The olive (Olea europea) is a tree commonly found in Mediterranean countries, where it is a tree with strong symbolic importance. You can use cultivated varieties (like the normal olive) but it is common to use the wild olive (Olea europea silvestrys). The wild olive is of greater interest for Bonsai as these develop tiny leaves. In many cases these possess much appreciated features like the presence of jin, shari and bark that indicate a high age and survival in hostile conditions. The Olive as bonsai tree is easy to care for and very strong so it is a suitable choice for use as bonsai.
Position: Place the Olive bonsai outside and at a sunny spot, this also helps to reduce the size of the leaves. Must be protected during the winter if temperatures get too low.
Watering: No specifics.
Feeding: Feed abundant, with a normal fertilizer monthly from spring to mid autumn.
Pruning: Strong pruning is recommended in late winter. The olive will respond with vigorous growth in the following spring. For maintenance pruning, cut back to 2-3 pairs of leaves, and in very vigorous (and healthy) specimens you can use defoliation.
Repotting: Repot in spring before the buds begin to swell, every three or four years. Preferably use a soil mix with good drainage.
Propagation: From seeds and cuttings.
For tree identification use our Identify my bonsai tree species guide or go to the Bonsai care forum.
General guidelines can be found in our Bonsai care section or in the outdoor & indoor bonsai pages.
Return to the Bonsai tree specie guides section.