The olive tree is a native of the chaparral regions of the Mediterranean where the oil from its fruits have fueled the diets of many great, early civilizations. Unlike most other fruit trees, olives are very long-lived and produce better with age, so ancient groves across countries such as Greece, Italy, Israel and Turkey. Trees as old as 1800 years still produce bumper crops of olives. Contemporary groves also exist worldwide, where the climate permits. In the North America, California is the center for olive production.
Olive trees develop low branches that support a dense cover of small, lance-shaped, gray-green leaves with whitish undersides. These remain evergreen all season. As the trees age, the grey trunks become quite gnarled and attractive. Olives are slow growing and usually take between five and eight years before they are fruitful. Mature specimens produce clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers in the spring. The flowers give way to the familiar olive fruits. Some cultivars are self-fruitful, others set more fruit with cross pollination and a few ornamental selections are sterile and fruitless. Those grown for their fruits are typically harvested in late fall or winter.
Provide olive trees with plenty of sun and very well-drained soil with average to poor fertility and a neutral to alkaline pH. The best time to plant new trees is in spring. They are quite drought tolerant, but newly planted trees become better established if regularly fed and irrigated in the first two to three years after planting. Protect the trunks from damage because nicks and gouges may induce unwanted shoots, or suckers. Hardiness varies from cultivar to cultivar, so keep this in mind when choosing a tree for your landscape. Common pests include the olive fruit fly and black scale. Fruit-bearing trees grown as ornamentals can be sheared after flowering to prevent fruit formation, but this is time consuming and can spoil their natural beauty. Fruitless varieties make better specimen trees.
Olive trees make beautiful specimens for dry, chaparral landscapes across the globe and are some of the most commercially valuable of all fruit-bearing woody plants. (info source: Learn2Grow.com)
Genus - Olea
Species - Europaea
Common name - Olive Tree
Pre-Treatment - Not-required
Hardiness zones - 8 - 10
Height - 15'-30' / 4.60 - 9 m
Spread - 12'-25' / 3.70 - 8 m
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Evergreen
Exposure - Full Sun
Growth rate - Slow
Soil PH - Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Loam, Sand, Well Drained
Water requirements - Drought Tolerant
Landscape uses - Edible, Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier
Germination rate - 70%
Bloom season - Spring
Leaf / Flower color - Olive, Gray Green / Yellow, White
|Germination||1. Scratch the seeds using a knife or sandpaper. Chip the seeds with a sharp knife or make a few swipes with a sharp edged file or use sandpaper to allow moisture being more readily absorbed. |
2. Scarify seeds by soaking in slightly hot water for 24-48 hours.
3. Sow in prepared soil 15 mm and keep moist for 3 months.
4. Sow for germination 5-7 mm deep. keep moist, but do not over-water.
Keep pot in warm situation 68-75°F (~+20C). Germination can take several months. Be Patient.