Growing Olive Trees in Pots: Tips and Tricks for Success

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If you are growing a potted olive tree in your house or in a backyard, have you ever wanted to learn how to care for olive trees in pots, but didn’t know where to begin? Well, here I have collected key items to consider when growing olive trees in pots and willing to establish regular care and maintenance of your tree.

Overall, it is uncomplicated care for olive trees in pots as long as you do it right! so Let’s begin to look at those requirements in more detail.

care for olive trees in pots complete guide

1. Water Potted Olive Trees Regularly

Olive trees in pots need to be watered regularly. The soil must have enough moisture to keep the roots healthy. Similar to the olive trees from the ground, they also need to have the same soil moisture levels to stay in shape.

To learn more on how to water potted olive trees correctly, check out our complete guide and tips on water requirements for olive trees.

water olive trees in pots regularly
Water olive trees in pots regularly when it is fully dried, do not overwater or underwater

2. Expose to a Sunlight

Make sure to expose the olive trees to enough sunlight. They like bathing under the sun to keep them happy.

Even if your olive trees are restricted in the pots or containers, they can still survive longer. As long as they have enough water and sunlight, the olive trees will be fine in their pots.

3. Use Balanced Olive Tree Fertilizer

If you notice that the olive trees’ old foliage is turning lighter, that means that it needs nitrogen. The best solution is to use a balanced olive tree fertilizer so that it will get back to its natural color. The leaves should become bright medium green to stay healthy once again.

The balanced olive tree fertilizer has micronutrients that will help the plant to maintain in shape. It’s an essential way to keep the olive tree healthy and thriving especially during the olive growth cycle. Just make sure not to fertilize too often if the olive tree is under two years old.

In addition, you can review our useful article on the benefits of fertilizer and our choice for the best fertilizer for olive trees.

olive trees in containers care
Olive trees needs lots of sunlight, regular watering and tree food in order to encourage their growth and fruiting

4. Prune Your Olive Tree Every Year

To prune your potted olive tree early every spring or after the harvest is a healthy practice. It not only strengthens the core branches and leaves but as well helps you to shape the olive tree in the way you prefer.

If you’re a beginner gardener, keep in mind not to prune the olive trees in the winter. Especially, you should avoid pruning during the frost time so that the olive tree can cope up.

Since pruning causes cuts on the olive tree, it’s harder for the tree to heal them during the cold months. Even if you notice any damage on olive tree branches, leave them until the spring arrives and then trim it off.

On a whole, pruning at the wrong time can cause more damage to the olive trees in pots than doing good. However, if you wait for an early spring or prune your tree after harvest, you will improve its growth and it will flourish much faster with higher fruit yield. And don’t forget to read our recommendations on how to prune olive trees in pots techniques.

5. Clean Olive Tree Leaves

You should clean olive trees in pots leaves from time to time, especially if it sits outside in a garden. Its a great practice to care for olive trees in pots. keep them look their best and thrive.

The most common ways are to wipe olive tree leaves with a cloth, duster, or brush. Afterward, rinse them with water on a balcony or a bath. In case your potted olive tree is considerable dirty, spray them with a dilute soap solution to remove dirt.

olive trees in pots sunshine 1
Olive Trees in Pots need to be repotted every couple years to encourage growth and refresh soil nutrition

6. Repot Olive Tree Each Couple Years

Since pots or containers can limit olive tree roots development and restrict your olive tree growth, you should repot your olive tree each couple of years. Observe your tree and if you notice many roots are going out from drainage holes, decide if transplanting is needed this spring. Read more: how to and when is the best time to repot olive tree.

Of course, if you want to your olive tree grow bigger in your backyard, plant it into the ground is a must when the time is right – in the spring.

7. Harvest Olive Fruits When Ripen

Harvesting time is normally happening in November – January, depending on the type of olive varieties for oil you grow and your weather conditions.

The olive fruits stop ripening once they are off the tree. To determine if the olive fruit is ripened, see if the fruit is heavy, and dark purple or black color.

harvest potted olive tree
Harvest olive trees when olive fruit is fully ripen and becomes dark purple color or black depending on olive variety

8. Keep an Eye on Pests or Diseases

Unfortunately, sometimes you may run into some problems with olive trees in pots. For example, there may be some pests or diseases that affected your olive tree. Definetely, it’s best to get rid of these issues as soon as possible before it gets worse and cause lost of damage to your potted olive tree.

Scale or aphids are common pests, especially during winter. You can get rid of scale insects by forcefully spraying them with the garden hose. Maximize the pressure so it can knock down the pests that can cause plant diseases. Then, you should use insecticidal soap in order to wipe off the reminders. To be honest, most insects you can clear out in this way.

In terms of diseases, it is not always easy to notice or identify the causes until the tree looks really bad. The most important step in caring for olive trees is to monitor its overall health and if you detect something odd, you should identify the root cause. Most of diseases spotted in time and treated accordingly, wont kill your tree. Do not hesitate to ask a local gardening expert to help you to identify a problem and learn how to treat it.

problems with olive tree in pots

Read more about issues and problems with olive trees in pots

9. Add Small Holiday Lights on Branches

Olive trees in pots can look very beautiful and you can add small lights to it during the winter season. Holiday lights can be a good idea to add on the branches. Putting small lights on the trees can protect them from the cold weather if you are keeping them outside. Plus, it will add more appeal to your patio or backyard garden.

Small holiday lights looks astonishing on olive trees

Generic FAQs

Do Olive Trees Grow Well in Pots?

Yes, absolutely. When olive trees grow in pots, their needs are similar to olive trees growing in-ground. The olive trees need lots of sunlight, consistent and regular watering, good drainage, so make sure the pot has drainage holes. Fertilizer is also key to growing a healthy olive tree in a pot. Overall, it is not difficult at all to care for the olive tree in a pot if you establish regular care and maintenance.

How Big Do Olive Trees Grow in Pots?

First of all, potted olive trees will not get as large as olive trees grown in the ground. Eventually, olive trees in pots can reach 6 feet (2 meters). However, their height depends on olive tree variety and your pruning skills. For indoors, it is best to seek out draft olive trees in pots.

How Long Olive Trees Can Survive in Pots?

Olive trees can survive in pots for a long time. With proper care and sun exposure, the olive trees can thrive in pots for many years. If replanted into the ground, it can reach more than 100 years of lifespan.

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Conclusion: Care for Olive Trees in Pots

Those are the simple but very important steps to care for olive trees in pots. By following them, you can make sure that your olive trees will thrive for a long time and brings your home the Mediterranean-like feeling. By the time winter rolls around again, you’ll be feasting on olive fruit.

For more information on indoor olive tree maintenance, see my article indoor olive tree care in 5 steps! Also, check out these tips:

how to grow olive tree indoors

20 tips on how to grow olive trees in pots indoors!

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Are You Looking to Buy an Olive Tree? 

If you are looking to add more potted trees or other plants to your orchard, or if you like to replace a neglected olive tree, the best places to get them are your local nursery or an online nursery.

One of the most reliable and the world's largest online nurseries is Fast Growing Trees. They deliver fast, neat, and healthy plants backed with a 30-day guarantee.

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2 thoughts on “Growing Olive Trees in Pots: Tips and Tricks for Success”

  1. What size pot would be ideal for an olive tree which has a trunk of 18 inches ?

  2. Hi Diane, we consider the size of the root ball when choosing the pot. Always safe option is to choose a pot that’s at least twice the width and depth of the root ball. For more information I have an article about large pots for olive trees.

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