Fruit and Vegetables

Olive in pot

Olive in pot

The olive, European olea, is a Mediterranean plant and as such it grows perfectly in areas characterized by a rather mild climate, like our central southern regions. It loves the heat, tolerates drought well and with some care resists well even at temperatures close to zero. Among the evergreen plants it stands out for its longevity: it can live hundreds of years. Its roots require shallow soils and its growth is slow but continuous, even if it slows down in winter. All these features have meant that in recent years the tendency to cultivate olive trees in pots has spread. Not only for olives, but also for ornamental purposes. As a plant it does not require excessive care and if you put it in ideal conditions it will give us so much satisfaction and exquisite olives with minimal effort.

Proper exposure and watering

As briefly mentioned above, the olive loves the heat and does not fear drought. These are two basic parameters. We will therefore have to place our plant in as sunny a place as possible. This will guarantee a healthy and luxuriant growth of the plant. In addition to this we must be very careful with watering. Let's make sure that the soil is well dry between one watering and another. Basically if we place it in a medium-sized vase, it will be enough to water it once a week in the summer, one every two or three weeks in the other seasons. In winter the rains will suffice. This is because the olive tree, especially if in the pots, is very afraid of moisture and water stagnation, which would favor root rot and the onset of diseases that could be fatal. We therefore prefer preferably terracotta vases, which guarantees better transpiration than plastic, and we prepare a soft and draining soil. In this context, place gravel or cocoons at the bottom of the container.

Repotting and pruning, two delicate operations

In the first years of life of our olive tree we should provide repotting every two or three years. The best time for this operation is the arrival of the first spring warmth, just before the complete vegetative awakening. The new vessel must be one or at most two sizes larger than the previous one. Place some gravel or cocoons at the bottom of the pot, add some new soil and once done repotting water abundantly. As the plant grows, the repottings will be more and more spaced out over time, until the time when there is no longer any need for them. Also with regard to pruning it is mainly used on young plants following two criteria. The first is of a practical nature. We need to cut the branches that grow horizontally and intersect with the others. These must be eliminated because, first of all, they cause damage to the plant by rubbing against the others and secondly they limit the passage of air and the rays of the sun to the inner part of the plant itself. The second criterion is purely decorative, ie it serves to give the desired shape to the crown.

Olives and pests

Depending on the species, our olive tree will flourish in a period of the year from April to June. Of all the flowering, however, only a small part will turn into olives. The olives in turn will ripen in a period of time ranging from September to late winter. Once our olives have ripened, we can only collect them. Before eating, they must be treated, as soon as they are harvested they have an excessively bitter taste. Usually they are left in brine for about a month and after a deep rinse they can be eaten. Unfortunately, not only are we human beings greedy for olives. We will often have to pay attention to our plant because there are several pests that could attack it. Among the most known and frequent are the cochineal and the olive fly. Being a potted plant and not plantations, we could play ahead of these unwanted guests by careful observation. We often monitor the health conditions of the plant. Although difficult to see, these pests will not escape careful observation. Once identified, a manual deletion can be performed.