The Q&A Archives: Growing Olive Trees

Question: We live in San Diego, California. We just purchased 5 olive tree seedlings. We would like to know if we can grow them outside or should we keep them indoors? Should we water daily or every other day? High sunlight or moderate sunlight? We are new to gardening and we would appreciate any advice you can give.

Answer: Plant in a sunny site outdoors, in average garden soil. Leaves can withstand temperatures down to 43F, but the roots dislike freezing temperatures. Plant your saplings outdoors now and provide water on a weekly basis (1-inch per week applied slowly to thoroughly saturate the soil around the roots). Once the trees are established, they can get along on natural rainfall. Your olives will have deep green leaves with greyish undersides, and produce yellowish-white flowers followed by green or black fruit in late summer or early fall.

The olive can be successfully grown as an indoor plant, but should be kept below 64F in winter.

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