Olive tree is one of the most beautiful and valuable trees that could be grown at home. If there is some empty space in your home, especially in your garden, using it to grow Olive is a very nice choice, as it could not only beautify your home, but also serve you with a good amount of oil, which is used for the preparation of many foods in the kitchen. To grow Olive tree at home is not as hard as people assume, in fact it’s simple.

To grow Olive tree at home, get the seeds, sow them in the garden and water them till they germinate, or sow them in a pot filled with good loamy soil and water them till they germinate, then transplant them to the garden. Then take care of them till they mature.

Olive tree is a tree that is between 25 to 40 feet in height, depending on the variety.

It produce a fruit that contains oil which is used for cooking and other things.

It is in the family of Oleaceae and is said to have originated from the Mediterraneans, but it is very popular in some States in the USA such as Carlifornia, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Huwaii etc.

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This tree requires a warm temperature of about 45°F as well as about 200 hours of winter temperatures, nothing below about 20°F.

At about 17°F, the leaf and stem will start getting damaged, and when the temperature gets at about 10°F, the tree is very likely to die.

Apart from planting with the seed, the tree could also grow from the root of a dead olive tree.

To be very honest, growing Olive tree or trees at home could be very fun and beautiful, so let’s dive into the whole details or guide on how to grow Olive tree or trees at home.

VARIETIES OF OLIVE TREE TO GROW AT HOME

There are many varieties of olive that you can grow at home, which I will explain some below.

The overall purpose of mentioning and explaining some of the varieties is to help enlighten you and also help you make your choice on the variety that is most applicable to you and your environment, some of them are:

Amfissa Olive: This variety of olive do produce a brownish and purple fruits and it’s from central Grece.

They are in both green and black forms and they are brine cured to a mild fruity flavor.

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This type of Olive tree could produce up to a 100 pounds of fruits per session.

Arbequina Olive: This type of Olive “Arbequina” is said to originate from Catalonia (Spain).

It’s fruits are small and light brown in color, and possess a firm texture with a mild fruity taste.

It makes a good fruity and tasty oil and is very suitable for growing indoors in a container with good number of pruning per annum.

This variety could grow up to at least 10 feet in height.

Alfonso Olive: Alfonso variety of Olive is a large, purple and very beautiful olive which originated from Chile.
This variety of Olive produce fruit that is brine-cured and then macerated in red wine and vinegar until they are juicy, soft and tangy.
This type of Olive thrive in dry and almost a dessert like place.

Beldi Olive : This Moroccan olive’s fruit are very bitter and is almost impossible to take raw, they are cured by many several ways, before they become edible.

Beldi Olive is very surplus in oil and it’s appearance looks very dry.

Although it is small in size, but has a good flavor and is chewy. Although this olive can be very hard to find due to the fact that Morocco does not export many of its olives.

Castelvetrano Olive: This bright green type of Olive known as “Castelvetrano” olive is from Sicily in Italy, it is made from the “Nocerella del Belice” olive.

It posses a mild flavor and buttery texture. This Variety is considered one of the best table olives and is very popular worldwide.

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This Olive trees are not grown from seed. They are either started from root or branch cuttings or are grafted onto other rootstock or trees.
This Olive tree tend to be self-pollinating, however, planting two varieties will improve pollination and productivity.

Manzanilla Olive: This variety is large and green and it originated from Spain.

They are the ubiquitous green olive but they are very delicious when eaten. They are not very hard to find because the trees are so productive and so it has many seeds which geminate in many places.

These are brine-cured and often stuffed with pimientos or tossed with olive oil and garlic.

However, they can be very prone to damage from cold weather and the diseases olive knot and Verticillium Wilt.

Gordal Olive: The Gordal olive variety is from Spain, it is a large, firm, chubby olive that is a snack unto itself. It’s flesh is very soft.

This Olive is a “drupe,” meaning it is a freashy and meaty fruit which has it’s seeds at the center right inside it.

It is preserved in olive oil and many times in red wine or red wine vinegar. The flavor is very smoky and fruity.

It is a good choice for any recipe calling for a black olive.

Mission Olives etc.

HOW TO PLANT OLIVE TREE AT HOME

To grow Olive tree or trees at home, there are two methods to go about it, which are:

Growing them indoors and growing them in the home Garden ( outdoors).

To grow Olive tree or trees in the home Garden ( outdoors) some preparations has to be made which includes getting the site ready.

To prepare the garden, it needs to be cleared off bush and weeds if there is any and the trees inside the garden cutdown to allow full penetration of sunlight.

The tools needed for this work are Cutlass, shovel, and wheelbarrow.

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When the work is complete. Then get the olive seeds and proceed to plant.

Make holes in the garden, depending on the number of trees you want to grow.

Note – there are some verieties that are not self pollinating, so you need to grow their pollinator variety with them too, and also the pollinator tree helps the self pollinating Varieties to give more yields than they will normally give.

After making the holes on where to plant the trees, then sow the seeds and cover the holes with sand.

The seeds are to be sown one per hole and a space of about 15 to 20 feet given to them because it has been proven that the olive tree give more fruits when they have enough space.

This totally depends on the size of the garden involved!. If the garden is not very large, you might consider growing the dwarf variety so that it won’t contain much land space.

The perfect time to plant the seeds of this tree is in spring or at the end of the winter to avoid getting them out in the cold weather condition and also avoid summer too because at this time, the weather is hot and could kill the seeds.

This tree Could be grown indoors with the help of pot and later transplanted to the garden or be left indoors for some years.

Olive plant indoors

Olive plant indoors

If you are growing it indoors for the purpose of transplanting later in the garden, then get a pot and fill it with loamy soil.

One good thing about this plant is it tolerates different kinds of loamy soil, be it clay loam, clit loam, etc. So get any loamy soil into the pot and make sure the soil is rich in organic matter.

The soil this tree could dwell on should contain a soil pH of 5 to 7.

And also the pot should have the ability to self drain, and make small holes at it’s bottom to help the drainage process too.

Then sow the seeds and water them for at least 2 times a week, till they sprout or germinate, then upgrade to 3 times per week untill they are ready to be transplanted to the garden.

To transplant, get the pot or pots into the garden, make holes that are equivalent to both the size of the trees and it’s roots, then bring out the young trees and transplant them by getting them into the holes you made in your garden.

To bring out the trees from their pots, you need to be very careful, unless you break or damage their root, which am very sure you don’t want. To avoid this mistake, use a pot that has a removable bottom, so that it could be very easy to the the trees out or use small shovel to uproot them in the pot or just pour out the sand and the trees out from the pot by turning it upside down carefully.

In which ever method you chose to get the trees out of the pot, be careful when doing it as young Olive tree is very fragile.

Pour the sand too in the holes after the transplant and pile the sand up at the bottom of the plants at least 2 inches high.

Apart from growing indoors to be transplanted at the appropriate time to the home Garden, many people though prefer leaving the tree in the house to grow.

This is very possible with the dwarf varieties and also with the varieties that does not bear fruits.

Although this method of growing Olive tree at home ( in the house) requires to be pruned always. Although it should be the dwarf cultivars, but it should be pruned always to avoid being tattered and growing to the ceiling and also it should have full access to the sunlight, so keeping it at the window sill is very considerable this time.

One sad thing about growing Olive in the house permanently is it’s not that permanent, because the tree can only stay indoor in your house for about 6 or 8 years.

CARE OF OLIVE PLANTS AT HOME

After successfully planting the olive trees, the next step is to take care of them till they are matured enough and even beyond that.

Olive tree take a long time to mature and start growing fruits ( for the cultivars that do grow fruits), it takes between 5 to 7 years, depending on the variety though.

Before this time when it will be ready to be harvesting, enough care needs to be given, despite that Olive is not like other trees or plants that are very susceptible to diseases, pest and even weed etc.

Some of the important care required by this tree are:

Pruning: Take it or leave it, pruning is very important in olive tree in many ways.

If you are growing this tree indoors permanently, you seriously need to be pruning the tree from time to time so that it will keep in shape, be more beautiful and also to avoid over growing and getting to the ceiling.

Pruning is not only important to olive plants in the house, it’s also important to those being grown in the home Garden too. To keep in shape, give good yields and to control the diseases ( if any), then pruning is very necessary.

As we all know, olive is a beautiful plant, and it is sometimes grown not only for the fruits, but to beautify the home, so without enough pruning to the ones in the garden, it won’t give that magnificent look that is required.

Pruning is more important in the early 4 or 5 years of it’s life.

Watering: Water is very important in every living thing and olive plant is not exempted.

Olive requires water, but not very much, unlike other plants.

It thrives more on a well drained soil than on a wet land.

The best climate condition to grow Olive plant is where there is moderate rainfall and more of warm weather, so avoid growing at a place where there is much rainfall and cold, that’s why it’s not advisable to grow it in the cold temperature below 30°F.

To water this plant, provide it with at least 4 inches of water at least 2 or 3 times per week.

During the rainy season, don’t water it or you risk it being over-watered.

Provide a Drainage System: A good drainage system is as important as water, if you want your plant or plants to grow healthy and produce healthy fruits also.

As I have mentioned numerous times in this article, too much water is not good for this plant, so this made it necessary for the amount of water being stored in the garden to be controlled.

Construct small gutters in the garden and channel them elsewhere. This will enable much rainfall escape from the gutters and avoid storing in the soil.

Exposing to Full Sunlight: Another important way to take proper care of olive plant is to expose it to full access to Sunlight because it is important for it’s growth.

When growing this plant indoors, you need to keep it in a place where the sun could reach it, that’s why I suggested keeping it at the window sill.

Fertilizer/Manure: Although bit requires Fertilizer or manure, but not in the way other plants do because it only requires a minimal amount of it.

When the plant is newly transplanted to the garden, it does not require Fertilizer or manure immediately, it need to be left alone to master the soil without any form of Fertilizer or manure.

After 6 months or maybe a year, depending on the type of soil and it’s nutrients, a Fertilizer or manure could be applied.

It does require nitrogen and a compost of some organic Fertilizers could provide it with that.

It should be provided with Fertilizer once per year or twice, depending on the type of soil involved.

Mulch: Mulch is a healthy act on olive plants. This act is needed by the tree when it is small or when transplanted earlier.

This is because it protects the roots and stem of the young plant from pests and very hot sun or weather condition and also it helps to retain the water in the soil and also cool it, especially in the dry season.

To apply mulch, get good quantity of green leaves and heap them around the plant, leaving only the leaves of the plant and the top visible to the sun.

Green leaves is the only Fertilizer ( compost) that could be applied to this plant inform of mulch at it’s early stage because it contains nitrogen which the plant need.

Weeding: Weed by any means should be avoided if you want the plant to thrive to it’s full potential because weed grow up to compete with the plant by sucking off the soil nutrients and water which the plant require to develop itself and give good yields.

Apart from the competition, weeds do habour pests which could attack the olive plant.

To get ride of weed, fumigate the garden with herbicide before planting the olive tree or trees or spray the chemical when the weeds have started growing.

If you want to weed manually, do it with hoe and avoid hurting the trees as it could breed diseases to them. At least 5 feet around the trees should be cleared off weed.

Pest Control: Olive tree is not totally free from pests, although unlike other trees, pests do not pose a grave danger to it and it has fewer pests.

To control them is very simple, use neem oil, hose connected with water to blast Infected parts or prune the infected part.

California olive growers as a case of study have suffered alot by the infestation of the olive fruit fly, which lays its eggs inside the developing fruit thereby destroying it.

The total control of this pest “fruit flies” is hard compared to other olive pests.

To be on a safer side, it is best to practice clean gardening and prevent it from ever infesting your plant or plants.

There is a fly traps, but to my research and experience, it is not very reliable, but it do help alot.

Olive tree could also be infested by olive anthracnose. This is a fungal disease.

This is where fungicide comes into play. treat the infected parts with fungicide.

As I have mentioned, water could be of great help to cure olive trees off these pests, especially the flies by connecting a hose to water tap and blasting the pests with water.

HARVEST

Although this tree takes time to grow and mature to the level of having fruits. At about 5 or 6 years, depending on the cultivars, it will start growing fruits and when it does, then the fruits should be harvested, which is the most exciting part of growing it apart from beauty or decoration.

Note – as I have mentioned earlier in this article, there are some cultivars or varieties that doesn’t grow fruits at all, just for beauty and decoration alone, so don’t expect those cultivars to bear fruits.

All olive are green when developing, at a time, they will turn to purple in color and black at last. They could be harvested when they are at any of these color, depending on what you want to use them for.

When they are green, they are bitter and very suitable for table, when they are purple, they contain alot of oil, so if you are harvesting for oil, then purple is the best color to look for. Although some varieties might be different in some ways, it’s best you master the variety you planted.

To harvest, it is very simple, just pick them with hands if you can reach them, and if the tree is too tall, use garden ladder to climb, then pick them. Or keep a tarp at the bottom, then shake the tree with any garden tool that could do it or with bare hands if you can, the fruits will fall into the tarp and you will just need to pack them.

STORAGE

After harvesting, the next important thing next is Storage.

The storage of olive can vary, based on if it’s processed or if it hasn’t been processed.

If it hasn’t been processed ( raw) this fruit could spoil very quick and badly, especially if it has turned black.

The storage of raw olive fruit is very hard. In some cases, depending on the type of olive, refrigerator can help to sustain it a little longer.

If it has been processed, maybe the oil has been gotten, you don’t have any problem storing it because it will last for a very long time.

USES/IMPORTANCE OF GROWING OLIVE AT HOME

One of the importance of growing this plant at home is because it is a very big source of attraction and beauty to the home, that’s why some people do grow it right inside their own room.

Another importance of growing it at home is to make it very easy to access the fruits when they grow, saving the time and transport of going to buy or get it at the farms.

The fruit is used to manufacture cooking oil by the industry and even locally.
Also some body creams and soaps do contain olive oil as a mixture.

It is nutritionally rich in oil/fat, vitamins, so it’s good for the body.

It is used to prepare many types of dishes across the world.

Conclusion

This guide/instructions in this article if replicated in other places other than home is still very useful and you could also grow this plant with my instructions where ever you want.

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References

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