Olive trees are slow-growing, low-maintenance evergreen trees that can thrive as long as they have plenty of sunlight and a little bit of water. Although they can sometimes grow to a height of 50 feet in the open, they also are very happy grown indoors in containers. Because olive trees will thrive even if they're occasionally neglected, they're the perfect indoor tree for busy people.
Visit a nursery or greenhouse and purchase a healthy, young olive tree. The leaves should be bright and never yellow or drooping, the trunk should be free of gouges or other signs of damage, and the branches should be flexible when you bend the tip.
Select a planting container for the tree. Make sure it has good drainage from the bottom. If you will need to move the plant, consider a wheeled platform or a container with built-in wheels.
Remove the olive tree from its container. If you notice any roots that appear to be twisting or circling around themselves, trim them carefully and be careful not to disturb the root ball more than necessary.
Fill the pot about half full with good quality commercial potting soil, and set the tree into the pot so that the top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim of the pot, adjusting the level of potting soil, if necessary. Once the tree is in place, finish filling the pot with potting soil, up to a couple of inches from the top.
Water the tree and put it in a window where it will get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. However, don't put the tree too near the glass because the magnification of the sunlight can burn the leaves.
Test the soil with your finger before watering the plant. If the soil is dry down to an inch, it's time to water the tree. Remember that olive trees are a dry-climate plant and be careful not to overwater.
Feed the olive tree a good all-purpose liquid fertilizer every other week during the spring and summer, following the manufacturer's instructions. During the fall and winter months, the tree should be fertilized only once a month.
Trim the olive tree after it blooms each spring and as needed during the summer. Olive trees require only a very light pruning, so just use pruning shears to clip the tips of the branches to maintain the shape and size of the tree. Don't trim the tree during fall and winter.