Olive

Olea europaea

Common Olive

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Olea europaea is a slow-growing evergreen tree, known for its production of edible olives. It grows in a short and squat habit, the silvery green leaves being small and lance-shaped. The trunk is typically gnarled and twisted. Olive trees produce panicles of tiny white flowers, which generally grow on the previous year's wood and lead on to the production of small olive fruits, which are harvested when green or black. Olives are very significant economically for the Meditteranean region but are being threatened by the bacterial Xylella disease that has spread to several countries. Therefore, olive trees should only be purchased from a safe and reliable source. As well as for olive - and olive oil - production, these trees are popular for ornamental purposes in domestic gardens - particularly well suited for coastal and urban settings in the UK (where they rarely fruit). Can be container grown and lightly pruned to control size.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Autumn

Harvesting

Olives start out green and eventually all turn black as they ripen. Olives that are harvested when they are still green have a peppery, grassy, or more herbaceous flavour while olives that are harvested when they turn have a milder, buttery flavor.

Propagation

Special features

Drought resistant

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Mediterranean, Asia, Australia and Africa

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Personality

Family

Oleaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

None

Problems

Xylella bacterial disease - in Europe but not UK

Related Problems

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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