Olive Tree Plant - Growing in Atlanta - Knowledgebase Question

Atlanta, Ge
Question by vangiegouvas
December 5, 2009
For my bday I received two very small olive-tree plants from California nursery as a gift but they had very little instructions. I want to see them grow, but do not know about the climate in Atlanta and if I should keep in the house until Spring and replant in better soil and a larger pot; they advised fertilizing with Rapid-Grow and putting a little dish detergent in water under plant for mites.

Answer from NGA
December 5, 2009


Olive trees (Olea europea) are slow-growing and keep their leathery, gray-green leaves year-round. In areas colder than Zone 8 (10?F), Olive trees must be grown indoors during the winter. Choose a place for your Olive tree that receives full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun each day). A location near a sunny, south-facing window is ideal. Take care to position your plant away from heat vents and radiators and not too close to a window, which can act as a magnifying glass and literally ?fry? the leaves.

When the potting mix feels dry 1 inch below the surface, water thoroughly. Your tree will require less water in fall and winter, the seasons when Olive trees naturally take a rest, but don?t let the soil mix dry out completely.

During fall and winter, fertilize once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer (such as 20-20-20). In spring and summer when your tree is in active growth, fertilize every two weeks or apply a timed-release fertilizer.

If you would like to move your tree outdoors for the summer, wait until the danger of frost has passed in spring, then gradually acclimate your plant to conditions outside over a week?s time. Set the pot outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot, increasing the exposure to sun and wind each day. Check the moisture of the potting mix and water thoroughly if it?s dry. Once acclimated, keep your Olive in full sun for the summer, and bring it back inside before frost in fall.

After a year or more, when the roots of your Olive have become crowded, transplant it into a larger pot. Choose a pot that is 1?2 inches wider in diameter, with a drainage hole in the bottom. Use a fast-draining potting mix, and begin by filling the container about half-full of moistened mix. Remove the plant from the pot by grasping the rim, turning the pot upside down, and tapping it against the heel of your hand. Gently break up the sides of the root ball with your thumbs and tease apart any roots that are circling at the bottom. Then set the root ball on top of the mix and adjust the amount of mix in the container so that the top of the root ball will be about 1 inch below the rim. Fill in around the root ball with potting mix to bring the level to about 1 inch below the rim, and firm lightly. Finally, water thoroughly.

Since you are in gardening zone 7, you will need to keep your olive trees in containers so you can winter them indoors. Hope this answers all your questions.

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