Olive

Quirky feature plant that includes some classics

Distinctive shape, grey-green leaves, evergreen and also a symbol of peace - an Olive definitely means it’s going to be a great summer. 

Olive Thejoyofplants.co.uk

The Olive (Olea europeana) is an evergreen plant which flowers after a mild winter and a lot of spring sunshine. Under those conditions it produces small cream flowers at the end of May, beginning of June. A good summer with warm weather means that the tree will produce fruit as well. Don’t expect a mega harvest; you mainly buy an Olive tree for the attractive shape and the Mediterranean look. With a gnarled trunk and grey-green crown, your own patio almost feels like Tuscany. Although there are hardy species, the Olive is mainly a container plant which likes to spend the winter frost-free in a sheltered, cool spot. 

Eternity on your patio

The Olive is a member of the Olive family (Oleaceae) and includes some twenty species. The plant probably derived from oleaster, a wild shrub native to Iran. The Olive tree spread west from Armenia some 6000 years ago, to grow in countries around the Mediterranean. Olives have been cultivated for 2600 years, and the trees themselves can live a very long time. Cultivated specimens also have a long lifespan, and become more beautiful as they age. They are often passed from one generation to the next. 


Olive trivia  

  • In the past the Olive was a real orangery and conservatory plant, but the newest species can also do well outdoors, particularly during frost-free periods.
  • Olive trees occur in many Greek myths. In the best-known, the goddess Pallas Athena gifted an Olive tree to the city of Athens, where an Olive tree still grows on the Acropolis.
  • In the Greek town of Vouves there’s an Olive tree which is said to be 4000 years old; the al Badawi Olive tree in Bethlehem is estimated at 5000 years.