All about Olive trees
It can come as a surprise to many when they discover that an Olea Europaea plant can work as an indoor tree as well. It has a silverish, light green foliage which provides an elegant aura to your aesthetic. Don’t have too many expectations for your plant to bear fruit if it’s indoors all the time, but the foliage of the leaves is enough reason to invest in the plant.
In a contained space, an Olive tree can grow up to almost 3 meters. If your ceiling is high enough, then it’ll work out for you. But because of the height, people usually prefer to invest in the dwarf variety, which only grows up to around 2 meters. Sometimes, when the plant receives proper growing conditions, it grows small white flowers, which, although they don’t last long, smell delightful.
The botanical name Olea Europaea is quite a mouthful; hence the nickname Olive or Olive tree is preferred.
Different types of Olive trees
As they have existed from thousands of years ago, quite a few types have since then emerged. But the two main ones are the ones which bear fruit and the ones which don’t. Some varieties include but are not limited to Mission, Arbequina, and Manzanilla.
The most coveted variety as a houseplant is the dwarf variety.
How to take care of the Olive tree?
If you care for your Olive tree properly, it’ll live on for decades. All you have to do is follow the basic plant care guide.
This particular tree doesn’t like to be overwatered. The trick is to check the top centimeters of the soil to make sure it’s dry. Then you can water the plant until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom. Make sure to place the plant in a pot that has big drainage holes.
Just like other houseplants, you should decrease the watering during the resting periods, which are the Winter months.
The Olive tree prefers a location that receives a lot of sunlight. It can adjust to both direct as well as indirect light, as long as the light is bright. Sometimes, you can even place it in partial shade, but not for a long period of time. Therefore, if you’re living in a space where there’s rarely any sun exposure, the olive tree isn’t the best plant for you.
As soon as the temperature starts to fall below 0°C, bring the plant indoors if you’ve placed it outdoors, as the Olive tree is sensitive to frost. However, make sure the plant is situated near a window where there’s enough sunlight for the plant to thrive. If the Olive tree starts to shed its leaves, it means it’s not receiving enough sunlight, and you might have to arrange an artificial source for light.
When Spring hits, you can gradually move the plant back outdoors, especially if you have a nice outside space such as a balcony or a patio. Make the plant used to indirect sunlight and then expose it directly to the sun. Since you’ll probably be moving the plant around so much, it’s better to invest in a lightweight container to save yourself the trouble of heavy lifting.
Since they’re native to the Mediterranean region, they can tolerate dry air compared to other plants. Therefore, you don’t need to worry a lot about creating humidity around the plant.
Cactus mix is one of the best kinds of soil for an Olive plant, as it’s soil that drains easily. Fillers such as gravel or styrofoam also act as a good drainage system for your plant. Always place a plate or a tray under the pot, so the drainage doesn’t create a mess.
You can fertilize the tree twice a month during the Spring and Summer season. However, reduce it to once a month during Autumn and Winter. Either use a houseplant fertilizer at half strength or a slow-release pellet which will take its time to dissolve.
If you feel your tree has outgrown the pot, you can repot it in a container a size larger than the previous one. The new soil will provide fresh nutrition for the plant, and you won’t need to fertilize it for at least a year. If you feel the container is already the largest one you can adjust in your home, prune the tree using hand shears. Or you can also replace the top of the soil with a fresh potting mix.
One of the main problems that Olive trees face is the attack of scale. Scale has been known to destroy generations-old olive trees. Hence, you can give your tree a shower every once in a while or wipe the leaves, especially the underside, with a damp cloth every few weeks. Once scale attaches itself onto the leaves, it doesn’t take long to spread and destroy the tree.
Propagating the Olive tree
Propagating an Olive tree is extremely simple. All you need is a clean cutting of a vine, which has to have a small root coming out of it. Before planting the vine into the pot, cut off all the leaves from it. Using a stick, make a hole in the fine soil.
Fine soil is soft soil and is the best kind of soil to handle delicate roots. Place it in the hole of the small container. Water the plant every day, unless the soil is wet from the previous watering. Mist the air around the plant regularly. This process can be a little tiring; however, regular watering gives the best kind of propagation result.