Olea europaea. A gnarled olive tree. A clambering grape vine. Caper bushes spilling down the hill. An olive tree, just one, evokes memorable landscapes from Andalusia eastward to the Levant.
We are pleased to offer exceptional new varieties, including the renowned Bella Di Cerignola, Cailletier and Lucques.
Full sun and good drainage required. Expect harvestable crops in about three years. The first fruits are almost all pit and no meat and it's best to remove them, although few people can bring themselves to do it. You must process olives within a few days of harvesting, whether for oil or table, or they'll start to decompose and the end result will be inferior. Never use olives that have fallen off the tree when curing or pressing.
Olive trees bear their fruit on one year old shoots. To promote this growth, prune your trees in spring. You can pinch the branches of new trees or prune back branches of established trees. Olive trees won't bear fruit twice on the same wood, so remove bearing shoots from the previous year each spring.
If you want to enhance growth, be sure to fertilize well. Seaweed not only provides boron, which olives need, but it also helps trees survive cold weather. Well-aged manure, dolomitic lime and greensand provide an excellent top layer food source that will slowly and safely release nutrients to the trees.
In colder climates, grow olive trees in a pot that can be brought into a sun porch during the winter. Olive trees need at least 100 hours of temperatures below 50 degrees in the winter, so keep this requirement in mind when considering growing olive trees indoors. Zones 9-10 outdoors, where trees grow to about 20-25 feet. Please read varietal descriptions for pollenizer requirements, although many olives will bear a crop without pollenizers. Fruit and new growth injured at 26 degrees, tree injured at 16 degrees.
A note on the olive fruit fly: it has become established throughout California olive growing regions. You can control it organically by using Spinosad, but diligence is required.
A second note: olives prefer dry conditions and are prone to fungal disease in areas of high humidity, such as many areas of the Southeast. Thomas Jefferson, a great gardener, had his heart broken over his olive trees' intransigent refusal to produce a harvestable crop at Monticello.
Ground shipping charges are 30% for CA, 35% for OR, WA,AZ and NV, and 45% to rest of U.S. Orders received by Fridays at 5 pm PST will be shipped the following Monday if weather allows. Sorry, no shipping to AK,HI.
|Picholine Olive Tree 1 Gal|
Grown primarily in the Languedoc region of France, the Picholine olive is the go to olive for martinis due to its nutty flavor and meaty texture. An esteemed table olive, cured when green. Late harvest, so difficult to bring in a crop in areas with early frost. The tree has a short, upright and wide growth pattern, with pale green leaves. Partially self-fertile, but a better harvest if planted with Leccino or Manzanillo. This is a new crop of trees as of May 2017 and they're small, 2' tall, narrow caliper, as in photo.
|Arbequina Olive Tree 4" x 9" pot|
These Arbequina trees are about 3' tall with a few branches, much smaller than photo as of September 2017. Young olive trees grow quickly their first few seasons, and then decelerate to their typical slow growth rate. Grown in 4" x 9" containers.
|Arbequina Olive Tree 1 Gal|
Arbequina olive trees hail from Catalonia, not Tuscany, but they share the same excellent rustic qualities of those varieties, including high adaptability to different climates and soils. Used for both oil and table olives, the fruit is small and rounded. Crop matures into black olives over a few weeks, so you have time to pick them. Tree is weeping, fairly compact and shorter than other varieties, and self-fertile. 1.5' tall, no branching, much smaller than photo as of November 2016.
|Coratina Olive Tree 4" x 9" pot|
A very adaptable olive tree from Puglia, used more for oil than table olives. The oil has a strong peppery flavor from its high polyphenol levels. Coratina olive trees grow faster and more erect than others, with gray-green leaves. Excellent choice for hot climates. Compatible olive tree pollenizers include Frantoio and Leccino. Trees about 3' tall, branching and fruiting as of November 2016. Grown in 4" x 9" pots.
|Nocellara del Belice Olive Tree 1 Gal|
Olives from this Sicilian cultivar are known as Castelvetrano in the U.S. If you haven't experienced biting into one, it's time to seek out these flavor bombs. The drupes are huge, up to a quarter ounce, and the brightest green after brining. With a small pit and a buttery, perfumed flesh, this olive is incomparable. If you're in the Bay Area, go to Berkeley Bowl for your Castelvetrano fix. The oil is likewise remarkable, with a light body and a rosy fragrance. The Nocellara del Belice tree has a wide crown, medium height to about 20' and produces heavily. Disease resistant, especially when grown in fertile soils with adequate moisture. Will have higher yields with a pollenizer such as Pendolino. Grown in 1 gal pots, these young trees as of May 2017 are about 10" tall, narrow caliper less than pencil width. Fragile new growth, so treat with care. Can remain in existing pot for the season.
|Picual Olive Tree 2 Gal|
The most popular Spanish cultivar for both table olives and oil, Picual has exceptionally high polyphenol levels which give the medium-sized drupes their characteristic pungent flavor. Self-fertile, highly productive at an early age, and adaptable to challenging conditions. Grown in 2 gallon containers and beginning to develop their expansive crowns and low, open formal growth. As of March 2017 trees have been pruned back to about 3.5' tall, not full yet.
|Koroneiki Olive Tree 4" x 9" pot|
Koroneiki trees have dominated Greek olive groves since Homer wrote The Odyssey and no doubt dipped bread into the peppery oil we still enjoy thousands of years later. Koroneiki olives are smaller than other varieties, matching the compact growth pattern of the tree. Small, thick leaves. Oil has very high oleic acid content. One of the more tender varieties. Self-fertile. As of March 2017 trees are about 3' tall after tip pruning, some branching. Grown in 4" x 9" containers.
|Leccino Olive Tree 1 Gal|
Oil from the Leccino olive tree is more delicate than the Frantoio, and the small to medium fruit is also used for table olives. The olives ripen into black ovals practically all at once, so be prepared. The Leccino olive tree is a vigorous grower, with gray leaves and a graceful airy habit. Compatible olive tree pollenizers include Pendolino, Maurino, Picholine and Frantoio. As of July 2016, trees are 2.5' tall, nicely branched. Grown in 1 gal pots. TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK.
|Bella di Cerignola Olive Tree 2 Gal|
Bella Di Cerignola may offer the most beautiful and delicious olives of any tree. It ripens early and is generally brined soon after turning a celadon green. Drupes are huge, nearly a half ounce of crisp, buttery meat. Hailing from Puglia, this tree has a spreading canopy with gracefully weeping branches. Appreciates being well-fed and watered. Will produce greater harvest with the pollenizers Coratina, Pendolino or Leccino. Grown in 2 gal pots, trees are about 3.5' tall including 12" pot, branching, 3/8" caliper as of August 2017.
|Frantoio Olive Tree 4" x 6" pot|
The primary varietal used in Tuscan oil production, the Frantoio olive tree is useful to the home gardener as well. This olive tree is self-fertile, meaning it doesn't require another variety to set fruit, but is also an excellent pollenizer to other olive trees. The Frantoio olive tree grows in semi-pendulous fashion, with dark green-gray leaves. The fruit also makes a good table olive after curing, with a slightly nutty flavor to the medium-sized fruit. As of August 2017 trees are larger than photo, about 1/4" caliper, 3' tall in 4" x 6" pots. OUT OF STOCK.
|Ascolano Olive Tree 4" x 6" pot|
A vigorous and upright grower with slightly twisted and substantive green leaves, Ascolano is prized for the huge size and delicate taste of its olives. Since you can't get something for nothing, the downside is that Ascolano olives bruise easily and then you can't cure them. So harvest carefully. Fruit set is also fairly low. Doesn't turn black when ripe. Also used to produce a light and delicate oil. Ascolano is the most cold hardy of the Tuscan cultivars. Partially self-fertile, but you'll get more drupes using pollenizers Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino or Manzanillo. Trees are about 3' tall, larger than photo as of October 2017. Grown in 4" x 6" pots.
|Cailletier Olive Tree 4" x 6" Pot|
Known in cooking circles as Nicoise, Cailletier olives pack a lot of nutty, intense flavor in a small package. Cured black. Main cultivar around Nice, France. Tree is vigorous, large and eventually pendulous. Generally self-fertile. Watch out for olive fruit fly on this one. Grown in 4" x 6" pots.
|Cailletier Olive Tree 2 Gal|
The more established version of the Cailletiers in 4" x 6" pots, below. These 2 gal trees are about 3' tall, narrow caliper, a few branches as of October 2017.
|Lucques Olive Tree 2 gal|
You know an olive must be exceptional when David Leibovitz sings its praises. These olives are challenging to find in markets so all the more reason to grow your own, even if you don't have a Languedoc potager. See below for cultural requirements. Trees as of July 2017 are about 2' tall, branching beginning, narrow caliper. Grown in 2 gal pots.
|Lucques Olive Tree 4" x 6" pot|
An easy grower that prefers adequate irrigation, with an upright habit and high productivity of delicious olives picked green for curing. Ripens late. The primary French cultivar and for good reason. Best yields if pollenized with Picholine. As of May 2017 trees are larger than photo, about 3' tall, sturdy caliper, branching beginning, some flowers. Grown in 4" x 6" pots.
|Pendolino 4" x 6" Pot|
This weeping olive tree is slow growing but well worth the wait. To see this olive tree in the gloaming, its narrow leaves backlit like slivers of a silver sun, is a heart-pounding experience. Partially self-fertile, but you need pollenizers if you want a large fruit crop. Compatible olive tree pollenizers include Leccino and Maurino. Pendolino olive trees are used extensively as pollenizers in large olive tree groves. The fruit makes small but delicious green and black table olives as well. Trees as of November 2016 are much smaller than photo, about 3' tall, no branching, grown in 4" x 6" pots.
|Taggiasca Olive Tree 4" x 6" pot|
This self-fertile cultivar hails from Liguria, where Benedictine monks selected for the traits expressed in today's Taggiasca olive trees. The small to medium olives yield a light, fine oil with a delicate almond flavor. For eating, the olives are cured black. They have a sweet buttery taste. Mature tree has average size and vigor, with a semi-weeping habit. Very late ripening. Leaves are green-gray on top, silver on bottom. As of November 2016 trees are nicely established, about 3' tall, no branching. Grown in 4" x 6" pots.