I repoted my olive tree this week-end… I mean when it didn’t rain (which was not much time…). It lost a lot of leaves since i received it at the end of winter, i think it is due to the big frosts of last february.
For everyone who’s still wondering it, yes it is possible to grow an olive tree into a plant tub. But of course it is necessary to know a little bit this ‘man’ and to take care of him in a proper way. If you are still suspicious, here is my little « crop advice » for the olive tree. Then you’ll just have to try by yourself !
Scientific name : olea
Family : Oleacees
Type : Tree
Species : ‘olea europaea’ is the most famous one; the ‘cipressino’ olive tree is a self-fertile one (that means that it can give fruits all by itself).
Origin : Mediterranean
Height : 1 to 15 meters
Leaf : evergreen
Flowering : may/june
Harvest : olives can be harvested from september to december
Hardiness : contrary to popular belief, olive tree can live till -15 degrees provided that cold is dry and short term. However, it is better to be careful and to protect it against winter as soon as temperatures drop under -2 degrees.
when ? From march to june is the best period
Aspect : the most sunny it can be !
Soil : a poor soil can totally be suitable for the olive tree. I planted mine in a loam for plant tub. I would advice you to mix it to « garden soil » if you can. Give it also a good drainage (sand, gravel, clay pellets at the bottom of the tub) so that it would not suffer from excess of water.
Choosing the tub : you will have to measure the size of the branches; choose a tub that makes the 2/3 of this size (diameter & depth). The roots of the tree do not develop quickly, that’s why it is not a complete madness to want to grow an olive tree !
Watering : every two weeks between octobre to march, then at least once a week (and more if weather conditions are really dry). Be carefoul though, because olive trees do not like excess of water, so leave the soil dry between two waterings.
Pruning : it is not compelled for an olive tree in a tub if your main objective is to habe an ornemental tree. If your olive tree is one of the species that are self-fertiles, you can make him a carpophore pruning just after winter (march or april) : you just have to cut the dry branches that go down and to cut mainly the inside branches so that the tree can breathe. If you just want an ornemental tree don’t do a hard pruning.
Plant food : yes, once a week between march and september (plant food for geranium is good; i chose a specific and bio plant food for olive tree for my part.
Insects and diseases : the olive tree fly, the black cochineal insect, stooty mold, Peacock Eye.
Tricks and advices
If you want to save your olive tree from winter, and especially if you live in a cold area, protect the tub (thus the roots of the tree) with a bubles plastic as soon as temperatures drop under 0 degree. Protect also the leaves and the trunk with a wintering voile (double the layer). And take it off as soon as the weather is mild again (try to don’t leave the protection to long because plants need to breathe ! For example, when it is sunny on day, take it off and put it again when night is coming).
… Leaves of my olive tree are dropping
Did your olive tree suffer from cold ? In that case, you’ll have to make a pruning before spring. If it is not to serious, new leaves will appear soon.
… Circular stains are appearing on my olive tree leaves
It is probably the cycloconium disease (also called Peacock Eye), and mostly due to an excess of water. You’ll have to check this stain : if it is between brown and yellow and that it makes sort of rings, it is the Peacock Eye ! To fight against it you will have to cut all diseased branches, make a hard pruning and to spray what in French we call « bouillie bordelaise » (Bordeaux mixture) : it is a mixture of copper(II) sulfate (CuSO4) and slaked lime used as a fungicide in vineyards. You can also use it to prevent from disease.
… A black film is appearing on my olive tree leaves
It is probably the stooty mold, a sugary honeydew secreted by insects such as black cochineal insects. Treat your olive tree against these insects and wash it with black soap (trunc and leaves). You also can treat it in prevention with Bordeaux mixture.
It is often the hardest part ! You’ll have to pay around 13 USD for a young plant (between 15 and 20cm), but if you want a ‘stem’ olive tree between 100 and 150cm, it will cost you arround 65 USD, and even around 400 USD for a ‘specimen’ olive tree.