How to Grow Olive Tree in a Pot?

How to Grow Olive Tree in a Pot
14 min reading time

If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own olive tree but thought it was impossible due to space constraints, we have good news for you! With container gardening, you can now grow an olive tree in a pot right at home.

In this section, we will provide you with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on how to grow olive tree in a pot. From selecting the right pot and soil to harvesting and enjoying your very own homegrown olives, we’ve got you covered.

Principal Conclusions:

  • Container gardening allows you to grow an olive tree in limited space.
  • Our step-by-step guide will help you grow and care for your potted olive tree.
  • Selecting the right pot, soil, and olive tree variety is crucial for successful container gardening.
  • Proper watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest management are essential for the health and vigor of your potted olive tree.
  • You can enjoy the beauty and taste of homegrown olives by harvesting and curing your olives.

Choosing the Right Pot and Soil for Your Olive Tree

When it comes to container gardening, selecting the right pot and soil is crucial for the success of your olive tree. Here are some tips for growing olives in a pot:

Choosing the Right Pot Size:

When choosing a pot for your olive tree, consider the size of the tree and its root system. A pot that’s too small can restrict root growth and lead to stunted growth, while a pot that’s too large can cause waterlogging and drown the roots. A general rule of thumb is to select a pot that’s twice the size of the tree’s root ball.

Ideal Potting Soil for Olive Trees:

Using the right soil mix is vital for the health of your olive tree. A well-draining mix that retains moisture but doesn’t become waterlogged is ideal. You can create your own mix by combining equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and sand. Alternatively, you can purchase ready-made soil mixes that are formulated for container gardening.

Tips for Ensuring Proper Drainage:

Adequate drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other diseases. To ensure proper drainage, place a layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot before adding soil. You can also use a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

By choosing the right pot size and soil mix, and ensuring proper drainage, you can create a healthy and thriving environment for your potted olive tree.

Selecting the Right Olive Tree Variety for Container Gardening

Not all olive tree varieties are suitable for growing in containers. When choosing an olive tree variety for container gardening, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, growth habits, and adaptability.

One of the best olive tree varieties for container cultivation is the Arbequina. It’s a small, slow-growing tree, reaching a maximum height of 8-12 feet. The Arbequina has a compact root system, making it ideal for container gardening. This variety is also self-pollinating, so you don’t need multiple trees for fruit production.

The Koroneiki is another great choice for container gardening. It’s a dwarf olive tree that grows up to 10 feet tall. The Koroneiki produces small, flavorful olives and has a high yield. This variety is also disease-resistant and has excellent adaptability to container gardening.

Other Olive Tree Varieties Suitable for Container Gardening:

VarietySizeGrowth HabitAdaptability
PendolinoSmallUprightVery Good

Note: Olive tree varieties can vary in size and growth habit depending on environmental conditions and care. Also, not all olive tree nurseries may carry all the varieties listed above. It’s best to consult with a local nursery or olive tree expert to determine the best variety for your container gardening needs.

By selecting the right olive tree variety for container gardening, you set your tree up for success and ensure optimal growth and fruit production. Consider factors such as size, growth habit, and adaptability when making your selection.

Planting Your Olive Tree in a Pot

Now that you have selected the right pot and the perfect olive tree variety, it’s time to plant it. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill the pot with potting soil, leaving a 2-inch gap between the soil and the rim of the pot.
  2. Make a hole in the soil that’s big enough to fit the root ball of the olive tree.
  3. Carefully place the olive tree into the hole, ensuring the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  4. Add soil around the tree, pressing gently to eliminate air pockets.
  5. Water the soil thoroughly but avoid flooding the pot.
  6. Place the pot in a sunny spot and watch your olive tree grow!

Watering and Fertilizing Your Potted Olive Tree

Proper care for your potted olive tree includes regular watering and fertilizing. Here are some tips to keep your tree healthy:

Watering Your Potted Olive Tree

Olives trees prefer well-draining soil, so be sure not to overwater. Before watering, check the soil’s moisture level by inserting a finger about an inch deep into the soil. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your tree.

A good way to water your olive tree is to allow water to slowly seep into the soil until it comes out of the drainage holes. You can also use a watering can or garden hose to water the tree until the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

During the winter months, when the tree is dormant, reduce the watering frequency to prevent root rot.

Fertilizing Your Potted Olive Tree

When it comes to fertilizing, olive trees have specific needs. Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers, which can harm the tree and reduce fruit production.

A slow-release fertilizer formulated for citrus or fruit trees is a good option. Apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions during the growing season, starting in early spring and ending in late summer.

Citrus or fruit tree fertilizerEvery 4-6 weeksFollow manufacturer’s instructions

Be sure not to apply fertilizer during the winter months, when the tree is dormant.

By following these watering and fertilizing tips, you can ensure your potted olive tree thrives and produces delicious fruit.

Pruning and Training Your Potted Olive Tree

Pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and size of your potted olive tree, promoting balanced growth, and improving fruit production. Training your olive tree from an early age also helps establish a strong structure and shape, making future pruning easier and more efficient.

When to Prune Your Potted Olive Tree?

The best time to prune your olive tree is during the dormant season, which typically occurs in late winter or early spring. However, you can also prune your tree in the summer to control its size and shape.

How to Prune Your Potted Olive Tree?

Pruning should be done with clean, sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant. Start by removing any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, and cutting them off at the base of the stem. Next, thin out any overlapping or crossing branches to improve airflow and light penetration.

Tip: Always cut back to a healthy lateral branch or bud to promote new growth and prevent dieback.

When shaping your olive tree, aim for an open, vase-like structure with well-spaced branches. Remove any suckers or shoots that emerge from the base of the stem, as they can divert energy from the main tree.

Training Your Potted Olive Tree

Training your olive tree involves directing its growth and development, ensuring it grows in the desired shape and structure. Start by selecting a central leader branch and removing any competing branches at the base of the tree.

As the tree grows, select four to six lateral branches that will form the main structure of the tree. These branches should be evenly spaced and angled upwards at a 45-degree angle to promote upward growth.

Remove any branches that grow vertically or horizontally, as they can weaken the tree’s structure and reduce its productivity. Regularly monitor your potted olive tree’s growth and prune as necessary to maintain its shape and size.

Protecting Your Potted Olive Tree from Pests and Diseases

One of the challenges of growing olive trees in pots is keeping them safe from pests and diseases. To ensure your potted olive tree stays healthy and produces bountiful fruit, you need to take preventive measures and be vigilant for any signs of trouble.

Common Pests and Diseases for Potted Olive Trees

Some of the most common pests that can affect your potted olive tree are:

  • Aphids: these sap-sucking insects can weaken your olive tree and transmit viruses.
  • Scales: these small, hard-shelled insects can cause yellowing and leaf drop.
  • Caterpillars: these larvae can eat your olive tree’s leaves and damage the fruit.

As for diseases, the following are the most prevalent:

  • Fungal diseases: such as verticillium wilt, can cause leaf wilting, yellowing, and dieback.
  • Bacterial diseases: such as peacock spot, can cause leaf spots and fruit rot.

Prevention and Treatment

The best strategy for dealing with pests and diseases is prevention. Here are some tips to keep your potted olive tree healthy:

  • Inspect your olive tree regularly for signs of pests, such as curled or distorted leaves, sticky residue, or ants crawling on the branches.
  • Remove any debris or fallen leaves from the pot to reduce the risk of fungal infections.
  • Water your olive tree only when the soil is dry, and avoid splashing water on the leaves and stem.
  • Fertilize your olive tree with a balanced fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Prune your olive tree regularly to remove dead or diseased branches and improve air circulation.

If you notice any signs of pest or disease infestation, take action immediately. Here are some treatment options:

  • For mild infestations, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • For severe infestations, you may need to use a stronger pesticide, but be careful not to damage your olive tree or harm beneficial insects.
  • If your olive tree is affected by a disease, remove the affected parts and dispose of them properly. You can also apply a copper-based fungicide to prevent further spread.

By following these tips and being proactive about potted olive tree care, you can keep your plant healthy and free from pests and diseases. Happy growing!

Providing the Right Environment for Your Indoor Olive Tree

How to Grow Olive Tree in a Pot

Growing an olive tree in a pot indoors can be a rewarding experience that brings nature and beauty into your home. However, providing the right environment is crucial to ensure your indoor olive tree thrives and stays healthy. Here are some tips on how to care for your indoor olive tree:


Olive trees need plenty of sunlight to grow and produce fruit. Therefore, it’s best to place your indoor olive tree in a bright spot near a window that receives direct sunlight. However, if you have limited natural light, you can use artificial grow lights to supplement it.


Olive trees prefer moderate temperatures, around 60 to 70°F (15 to 21°C), during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Avoid exposing your indoor olive tree to extreme temperature changes, which can harm the plant.


While olive trees can tolerate low humidity levels, they thrive in high humidity environments. To increase humidity for your indoor olive tree, you can use a humidifier, place a tray of water near the plant, or mist the leaves regularly.


Regular pruning helps maintain the shape and size of your indoor olive tree, removes dead or diseased branches, and promotes new growth. Prune your tree in early spring, just before the growing season begins, and use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts.

Pest Control

Indoor plants are still susceptible to pests such as spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs. To prevent pests, check your olive tree regularly for signs of infestation and remove any affected leaves or branches. You can also use organic pest control methods such as neem oil spray or insecticidal soap.

By following these tips and providing the right care, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of your indoor olive tree year-round.

Harvesting and Enjoying Your Homegrown Olives

After months of diligent care, your potted olive tree is finally ready for harvest. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you pick and cure your olives:

  • Pick the olives: Harvest your olives when they are ripe and have turned from green to black. This generally occurs in late summer or early fall. To harvest, gently pluck the olives from the tree by hand or use a small rake to comb them off. Don’t worry if you can’t reach every single one, as the remaining olives will ripen and fall off naturally.
  • Clean the olives: Rinse the freshly picked olives in cold water to remove any debris, dirt, or insects that might be on them. Dry them with a paper towel.
  • Cure the olives: Curing is the process of removing the bitterness from the olives and preserving their flavor. There are several methods for curing olives, but brine curing is the most popular for home gardeners. Here’s how to do it:
  • Ingredients: Instructions:
    Olives Pick the olives from your tree and rinse them in cold water.
    Water Boil enough water to completely cover your olives. Add 1/4 cup of salt per quart of water.
    Salt Let the water cool completely. Place the olives in a glass jar and cover them with the saltwater mixture. Place a weight on top to keep them submerged.
    Jar with Lid Let the olives soak in the brine for 1-2 weeks, depending on their size and taste preference. Taste them periodically until they reach the desired flavor.
  • Store the olives: Once your olives are cured, you can store them in their brine or marinate them in olive oil and herbs for added flavor. They will keep for several months in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy your homegrown olives: Use your cured olives in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, or as a tasty snack. Share them with friends and family and savor the fruits of your labor!


By following our step-by-step guide, you can easily grow an olive tree in a pot at home and enjoy the beauty and taste of homegrown olives. Remember to choose the right pot and soil, select the appropriate olive tree variety, plant it properly, and provide regular watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest control.

Creating the right environment is also essential for the health and growth of your olive tree. For indoor olive trees, ensure they receive adequate lighting, temperature, and humidity levels. For outdoor olive trees, choose a sunny, sheltered location and protect them from frost and extreme weather conditions.


How do I choose the right pot and soil for my olive tree?

When selecting a pot for your olive tree, consider the size of the tree and choose a pot with adequate drainage. For soil, use a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for olive trees.

Which olive tree varieties are best for growing in containers?

Certain olive tree varieties, such as Arbequina and Picholine, are well-suited for container gardening due to their smaller size and adaptability. Choose a variety that is suitable for your climate and space restrictions.

How do I properly plant my olive tree in a pot?

Start by placing a layer of stones or broken pottery at the bottom of the pot for drainage. Then, fill the pot with potting mix, leaving enough space for the rootball of the tree. Gently remove the tree from its container, center it in the pot, and fill in with more soil, pressing lightly to ensure firmness.

How often should I water and fertilize my potted olive tree?

Olive trees in containers require regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer formulated for citrus or fruit trees.

When and how should I prune my potted olive tree?

Prune your olive tree in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Remove any dead or damaged branches and thin out crowded areas to promote airflow. Aim to maintain an open and balanced shape.

How can I protect my potted olive tree from pests and diseases?

Regularly inspect your olive tree for signs of pests such as aphids or scale insects. Use organic insecticidal soap spray or neem oil to treat infestations. To prevent diseases, avoid overwatering and ensure good airflow around the tree.

What are the lighting and temperature requirements for indoor olive trees?

Indoor olive trees need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight or bright, indirect light per day. They prefer temperatures between 50-80°F (10-27°C). Avoid placing the tree near drafts or heat sources.

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