Olive trees are becoming increasingly popular is indoor houseplants, due to their minimalistic sage green foliage, and modern Mediterranean aesthetic.
You will see many articles stating that olive trees do not have a long lifespan as indoor plants, but it's important to keep in mind that as olive trees can live 500-1500 years in their native outdoor environment, the indoor lifespan of 8-10 years is plenty for most plant enthusiasts, and can be easily extended by summering your tree outdoors, or adding supplementary light.
Olive trees are a relatively hardy plant once established, and can thrive, growing over ten feet indoors in the right conditions. While olive trees are often characterized as finicky indoors, adequate conditions and proper care in the first year is crucial to your adjusting to your home environment, and can make for a hardy, healthy tree that is draught resistant and easy to care for in years to come.
SUNLIGHT: Native to the Mediterranean these trees love sunlight. Full sun is ideal, so choose a bright, south facing window. A minimum of six hours sunlight is recommended, although 8+ is ideal. If you cannot place your olive in a bright, unobstructed window, we recommend supplementing with a grow light, especially during dark, Canadian winters.
WATER: While Olive trees can be quite draught hardy once established, smaller and new Olive trees should be watered weekly in warmer months, once the top two inches of soil are dry. Once established, and during winter months, your olive tree can be watered every 7-10 days. It is important to note that while these trees can be draught hardy, leaf drop may occur due to under watering, affecting the already sparse aesthetic. As Olive trees are used to dry, Mediterranean air, misting or added humidity are not necessary. Yellow leaves dropping is usually a sign of overwatering, with dry brown or green leaf drop being a sign of under watering.
FERTILIZATION: Olive trees are light feeders, and don't need much fertilizer. Fertilize sparingly during the summer growing months with a balanced (10-10-10) houseplant fertilizer, avoid feeding in the winter months as olive trees go quite dormant.
ENVIRONMENT: While Olive trees can grow indoors, they thrive in outdoor conditions, and bringing them outdoors during summer months if possible will ensure a healthier, longer living plant than those kept indoors year round. Supplimenting with a grow light is encouraged if you are not able to bring your tree outdoors. While these are a sun loving plant it is important to acclimatize them slowly to to harsh sunlight after a long winter season. Allow your plant to adjust slowly to increasing levels of direct sun as to avoid sunburn or shock.
PESTS: No matter how well you care for your tree, or how attentive a grower is, indoor plants are prone to pests. Hard shelled insects such as scale love Olive trees. Inspect your olive tree carefully when watering and remove any bugs with an alcohol soaked cotton ball and treat plant generously with neem to treat and keep pests at bay.
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