in Winter so when Spring rolls around it will have space and energy for fresh branches.
Light and Positioning
Olive trees love the sunshine. When popping one indoors it’s best to have it in a bright and sunny spot. By a window or under a skylight is perfect, or somewhere that gets at least 5-6 hours of good sun and light throughout the day. If you don’t have a spot that’s bright enough, don’t worry, you can always take the olive tree out for some TLC on nice hot days to give it an energy boost – think of it like taking your dog for a walk after it’s been inside for a few days.
For us at Mowgli, we keep all our olive trees by the front window of the studio. They love it in this spot and enjoy about 6 hours of sunlight each day. We’ve even had a few flower in the window before they’ve been sold.
If you have any questions or more info about olive trees please let us know! We are always looking for interesting info on how to care for them and how your experience with them has been.