Scottish Bonsai Association

Bonsai A to Z Challenge

Challenging the Bonsai A to Z entry for Olive (Olea europaea).

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Existing Bonsai A To Z Entry for Olive (Olea europaea)


Olive (Olea europaea)

 - (Tree Type (Indoors))
Olive (Olea europaea) - Bonsai Tree Type (Indoors) Bonsai Care

Olives grow naturally in usually dry, arid climates where their extensive root system supports a fleshy leaf and bark structure which is capable of absorbing and storing a significant amount of water when it does become available. They are capable of withstanding the occasional frost in the wild but when grown in a pot they should be considered as tender and be protected from frost. They grow in several different varieties, all with glossy, dark green leaves with a pale green, matt underside. The leaf shape, however, can vary from round through oval to long and narrow.

STYLE : Suited to Informal upright, literati and root over rock.

WARNING : Branches are brittle so bend with care. Pruned branches die back to their point of origin so branches should be shortened gradually, in stages. Watch out for scale insects and spider mites.

Care Info

REPOT : Olives can survive without repotting for long periods but should be inspected and repotted every 3 years as part of the proces of ensuring plant health. Heavy roots should be pruned back hard.

SOIL : Should be grown in well drained soli 70:30 grit:organic mix ideally.

PRUNE : Early spring or early autumn. Shorten branches in stages, only cutting back as far as sideshoots where these are available.

PINCH : Use scissors to cut back shoots to 2 or 3 leaves.

WATER : keep slightly on the dry side watering heavily but infrequently in summer and even less frequently in winter. Spray with water in very hot weather.

FEED : Half strength balanced feed in summer. Nitrogen free feed in autumn and no feed at all in winter.

WARNING : Branches are brittle so bend with care. Pruned branches die back to their point of origin so branches should be shortened gradually, in stages. Watch out for scale insects and spider mites.


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