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Growing and Planting Olives


August 4, 2022


Searles Gardening Team

An olive tree in your garden provides more than just ancient globes of shiny fruit, their silver grey-green foliage and tidy habit make them a top choice for hedging, topiary, espalier and potted feature displays.

Best climates for growing Olives

Native to the Mediterranean, olive trees flourish in hot, dry summers with low humidity and benefit from cool Winters to be more productive. They are rather frost and wind tolerant growing well in Mediterranean, Temperate, Arid, Sub tropics and along coastal line areas. Olive trees are generally not recommended to grow in Tropical areas where the humidity will affect their growth and are more prone to pest and disease attack. There are however a few varieties more suited to warmer climates. Look out for 'Arbequina', a warm climate variety with a reliable harvest.

Planting Olive Trees

As with all fruit bearing trees, olive need to be planted in nutrient rich soil boosted with well composted manures and minerals to yield better fruits. Enrich the soil by digging 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser into the existing soil before planting. For planting olives in preferably large pots, use Searles Fruit, Citrus & Rose Specialty Mix. Don't forget to water in well and mulch after planting.

Watering Olive Trees

Olive trees require soil with excellent drainage as they don't like to be bogged in water. Give olive trees a deep soaking every now and then, but water more often up to and during flowering and fruiting season, generally in Winter and Spring.

Fertilising Olive Trees

Olive trees will need an extra nutrient boost in Spring to boost flowering. Sprinkle Searles Fruit & Citrus Food around the dripline and base of the tree and water in well.

Pruning Olive Trees

Pruning olive trees after fruiting will support growth of new wood where the following seasons fruit will develop. Prune dead wood and branches that are overcrowding each other to aid better airflow and light. This will also allow space for fruit ripening and less pest and disease attack.

Harvesting Olives

Olives are ready to start harvesting from mid Autumn to early Winter. All olives are bitter to taste after harvesting and will need to be pickled in brine before preserved for eating. Olives ripen from green to purply black. Depending on your taste preference, olives can be picked at either stages. Brine recipe.

Try this healthy olive tapenade recipe for your next indulgent moment with friends or just for you.