Potted Olive Tree Care: Tips On Growing Olive Trees In Containers

Square Potted Olive Tree
potted olive
(Image credit: robypangy)

Olive trees are great specimen trees to have around. Some varieties are grown specifically to produce olives, while plenty of others are purely ornamental and never bear fruit. Whichever you’re interested in, the trees are very beautiful and will bring an old-world, Mediterranean feel to your garden. If you don’t have enough space for a full tree, or if your climate is too cold, you can still have olive trees, as long as you grow them in containers. Keep reading to learn more about potted olive tree care and how to grow an olive tree in a pot.

Potted Olive Tree Care

Can you grow olive trees in containers? Absolutely. The trees are very adaptable and drought-tolerant, which makes them ideal for container life. The best time to start growing olive trees in containers is in spring after all threat of frost has passed. Olive trees like extremely well-draining, rocky soil. Plant your tree in a mix of potting soil and perlite or small rocks. When selecting a container, opt for clay or wood. Plastic containers retain more water, which can be deadly for an olive tree. Place your container-grown olive trees in a spot that receives at least six hours of full sunlight each day. Make sure not to overwater. Only water when the top several inches (7.5 cm.) of soil has dried out completely--when it comes to olives, it’s better to water too little than too much. Olive trees are not very cold-hardy and will need to be brought indoors in USDA zones 6 and lower (some varieties are even more cold-sensitive, so check to make sure). Bring your container-grown olive trees indoors before temperatures fall toward freezing. Place them inside by a sunny window or under lights. Once temperatures warm back up in the spring, you can take your potted olive tree back outside where it can hang out all summer long.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.