how often to water olive trees indoors & how much

How Often to Water Olive Trees Indoors? And How Much?

If you are new to growing an olive tree indoors, it can initially seem daunting to understand how often you should be watering this beautiful tree and how much. Both too much and too little water can lead to leaf loss, cause many problems with olive trees in pots and eventually kill an olive tree. Also, maintaining proper soil moisture is critical in sustaining your olive tree’s health while discouraging wet diseases such as fungal infections and root rot.

So how often to water olive trees indoors? Though it varies depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, location, the size of an olive tree in relation to its pot and tree maturity, a potted olive tree indoors should be watered thoroughly about once every 5 days, or when the soil is dry to the touch 2 inches (5 cm) below the surface.

Read on my few guidelines to develop easily and maintain a watering schedule that will keep your potted olive tree indoors happy and healthy for years to come.

Indoor Olive Tree Watering Frequency

Most indoor olive tree growers water their potted trees once every 3 – 7 days. Currently, I water my small indoor olive tree in a pot once per week. But this watering frequency may be different for you dependent on the temperature in your home, season, pot, and olive tree size.

Factors such as temperature, location, humidity, and tree size can affect the frequency of how often to water olive trees indoors. So here in this table, I listed the most common scenarios to go through when deciding about potted olive tree watering frequency at your home:

Indoor Olive Tree ConditionsWatering Frequency
Growth SeasonWeekly
Hot Summer SeasonEvery 3 – 5 Days
Winter (Dormant) SeasonOnce per 3 – 4 weeks
Just Planted Olive TreeEvery 3 – 5 days for the first year
Mature Olive TreeEvery 2 weeks
Olive tree is pot boundEvery 3 – 5 days
Soil type: well-draining, sandyWeekly
Soil type: dense clay soilBi-weekly
Table 1. Shows how often to water olive trees indoors

Note indoor olive tree watering frequency may change over time. But if you are attentive to the signs and check the soil moisture regularly, it will be easy to tell and adjust your olive tree watering schedule accordingly.

Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil of your potted olive tree. If the soil of your olive tree is dry to the touch 2 inches (5 cm) below the surface, it’s time to water. For a more accurate way to test the soil moisture, use a moisture meter (you can get one very cheap on Amazon, here is a link).

moisture meter for olive trees in pots complete guidelines on how to use it
Learn how to read a moisture meter for olive trees

After few weeks of tracking how often you water olive trees indoors based upon soil dryness, you will be able to refine a proper interval range when to water the olive tree and set up a regular watering schedule.

How Much Water Indoor Olive Tree Needs?

Each time an indoor olive tree needs water at least 20% of the volume of the pot.

Olive Tree Pot Size How much water does it need (in Litre / Gallon)?
1 Litre / 0.26 Gallon200 ml (glass of water) / 0.05 gal
5 Litres / 1.3 Gallons1 L / 0.26 gal
10 Litres / 2.6 Gallons2 L / 0.5 gal
25 Litres  / 6.6 Gallons5 L / 1.3 gal
Table 2. Shows how much water potted olive tree indoors needs
water well your olive tree regularly
I give a glass of water to this little olive tree weekly basis. I deep water it in a balcony in case water leaks from drainage holes

Factors That Affect Indoor Olive Tree in Pot Water Needs

You should expect the amount of water your potted olive tree uses to change intensely from summer to winter and according to the environment.

So here I listed several factors that affect indoor potted olive tree water needs and frequency.

Temperature at Your Home

The higher the air temperature the more often your potted olive tree should be watered, because it will be evaporating more (or ‘breathing’ more).

Location

If your olive tree sits next to a southern window with a full day of direct sunlight, it will ask for more frequent watering versus the olive tree growing in partly shadow or in the darkest room.

Humidity

If the humidity is low, the rate of evaporation of the water is much faster, and the soil of your potted olive tree will dry faster.

Air Movements

If you keep your olive tree near the open window with lots of wind or draft around, so your tree will need more water and it will need to be watered more often.

5 best olive trees indoors to grow
Water your olive tree more frequent during hot summer and little during winter

Tree and Pot Size

The larger or more mature the olive tree is, the more water it will need to sustain its larger size.

If your olive tree is very big in relation to the size of the pot, then the amount of water the pot hold will be absorbed much faster. Consequently, the olive tree requires water very frequently, and thus it is more likely to dry out faster.

If an olive tree is multiple times higher than a pot and gets pot bound, the watering becomes more frequent or you should consider repotting your tree into a bigger pot (check out Best Time to Repot Olive Trees).

Seasonal Changes

In the hotter months, your olive tree is likely to use water more quickly. It is therefore important to adapt your watering routine as the seasons change, with more water in summer and less in winter. So be wary of under-watering in the spring and overwatering in the autumn.

Soil Type

Olive trees generally like well-drained, slightly acidic soil but they do grow well in a variety of soils.

So if your olive tree grows in dense clay soil which takes longer to drain, then reduce the watering frequency and make sure the soil is drained well prior to watering in order to prevent root rot (see Best Soil for Olive Trees).

Water Olive Tree Indoors Deeply

Use a deep watering method and water your indoor olive tree thoroughly until the water begins to drain out the bottom of the pot. If you’d like more information about deep watering methods for trees, feel free to check out my recent post: water requirements for olive trees.  

5 Tips On Water Requirements For Olive Trees in Pots
Check out 5 tips on water requirements & a deep watering method.

It is better to water olive tree indoors with deep, infrequent watering sessions than with more frequent sprinklings. If you do not water your olive tree deeply but rather with shallow frequent waterings, it is likely the water will only reach the top of the roots.

Also, water evaporates much more quickly from the top of the soil, which means the olive tree is more likely to suffer from the symptoms of underwatering, even if you are watering it regularly.

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Generic FAQs

Should I Mist My Indoor Olive Tree?

Growing potted olive trees in an indoor environment, the relative humidity is likely much lower. So by misting your potted olive tree can help reduce loss of moisture and help prevent leaves from drying out.
You can use a mist spray or use a humidifier that will raise the humidity level in your home and will help your olive tree to retain the moisture it needs.

Does Indoor Olive Tree A Lot Of Water?

No, a potted indoor olive tree needs at least 20% of the volume of the pot. If your olive tree pot is 5 Litres (1.3 gallons), then you need to give 1 Litre (0.26 gallons) of water on a weekly basis.

Can Indoors Olive Trees Get Too Much Water?

Yes, if you water too much and too frequently, the soil is constantly wet, the air pockets are filled with water and your olive tree becomes overwatered. Consequently, the olive tree has a limited oxygen supply and is not able to breathe. It can result in root rot and damage to the olive tree.  

Final Thoughts

When it comes to watering indoor olive trees, the goal is to keep the eye on soil moisture while not letting it get overwatered or underwater. 

During a heatwave, you can move your potted olive tree in a shade during the hottest part of the day. Mulching and sufficient soil moisture are also key in helping olive tree regulate their temperature.

When it is wintertime, stay away from watering indoor olive trees too often, unless the tropic conditions are created in your home environment.

When in doubt, mimic nature. By providing conditions as similar as possible to the native Mediterranean environment, you’re making the indoor olive trees more comfortable and allowing them to focus on thriving and fruit production instead of struggling to survive.

If you’d like more information about caring for indoor olive trees, feel free to check out my recent post: 

how to grow olive tree indoors
Check out 20 useful tips on how to grow olive trees indoors

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