Growing Olive Trees in a Pot

At McEvoy Ranch, growing olive trees is our business. For many years we ran an olive tree nursery business, and today there are thousands of olive trees from McEvoy Ranch planted throughout California. While we don’t run the olive tree nursery business anymore, many people still come to us for advice on planting and growing olive trees, olive tree health, the varieties of Tuscan olives that we grow on the ranch such as Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino, and the different kinds of fruiting and non-fruiting olive trees. Both fruited and fruitless varieties of olive trees deliver a sense of the beauty found many years ago in the Old World, bringing a robust touch of the Mediterranean environment into your home or yard. Even if your climate is too cold or space is too limited to allow year-round planting in an outdoor garden, the enticing allure of these trees can still be yours as long as you are prepared to choose a few planting pots when you peruse the abundance of olive trees for sale. The following guide tells you the best time to plant trees, how to choose the ideal planting pot, and how to care for your olive trees.

Selecting Olive Trees

Before you've chosen a location offering olive trees for sale, it is important to decide which variety you prefer. Fruitless olive trees offer lush foliage without the added work of cleaning up after fallen fruit, while fruited versions provide the benefit of providing hearty crops of olives annually. Both types require similar care. Do remember though, if choosing a fruited variety, you'll want at least two saplings to encourage a healthy crop of fruit. To give your potted tree the best start, choose one that has healthy, green foliage without any dying leaves. Avoid trees with signs of scale, tiny pests that cluster on new growth. You can easily identify them by their black coloring.

Best Time to Plant Trees

For outdoor planting, the best time to plant trees is once the threat of an overnight or early morning frost has passed. Even if you choose tree pots over the ground, you'll still want to wait until outdoor temperatures are warm enough to promote healthy growth, allowing you to provide fresh sunshine and outdoor living for your olive trees.

Choosing and Preparing Tree Pots

Typically, olive trees for sale come in a container that is designed simply for temporary transport until such time as you are ready to plant it. A tree pot that is approximately two feet deep by two feet wide is a suitable size. Ideally, you should select an ornamental planting pot featuring drainage holes and place a layer of lava rock or stone in its bottom to prevent root rot.

Planting Your Tree Pots

Carefully remove each tree from its container. Shake the roots gently to remove any soil, allowing you to identify damaged roots that should be removed. Place each tree in its planting pot, fill the planter with potting soil, gently tamp down the soil, and lightly water the tree.

Caring for Potted Trees

A robust variety, the olive tree prefers full sun with limited incidence of shade. It should be placed in a sunny area of the yard several hours a day during the warmest months of the year. During the cold months, olive trees should be brought into a heated shed or home. Watering frequency depends on the size of your olive trees and how much sun your trees receive. Ideally, you should only water your trees if the top three inches of soil have become dry. Fertilization should not take place during the first year. Given the right conditions and proper planting pot size, olive trees generally live as many as nine years while potted. It is possible to replant your tree in a larger pot when necessary and even into the ground if your climate is suitable.