Olive Tree Lifespan | How to Extend Life Cycle of Olive Tree

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Nowadays more and more people are growing olive trees in their backyards or in a living room because they’re evergreen and gorgeous, and the olive fruit they produce are not only fun to eat but deliver multiple health benefits.

If you’re growing or are looking to get one, most probably you are interested in the olive tree lifespan and what you can do to get as many years as possible from your tree. Let’s find out!

Olive Tree Lifespan

The average lifespan of olive trees is 300 – 500 years. With proper care, disease prevention practices, and the Mediterranean-like climate, a vigorous olive tree can live over 1000 years.

Diseases and pests can shorten the life of an olive tree, but good care leads to a strong, healthy tree less susceptible to diseases.

olive trees average life is 300 years
These are my family’s Koroneiki olive trees over 300 years in Kalamata region, Greece

Tips to Extend Life Cycle of Olive Tree

Here are a few tips to help you extend the life of your olive tree:

* Plant olive trees in a location with eight or more hours of direct sunlight each day. Choose a site with sandy, well-drained soil most suitable for olive trees.

* Water the olive tree often enough to keep the soil from drying out until it is well-established in its new home. An established olive tree has silver-green foliage, and it shows signs of new growth. Once established, the olive tree only needs water during prolonged dry spells.

* Fertilize the olive tree with a nitrogen focus or olive-balanced fertilizer. This type of fertilizer provides everything an olive tree needs, including all of the essential micronutrients. Check out the best olive tree fertilizer here.

* Prune the olive tree a wine glass or cup shape to allow sunlight to reach the trunk and let some breeze in. Watch the olive tree for broken or diseased branches and prune to remove problems as they occur.

* In addition to full-day sunlight, olive trees require a winter that lasts at least three months, during which temperatures range from 35 to 60°F (1.7 to 15.5°C).

Overall, the olive tree life cycle is simple. Depending on the olive variety, two to five years after planting, the olive trees bloom with fragrant flowers capable of fertilization. Most olive varieties are self-pollinating and hold both male and female flowers. Though wind and bees are the primary pollinators, and if pollination is successful, the trees bear olive fruits.

The olive tree reaches its maximum olive fruit production when its 50th year on average.

how do olives grow
Learn more about olive tree growth cycle

Potted Olive Tree Lifespan (in Container or Pot)

Olive trees can live almost as long in pots or containers as in the ground if regular care and essential tree needs are met. For example, with special care and proper irrigation, bonsai olive tree lifespan can reach thousand years (no matter the fact it is planted in very shallow containers with no space for root system development). 

* For long container life, repot the olive tree into a larger container every one to two years. It is important to use fresh soil when planting an olive tree in a new pot. Depending on the olive variety, when it reaches its maximum size, it won’t need a larger pot but it still needs fresh soil.

shaping central leader olive trees
With excellent care, potted olive trees can overgrow several generations

If you are interested in more information on potted olive tree care, read my article about how to grow olive trees indoors with 20 great tips included.

5 best olive trees for indoors feature
Learn 5 Best Types for Indoors Olive Tree

Generic FAQs

How Long Do Olive Trees Live in Cold Climate?

Olive trees go dormant in winter when temperatures drop to 35 to 60°F (1.7 to 15.5°C). The freezing weather, however, damages the olive fruit at 26 to 50°F (-3 to 10°C). Young olive trees are also damaged and may die during frosts, while mature trees can survive for 10 hours in temperatures below 15°F  (-9°C ).

How Long Do Olive Trees Live Indoors?

With the right care and proper maintenance, an indoor olive tree lifespan is over 100 years. Specific dwarf varieties of olive trees can thrive indoors as long as their basic soil, light, and water needs are met.

Can Olive Tree Live Over 2000 Years?

Yes. There are live examples of olive trees over 2000 years in the world. For example, the olive tree of Vouves in Crete, Greece is older than 2000 years. The al-Badawi olive tree in Israel is considered to be over 4000 years.

Final Thoughts

Olive trees are extremely hardy trees. They can grow back from near-death or after being chopped completely to the ground. Even though if you have problems with olive trees in pots or in-ground, they are relatively easy to fix. Thankfully to olive trees’ genetics, they are very resistant trees to diseases and pests.

All these and other facts explain their long life span. Happy growing these ancient spectacular trees!

Also, if you are interested to adopt an Olive Tree in Greece instead of buying and planting one in your home environment, we have few Olive Tree Adoption packages to suggest to you. Check it out: 

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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.14400 140091914400

4 thoughts on “Olive Tree Lifespan | How to Extend Life Cycle of Olive Tree”

  1. I had to use this for a plants of the Bible project it was so helpful. thank you so much :)

  2. I have an olive tree I planted around 20 years ago, in a concrete pot around 40cm x 40cm x 40cm, it has been healthy for almost the whole time but is looking a bit tired (it is mid summer here) I havent watered or fertilised it for 15 years. Any suggestions on keeping this alive? Should I fertilise it? Water it regularly? I feel like a good fertilising might keep it going for another decade, they seem to be like cacti. It does produce a good yield of olives every year, but not really knowing what to do with them I usually leave them to nature.

  3. Vangelis Kleft

    Hi Leon,
    Your olive tree sounds like it’s been a real trooper, thriving in its concrete pot with minimal intervention from you for so long! Given it’s looking a bit tired now in the midst of summer, a little TLC could indeed do wonders. Olive trees, much like cacti, are pretty resilient but they do appreciate some care, especially when they’re living in a pot.
    Starting with a bit more water would be a good idea, especially during these hot months. They don’t need a flood, just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.
    And yes, a bit of fertilizing could go a long way. After 15 years without it, your olive tree might enjoy a nutrient boost. A balanced fertilizer should do the trick.
    You’ve mentioned it’s been in the same pot for a long time. While olive trees are quite adaptable, changing the top layer of soil with some fresh, nutrient-rich soil might give it that extra pep it’s been missing.
    Pruning isn’t just for looks; it helps the tree stay healthy by getting rid of any dead or overcrowded branches. Plus, it can make harvesting those olives a bit easier, should you decide to do something with them.

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