Olea/ Olive Bonsai



Olea/ Olive Bonsai

Olive bonsai by Harry Harrington
Olive bonsai by Harry Harrington. Pot by Victor Harris

Olea europaea is a tender evergreen that thrives in warm subtropical areas, growing to 10metres in height. It has opposite leathery, shiny, narrow dark-green leaves up to 6cm long. Small white flowers in the summer are followed by green olives which given a long enough period of warmth ripen to black. O. europaea has light-grey bark which becomes particularly gnarled with age. This is a broad-leaved species that lends itself well to areas of deadwood.
Olea sylvestris is the sought after Wild Olive and older specimens will often feature expansive deadwood and smaller leaves.


POSITION: Full sun.

Olives are surprisingly frost-hardy to lower than -5C. However, they suffer badly if allowed to sit outside in cold, wet conditions and should be protected from excessive rain from October through to April.

FEEDING: Fortnightly from Spring to Autumn, do not feed during the Winter.

REPOTTING: Every second year at midsummer. It is important to repot during the growing season when the roots are active; do not repot in Spring when it tends to be cool and wet.

Use a free draining mix.

PRUNING: Pinch back new growth regularly

PROPAGATION: Sow seed at 13-15°C in Spring, semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

PESTS AND DISEASES: None other than scale insects.

STYLING: Suitable for all styles except broom and for all sizes.

Related bonsai Species Guides