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how to plant olive tree in container or pot

How to Plant Olive Tree in Container or Pot? Useful Tips

Olives make a great specimen tree and add beauty and interest to an outdoor or indoor space. As well, it is easy to grow and plant olive tree in container or pot since they are very adaptive to their new environment.

If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary type of houseplant to add to your collection, or live in a cold climate and want an olive tree, use these tips for planting and growing an olive tree in a container.

Select The Olive Variety

To have olives or not to have olives, that is a good question. Some olive trees a strictly ornamental and will not bear fruit. Ornamentals look the same as fruit-bearing varieties, just without the fruit. These will bloom in spring with clusters of yellowish-white flowers that are sterile. A few olives may develop on an ornamental but they will be small and not edible.

Fruit-producing olive trees will bloom in the spring with a multitude of tiny yellowish-white blooms. The flowers contain both male and female parts so a single tree will bear olives after blooming.

Growing them in containers keeps them smaller, too. If you’re new to growing olives, start with dwarf olive trees in pots known to flourish and fruit well indoors, for example, the most common olive tree variety is to grow Arbequina olive tree in pot

olive tree planted in container
This olive tree with small olives planted in a container is Koroneiki variety – works perfectly as a decoration

Container Choice

Select a large container that is at least 18-inches wide and equally as deep. The olive tree will be pruned and kept small but the roots will still need room to grow with plenty of soil around them for nourishment.

Ceramic containers are good choice because they do not tend to hold water therefore olive trees will not tolerate soggy soil. Also, you can choose a large container made from wood or clay to help wick water away from the tree roots.

The container will need to have several drainage holes in the bottom so water can drain through quickly.

large pots for olive trees
Find out useful info about large pots for olive trees

Container Location

The container will need to be placed in a sunny location that receives at least 6-hours of direct sunlight each day. The location can be indoors or outdoors, depending on the climate.

Olive trees do not like cold weather so during the winter the tree should be brought indoors. However, if the climate is warm and winter weather is mild (never dipping below the freezing mark) then a container-grown olive tree can remain outdoors in a sheltered location year-round.

olive tree planted and growing in container
Move your olive tree planted in container indoors if the winters are harsh in your region

Plant Olive Tree in Container

Here is a quick guide on how to plant olive tree in container or pot and how to

  1. Place a coffee filter inside the container over each drain hole in the bottom. This will prevent soil from leaching out when the water is draining through the soil.
  2. Prepare the soil when planting olive trees: create a growing medium of potting soil and perlite or pea gravel. Use 75-percent potting soil and 25-percent perlite or pea gravel. Perlite is the small white pieces that resemble Styrofoam found in most potting soil mixes and it promotes fast drainage.
  3. Place a couple of inches of the growing medium into the bottom of the container.
  4. Water the tree and gently remove it from the container it was purchased in.
  5. Prune off any roots that are circling the root ball.
  6. You can dip root ball into a homemade natural rooting hormone for a better root establishment though it is not essential.
  7. Sit root ball in the new container and add more growing medium until the top of the root ball is 1-inch (2.5 cm) above the new planting container.
  8. Add growing medium to fill in all the gaps in the container.
  9. Add a 1-inch (2.5 cm) layer of organic mulch on top of the soil to prevent any weed seeds from germinating.
best soil for olive trees in pots
Read about best soil for olive trees in pots

Re-Potting

An olive tree grown in a container will need to be re-potted every few years to prevent it from becoming root-bound. Re-pot the tree in the spring into a slightly larger container using all the planting steps outlined above.

repot olive trees
Read about best time to repot and how to repot olive tree

Food And Water

Olive trees need very little food and water to thrive. In spring a cup of compost or other organic plant food can be added to the top of the soil.

Water the olive tree only when the soil is dry 6-inches below the soil surface. It’s better to under-water an olive tree than to over-water it.

Watch our video on how to water olive trees in pots

Prune Olive Tree

Prune your olive trees in pots lightly each year instead of severely pruning the tree every few years. Prune branches that have grown from the foot of the tree or along the trunk, and those that point downwards.

prune olive trees in pots
Check our tips on how to prune olive trees

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Conclusion on Olive Tree Planting in Container

In general, planting and growing an olive tree isn’t that difficult. As long as you provide their basic needs, growing olives can be a very rewarding experience.

Furthermore, you can plant olive tree in container or pot at any time of year as long as it’s the mild climate. In cold regions ensure moving olive trees indoors for winter.

In case you don’t know where to start and are looking to purchase an olive tree, check out our complete guide on what to look for when buying an olive tree.

Good luck with planting and growing your olive trees! Join olive tree growers Facebook group and let us know how it goes!

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