How to grow olive trees indoors

Written by carrie terry
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How to grow olive trees indoors
Olive trees require warmth and a long growing season in the summer. (olive verdi image by Marco from

Olive trees, originally grown in the Mediterranean, have a long cultivation history, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Today, these fruit trees are popular in many home gardens and have good success in areas that offer bright sunshine and a long growing season. Their need for warmth, however, causes difficulty for people who live in cooler regions. If you live in a region that regularly experiences temperatures under -9.44 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit), grow your olive tree in a pot and take it indoors during cold winter.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 75 litre (20 gallon) pot
  • Quick-draining potting soil
  • Fertiliser (20-20-20)

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  1. 1

    Fill your pot with quick-draining soil and plant the olive tree so that the top of the root ball is slightly exposed after planting. Olive trees prefer very shallow plantings. Choose a 75 litre (20 gallon) container that has a drainage hole, to offer an olive tree both good drainage and room for growth.

  2. 2

    Put the pot outdoors in the summer, in an area where it gets six to eight hours of full sunshine every day. Water the olive tree with 5 cm (2 inches) of water every week and never allow the potting mix to dry out completely.

  3. 3

    Move the olive tree indoors before the first frost in your area, as these trees are frost sensitive. Put it in a sunny, south-facing window, away from the drafts of the heating vent or fireplace. Olive trees go dormant in winter, so restrict winter waterings to 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water a week. Put the tree back outdoors with the spring thaw, to take advantage of the natural sunshine and wind for pollination.

  4. 4

    Feed olive trees once a month during autumn and winter and every other week in spring and summer with 20-20-20 fertiliser. Always follow manufacturer directions in regard to quantity and application when you're using fertiliser.

Tips and warnings

  • Olive trees may need staking when they're young, as the wood can be weak. If you're staking your olive tree, check the ties periodically to make sure they're not too tight on the growing tree.

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