Growing Olive Trees in the UK
Olive trees are a very hardy species and can cope with our long harsh winters. Customers often ask if they should move their trees indoors when the winter arrives in full force, and my answer is no. Give them a fleece by all means if you are worried but they are tougher than you think. And like a lot of fruit trees cold weather is important for the Olive if they are to flower and set fruit.
Planting your Olive tree
Your Olive Tree will respond best in a sheltered sunny spot, but this does not mean that you will be unable to grow it elsewhere in your garden. The most important thing to remember when planting your Olive Tree is to avoid planting it in a waterlogged position. Cold, wet ground in the winter is the cause of nearly all problems with Olive Trees. So choose a free draining spot or simply keep it in a pot! Olives are very happy in containers as they have a very small root system. Keep the soil in good condition by top dressing annually your potted Olive Tree with John Innes No.3 compost.
Remember if you are keeping your Olive in a pot then it will need regular feeding throughout the growing months. Feed with liquid seaweed or tomato feed.
If you are planting your tree out in the garden, water it intermittently its first season in the ground. Particularly if we have a hot dry summer. It should be well established by the second year.
Pruning is good practice for both potted trees and those planted in the ground. It will stop them getting ‘leggy’. We recommend a prune twice a year ( Spring and Autumn and if your tree is looking stressed then take a 1/3 off the canopy. Your Olive will thank you for it.
How do you look after an indoor olive tree?
Houseplants have boomed in popularity and the indoor olive tree is no exception.
It's best to keep indoor olive trees near as much natural light and sun rays as possible. If you leave it in a dark corner, sadly it might just wither away. However, it's worth noting not to keep the plant too near the glass as sun rays can intensify and burn the leaves in summer. We also recommend misting your indoor Olive tree with a water spray.
When keeping Olives in a pot, don’t let them dry out, if the soil feels dry a few inches down then it’s time to get watering. Dehydration is nearly always the root of any problems.
My mantra for caring for Olives is feed, water, prune et voila a happy healthy Olive tree.
Written by: The Norfolk Olive Tree Company LTD
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