In recent years, the sight of a beautiful Olive tree has not been confined to the Mediterranean regions... it is now not unusual to see them growing into fabulous specimens in the UK. If you select the right spot and plant thoughtfully, the beautiful grey green foliage and distinctive trunk reminiscent of a Tuscan landscape can evoke the atmosphere of a peaceful, relaxed area. Looks fabulous when under-planted with lavender or rosemary. At Big Plant we select only the toughest and most reliable varieties from the best nurseries in the Mediterranean. We have been growing olive trees in milder micro-climates in the UK particularly southern and western regions, coastal and urban locations for the past decade with great success, so why not try one in your garden?
- Position: Best in full sun ideally south or west facing, away from cold, northerly winds.
- Soil: Deep, fertile, sharply drained soil (or loam-based potting compost for container-grown specimens) not waterlogged. Use 50/50 John Innes no 3 with multi-purpose for a container.
- Eventual Size: Up to 5 metres, but can be pruned
- Habit: Bushy, open
- Foliage: Evergreen
- Common Names: Olea europaea
Plant in the sunniest position possible, avoiding northerly or easterly cold winds in free draining soil adding organic compost to improve soil quality. Consider a raised bed or planting in a container if the soil is waterlogged. If planting in a container use a mix of 50/50 John Innes no 3 and multipurpose compost, and always re-pot to a just a slightly larger size. Olive trees can be easily pruned to maintain the size and habit required. We recommend that light, formative pruning is undertaken in mid-spring with heavier trimming in early to mid-summer. Never prune during the winter and be cautious in the autumn. Feed your olive tree with seaweed extract fortnightly between May and September to ensure your tree stays healthy, vigorous and happy. In areas where the minimum temperatures are between -2c and -5c, Olives require no winter protection and will tolerate drops down to -7c for short periods, providing day time temperatures rise sufficiently. In areas of lower winter temperatures, your olive tree can be protected with several layers of horticultural fleece wrapped around the trunk and crown of the tree. Like many plants, olives are not happy with frozen roots. If this happens, they can suffer from drought through not being able to take up water or worse still, the roots can be damaged which can result in poor subsequent growth or even death of the tree. But fear not! This can be prevented by adding several layers of bubble plastic to the inside of the pot when repotting the plant or simply add whilst needed to the outside of the pot and securing with twine.
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