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How to Propagate Olive Trees

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

The olive tree is part of the world's history in so many ways. It has been found in the culture of the Mediterranean region for as long as there is recorded history. Climate is the limiting factor in the spread of the trees since it needs the heat and cannot tolerate cold for any length of time. California has proven to be a successful growing area for the trees and parts of Texas are good for the cultivation of the olive tree. If you live in an area with the right conditions, you can propagate your own trees by following a few easy steps.

Strip the leaves off the bottom 6 inches of the cutting and place it in a container of water to stay moist while you work with the other cuttings. The leaves are removed since they will only rot under the moist conditions under the potting mix. Decaying matter will only invite fungus and bacteria to grow, which of course is not desirable in this process.

Prepare the potting mix by measuring out equal parts of the peat for water retention, sand for drainage and perlite for aeration. Make sure the peat is moistened before you add it to the mixture. Place the prepared soil in the containers you have chosen for holding the cuttings. This container does not have to have drainage holes since you will not be watering it, but rather, will be holding the original moisture in the container.

Poke 6-inch holes into the planting mixture and keep them at least 2 inches apart. You can use a pencil or planting stake for this to keep the holes uniform. Try to stay just above the bottom of the container if possible.

Dip the moist cuttings into the rooting hormone powder and then directly into the prepared holes. Firm the soil down between the cuttings so that it presses against the cuttings. Add a little sprinkle of water to set the soil in place and to encourage the roots to grow. Cover the container with a clear plastic bag or cover to hold in the humidity.

Place the cuttings in a cool but not cold place--about 50 degrees to inhibit fungus growth. Let them sit for about 6-8 weeks before checking them for growth. If you give a little tug, you should meet with some resistance. Let them develop their roots for another 2 weeks.

Transplant the rooted cuttings into a well draining soil mixture. Keep in a warm and sunny environment until the following spring when they can be planted outside. Water whenever the soil feels dry but make sure the seedling is never sitting in water.


Things You Will Need

  • Leafy cutting 8 inches long, 1-year-old wood
  • Sand:perlite:peat mixture (1:1:1)
  • Rooting hormone (for trees)
  • Containers (6 inches deep)
  • Plastic bag

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.