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How To Make Potting Soil for an Olive Tree (Growing & Planting Tips)

olive tree

Olive trees have been grown and cultivated since ancient Greek times. They grow best in Mediterranean conditions and are especially common in Italy and other countries in mainland Europe, although they are also successfully grown in California and other parts of the world. As long as you can protect the trees from harsh winter conditions, they can be grown in a lot of different locations and dwarf varieties can also do very well grown in pots. There are even fruitless olive trees: they don’t yield fruit, but they do offer the beauty of the tree itself.

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Making Potting Soil for Olive Trees

Olive trees will grow in virtually any soil with good drainage. They won’t benefit from being too heavily fed or fertilized, either, which means that making potting soil for this tree is relatively easy. Simply mix potting soil and perlite or rocks and place the trees in a wood container, if you are using a container. This will help ensure your plant has appropriate drainage levels.

Growing Olive Trees

Olive trees prefer hot climates, and they enjoy being planted in full sun. To bear fruit they will need a 2-month period when temperatures are a little cooler. However, olive trees can be damaged and suffer if they are subjected to temperatures below 20°F. If the tree faces these temperatures and isn’t given protection from the cold, it can die. Trees routinely live 150 years or older and can live as long as 1,000 years in the right conditions.

Planting Olive Trees

There are different varieties of the olive tree, but most are self-pollinating. You should plant the tree in spring and when there is no danger of overnight frost. You shouldn’t plant during the height of summer because the extreme heat can cause damage to newly planted trees and prevent them from rooting efficiently. The fruit can stain, so you may want to avoid planting near paved areas, and the tree will need soil that drains well because it will not grow in waterlogged or overly damp soil.

Olive Branch in the Pot Close Up with Green New Leaves and Brown Soil
Image By: Andrea54, Shutterstock

Caring For Olive Trees

Your olive tree will survive drought, especially once it is fully established, but if you want to enjoy a good harvest of plump olives, you should water the tree throughout the growing season. Once the tree reaches 5 years old, you can reduce the frequency at which you water, topping up when the soil dries out or approximately every 6 weeks. These trees do not require a lot of feed or fertilizer and giving them too much of either may actually cause damage, rather than encourage growth, but they can benefit from the use of organic mulch around the base of the tree.  Prune lightly and avoid cutting away many of the previous year’s branches, because these are where the tree will fruit.


Olive trees tend to be alternate bearings. One year, you will enjoy a sizeable crop while the next year it will be much smaller. It is up to you whether you pick the fruit when they are ripe or when they are still green, but most will need to be sun-dried or brined before they can be consumed, otherwise, they will taste very bitter.

Growing Indoor Olive Trees

Olive trees can be grown in pots, including indoors. Choose a position where the tree will receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight every day and opt for a dwarf variety. Ensure the pot has good drainage and that you use suitable soil with good drainage capabilities. You can move the olive tree outdoors when there is no longer any danger of frost.

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Olive trees are attractive trees that naturally grow in hot climates such as in the Mediterranean. They will survive drought, once well established, but they can die if they are exposed to frost and cold conditions. They need soil that drains well and tend to do best with soil that contains rocks or other organic material that aids in the drainage process. Making your own potting soil for olive trees is easy: mix perlite with good potting soil and try to plant in a wooden container rather than a plastic one.

Featured Image Credit: Ulrike Leone, Pixabay


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