When you think about an olive tree, you probably imagine it growing somewhere hot and dry, like southern Spain or Greece. These beautiful trees that produce such delicious fruits are not just for the hottest climates though. There are varieties of cold hardy olive trees, including zone 7 olive trees that thrive in regions you might not have expected to be olive friendly.
Can Olive Trees Grow in Zone 7?
Zone 7 in the U.S. includes inland areas of the Pacific Northwest, colder regions of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, and covers a large swath from the middle of New Mexico through northern Texas and Arkansas, most of Tennessee and into Virginia, and even parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And yes, you can grow olive trees in this zone. You just have to know which cold hardy olive trees will thrive here.
Olive Trees for Zone 7
There are several varieties of cold hardy olive trees that best tolerate the lower temperatures in zone 7:
- Arbequina – Arbequina olive trees are popular in the colder areas of Texas. They produce small fruits that make excellent oil and can be brined.
- Mission – This variety was developed in the U.S. and is moderately tolerant of cold. The fruits are great for oil and brining.
- Manzanilla – Manzanilla olive trees produce good table olives and have moderate cold tolerance.
- Picual – This tree is popular in Spain for producing oil and is moderately cold hardy. It produces large fruit that can be pressed to make delicious oil.
Tips for Growing Olives in Zone 7
Even with cold hardy varieties, it’s important to keep your zone 7 olive trees safe from the most extreme temperature dips. You can do this by choosing a good location, such as against a wall facing west or south. If you are expecting an unusual cold snap, cover your tree with a floating row cover. If you’re still nervous about putting an olive tree in the ground, you can grow one in a container and move it indoors or onto a covered patio for the winter. Olive trees of all varieties gain more cold hardiness as they age and as the trunk size increases, so you may need to baby your tree for the first three or five years.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.