Olea europaea is perhaps the quintessential Mediterranean tree. A staple of our landscape, we appreciate their beauty and ability to produce olives for curing or oil.
The olive tree’s willow-like foliage is a soft gray-green that combines beautifully with other plants in the garden (envision a winery estate filled with olive trees, grape vines, herb gardens, lavender and roses). The smooth trunk and branches become gnarled and picturesque with age. Trees grow slowly, however, young ones put on height fairly fast.
Olive trees tolerate a wide range of soils from deep loam to shallow, alkaline or stony soil; they do not require feeding. They thrive in areas with hot, dry summers, but also perform adequately in coastal areas. Olive trees tolerate drought conditions.
Olive trees ripen and drop fruit late in the year. Without processing, the olives are unfortunately inedible, and they can stain paving and harm lawns if not removed. If fruit is not desirable, there are many non-fruiting varieties available.
- Begin training olive tree branches early.
- Olive trees can be grown in pots or in the ground.