Potted olive tree : how to maintain it ?

The olive tree is the very symbol of regions bathed in sunshine. Nicknamed the tree of life, it displays a rare longevity and proves to be extremely robust because it supports both drought and wind and can even accommodate negative temperatures down to -10°C. This evergreen tree can be planted in pots to be placed on the terrace or balcony. But it must be sheltered during harsh winters in the coldest regions. Although not very demanding in terms of maintenance, the olive tree must however be pampered a little to honor us with its beauty for many years and to delight us with its olives. Let’s take stock of its watering, pruning and fertilizing needs.

Potted olive tree: nature of the soil and exposure

In geographical areas with a mild climate where the summers are particularly dry, the olive tree is grown in the open ground, and even stony soil is suitable for it. Elsewhere, it is highly preferable to install it in a pot, if only to be able to move it if necessary, or even bring it under shelter to protect it from extreme cold.

It needs to be installed in a large tank (or large pot). He is undemanding in terms of substrate since it adapts to a same calcareous earth provided she is deep and well drained because it hates excess humidity, which is fatal for its roots. It is therefore placed in a very sunny place protected from the prevailing cold winds.

Potted olive tree: well-measured watering

There are nearly 2,000 species of olive trees. The most common variety is thecommon olive tree (european wave). It belongs to the family of Oleaceae. Its height in adulthood is about 9 meters. This tree, which symbolizes peace, has a very typical tortuous silhouette and a evergreen composed of grey-green to bluish-green lanceolate leaves of the most beautiful effect.

It is between April and June that his White flowers very melliferous bloom and from the end of the summer, one can have the good surprise to see developing its fleshy drupes, fruit oh so much appreciated. The olives are harvested from the end of the summer season until autumn.

Its growth is very slow since it only takes about fifteen centimeters at most each year provided that it is not forgotten in a corner of the terrace. Because even if it supports the great droughts, it must benefit from a careful watering when grown in containers. Be careful however, the olive tree does not tolerate any excess water this is why it must be planted in a permeable ground allowing a perfect flow of rainwater and watering.

To take root well during the period following its planting in a container, it must benefit from regular watering. Thereafter, two waterings per month are sufficient in the middle of summer. No need to have a heavy hand because the earth should never be soggy. Must therefore wait until the ground is dry before taking out the watering can. Likewise, one must take care that the water does not stagnate in the saucer. Once the hot weather has passed, watering should be restricted.

Vigilance is required because in a container, the soil dries out much faster than in the garden. If you have to be away for a long time in summer, you can install a specific irrigation system or ask a neighbor to take care of the potted olive tree.

Potted olive tree: protect it from extreme cold

Despite its Mediterranean origins, this fruit and ornamental tree can be grown in all regions of France. But he is all the same a little chilly. Precautions should therefore be taken where winter temperatures are below -9 or -10°C. The wisest thing is to protect both the container and the tree with a winter sail if harsh weather conditions are to be expected. Better still, it can be placed in a cold greenhouse or in an orangery with citrus fruits in pots. We can take it out again in the spring, when the risk of severe frost is no longer to be feared.

Potted olive tree: soft pruning is possible

The size of an olive tree grown in a container is far from being restrictive even for the inexperienced gardener. It is also recommended to be satisfied with a smooth size. Regularity prevents it from being too severe. This maintenance must simply serve to preserve the silhouette of the shrub. It consists at most of:

  • Remove suckers that develop at the foot of the trunk.
  • Remove dead branches.
  • Remove feverish branches that lack vigour.
  • Ventilate the center of the antlers (heart of the tree) by cutting the branches that become entangled and the excess branches.
  • Cut down, on the living wood, the branches which have suffered from severe frosts.

It is therefore a thinning pruning spring. It is carried out after a few years of culture in pot, when the subject has already grown. It takes place once a year if necessary, between March and mid-May. A well-sharpened pruner is enough to cut small branches, side shoots and unnecessary twigs. Larger diameter branches require the use of a lopper.

Fruits can be harvested after about fifteen years of cultivation. The olives grow on the wood of the previous year. It is therefore necessary to perform a fruiting size every two or three years. It is a goblet pruning that can occur every two or three years, in the spring. She increases fruiting quality. It should be carried out after winter and before flowering. It consists of a shortening of about 30% of the vigorous branches which bore fruit the previous year. This favors the production of olives closer to the trunk, which increases their taste quality.

Finally, the potted olive tree needs from time to time fertilize the earth so that it benefits from essential nutrients, namely the famous NPKthat is to say thenitrogenthe potassium and the phosphorus. You can opt for a mineral fertilizer sold in garden centers or for an organic fertilizer, knowing that the latter improves the structure of the substrate and allows a regular diffusion of nutrients. Organic fertilizer is economical and ecological since it is obtained by composting garden waste. We take the opportunity to hoe lightly the soil in the tray, being careful not to injure the roots of the olive tree.

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