Zone 8 Olive Trees: Can Olives Grow In Zone 8 Gardens

Olive Tree Full Of Olives
zone 8 olive
(Image credit: Dainela)

Olive trees are long-lived trees native to the warm Mediterranean region. Can olives grow in zone 8? It is entirely possible to start growing olives in some parts of zone 8 if you select healthy, hardy olive trees. Read on for information about zone 8 olive trees and tips for growing olives in zone 8.

Can Olives Grow in Zone 8?

If you love olive trees and live in a zone 8 region, you may be asking: can olives grow in zone 8? The U.S. Department of Agriculture designates areas as zone 8a if the average coldest winter temperature is 10 degrees F. (-12 C.) and zone 8b if the lowest temperature is 20 degrees F. (-7 C.). While not every olive tree variety will survive in these regions, you can succeed at growing olives in zone 8 if you select hardy olive trees. You’ll also need to be attentive to chill hours and zone 8 olive care.

Hardy Olive Trees

You can find hardy olive trees in commerce that will thrive in USDA zone 8. Zone 8 olive trees generally require that winter temperatures stay above 10 degrees F. (-12 C.). They also require some 300 to 1,000 hours of chill to bear fruit, depending on the cultivar. Some of the cultivars for zone 8 olive trees are quite a bit smaller than the massive trees you may have seen. For example, both ‘Arbequina' and 'Arbosana' are small cultivars, topping out at some 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. Both thrive in USDA zone 8b but may not make it in zone 8a if temperatures dip below 10 degrees F. (-12 C.). ‘Koroneiki’ is another potential tree for the list of zone 8 olive trees. It is a popular Italian olive variety known for its high oil content. It also stays below 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. Both ‘Koroneiki’ and ‘Arbequina' fruit fairly quickly, after about three years.

Zone 8 Olive Care

Zone 8 olive tree care is not too difficult. Olive trees don’t need a lot of special care in general. You’ll want to be sure to select a site with full sun. It’s also important to plant zone 8 olive trees in well-draining soil. One thing you’ll need to keep in mind is pollination. Some trees, like ‘Arbequina,’ are self-pollinating, but other hardy olive trees require a pollinator. The kicker here is that not just any tree will do, so make sure the trees are compatible. Consulting with your local extension office will help with this.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.