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Caring for an Olive Plant?

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I received this olive plant from a friend, via the mail. Mine isn't as leafy, but it's healthy. However, I'm not sure how to care for it. It's had a few days in the house to recover from the cold. Should I repot it right away? What kind of soil? When/what to fertilize? I tend to kill plants.


I'd really like to make sure this survives (it will an indoor plant) as it was a special gift. But I need help. It didn't come with very good instructions.


I'm going to have to transport it to my parents while we finish the painting and sanding/staining of the floors at our house. I afraid the fumes here would kill it.

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We have lots of Olive trees here in the southwest, and they thrive in the heat and low moisture, so I would be wary of overwatering, and be sure to provide bright indoor light and a fast draining soil. I don't know for sure, but I would guess it will need little to no fertilizer, as our soil here is pretty deficient.


Here's some info below from the White Flowers Farm Website, and Gardenweb is also a great place to check. Good luck!



Olive trees (Olea europea) are slow-growing and keep their leathery, gray-green leaves year-round.


GROWING IN A CONTAINER: In areas colder than Zone 8 (10°F), Olive trees must be grown indoors during the winter. Choose a place for your Olive tree that receives full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun each day). A location near a sunny, south-facing window is ideal. Take care to position your plant away from heat vents and radiators and not too close to a window, which can act as a magnifying glass and literally “fry†the leaves.


When the potting mix feels dry 1 inch below the surface, water thoroughly. Your tree will require less water in fall and winter, the seasons when Olive trees naturally take a rest, but don’t let the soil mix dry out completely.


During fall and winter, fertilize once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer (such as 20-20-20). In spring and summer when your tree is in active growth, fertilize every two weeks or apply a timed-release fertilizer.


If you would like to move your tree outdoors for the summer, wait until the danger of frost has passed in spring, then gradually acclimate your plant to conditions outside over a week’s time. Set the pot outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot, increasing the exposure to sun and wind each day. Check the moisture of the potting mix and water thoroughly if it’s dry. Once acclimated, keep your Olive in full sun for the summer, and bring it back inside before frost in fall.


After a year or more, when the roots of your Olive have become crowded, transplant it into a larger pot. Choose a pot that is 1–2 inches wider in diameter, with a drainage hole in the bottom. Use a fast-draining potting mix, and begin by filling the container about half-full of moistened mix. Remove the plant from the pot by grasping the rim, turning the pot upside down, and tapping it against the heel of your hand. Gently break up the sides of the root ball with your thumbs and tease apart any roots that are circling at the bottom. Then set the root ball on top of the mix and adjust the amount of mix in the container so that the top of the root ball will be about 1 inch below the rim. Fill in around the root ball with potting mix to bring the level to about 1 inch below the rim, and firm lightly. Finally, water thoroughly.

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