Dwarf Olive Trees in Pots: Care | Height | Fruits | Pests

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If you are looking for plants for a smaller place, you may want to consider dwarf olive trees. Dwarf olive trees are simply regular olive trees that are grafted onto smaller tree rootstock. This means you can get a dwarf olive tree for your landscapes that can’t accommodate a full-size olive tree.

Without a doubt, dwarf olive trees are ideal for small spaces. They are becoming a popular addition to patio, gardens, and even as an accessory at the front doors.

What is more exciting, dwarf olive trees care and maintenance are very similar to regular potted olive tree care and you can grow them together with other companion plants for olive trees.

Kalamata olive tree in pot
This is a draft Kalamata olive tree suitable to grow indoors and outdoors

By knowing a few rules for dwarf olive trees care, you will achieve the best results in growing these beautiful ancient trees not only in your garden but inside your home during winter.

For this reason,  if you are ready to get one dwarf olive tree in your backyard to garden, here’s what to know about techniques and things to be aware of. And, hopefully, we can even help you to nourish a perfect miniature tree.

How Tall Do Dwarf Olive Trees Grow?

Dwarf olive trees generally grow to be a maximum of 8 to 10 feet (= 2.4 to 3 m) in height. Depending on your pruning skills and needs, you can shape your tree the size you prefer.

dwarf olive tree outdoors
Above: dwarf olive tree in a pot grows outdoors among other plants and creates a beautiful colorful oasis (in the picture we see Kalamata olive tree)

Do Dwarf Olive Trees Bear Olive Fruit?

Absolutely! It takes from 2 to 5 years for a young dwarf olive tree to start producing olive fruits depending on the olive variety. Though, the tree needs the right care and growing conditions to grow healthy, reach a flowering growth stage, and bear fruits.

For instance, the olive fruit of dwarf olive trees is the same size and quality as a standard-sized grown tree, assuming it receives the same care. There as, dwarf types produce larger size olives for their size comparing to standard-sized trees.

care for olive trees in pots complete guide
Learn how to care for olive trees in pots

Dwarf Fruitless Olive Trees

If for some reason, you don’t want to plant a dwarf olive tree that bears olive fruits as not to create a mess on your driveway or deck from fallen olives. Then, you can find dwarf fruitless olive trees in the market.

Dwarf fruitless olive trees are a special variety that blooms in spring, but flowers are sterile. For this reason, only a few if any fruits are produced – very tiny olives may develop from time to time, you won’t even notice.

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Dwarf Olive Trees in Pots Care

The first and most important care needs of dwarf olive trees in pots are good drainage. Olive trees do not tolerate waterlogged soil or constant moisture for too long. Overwatering causes olive tree foliage to drop off. Underwatering can also cause this trouble, but once the leaves start dropping there is no easy reverse back.

Consequently, dwarf olive trees growing in pots or containers flourish best with little effort when they are planted in a lightweight, perlite-containing potting mix that drains well.

Bear in mind, that organic matter or native soil will compact too quickly, reducing air circulation for roots. And for more information about soil, check out our article about the best soil for olive trees in pots.

best companion plants for olive trees
Find out companion plants for dwarf olive trees

If you want to transplant your potted tree in the garden, the commercial potting mix should be combined with the soil removed from the hole in a ratio of one part mix to one part native soil. Always add a layer of mulch in pot or container or around the planting area. It helps to drain the water faster and keep the roots wet but not soggy.

Furthermore in terms of dwarf olive trees care, they also need warmth and sunshine to produce olive fruits fully. Ideally, your trees should get around 8 hours of sunlight. So put it in the sunniest place in your backyard or transition to the brightest room inside the house.

indoor olive tree care guide
Check out indoor olive tree care in 5 steps!

How Often to Water Dwarf Olive Tree?

If you want your dwarf olive fruit tree to produce large olive fruits, you need to make sure it receives plenty of water. For instance, young dwarf olive trees in pots need extra water to grow, while all olive trees need additional water during periods of hot, dry weather. So watering your miniature olive trees once per week is an ideal plan.  Just make sure that the potting soil is well-draining and that you are not overwatering your plant. To avoid overwatering, you can read in our article about olive tree overwatering signs.

So to be on the safe side, if you don’t trust your guts and you are not sure if your dwarf olive tree is thirsty, you can always measure a soil moisture level with a moisture meter, available on Amazon.

Sonkir 3-in-1 Moisture Meter
  • Kindly NOTE: This soil tester can not be applied to test pH value of any other liquid. If the soil...
  • 3-IN-1 FUNCTION: Test soil moisture, pH value and sunlight level of plant with our soil meter, helps...
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Last update on 2022-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Feed Dwarf Olive Tree?

In general, dwarf olive trees do need fertilizing, especially if their roots are limited in pots or containers. You can apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer a few times per year: in spring, during growth in summer, and in autumn before the winter.

If your tree lacks minerals, you can leaf spray with zinc and manganese in the spring before growth starts. Then, supplement with a spray containing nitrogen. As well, good fertilizer for your olive tree can solve iron deficiency problem.

Root Rocket 600x600 3e1b3cd5 3cf9 4fc5 a6be 925a8535f416

To know exactly what type of minerals your olive tree lacks, you can identify only by testing the soil with a soil test kit.

soil testing kit

For instance, this Luster Leaf soil testing kit is an innovative and inexpensive soil test kit.  Easy to use and provides fast accurate results. If you are interested to get to know what minerals your tree is lacking, it is available on Amazon.

How to Shape Dwarf Olive Trees?

It’s absolutely up to you how you want to shape dwarf olive trees. If your olive tree in a pot is young and it looks a little one-sided, give couple of years and it will become a neatly rounded tree. As well, if you want to keep potted olive trees quite low or add fullness, you can pinch out the tips of the new growth from time to time.

Unless your tree is planted in the ground and it is growing along a fence or garden wall and you want to leave it to look natural, then just leave it to grow freely without too much pruning and shaping.

However, there are some basic requirements for pruning: such as to prune away deadwood and prune to maximize airflow. Prune off any branches that cross others and prevent sunlight from reaching the lower branch of your dwarf olive tree. If you are interested in pruning ticks, you can find many tips in our article here.

dwarf olive tree in container
Above: the dwarf olive tree doesn’t require specific skills for shaping or pruning. However, sunlight and good drainage are the most important things while growing a healthy tree.

Common Pests Problems

Like all trees, a dwarf olive tree may be bothered by common pests such as ants, aphids, thrips, and spider mites.

Get rid of ants and spider mites with non-toxic organic powder diatomaceous earth.  Treat aphids and thrips with a hard, firm spray with the hose, or an insecticidal soap such as this one from Garden Safe, available on Amazon.

insecticidal soap
Organic and very effective ants and other bugs killer

Sometimes olive trees get scale insects. If it is a light infestation, you can pick up scale insects with your hand or wash them off with water spray. Another way to fight against these pests is to use a neem oil spray which is one of the most effective and non-harmful treatments for your olive tree.

Try this pure neem oil extract concentrate for safe gardening from Neem Bliss, available from Amazon. As well,  you can read our article on scale insect removal non-toxic methods.

fertilizer for olive tree
This Neem oil completely natural, totally free of chemicals

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Where to Buy Dwarf Olive Trees?

If you are seeking to get a dwarf olive tree, a number of varieties are available online. The good thing about ordering online is that only with few clicks you can get one and it will be delivered directly to your home. If you are interested in the criteria to consider when buying an olive tree you can find our detailed buyer’s guide here.

Otherwise, I will give you few ideas on where to start looking for a dwarf olive tree online in no time.

Arbequina Olive
best olive trees for landscaping
Check out 5 best olive trees for landscaping


Overall dwarf olive trees are a wonderful solution for gardeners who want the convenience and deliciousness of home-picked olive fruit but don’t have space for a large olive tree. When it comes to consuming olives from your tree, you can consider making homemade olive oil by following our guidelines in the article. Or, you can leave the olive fruits in salty water and enjoy as an appetizer during dinner.

As you noticed, these miniature olive trees are fairly easy to care for and can serve a number of purposes in the landscape, or be placed in pots or containers for easy overwintering.

Do you grow small olive trees in pots? Which type of dwarf trees do well in your area? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

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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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6 thoughts on “Dwarf Olive Trees in Pots: Care | Height | Fruits | Pests”

  1. What size pot should I buy for a dwarf fruitless olive tree to grow to 8 ft?

  2. Hi Helena, the general rule is to choose a pot 25% larger than the root ball of your olive tree. So you should take into account not only the root ball but also the height of the tree. For example, for taller olive trees you need a larger pot to keep a balance in case of wind vs a short tree. Also, each time repoting you should trim roots and get rid of dead, damaged roots. Check out my article on how to repot olive trees and how often.

  3. Hi there I have 2 dwarf olive trees , We noticed peacocks spot so we repotted them and noticed their roots were very compacted we loosened them and planted in a mix of John innes no 3 and sand with drainage stones in the bottom of the pot , Sinc then they have Continued to loose many leaves !! Have u any suggestions to help me many thanks vikki

  4. Hi Vikki, water issues may result in olive trees losing leaves. Try to water frequently once it gets dry. Also, fertilize and it should recover slowly but surely. If you stillnotice peacock spots, it can be treated with fungicide. Hope it helps

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