Select a tree to match your favourite recipe
TAPENADE, pizza, pasta, breads and salads are just a few delicious ways to enjoy olives (or perhaps in a martini). Olive trees, with their attractive greyish foliage, can successfully be grown in backyards as well as in a large pot in a sunny courtyard. They’re hardy, dry-tolerant plants that grow well in cool to temperate climates.
Different varieties are suited to different uses, such as manzanillo for pickling, kalamata for eating fresh and cooking and frantolo for oil, and also for different climates, so pick a variety suitable for your area (and your favourite recipe). Also check your chosen olive to see if it will produce a better crop if cross pollinated with another olive, with trees taking about four to five years to bear fruit.
When planting a new olive tree, mix some organic plant fertiliser into the planting hole and keep the soil moist while the olive establishes. Reapply every spring and autumn to encourage healthy growth and lots of olives.
Soil tip: Olives prefer a slightly alkaline soil (pH 7–8). In areas with acidic soil, apply some liquid lime and dolomite around the root zone to increase the pH.
Indoor potted plants can be susceptible to one of the most common summer pests, mites. Mites are sap suckers that multiply rapidly, first causing leaves to become mottled and then creating masses of fine webbing as the colonies expand. Mites revel in dry indoor conditions and plant health can quickly decline.
To help reduce mite numbers, foliage can be regularly misted with cool water.
Olive trees can take four or more years to bear fruit.