Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Grow Olive Trees in Containers

olive image by Roques Jean Chris from

The olive tree is loved not only for its fruit but also for its beauty. Even when the tree is dormant, it presents a lovely, soft accent in any garden. Growing olive trees in containers is not difficult as long as you pay close attention to certain requirements and are growing it within USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11. Plant the olive tree in the largest pot you can find and make sure it has good drainage. Drill extra holes in the bottom of the container if you feel there aren't enough. Choose a location to grow your olive tree that receives a minimum of six hours of sun a day. Two olive tree varieties that do especially well in containers are Manzanillo and Frantoio, which is a good choice if you wish to make olive oil. Olive trees don't bear fruit until they are five years of age.

Decide where you will grow the olive tree. You will need to move the new pot to that location as it may be too heavy to move once it is filled with soil.

Lay a 2- to 3-inch layer of charcoal over the bottom of the pot and fill the pot halfway with potting mix.

Place the roots of the olive tree into the pot. When planted, it should be at the same depth as it was growing previously. You may need to add or remove soil from the pot to adjust the depth.

Fill the container to within 1 inch of the rim of the pot and water the olive tree until water runs from the bottom of the pot.

Water the olive tree when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry. Poke your finger into the soil to determine if it is time to water. In winter, allow the tree to dry out a bit more, to within 4 or 5 inches of the soil's surface.

Fertilize the olive tree with 17-6-10 NPK fertilizer, diluted to half the recommended strength, every two weeks during the growing season. In the winter, cut back fertilizer applications to once a month. Always water the plant prior to fertilizing.

Garden Guides