The life expectancy of most of your houseplants is shorter than you probably want to contemplate. But an olive tree? The oldest one on record, growing on the Greek island of Crete, is thought to be at least 2,000 years old.
An olive tree will easily outlive you if you take good care of it. Start with a sapling—such as a tiny, potted olive tree grown by Florida-based The Magnolia Company—and put it in a sunny spot with good air circulation. In summer months, move it outdoors. When it outgrows the pot, you can transfer it to your garden, if you prefer.
In their native Mediterranean environments, olive trees thrive in dry, rocky, sunny conditions. Your potted tree will appreciate a layer of gravel or small rocks for drainage at the bottom of its pot. Find a bright spot where it will get at least six hours a day of sun and keep it warm. Fertilize it twice a year and let it spend as much time outdoors as possible in summer months.
See more growing tips in Olive Trees: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design in our curated guides to Trees 101. For more ideas for incorporating an olive tree into a landscape, see:
- Genius Garden Ideas: 10 Landscapes with Olive Trees
- The Novice Gardener: Help, Can This Olive Tree Be Saved?
- Gardening 101: Olive Trees