Growing Olea Europaea

by on March 1st, 2011
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Olea is a plant genus comprising a few dozen species of trees that are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. One species that is particularly popular among gardeners and landscapers is Olea europaea. This evergreen tree is commonly known as the Common Olive. It grows 20 to 30 feet in height and spreads a similar distance. Its foliage consists of lanced shaped grayish-green leaves that serve as the backdrop for clusters of creamy white flowers that blossom during the spring. Its impressive appearance makes it an ideal shade tree or specimen tree.

There are several things to consider when planting and growing the Common Olive tree. The condition of the soil, the climate, and certain pests or diseases can affect the health of Olea europaea.


This tree thrives in hardiness zones 8 to 10. It is not winter hardy. If it is started as a container plant, it should be brought indoors during the winter months. It prefers full sunlight, rather than partial shade.

Soil Conditions

Plant the Common Olive tree in fertile, well-drained soils. Poorly draining soil may lead to root rot, which is a condition that deteriorates the structure and function of the plants root system. It is a good idea to add mulch to protect it from the elements.

Watering and Fertilizers

This tree requires a medium amount of moisture, so water it occasionally. Once it is established, it is drought tolerant, so avoid over-watering it.


The best way to propagate this plant is by taking stem cuttings and planting them in a nutrient rich medium.

Pests and Diseases

There aren’t any insects which are common to this plant species. Occasionally, this tree suffers from verticillium wilt, which causes leaves to shrivel and fall off the branches. Another fungal disease which may infect the Common Olive tree is root rot.

Olea europaea – Missouri Botanical Gardens
Olea europaea – University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.

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