If you are planning to grow an olive tree, you may be curious about what is the olive tree growth rate to be sure where to place it. Generally speaking, olive trees grow to full maturity quite slowly, at most 2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) of new growth a year. As well, olive trees planted in the ground grows faster than olive trees in pots.
To be more precise, for the first year, you won’t see much growth at all, since the olive tree will be adjusting to the shock of transplanting. Expect to see the best growth in the second to the third year. Afterward, the olive tree will reach a steady yearly growth up until maturity.
Olive Tree Growth Rate by Inches / Centimeters
The below table shows the common olive tree growth rates (Olea europaea) whether you plant it in a pot or in the ground. The mature Olea europaea olive tree can reach up to 20 -30 ft (6 – 9 m) height at age 12 – 15 years.
|Olive Tree Age||Growth Rate per Year||Description|
|1st year||1 – 2 inches (2.5 – 5 cm)||Slow Growth due to the shock of transplanting|
|2nd & 3rd year||2 – 6 inches (5 – 15 cm)||Best Growth of an olive tree in the proportion of its size; can grow the double size on 2nd year|
|4th year onwards||2 – 12 inches (5 – 30 cm)||Steady Growth until olive tree mature (up to 12 – 15 years)|
|5th – 7th year||2 – 12 inches (5 – 30 cm)||First Fruit Growth|
This table gives a core structure of olive tree growth, not keeping in mind water shoots or suckers coming out super fast from branches or pruning cuts.
Experiment About Olive Tree Growth Rate Including Results
More than 5 years ago my cousin and I did the experiment on growing 2 wild olive trees and testing their growth rates.
First, we planted 2 wild olive trees (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) in spring: they both were approx. 1.5 feet (45 cm) tall with roots grown from cuttings. One wild olive tree was planted next to the house with some shadow during the day, another one was planted 65 feet (20 meters) away next to a will.
Then, after 1 year we compared growth results of these olive trees. Sadly I dont have pictures of this experiment have taken 5 years back, but here I can provide a table with metrics and our findings:
|Wild Olive Trees||Size When Planted||Size After 1 Year||Appearance Description|
|Olive Tree #1 Planted Next to the House||1.5 feet (45 cm)||5.5 feet (1.8 m) tall||More wild and messy; branches grew all over the place like seeking a sun.|
|Olive Tree #2 Planted Away from a House Next to a Will||1.5 feet (45 cm)||2 feet (60 cm) tall||More compact and bushy; had a fuller thicker branch and leaf structure. More healthy appearance|
To summarize this experiment, we went to the conclusion, that those 2 wild olive trees had a totally different growing experience and conditions that resulted in different growth rates. Olive tree #1 had less sun and was spreading its branches to reach most of the sun it could. While olive tree #2 was growing close to water resources and had full-day sunlight, as a result, it grew compact structure and thick branches and stem.
For a healthy steady growth olive trees need full day of sunlight and accessible water resources.
Olive Tree Growth Rate Factors
Most important to note that many factors affect an olive tree growth rate. Here are listed the main factors to consider:
Olive Tree Variety
Different olive tree varieties will grow different sizes. Some olive trees can reach up to 52 feet (16m) height, others will be smaller size draft olive trees in pots.
Example: one of the most popular olive tree varieties for olive oil is Koroneiki tree that average grows height is 15 -20 fee (4.5 – 6 m).
Location / Climate Zone
The location of an olive tree determines the climate that the tree grows in. In general, olive trees grow best and faster in the warm, full of sun Mediterranean climate or subtropical zones. In contrast, olive trees in northern latitudes usually grow a lot more slowly.
Olive Tree Placement
The placement of the olive tree can also be considered in a site-specific context. An olive tree that is growing in the shade may grow more slowly than an olive tree that is thriving in open sunlight a few meters away. An olive tree growing at the top of a hill may grow faster or more slowly than a similar tree of the same species at the bottom of the hill.
The best soil for olive trees to grow olive is well draining, full with minerals.
Regular Care and Maintenance
Regular watering, fertilizing and pruning should be assured for a steady olive tree growth. Check out our guide on how to care for olive trees.
If you keep an olive tree in a pot, it may slow down growth if roots are heavily bounded and don’t have space to “breath”. As to avoid it, repot your tree once in a couple of years by following this guide when is the best time to report olive trees.
As well, find out what other problems with olive trees may affect your olive tree growth.
Tips on How to Make Your Olive Tree Grow Fast
- Ensure lots of sun and well-draining soil for the best olive tree growth rate. If possible, create the Mediterranean like climate zone at your home.
- Do not feed the olive tree for the first year, and when you do, use a slow-release, low analysis nitrogenous fertilizer.
- Light pruning after the first year is recommended to correct structural problems and shape your olive tree the way you want.
- To improve a fruit yield for a better harvest, you can speed the growth somewhat by carefully pruning the tree during its first five years, to create a strong, straight central trunk.
- People who are more interested in the ornamental value of the olive tree may prefer to make a bonsai olive tree or let the tree grow naturally.
Grab Essentials for Your Olive Tree
We have selected highly customers recommended available products on Amazon:
- Sonkir Soil Moisture Meter 3-in-1
- Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix
- TreeHelp Premium Fertilizer for Olive
Last update on 2021-05-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Conclusion on Olive Tree Growth Rate
Sunshine, quick-draining soil, airflow, infrequent deep watering, and seasonal feeding are the keys to the faster olive tree growth rate. In case you live up North, bring your olive tree indoors to enjoy some warmth during cold seasons to ensure stable growth.
One more thing, the growth speed and final height of the olive tree will depend on the rootstock upon which the top of the plant is grafted. So if you really want to learn the specifics of your olive tree, refer back to the nursery where you bought the plant and see what they tell you.
Check out 20 tips on how to grow olive trees in pots indoors!
Join our Facebook community: Olive Tree Growers and Enthusiasts