Olive Bonsai Care

Olive Bonsai Care Guide – The secret to take care of your olive bonsai step by step


Olive trees are wonderful bonsais! Both Olea European (Olive) and Olea European Silvestri's (Wild olive), are spectacular trees to have in one’s bonsai collection. Do you want to know how to ke

and the much appreciated olive oil is obtained from their fruits.

The olive tree, a tree with a lot of history

One of the great attractions of olive trees, that should not be forgotten, is that it is a tree steeped in history and symbolism.

Millennial Olive Trees of the Arion Natural Museum of Ulldecona

Everyone recognises the white dove with the olive twig in its beak as an international symbol of peace. Also, in many cultures, it is given a meaning of wisdom, great age and longevity. These are trees that usually live for many years and resist adverse conditions, still regreening afterwards. Not surprisingly, it is also associated with resistance and renewal, even being considered a sacred tree.

For the ancient Hebrews, olive oil was a symbol of Divine Blessing; For this reason, they anointed their kings with this oil.

For Christians, the Olive Tree is an emblematic tree, since Jesus used to meet and pray with his disciples in “The Mount of Olives”.

For Muslims, the Olive Tree and its oil are allegorically related to the Light of God that guides human beings.

And not only the tree is the object of symbolism. Olive oil has been given medicinal properties, using it as a symbol of healing.

Main differences between olive and wild olive trees

The olea European is known as olive tree or olive. One of its varieties is Silvestri's, which is commonly called wild olive. The common olive tree has been gaining popularity in recent centuries due to its level of olive oil production. But in recent years, wild olive has generated growing interest for its resistance to drought and for its wood.

  • Olea Europaea

  • Olea Europaea Sylvestris

  • The olive tree reaches a size of up to 15 meters.

  • The wild olive tree is smaller, it does not reach more than 3 meters.

  • The olive’s leaves are thinner and longer, and their colour is deep green.

  • The wild olive’s leaves are much smaller and rounder. These are the reasons why it is such an appreciated variety in bonsai. Its underside is greyer.

  • The olive’s fruit is long and fleshy.

  • Although it does fruit, it does in less quantity. Its fruit is smaller and less fleshy. In bonsai format, it is very difficult to achieve fructification.

  • Its dead wood is sand coloured.

  • Its dead wood is whiter.

  • Its cracked bark is larger and thicker.

  • Its cracked bark is longer and smaller.

Where to locate them?

These trees are Mediterranean, therefore, they love sun in abundance. If you live in a zone with a Mediterranean climate, you should place it outside in full sun all year round. Outside its natural climate, it is advisable to protect it from extreme cold, especially from frost (temperatures below zero for more than 24 hours). Despite this, the olive tree needs low temperatures in winter as long as it does not drop below 5º degrees, since frost can destroy its root system and its phloem’s constitutive vessels.

When can you wire them?

It can be wired throughout the year, keeping in mind that, when there is more sap circulation (spring), the branches are more malleable.

When to prune my olive bonsai?

We recommend pruning in early March (before spring begins); in this way, you will eliminate those unnecessary branches. With spring will also come the growing period. The tree will use its energy to develop the shoots necessary to achieve a better design.

How should I pinch it?

Pinching can be done between April and October. When the shoots are long (till 7 or 8 pairs of leaves). You can pinch leaving between 2 and 3 pairs of leaves.

How often can I repot my olive trees?