How to plant an olive pit

Written by bridget kelly
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From the day the dove returned to Noah with an olive branch (a symbol of peace), humans have had an ongoing love affair with the olive tree. Best suited to grow in Mediterranean climates, olive trees can live over 1,000 years. Growing an olive tree from a pit is quite challenging, which is why most are grown from cuttings. In order to grow an olive tree from an olive pit, make sure you use a fresh olive, and not one from a can or jar that has been brined or treated. Olive trees are hardy to USDA Zones 10 and 11.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • File or pliers
  • Planting pot, 4 inches
  • Coarse sand
  • Perlite
  • Water
  • Heating mat

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  1. 1

    Scarify the olive pit. This is a process whereby you will break the hard outer covering of the pit, allowing moisture to reach the kernel inside. To do this, use a file to rub away just a small portion of the outer covering. You can also use pliers to very carefully crack the shell.

  2. 2

    Pour equal parts of coarse sand and perlite into a 4-inch planting pot. Water the soil well and allow the excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot.

  3. 3

    Plant the pit 1 inch deep into the soil. Cover lightly with sand.

  4. 4

    Place the pot on a heat mat set to 21.1 degrees C. It should remain on the mat, in a draft-free environment, for four weeks.

  5. 5

    Remove the pot from the heat mat and place it in an environment where the temperature remains at 15.6 degrees C. It must remain at this temperature until it sprouts. It can then be placed in a sunny area.

Tips and warnings

  • It could take as long as one year for your olive pit to sprout.
  • Don't allow the pit to dry out at any time during germination. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

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