How to Grow and Care for Olive Trees Indoors
Olive trees are often grown indoors as ornamental plants that don’t flower or bear fruit but are grown for their beautiful silvery evergreen leaves. You can grow it in cool climates if you treat it like a houseplant, but growing it inside has limits.
Olive trees grown inside only live for eight to nine years, which is much shorter than olive trees in the wild, which are known for being long-lived. The best thing you can do for the tree is to move it outside during the summer because even the best conditions inside can’t compare to the best conditions outside.
Aside from these things, taking care of slow-growing olive trees indoors is easy.
Can Olive Trees Be Grown Inside?
How well olive trees grow indoors depends on how much sunlight there is. Olive trees get a lot of suns because they grow in the Mediterranean basin. Direct sunlight is important, so you should be able to grow an olive tree indoors if you have a good spot, like a south-facing window.
Even though olive trees can be pruned to stay small, if you want to grow one inside, you might want to choose a compact or dwarf variety like “Little Ollie” (Olea europaea “Montra”) instead.
Care For Olive Trees Inside
It’s not hard to grow an olive tree indoors, but a few key things need to be done.
Olive trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The only place inside that can get enough sun is through a large south-facing window. Make sure the leaves don’t touch the glass of the window, which could burn them. 1 Every week, turn the pot 90 degrees so that all sides get the same light.
You can also set up a grow light if your home doesn’t have enough natural light. Leave it on for at least six hours every day. If you can’t move the tree outside in the summer, leave it on for eight hours.
Full-spectrum light is best for healthy plant growth because it is the most like sunlight at midday. It is a mix of red and blue lights. LED lights use the least amount of energy and last the longest.
2. How Hot And Wet It Is
In their native Mediterranean climate, the summers are hot and dry with low humidity, and the winters are cool and wet. For an olive tree grown indoors, a room temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is best. It can handle dry air, so you can keep it in a heated room with up to 40% relative humidity. But you should keep the plant away from heat vents and radiators, so it doesn’t dry out.
The soil of an olive tree in a pot should never be completely dry, but you should also be careful not to water it too much. When the soil is dry to a depth of 1 inch (stick your index finger in the soil to check), water slowly and deeply until the soil is saturated and water trickles out of the drainage holes.
When the tree is dormant in the winter, it needs less water, but if the top layer of soil is dry, it needs water.
Olive trees don’t need much fertilizer in the yard. Olives in pots need a little more food because the fertilizer gets washed out of the soil, but they still don’t need much. Feed the tree once a month with a balanced, slow-release houseplant fertilizer from early spring through the summer. As for how much to use, read the label because fertilizers have different amounts of nutrients. Stop fertilizing the tree in the fall, and don’t do it in the winter when it’s sleeping.
5. Trimming And Taking Care Of
An olive tree can get skinny over time. When you prune in the spring and new growth starts, the plant grows bushy. Use sharp hand pruners to make a 45-degree cut 14 inches above a leaf node, where the leaf meets the stem. From the node, new branches will grow.
Cut off branches growing from the tree’s base and thin out the branches in the middle. This gives the whole plant a lot of sunlight and good airflow.
6. How Big Is The Container Is
Most standard-sized olive trees bought from a nursery will do well in a pot that is 16 to 20 inches deep. Plastic containers are fine, but keep in mind that plastic heats up more than natural materials that let air in, like wood, ceramic, and terra cotta. If you move the tree outside during the summer, putting the plastic pot inside a bigger pot will help keep the roots from getting too hot.
Olive trees must have good drainage, so choose a pot with big drainage holes. Make sure that the holes don’t get clogged. Help will come from putting the pot on plant feet or blocks or putting it on a ridged saucer.
Soil for Potting and Drainage Olive trees do well in commercial potting or potting mix for cacti draining well. Or you can add perlite, bark chips, or small gravel. Don’t add compost or mulch because trees can’t stand soggy, wet soil. The soil will hold on to too much water if you add compost or mulch.
Some growers say that the bottom of the pot should be filled with gravel. Whether or not this helps drainage is debatable, but the extra weight can help a pot made of a light material like plastic stay steady.
7. Putting And Moving Olive Trees Into Pots
When the roots reach the sides of the pot or grow out of the drainage holes, it’s time to move the tree. Olive trees don’t grow very fast, so your plant might not need a new pot for two or three years.
The new pot should be at least 2 inches bigger than the root ball or 25% bigger than the root ball. Make sure that the top of the stem is above the soil level in the new pot. If the stem is buried, it could cause the roots to rot.
8. Olive Trees Are Moved Outside For The Summer.
You should move your tree outside during the warm months if you can. Wait until the temperature stays above 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night to avoid damage from cold or frost. The tree should gradually get used to being outside. Start by putting it where it won’t get wind or direct sunlight for a few days. After that, you can put it where it will stay for the summer.
In the fall, the tree should be brought inside when the temperature at night drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Put it in a partially shaded area for about a week to get it used to the lower light levels, and then bring it back inside.
Ants, scale insects, and spittlebugs like to live on olive trees. Give the tree a good spray with a hose to get rid of them, so you don’t have to bring them inside. Cover the soil with plastic while you do this so you don’t soak the soil.
Will An Olive Tree That Is Kept Inside Bloom And Make Olives?
Most likely not because olive trees need a big difference in temperature between day and night and two months of temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to flower and produce fruit.
Why Are The Leaves Falling Off The Olive Tree That I Have Inside?
Lack of sunlight is the main reason why leaves fall off.
Can An Olive Tree That Has Been Hurt By Frost Get Better?
Olive trees are very sensitive to cold, but their roots can grow back even if the plant above the ground is damaged by frost. This means that the tree will often grow back.