These instructions are sent with the plant gift
The olive is an outdoor tree with slivery green leaves and fruits. A young tree will live happily on a sunny windowsill or in a conservatory and give pleasure for years to come.
Olive trees need plenty of light to flower and fruit but will do well either indoors or outdoors if protected from extreme frost. A cool, well-lit room or in a sunny sheltered position in the garden is ideal.
While the plant is in a small pot it needs regular watering – don’t let it dry out or you will damage the delicate roots, particularly as the soil is very compact. In winter your olive tree will need watering once or twice a week, in summer more frequently - almost every day if in a warm and sunny position. Allow the top of the soil to dry out completely between watering and it is best to water thoroughly from the top allowing any excess to drain away rather than standing the plant in water.
If you are keeping your olive tree in a pot, then once it has put on quite a bit of growth you might repot in a larger container in the spring. Choose a mixture of ordinary soil and potting compost. A good pruning a couple of times a year will also help to keep a sculptured shape. Tiny white flowers should appear in the Spring with olive fruits developing over the summer and turning from green to browny-black in the autumn.
Problem solving Most problems come from underwatering in summer and overwatering in winter. Both of these can lead to leaf drop. If the dropped leaves are crisp, then a good watering and a return to a more regular routine will soon set your plant on the road to recovery. If the leaves are leatherier, the leaf drop is likely to be due to overwatering or allowing the delicate roots to sit in water. Try moving your plant to a sunnier position and withholding water until the soil has really dried out. You can gently remove the plastic pot to have a look at the dampness of the roots if in doubt.
Although olive trees are evergreen they do tend to shed a few leaves in the UK over the winter months when the light levels are low. As the days get longer again these should soon be replaced with fresh growth.
With enough sunlight your tree should fruit even when quite small, however expect the fruit to be very bitter. Olives need to be ‘cured’ properly to get rid of this bitter taste before eating