After letting your beautiful olive trees in pots spend the summer outside, you should ensure moving olive trees indoors for winter before cold freeze arrives. But there is more to it than just placing your loved trees back in your sunniest living room corner.
Olive trees come from tropical regions or Mediterranean-like climate zone, so they thrive especially well when you place them outside during summer to soak up some extra humidity and warmth. Not only it’s vital to gradually move potted olive trees outdoors in spring to avoid problems like sunburn but also important to prepare your trees correctly prior to moving them to indoors conditions. For this reason, in this article I explained moving olive trees indoors for the winter process for you in 10 steps, and here’s how to bring your olive tree inside again once temperatures start dropping. Suitable for all types of olive trees: regular, dwarf, Arbequina, Koroneiki, and others.
What is Best Time to Move Olive Tree Indoors?
You will want to make sure moving olive trees indoors for winter before the temperature goes down below 45°F (= 7°C). Ideally, you should start to acclimate your potted olive tree at the beginning of September. As well, the beginning of the tree acclimatization period depends on the temperature in your region.
However, if you have mild short winters in your region, you may leave your olive trees outside and take good winter care for your potted tree.
How to Move Olive Trees Inside for Winter?
So, if winters in your region are harsh and the temperature drops below the survival level for your olive tree, then you may consider moving your potted olive tree indoors. And here are 10 steps to up odds to your favor.
1. Acclimate your outdoor potted olive tree to the environmental change
Before moving olive trees indoors for winter, leave the tree in direct sun during the mornings and move it to shade in the afternoons for a couple of weeks. Continue this about a month before the first forecasted frost in your area. Then leave it completely shaded for two weeks.
2. Blast the olive tree with the garden hose to remove any unseen pests
While the great outdoors provides your olive tree with plenty of humidity and warmth over the summer, it can also expose them to more pests. Aphids, scale, and spider mites are common indoor olive tree pests.
Before bringing it inside for the winter, first, check the olive tree for pests problems. Then spray the foliage and stem thoroughly with insecticidal soap just in case to pick off any bugs you may have missed. And allow the tree to drip dry. The insecticidal soap will kill most pests on the spot. Even if you don’t spot any bugs, wash off your plants with a strong spray of water from the garden hose just in case. As well, you can find very useful information on how to get rid of scale insects in a non-toxic way here.
3. Position the olive tree in the sunniest room in your home
Even though your olive tree is resting, it still needs as much bright natural sunlight as possible. Your olive tree will thrive best with at least eight hours of bright light daily. For this reason, place your olive tree in the sunniest spot you have. Due to days get very short in winter, you might want to consider supplementing natural light with grow lights.
4. Create extra humidity if the air is much dryer
Mediterranean-like climates typically bring humidity. But a heated house can become like vacuum-sealed space – flat and very dry. So, put a shallow plant tray of pebbles rocks under the olive tree’s pot to give the plant the extra humidity it needs indoors. Then, cover the pebbles rocks partially with water. This is especially effective if you can set the container atop a radiator or in front of a heating vent to increase the rate of evaporating. Always remember, do not allow the bottom of the pot to sit in water.
As well, use a humidifier or mist your potted olive trees daily, especially if you notice leaf tips turning brown or crispy.
5. Give it a fresh air breeze
Your potted olive tree is outdoors most of the time. So it’s bound to miss the fresh air, and regular window opening for a breeze to come helps your olive tree to enjoy the winter indoors. As well, set up an electric fan in the room where your potted olive tree is wintering.
6. Water your indoor olive tree just enough from completely drying out
Water thoroughly when the soil is dry 2 to 3 inches (= 5cm to 7 cm) deep, just enough to keep the root ball from completely drying out. And don’t let the soil of your potted olive tree to become soggy or wet. Just as with many plants, checking the moistness of soil of your olive tree with a moisture meter is a good indicator of whether it needs a drink of water.
7. Feed the potted olive tree with a balanced liquid fertilizer
Like many potted plants, an olive tree in a container needs to be fertilized regularly due to pot limitation. So, nourish the olive tree’s foliage with a balanced liquid fertilizer with micronutrients once monthly throughout the winter. Spray the foliage liberally to coat all surfaces well and it will protect from pests too. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
8. Wash the olive tree’s leaf surfaces with a soft, damp cloth weekly
This will go a long way toward preventing pest infestations which is one of the most common problems with olive trees in pots. Spray with insecticidal soap and treat the tree periodically, if necessary, while it winters inside your home. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for application frequency.
9. Use clean, sharp shears to prune out dead or damaged branches
Do it immediately after the last expected frost for your area. Furthermore, you may want to prune branches rubbing or crossing over each for better air circulation. As well, you can snip some tips off to shape the olive tree to your taste. However, indoor and backyard olive trees require minimal pruning during winter.
10. Transition your olive tree to the outdoors
With the arrival of warm spring days, you can gradually let your olive tree out to play for a couple of hours per day. Increase their recess time as the days get warmer over a four week period. Afterward, let it spend the following two weeks in full sun during the morning and in the shade during the hot hours. Locate your olive tree in a pot to its sunny summer spot thereafter.
Prior to transitioning your olive tree outside, check if it roots have enough space in the pot. And if you notice some roots going out through drainage holes, consider re-potting it straightaway as spring is the best time to re-pot plants.
Things You Will Need for Moving Olive Trees Indoors
- Insecticidal soap
- Garden hose
- Electric fan
- Plant tray
- Pebbles rocks
- Moisture meter
- Grow lights
- Balanced liquid fertilizer
The bottom line is that you should never guess moving olive trees indoors for winter if the temperature drops below 45°F (= 7°C). As an olive tree grower, you need to know key requirements to keep your tree healthy and thriving over the winter. Otherwise, you can keep your potted tree outdoors and you can check our guidelines on olive trees winter care.
Hopefully, this article: 10 steps moving olive trees indoors for winter is helpful to prepare your olive tree and sustain it over the freezing winter. With few efforts, your olive tree will enjoy winter indoors, brings you olive harvest, and keeps thriving in the spring showing you new growths.
Is your olive tree prepared to move in for winter? Let us know how your potted olive tree acclimatizes and grows during winter. Don’t forget to share some pictures.
As well, if you are not ready to nurture an olive tree this winter, you can always adopt an olive tree in Greece. In this way, you support local Greek family olive grove farming and in return, you receive premium Kalamata olive oil. Check out Oliviada available packages: