How to Grow an Olive Tree at Home?
The best olive oil in the world is the olive oil pressed from the olive fruit you have grown on your own tree. Doubt? Check and see for yourself.
Of course, you shouldn't even try if you live in the wrong region. The olive tree needs a dry, warm and sunny climate. A drop in temperature below +5°C is already extreme, and at temperatures below zero, most olive fruit die. Therefore, such experiments have never ended in successful fruiting.
As for the greenhouse cultivation of the olive tree, it has given excellent results and has long been no longer something surprising.
The graceful olive tree is a symbol of peace and harmony that has been living with us for more than 5000 years. Not surprisingly, it has found its place as a beautiful decoration in modern home interiors.
A home olive tree will decorate almost any interior with its grace. It will perfectly fit into the Mediterranean style of the interior, as it is the native element of its habitat. Combine it with wicker baskets, natural fabrics or wooden furniture.
The olive tree will also look great in Scandinavian-style rooms against the backdrop of a grey and white colour scheme. There is practically no such style in interior design where the olive would look out of place.
It does not stand out with a riot of colour and does not draw attention to itself, but gracefully complements the harmony of the interior space and fills it with a lively atmosphere.
The indoor olive tree was created not for lovers of lush greenery and bright flowers, but for connoisseurs of subdued natural sophistication and a subtle pleasant aroma.
And if you're lucky, in 5-10 years your olive tree will give you its first olive fruits.
How to Grow an Olive Tree From an Olive Pit
Seeds for planting an olive tree can be purchased from a specialty store.
Also, you can pick fresh green olive fruits directly from the tree during the harvest in October - November. Please note: the pits of salted or pickled olive fruits are not suitable as planting material for an olive tree.
Seeds collected by hand must be cleaned of pulp and soaked in warm water for several hours. For easier cleansing of the bone from the pulp, as well as free germination of the embryo, it is recommended to soak the fruits in a weak alkaline solution.
Carefully clean the olive pit from any kind of pulp with a hard sponge. Also please note that the olive pit has two completely different tips, one of which is sharp and the other is blunt and rounded.
The next step is to form a hole from the blunt end of the pit. It is important not to completely cut off the tip, but only slightly incise. Then the seeds are again sent to warm water for another day. After drying the seed kernels, they are immersed in the soil to a depth of about 2 cm.
The percentage of seed germination does not exceed 50%, therefore, in order not to be left without a result, take the number of seeds with a margin.
Growing your own olive tree is not for those who are always in a hurry. The olive grows for a long time, so you will have to be patient and wait. It can take up to 3 months for a sprout from an olive seed to germinate. To see the thin stalk of the future olive tree, you will have to wait another 2-3 years. And for the next several years you’ll be waiting for your first olive fruit.
If You Cannot Wait
For those who strive not so much to grow a plant as to decorate their home with a stylish living tree, it is recommended to purchase an already grown seedling. This, of course, is several times higher than the cost of seeds but the advantages of this method are also obvious.
Firstly, you have the opportunity to choose an olive tree of the size you need. Secondly, you can consult with a specialist regarding the specifics of caring for this particular tree. And of course, you don't have to wait a few years. Your room olive will immediately become a full-fledged element of the decor of your room, and maybe it will please you with the first olive fruit in a few months.
Olive trees are classified according to the percentage of oil in their fruit.
There are three categories:
- Varieties of olive fruit high in olive oil - used for the production of olive oil.
- Varieties of olive fruit low in olive oil - used for the production of canned olives.
- Mixed varieties, which are actually the majority.
You can choose any of these varieties as a home olive but most often they choose a plant from the second or third category.
And here is a short list for you to choose from:
Alfafara, Arbequina, Arbosana, Alfafarenca, Arroniz, Ascolana Tenera, Biancolilla, Blanqueta, Bosana, Castellana o Verdeja, Carolea, Cassanese, Changlot Real, Chemlali, Coratina, Cornezuelo, Cornicabra, Sikitita, Dolce Agogia, Empeltre, Farga, Frangivento (Cipressino ), Gordal Sevillana, Hojiblanca, Itrana, Koroneiki, Lazzero, Leccino, Leccio Del Corno, Lechín de Granada, Lechín de Sevilla, Negral, Nocellara del Belice, Manzanilla Cacereña, Manzanilla Sevillana, Maurino, Morchiaio, Moraiolo, Morisca, Ocal, Pico Limón, Picual, Picudo, Piricuddara, Roggianella, Royal de Cazorla, Semidana, Serrana de Espadán, Taggiasca, Verdial de Badajoz, Pajarero, Pendolino, Picholine, Rosciola, Frantoio, Villalonga...
How to Care for Your Home Olive
The centuries-old history of growing olive trees has developed a fairly strong immunity in the plant, and therefore, we can say that the cause of any complications in its maintenance is a violation of the conditions of the latter.
Subject to not the most complex rules of watering, fertilising and transplanting, you will avoid most plant diseases.
To successfully grow olive tree, there are some key points to remember:
- The soil for the olive tree should not be too acidic. If you do not know how to make suitable soil yourself from compost, sand, sod and leaf soil, peat and lime, then feel free to buy the finished mixture in specialised stores.
- Remember that the birthplace of olives is a subtropical climate, which means that lighting for a plant, especially a young one, should be sufficient. However, with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight and insufficient watering, the leaves of the tree may dry and fall off. It's important to keep a balance here.
- Despite the southern nature of the olive, indoor temperatures do not always have to be exceptionally hot. In the summer, the tree feels quite good at +20°C degrees and above, while in winter, during the dormant period, you can place it in a room with a temperature of +10°C ... +12°C. Such a change in conditions will contribute to the rest of the plant, and hence the more abundant spring flowering of your tree.
- The house olive tree is very drought tolerant, but this does not mean that it should be over-dried. Sufficiently plentiful watering twice a week to the entire depth of the pot is required, as is periodic sprinkling.
- However, remember that excessive moisture is also likely to adversely affect the root system. Which can even lead to the death of the plant. So this is a reason to establish good drainage in the growing tank.
- In the spring, the olive must be fertilised, the plant needs proper and timely feeding. Therefore, fertiliser with mineral preparations and organics will not be superfluous at all. As well as spraying foliage with succinic acid.
- Watch the appearance of the plant. Olive at room conditions requires regular pruning. Once a year, remove weak branches or those that grow inside the bush, form the crown of the olive, guided by your taste and style.
How to Transplant Olive Tree
You should also take care of your olive tree by timely transplanting it. Like a child growing out of clothes, the olive also needs an appropriately sized container.
Usually, the transplant procedure is carried out every two to three years. The diameter of the new container should be 5-10 cm larger than the previous one.
Remember about the water-logging of the soil mentioned above, and prevent it by laying special drainage materials on the bottom of the flowerpot.
Be careful with the root system of the olive, it does not like such interference, and therefore the tree is transplanted by transshipment. If you find diseased rotting roots when transplanting an olive, be sure to cut them off and treat them with activated charcoal.
Planting a tree in a suitable pot is not just a mandatory procedure for a gardener, but also a decorative component that gives completeness and beautiful design to your work.The first container for planting a seedling should be large enough, at least sixty centimetres deep.
Remember that when choosing a container, you need to remember that there are a sufficient number of special holes at the bottom that will help prevent water-logging of the soil.
In addition, it is not recommended to pick up plastic pots. Pay attention to natural clay materials. They allow the soil and root system to breathe, which means that the olive tree looks not only beautiful, but also feels healthy.
Enjoy Olive Blossom
Caring for an olive tree at home necessarily includes a process that is also associated with the flowering of the plant.
An elegant olive tree blooms with yellowish-white flowers. Olive flowers are small and clustered like lilacs or jasmine, and bloom every two years in late autumn.
The aroma is subtle and refined. A home olive tree can stand decorated with flowers for several months.
During the flowering period, the olive is quite sensitive to watering. Despite the fact that its inflorescences are not afraid of irrigation and even sprinkling, it is waterlogging of the soil at this time that can lead to disease or even death of the tree. Water this houseplant only when the top of the soil is dry and not as heavily as at other times.
In addition, a flowering olive tree is in dire need of light. Therefore, if it is cloudy outside and there is not enough natural light, it is required to highlight the olive plant artificially.
Also, do not forget about the daily help of the tree in cross-pollination of flowers.
In nature, this happens with the help of the wind, but at room conditions the plant cannot cope on its own, so do not be afraid to help it in this process by shaking the twigs.
Remember that the quality and productivity of your pet depends on the thoroughness and correctness of caring for the olive at this particular time.
Time to Reap the Rewards: Your First Olive Fruit
The appearance of the first olive fruits directly depends on the method by which you grew the tree.
A tree grown from a stone will begin to bear fruit only by the age of 10. A seedling grown from a one-year-old cutting will bear olive fruit in 3-4 years.
In addition, there are types of olive trees that, regardless of the method of cultivation, give the first harvest after as much as 10 years.
Specify all the properties of planting material before buying it, so as not to be disappointed in the plant and the result of its maintenance.
An important condition for fruiting is the correct temperature regime for keeping the tree. If the plant will live year-round at a constant room temperature of over 20 degrees, then you should not count on a lush flower, and, therefore, on a bountiful harvest.
The olive is a dioecious species, which means that the presence of male and female cells is required to produce fruits. In nature, pollination of plants is produced by the wind.
At home, you will have to help in this process with the help of improvised materials, for example, brushes or regular shaking of flowering twigs.
Subject to these rules, the tree will surely answer you with gratitude and please you with the first olive fruits.
Do not expect a large olive harvest from a home tree. However, the presence of fruits will greatly decorate your olive and will please you with a reward for your labours.
With proper care, a domestic olive produces up to 3 kg of olive fruits per season.
How much olive oil will this give? About 10%, that is, 300 ml.
Yes, so few. That's why real olive oil cannot be cheap.
From these olive fruits you can make a dozen jars of excellent salted or marinated olives to enjoy with your family and friends.
As for olive oil, you can always buy it here.