How to Grow an Olive Tree from Seed

Collecting and Preparing Olive Seeds

olive seeds

If you are looking to kick-start your olive tree-growing journey, it’s essential to learn how to collect and prepare olive seeds. Olive trees are known for their desirable oleuropein-containing fruits that produce a healthy oil. Besides its countless health benefits, olive oil is highly versatile. It is used for cooking, cosmetics, and even fuel in some instances.

The first step in growing your olive tree is finding healthy seeds. When olive fruits are allowed to ripen on the tree, they become soft and mushy, which is an indication that they are mature, and the seeds can be easily removed. It is best to avoid using overripe or rotten fruit as they are unlikely to produce healthy seeds. It is commonly recommended to wait for the fruits to fall off the tree naturally before collecting them.

Once you have collected the olive fruits, remove the seeds from the flesh. This can be done easily using a sharp knife or by squeezing the fruit and removing the noticeable seeds. Avoid damaging the seeds in the process, as they need to be whole and undamaged to germinate successfully.

Next, prepare the seeds for germination. Olive seeds have a tough outer layer that protects the inner part of the seed. Nicking or scarring the outer layer of the seed can help start germination. Several methods can scarify olive seeds, including soaking them in water, rubbing them with sandpaper, or placing them in a plastic bag with moist vermiculite, perlite, or sand and shaking them.

After scarifying the seeds, it’s essential to do a sink or float test. Place the seeds in a glass of water and wait for up to 24 hours. The seeds that float to the top should be discarded as they are unlikely to germinate. The seeds that sink to the bottom are the ones you should use for planting.

When the seeds are ready, it’s time to plant them. Olive seeds require warm temperatures to germinate, and the best time to plant them is in spring when the soil is warm enough. Plant the seeds in a pot that has well-draining soil, and add some sand if the soil is heavy to aid drainage. Plant the seed about an inch deep in the soil and water thoroughly.

It’s essential to maintain optimal growing conditions for the seedling, which includes ensuring the soil is always moist but not waterlogged. Place the pot in a location with plenty of sunshine, and protect it from extreme conditions such as heavy rain and strong winds. In about six to eight weeks, the seedling should sprout, and this is an indication that your olive tree growing journey has taken off.

In conclusion, growing an olive tree from seed requires patience, dedication, and proper knowledge of how to collect and prepare the seeds. The process may take a while, but it’s undoubtedly rewarding, especially when you have your mature olive tree with abundant fresh fruit and high-quality olive oil.

Choosing the Right Soil for Planting

Choosing the Right Soil for Planting

When it comes to growing an olive tree from seed, choosing the right soil can make all the difference. The soil is essential for providing the necessary nutrients and minerals for the young olive tree to grow and thrive. In this section, we will discuss the different types of soil that are best suited for planting olive seeds and how to prepare them.

The ideal soil for growing olive trees from seeds should be well-draining and free of any contaminants. Soil that is too compact or waterlogged can lead to poor growth and the death of the young tree. The best soil type to consider is sandy loam since it provides optimal drainage, aeration, and the right nutrients to support the plant’s growth. Sandy loam is a type of soil made up of 60 to 80 percent sand particles, 10 to 50 percent silt, and 0 to 30 percent clay.

It is always important to prepare the soil before planting an olive tree seed or any other plant. The soil preparation process should involve tilling the soil, removing any rocks and weeds, and adding nutrients or organic materials that will improve the quality of the soil. It would be best to dig a hole about two feet wide and two feet deep. The hole is beneficial to loosen the soil and improve aeration hence, allowing the roots to spread with ease.

Once the soil is ready, the next step is to plant the olive seed. We recommend using a potting mix in the hole and then gently placing the seed about an inch below the surface. One should make sure the soil is tightly packed and moist at the time of planting. The seed should be watered regularly, but not to the point of waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Another essential aspect to consider when preparing soil for planting olive seeds is the pH levels. The pH level should be between 6.0 and 8.0, which is slightly acidic to neutral. This range is perfect for olive tree growth as the plant thrives in an environment that is slightly acidic. One can always use a soil testing kit to measure the pH level of the soil before planting the seed. In case the pH level is not within the required range, one should adjust by adding the necessary soil conditioner or lime to raise the pH level.

In conclusion, planting olive trees from seeds can be one of the most exciting gardening activities. However, it requires one to choose the right soil for planting. The ideal soil for planting olive trees should be well-draining and free from contaminants. Sandy loam soil provides optimal drainage, aeration and supports plant growth. Also, one should ensure the pH levels are within the required range and prepare the soil before planting the seed. With the right soil and care, one can grow a thriving olive tree that produces fresh, high-quality olives for years to come!

Proper Watering Techniques for Seed Germination

Olive Tree Seed Germination

Proper watering techniques play a crucial role in germinating olive tree seedlings. The following techniques will provide the best results for optimal seed germination.

1. Start with Clean Soil: Using a clean soil medium is important. It reduces the risk of disease and fungal spores that can affect your seedlings. It is also essential to select the right soil type for your olive tree seeds. Olive trees prefer well-drained soil that is slightly sandy. You can use potting soil, a mixture of peat moss, and perlite. Make sure the soil medium is well-draining and not too dense.

2. Watering Quantity and Frequency: The soil should be moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering will cause root rot and reduce seed germination rates. Seedlings need adequate moisture to sprout, but it’s also important not to overwater. A good rule of thumb is to water the soil surface lightly until it is moist. You can also place your container in a tray filled with water and let the soil soak it up from the bottom. It will ensure that the soil maintains an optimal moisture content level.

3. Watering Technique: When watering your olive tree seeds, use a watering can with a fine spray head or a spray bottle. It will prevent soil disturbance and keep the seeds in place while providing enough moisture to promote germination. The fine mist covers the soil more evenly, minimizing the risk of flooding the seed’s tiny, fragile root system. Aim to water the soil evenly and keep it moist throughout the germination period.

4. Humidity and Light: Olive tree seedlings require stable humidity levels to thrive. Cover the container with a plastic bag or cling wrap to hold moisture and humidity during germination. Keep the container in a warm, bright, and well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Remove the cover when the seeds germinate.

5. Patience: Olive tree seeds can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to germinate. They require patience and care to ensure the germination process goes smoothly. Do not disturb the soil or the seeds during the germination period. Once the seedlings emerge, you can transplant them into larger pots.

By following these watering techniques, you will be able to successfully germinate olive tree seeds and grow healthy seedlings. Remember to provide them with plenty of sunlight, water, and care as they grow.

Caring for Olive Seedlings

Caring for Olive Seedlings

Once your olive seeds have germinated, you have to give them all the care they need to keep them healthy. The following are the steps on how to care for your olive seedlings.


The first thing you need to consider when caring for your olive seedlings is their water requirements. You have to water them regularly, but do not let the soil become waterlogged. Overwatering can cause root rot, which may kill your seedlings. When watering, apply water slowly, and make sure it reaches the root system. You can water 2-3 times a week, and when the weather is hot, you might have to water more frequently.

Light and Temperature

Olive seedlings need plenty of sunlight and warmth to grow correctly, so you need to place them on a sunny windowsill or under a grow light. The temperature should be between 10°C and 21°C (50°F and 70°F). Avoid drastic temperature changes, as they may stress your seedlings, and make them more prone to disease. If, for any reason, you need to move your seedlings outside, make sure they are well acclimatized, and protect them from the wind and direct sunlight.


Your olive seedlings need fertilizer to grow well, and you have to provide them with the right nutrients. Consider using a balanced fertilizer, which contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Add a few granules of fertilizer in the potting mix every month, or use a water-soluble formula and apply it to the leaves or soil. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as it can burn the roots and affect the growth of your seedlings.

Pests and Diseases

Olive tree pests and diseases

Your olive seedlings may be prone to some pests and diseases, so you have to keep an eye on them and take the appropriate measures if you notice something wrong. Scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs are common pests that can attack olive trees. They can damage the leaves, suck the sap, and weaken your plants. Treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil, and remove any affected leaves or branches. Fusarium wilt, Verticillium wilt, and bacterial blight are some of the diseases that can affect olive trees. They can cause yellowing, wilting, or death of the plant. Once diagnosed, the only solution is to remove the infected plant before it spreads.


Your olive seedlings will eventually outgrow their original container, and you need to repot them in a larger one. Choose a pot that is 2-3 times larger than the previous one, and make sure it has adequate drainage holes. Be gentle when removing the plant from the old container, and try not to disturb the roots too much. Add some fresh potting soil in the new container, and plant the seedling, making sure the soil level is the same as the previous one. Water the plant thoroughly, and place it in a sunny spot.

With proper care, your olive seedlings will grow into healthy and productive trees. It may take a few years to see fruits, but it will be worth the wait.

Transplanting the Olive Tree from Seed to Soil

olive tree transplanting

Now that your olive tree seedling has grown to a healthy size in its container, it is time to transplant it into the ground. Before you start digging holes in your yard, there are a few things you need to consider for a successful transplant.

1. Choosing the Right Location

olive tree location

The location you choose for your olive tree must be ideal for its growth and development. Olive trees require well-drained soil, a sunny spot and protection from strong winds. Choose a location with plenty of sunlight as olive trees grow in areas with plenty of sun. Consider the pH level of the soil. Olive trees prefer a pH level between 6-8.

2. Preparing the Soil

olive tree soil

Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Olive trees don’t like wet feet, so ensure that the soil is well-draining. A good way to test the drainage is to dig a hole 60 cm deep and fill it with water. If the water drains out of the hole within 24 hours, then the soil has good drainage. if it does not, amend the soil with sand or perlite to improve drainage.

3. Transplant the Tree

transplant olive tree

Transplant the tree during the dormant season to avoid transplant shock. The ideal time to transplant the olive tree is just before spring when the growing season starts. Remove the seedling from the container, being careful not to damage the roots. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Place the tree in the center of the hole and fill the hole with soil. Water the soil well to settle it around the roots.

4. Watering, Fertilizing, and Mulching

olive tree watering

After transplanting, it is important to keep the soil moist. Water the tree every week for the first year and then twice a week for the second year. Wait for the top two inches of soil to dry before watering again. Apply organic fertilizer regularly once the tree starts bearing fruit. Place a 2-3 inch mulch around the tree to prevent moisture loss.

5. Pruning

olive tree pruning

Pruning is crucial to ensure the success of your olive tree. Prune the tree in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, water sprouts, and suckers. Prune to maintain the tree’s shape and promote proper growth. Remove branches that cross or those that are growing towards the center of the tree. Be careful not to over-prune as this can stress the tree.

Transplanting your olive tree from seed to soil is a rewarding experience. With proper location, soil preparation, transplanting, and care, your tree will not only provide you with a source of fresh olives, but it will also add an attractive addition to your garden.